The Infertility Bookshelf – Book Companions for Your Journey
When my husband and I first made the decision to start trying to conceive, I headed down to a couple of the local bookstores in my area to search for some fertility related books. I was entering a new chapter in my life, and I was eager to start preparing myself and my body. As an avid reader and a writer, I love having resources to turn to when I need some guidance or inspiration. To my surprise, I couldn’t find a single book that fit the description of what I was looking for. The shelves were packed with pregnancy, childcare and parenting books, yet there wasn’t anything specific to fertility or the process of trying to conceive. After looking in a few different places, I eventually found a lovely copy of ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’. It was so exciting to read and offered loads of insight into the different stages of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. However, unfortunately for me, it quickly became clear that getting pregnancy wasn’t going to be as simple and straight forward as I’d initially thought it would be. As I struggled to find something that reflected the space that I was in, my feelings of confusing and isolation began to take root. Not knowing anyone going through what I was experiencing at the time didn’t make it any easier. It seemed like I was living a narrative that no one else around me was. Several months later, my husband and I were browsing at a book sale when I happened to stumble upon two gems, ‘The Baby-Making Bible’ by Emma Cannon, and a book on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (complete with meal plans and recipes). I was thrilled by the unexpected discovery. Cannon’s book in particular offered a wealth of information about fertility wellness, functional medicine, addressing imbalances and emotional self-care. I read the book several times, taking note of the things that resonated and I applied them in my life where I could. It was comforting to find something that spoke to the situation that I was facing.
As time went on, I discovered more really amazing fertility book resources. I found that while bookstores didn’t usually stock them, I was still able to order what I needed online, or sometimes if I was lucky, I would find some really great books at second-hand stores. Books like ‘It Starts With The Egg’ and ‘Taking Charge of Your Fertility’ frequently pop up on the list of fertility book recommendations. It’s been great to see that more and more books about enhancing fertility and coping with infertility have been published and made more easily available over the years too. Some cover the specifics of physical and reproductive health, while others focus more on mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Most places offer great medical care when it comes to infertility, and there is loads of information about fertility-friendly lifestyles on the internet. However, the emotional impact of infertility is sometimes neglected. So, I feel that there is great value in having access to reading materials that offer some kind of balm. I particularly appreciate the books written by women who share their own stories – the challenges, the losses and the triumphs that they went through while facing infertility. For one, it takes an incredible amount of courage to share a very personal and often devastating experience in the hope of helping others feel comforted and understood. Their books also provide an understanding of what to expect and how to move through various situations that a doctor may not be able to prepare you for. Expanding the narratives around infertility is a really powerful thing because, as highlighted in my last blogpost, it is a necessary part of normalising an experience that still ends up overlooked by society. Simply put, when women read stories that reflect what they too are going through, they find perspective, hope, comfort and feel connected to a community of people who understand what they are going through. This is one of the things that inspired me to author and published a couple of fertility-focused books of my own.
That said, I’d like to share a few books on my own infertility bookshelf that have been a great support to me:
Flipping the Script on Infertility by Kezia Okafor: I’ve followed Kezia on social media for a while. She is an incredible infertility counsellor and coach who offers so much practical guidance for women who are trying to conceive. So, when she announced her new book, I purchased it on Kindle right away. This newly published book did not disappoint. As someone who has battled with infertility herself, the guidance she offers is so valuable. This book covers various topics, from self-blame, to how infertility affects your identity, to managing mental health and emotions, making decisions around your fertility options, navigating stress and reframing your fertility mind-set. There are also thoughtful journaling prompts at the end of the chapters for you to explore certain topics further on your own.
A Fertile Path: Guiding the Journey with Mindfulness and Compassion by Janetti Marotta: This is a really great book for anyone who wants to learn about how to use mindfulness as a grounding anxiety relief tool when it comes to your fertility journey. Marotta’s book teaches you practical mindfulness techniques. In each chapter, she guides the reader through different meditations, visualisations, emotional management and breathwork exercises. There is something for various challenging situations that you may find yourself in. The exercises and techniques are really great in helping to find balance and build resilience when the going gets tough.
Infertility and PTSD: The Uncharted Storm by Joanna Flemons: If you’ve struggled with PTSD as a result of infertility and pregnancy loss, then this book is a good resource to have in your library. Reading this book put my own experiences into perspective. Joanna Flemons, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, explores the resultant trauma that comes with infertility and how this can lead to PTSD. She looks at the complexity of trauma, dealing with triggers, as well as things like confidence crises and grief. The book also includes advice on treatment and several practical resilience-building exercises and self-care tips.
Yes, You Can Get Pregnant by Aimee E Raupp: If you’re interested in learning about how functional medicine can support your fertility journey. This book offers advice on optimal nutrition, improving egg quality, environmental toxins, fertility mind-sets, as well as soft issues like preparing mentally and emotionally. It also includes a 7-day fertility rejuvenation plan. I particularly love the mental and emotional wellbeing chapter in this book.
What are you favourite fertility books? Which books would you recommend to someone dealing with infertility?