One thing I really appreciated was the way the book helped me to examine and understand all the emotions involved with infertility, and even why I wanted to have children in the first place. There is a good portion of the book devoted to the option of living childfree (the choice the authors have made). As a result, my husband and I know that if we choose to live childfree we do not need to feel guilty and are not less a part of the human race or child haters. Likewise, if we do adopt it will be because we truely want to raise that child (or children) and not use the child as a way to fix infertility or fill a void. At last, we are no longer "victims" of infertiliy! We are getting on with our life, and our identity is no longer bound on ! whether we have children or not.
The authors have also included sorces/resources that have been helpful to them and I look forward to investigating them as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone going through infertility, their family, and to doctors and therapists that have infertle patients.
The authors make the case that a person who is not fertile can actively choose either infertility or childfree living. Their unusual definitions of childfree versus infertile and childless actually made sense after I read their detailed explanations. They write, "It is choice that makes the difference between voluntary and involuntary childlessness. Childfree means turning involuntary childlessness into voluntary childlessness. And we would rather live our lives in the achievement of a major life goal than in the constant reminder of the frustration of one." Childfree does not mean disliking children.
This book does a good job of explaining exactly what childfree living is and how it has worked for them. Luckily, they are not pushing this option on readers.
Key points are:
1. Happiness after infertility is much more likely if one makes active choices about how to spend the rest of one's life than if one drifts.
2. Every loss such as infertility or childlessness also contains the potential for gain and personal growth.
3. Building effective communication skills between partners is important.
4. Decision-making processes and skills can be learned. Decisions addressed are how much infertility treatment to undergo, how to spend the rest of one's life if biological children are not possible and whether to live childfree.
Be sure to read the revised 1998 edition because it includes an Epilogue. Bibliography but no index included.
I highly recommend Linda Hunt Anton's 1992 "Never To Be A Mother: A Guide For All Women Who Didn't--Or Couldn't--Have Children." Written by an infertile, childless, social-worker-therapist, it is the best self-help book I've found on dealing with emotional aspects of childlessness. Readers benefit from her non-threatening writing style, professional training and years of experience in infertility and childlessness counseling.