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Book reviews

Posted Sep 09 2010 12:00am
Sometimes, time seems to slip away and I don’t quite manage to finish ideas for posts… This year, I have read three books that have really helped me to understand the world a little better. I was going to do individual book reviews but I just haven’t managed it. So I am going to blast it in one fell swoop. I hope you will find them useful. I present them in the order I read them.

Book no. 1: Bad Science by Dr Ben Goldacre.

When I first got my test results, I was desperate for answers and solutions. Trying supplements, taking green tea, avoiding milk, anything that was vaguely hinted might help, I would try to do. The doctors never recommended anything in particular and seemed quite taken aback if I asked about foods that could help. So I did my own research on the internet. But the internet in its own way is a dangerous thing. Do random people online really know how to interpret scientific studies? Are the studies that they are quoting good quality? Could their results just be an anomaly? A colleague recommended this book after I started doing acupuncture and reflexology and searching out anything and everything that might boost our chances of fertility success. But there is no quick fix to anything, as this book has shown me. I needed and still do need counselling, not a needle stuck in my head for 15 minutes. I need a general healthy lifestyle (exercise, reduced alcohol intake, no smoking, balanced diet), not a supposedly cure-all food item. This book helped me to see things differently, and I really cannot recommend it highly enough.

Book no 2: Navigating the Land of IF by Melissa Ford

Another excellent book. The land of IF is the island of infertility, and I am an Iffer. People end up on the island for many, many different reasons but we are all seeking one thing: to get back to the mainland. And people choose different routes to do that such as natural conception, IVF, adoption, even remaining child-free. The book explains all the different aspects of the island, the different reasons for being there, the different ways of getting off. More than anything it brings the inhabitants together. It gives us reasons not to squabble among ourselves. It gives us the right words to say both in our clinics and in those awful moments with non-Iffers. It gives us the knowledge that we are not alone and that what we are feeling is not insane. If you are struggling on the land of IF, please read it.

Book no 3: An Adoption Diary by Maria James

God did this book make me cry. It’s a diary of a couple who adopted a little son. And the ups and downs they go through to get there. I didn’t read it in a good moment, I must be honest. I read it as the IVF failed and it made me feel so very tired that I had no energy for the long battle to adopt. Another rollercoaster ride. But of course I had no energy, we had only just lost our embryo and I was still grieving. Read it in a better moment and it’s a real eye-opener to the experiences of adoption and a beautiful story of a couple who overcome the land of IF to become parents.
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