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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
I Still Want to Be a Mom: Leaving the Infertility Struggle Behind is a nonfiction health/medical parenting guide written by Julie Pierce. Pierce is a fertility and healthy lifestyle coach, whose familiarity with the challenges faced by the many women for whom pregnancy is elusive, makes her a particularly empathetic and persuasive guide. Looking back, she knew she had done all the right things as she was growing up. Pierce had been determined not to become one of those accidental moms who had to give up their dreams of college and professional goals because of an unplanned pregnancy. She would finish her academic studies, enter the profession she had studied for, and wait until she and her husband were ready, financially and emotionally, for the next big step in their lives -- becoming parents. Pierce also wanted to ensure that she could personally support herself and a young family, and she wanted to explore life as a couple with her husband before they began the process. As with many of her clients, however, Pierce found herself besieged by the cruel, if well-intentioned, reminders from family and friends about her biological clock, the aging of her eggs and the “selfishness” of women who didn’t embrace motherhood. She also felt a growing imperative as she watched her friends start their own families, but when she and her husband decided to go ahead and make that baby, nothing happened.
Julie Pierce’s nonfiction health/wellness guide was of particular interest to me as I’ve had some problems understanding the imperative felt by many women who are willing to sacrifice so much to afford extraordinary expense and endure the discomfort involved in fertility treatment. I’ve also read a number of articles and columns written by women who had decided not to have children, detailing the intense criticism and outrage expressed toward them by family, friends and “well-meaners.” As someone who would never be that intimately involved in the process, I still wanted to understand what was going on in a substantial segment of the population. Pierce’s honest and moving account went a long way towards giving me the answers and providing the bridge to understanding that I was seeking. Her descriptions of the emotional curves of hope and despair experienced by women each month when trying to get pregnant was moving, and her shared account of the delivery of her stillborn daughter, Ava Catherine, really brought home the suffering and loss she experienced.
Pierce doesn’t promise fertility miracles -- no one can. What she does do is help women understand the intricate processes involved in baby-making and get them to a place where they can see, sense and feel their future lives as a mom. Her counseling is designed to get her clients to consider any emotional or deep-seated roadblocks to becoming a mom that might be interfering with the process, and for them to have a clearer sense of becoming one. Along the way, she commiserates with the sometimes awful, if well-meaning, interference of family and friends, and clarifies some misconceptions about biological clocks and past-their-sell-by-time eggs. Her book answered my own questions and gave me new insights into the biological urge for motherhood and the accompanying stress and hardship experienced by many. I Still Want to Be a Mom: Leaving the Infertility Struggle Behind is most highly recommended, not only for the target audience but also for the men in their lives.