Waiting … but what if it never comes?


I read Waiting for Daisy just the other day (not waiting for the April book tour) and at first I was really smitten with it and could not put it down. The writer talks at length about how her determination to succeed at pregnancy pushes away her ambivalence about motherhood, and at her guilt that her infertility was self-inflicted due to waiting so long. The things she said there really spoke to me.  She has a lot to say about how a successful pregnancy becomes the aim.

“I’d had no idea how easy it would be to lose all sense of reason, to do things I swore I never would to become a mother, then go further beyond that. And here’s the irony: if you’d asked me ten years earlier, I would’ve said I didn’t even want to have children.”

“The descent into the world of infertility is incremental. Those early steps seem innocuous, even quaint; IUI was hardly more complex than using a turkey baster. You’re not aware of how subtly alientated you become from your body, how inured to its medicalization. You don’t notice your motivation distorting, how conception rather than parenthood becomes the goal, how invested you become in its achievement. Each decision to go a little further seems logical. More than that, it begins to feel inevitable. My hesitations about motherhood hadn’t disappeared, but they were steamrolled by my drive to succeed at pregnancy.”

But towards the end of the book, I began to feel rather alienated from the voice of the writer. (Don’t read on if you don’t want to spoil the ending!)

I have been mulling this over in my mind, and I don’t want to seem mean-spirited as this is a true story. Obviously it’s my own feelings about Kind Friend donating eggs to me, that made me feel so sad on behalf of the young woman who donated eggs, unsuccessfully, to the writer. Waiting for Daisy is designed to show to what lengths a woman will go to conceive, so I imagine that’s why the warts and all description of the unsuccessful cycle is included. But I found it very discomfitting. The young woman donor was almost like a niece to the writer, and the cycle didn’t go well. It made for very painful reading.

There were times reading the book, when title notwithstanding, I wondered whether her deep insight would come to bear on the experience of NOT succeeding in her quest. She tugs and tugs at the threads of an unravelling jumper .. why did she leave it so late, why was the medical profession so willing to take her money but so unwilling to be honest about her chances, how her relationship with her husband suffers through two miscarriages and several IVFs, how they try to adopt but fail to get clearance to bring the baby into the US… I was hoping for some revelation, some inspirational message that would bring some grace into the condition of struggling on and maybe NOT “succeeding”

Is it Ok to be disappointed that in the end it’s the archetypal happy ending? Of course I’m so pleased for her and her husband. But… they move to adopt, stop trying, and then get pregnant with a baby that sticks.

The stories you see always end like that.

The articles in magazines “14 miscarriages and then our miracle”

The books that sell always have a miracle at the end.

But what if there isn’t a miracle? What if life looks at us when we’re down and just kicks us again? Can we just keep waiting to turn the mythical corner?

Or is there a dignity just in standing solidly. Maybe there isn’t always a happy ending. Maybe this is just the life we got dealt, and we should get on and live it.

PS I noticed I’m not the only blogger disappointed by the book.

~ by drownedgirl on March 22, 2007.

3 Responses to “Waiting … but what if it never comes?”

  1. The books that sell always have a miraclle at the end.

    Would you have read the book if you had known there was no happy ending? Or was it the particular ending that you were unhappy with?

  2. I think that a year ago, I would have been so pleased at the ending. Just as I was so happy when I found Coming to Term by Jon Cohen and its story of success after multiple miscarriage.

    I suppose now I’ve stopped believing in miracles and I’m looking for exploration of other options. Acceptance. Donor Eggs. Adoption.

  3. DD’s right. There probably is a book out there with just the premise you’re looking for – acceptance, rather than miracle. But it didn’t sell, so it’s now sitting in a remaindered pile at your local bookstore. Depressing, but probably true.

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