I probably brought a slightly different perspective to reading this book than many readers. My infertility journey ended several years ago when my husband & I made the painful decision to abandon infertility treatments & live childless/free. It's been a long time since I cracked open a guide to infertility, and in fact, I have given away most of the ones I had in my collection.
However -- the shadow of infertility & loss continue to hover over my life, which is why, even after all these years, I continue to read books, articles & blogs about it -- including Mel's blog, Stirrup Queens, which I love. She is a great support for those of us in the ALI (adoption, loss & infertility) community, and so I was keen to read her book.
Even though I found some sections more interesting/applicable than others (as I'm sure most readers did, or will), I loved the book, and I wish it had been around when I was going through treatment. Most infertility guides that I've read tend to be a tad clinical. Not this book. The tone is that of a slightly older/wiser girlfriend who'd already been there/done that and is filling you in on what to expect when you're NOT expecting and trying to do something about it.
It's a book I would definitely recommend to anyone going through infertility. It would also be fabulous to read if you're a fertile person hoping to gain some insight into what a friend or family member is going through and how you can best support them.
Because my husband & I wound up living without children, I was particularly interested in what Melissa would have to say on the subject, and went straight for the chapter on childfree living first. Very few books on infertility say much about the childless/free option beyond a few paragraphs -- so I'm always interested to see how the subject is covered in any new IF book that I come across.
I'm happy to say she more than did the subject justice. The whole concept of "choosing" to live childless/free is one that many women in my shoes struggle with, but Melissa makes the valid point that, rather than accepting the childfree option as a "default," you have to take an active role in carving out your future.
Melissa covered many aspects of living childfree. She makes a point of distinguishing between living childfree by choice and childfree after infertility, and also between taking a break and actually choosing to live childfree. She suggests a trial period (something an infertility counsellor recommended to my husband & me). She talks about how the childfree are frequently made to justify their choice (so true), and what happens when one partner wants to live childfree and the other doesn't.
I also learned a lot about other aspects of the infertility journey. And oh, to have had Melissa's list of comebacks to unthinking friends & relatives 10 years ago...!