I’m honored to be part of Jody Day’s blog tour to promote the 2nd edition of Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning and a Fulfilling Future Without Children. If you haven’t read the earlier edition, you can check out the introduction and chapter one here for free! There is a list of all the other blogs on this tour here. The book releases March 19th. At the end of this post there’s a chance to win a free signed copy!
A diverse community
When Jody asked if I would participate I took no time in responding — of course I said yes! To be among so many voices who helped me process my own grief while moving forward without children is an honor. I think that’s what I love most about this infertility community — the variety of voices and the sense of community. There’s no competition as we’re all trying to contribute to the healing of others in our own special ways.
I write about my experience from my own unique perspective. I didn’t seek medical treatment once I received my diagnosis of premature ovarian failure. Together with my husband, we decided to trust what my body was telling me. Now we are figuring out what our lives look like without children. However, we do take the role of aunt and uncle seriously, so being active participants in the lives of our eight nieces and nephews is important to us.
However, this isn’t everyone’s story. Some women never found a partner and are figuring out this life unexpected in different circumstances than my own. Some couples tried medicated cycles, IUI, or IVF and did not end up parents — they, too, are living the life unexpected. There is no one path to this unexpected life and yet, here we all are. What I appreciate most about Jody’s book is the way she makes it accessible to everyone — single, same sex couples, various backgrounds, different faith traditions, a wide variety of ages, nationalities and ethnicities. We are all included. Everyone in the infertility community has the opportunity to find hope, meaning and a fulfilling life without children.
An inviting voice
Jody has written a book that works well for small groups to discuss together or for individuals to work through on their own. She asks insightful questions and offers thought-provoking exercises to help us work through the many different challenges we face learning to live a life without children. It often feels like I’m sitting there with her, listening to her tell me her own story, while I nod along and hear pieces of my story in hers. There are others sitting with us too — she includes voices of women from around the world, each sharing their unique perspective while continuing to pull the threads that unite all of us living without children.
As I’ve written about before, life is hard — plain and simple. None of us get to escape that. Jody recognizes that truth too. “As childless women, part of our journey back to a full and happy life again is beginning to see the whole picture, not just the glossy media fantasy of motherhood. Life can be tough. Motherhood can be tough. Childlessness can be tough.” (page 63) I think once we recognize this and realize we’re all doing our best with the circumstances we’re given, perhaps we can be kinder with one another — and perhaps more importantly, with ourselves.
I wrote how infertility grief often leaves me with an open wound. Daily I am reminded of my infertility, which makes healing difficult. Through sharing her own journey, Jody gives me hope that soon my wound will scar over — it won’t be gone completely, but it will no longer be scabbed either. “Grief has healed what was once a raw wound into a scar. And I can live with a scar, move forward with a scar. It will always be a tender spot, but it’s no longer a wound.” (page 86)
You are welcome here too
This book is for…
… the woman struggling to figure out how to make meaning from your infertility diagnosis.
… those ready to move forward with hope that you can have a fulfilling life without children.
… friends and family who want to understand what it’s like for someone they love who is struggling with infertility.
I’m grateful for Jody Day and her willingness to step forward and share her story. Jody made a pathway for many of us to follow. Together we are expanding the circle and working to make sure every infertile woman out there knows that she is not alone.
Win a free signed copy!
Click here to purchase your own copy of this new edition. Gateway Women has some many resources to support you! Here are just a few you might want to check out: a guided online reading group for this book and a free Coping with Mother’s Day webinar. Many of these also provide an opportunity to win a free copy of her book! Speaking of that… one random person to comment on this post will receive a signed copy of the book from Jody after it is released! I will share the winner’s name on March 20!