Thursday, May 01, 2008


Choosing You
Deciding to have a Baby on My Own

by Alexandra Soiseth

I enjoyed so much in this book. The author writes about her struggles with her weight and food issues throughout the book. She does it so well, so intensely and with such painful truth. I was really drawn in to her honesty which I related to so deeply. She could have written an entire book on just this subject but she tied it to her struggles with relationships, her struggles for acceptance from others and herself. She ties it in later to her parenting as well. She is raw and real and I loved reading about it all.

She also writes about building a family, a chosen family, long before even having her own child. I related to this part as well. She also writes about her struggles with her own family. I was impressed with her ability to really look at herself honestly. To call herself on her crap and get honest with herself about her reasons for her life's choices up to then.

She does not struggle with the biology of getting pregnant, she does, however struggle with the decision.

I want to take a moment here to address this aspect of the book. I read this book as an SMC book, not necessarily a IF book. Here is the thing though. For anyone who is choosing to become an SMC or is LGBT there is IF issues. As a lesbian I am "sperm challenged" before I ever start. I have had to let go of plenty of fantasies long ago while other SMC's struggle with that as the decide to become an SMC. Gay couples unable to birth a child of shared biology grieve as do hetero couples faced with donor sperm or eggs. All of this makes me believe that these issues all fall under an IF umbrella.

The authors ease/luck with getting pregnant I related to because it was that way with Bliss. I got lucky first try back after a m/c. I was not bothered by her ease of getting knocked up.

I was bothered by her doctor's ignorance about conception. He made a comment after her IUI that "it happens very quickly...within minutes." Uh hello??

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her journey to find herself while making the decision to have a child on her own. It IS a process and she writes about it well.

Her issues with choosing sperm were food for thought.

Her writing about when her parents came after the birth was wonderful, the wanting someone to help, to make it better, the terror of not thinking you can do it and being so afraid you made a mistake I wish she had realized how many hormones were swirling making all this so much harder but she got through it with her parents so beautifully, in fits and starts and messily like life is.

Here is where it gets tricky though. I do not believe a donor is a daddy, a father maybe but a daddy, no. Every child of donor sperm I have ever seen or read about that had issues around it also usually was an only child and had a parent that "wished it were otherwise" and viewed the donor as daddy.

I think this is where trouble begins, this is my opinion.

I truly loved this book until the last ten pages. This is where it falls apart for me. She seems to be saying she got her second choice, and maybe for her that is true. I just cannot relate and it sounds so awful to me. She contradicts herself when she says how she thought/hoped she would have a hubby by now and that at the same time maybe she never truly wanted one.

I came to realize how much I was meant to be a SMC many years ago. I could never, EVER compromise my parenting beliefs. I have a lot of childhood baggage and it became very clear to me I had to raise my child never dealing with the things I did. I have watched so many parents go through custody battles and argue over discipline issues. I know for me I was meant to do this on my own. I am so grateful for it happening like this because I do not think I would have been half the mother I am today if it happened any other way.

She is such an unbelievably strong woman and it breaks my heart that she ends this triumphant story of self discovery and determination saying she is fundamentally broken instead of seeing just how whole she has become. I wanted to shake her and tell her it will become a HUGE issue for her child if she doesn't get past it herself.

All in all I would recommend this book for many reasons. It was an enjoyable read that brought up so many things about becoming a parent and becoming a whole person. About family being what we are born with and what we create for ourselves. About love and faith in oneself.

2 om's.:

battynurse said...

Thanks for the review. I'm just starting it as I missed out on the official review part. I know in the first few pages I've felt a lot like I was reading about myself and my struggles with weight. As far as the ending this leaves me up in the air. I had always wanted to be married but am not sure any more that is what I want. However I worry that my child/ren will resent me for the means I took to get them. Also I like the point you made on how even though we may not qualify as infertile, we still sort of fall under the infertility umbrella by being sperm challenged.

Anonymous said...

great review.
At my first RE appointment ever I was deemed as having fertility issues as the check in nurse marked me down as having "male factor issues"- HA!