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Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother

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Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It's about doing all the things you swore you'd never do to get something you hadn't even been sure you wanted. It's about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It's about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it's about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby. Orenstein's story begins wh Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It's about doing all the things you swore you'd never do to get something you hadn't even been sure you wanted. It's about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It's about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it's about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby. Orenstein's story begins when she tells her new husband that she's not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she's done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal, from "fertility sex" to escalating infertility treatments to New Age remedies to forays into international adoption. Her saga unfolds just as professional women are warned by the media to heed the ticking of their biological clocks, and just as fertility clinics have become a boom industry, with over two million women a year seeking them out. Buffeted by one jaw-dropping obstacle after another, Orenstein seeks answers both medical and spiritual in America and Asia, along the way visiting an old flame who's now the father of fifteen, and discovering in Japan a ritual of surprising solace. All the while she tries to hold onto a marriage threatened by cycles, appointments, procedures and disappointments. Waiting for Daisy is an honest, wryly funny report from the front, an intimate page-turner that illuminates the ambivalence, obsession, and sacrifice that characterize so many modern women's lives.


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Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It's about doing all the things you swore you'd never do to get something you hadn't even been sure you wanted. It's about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It's about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it's about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby. Orenstein's story begins wh Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It's about doing all the things you swore you'd never do to get something you hadn't even been sure you wanted. It's about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It's about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it's about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby. Orenstein's story begins when she tells her new husband that she's not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she's done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal, from "fertility sex" to escalating infertility treatments to New Age remedies to forays into international adoption. Her saga unfolds just as professional women are warned by the media to heed the ticking of their biological clocks, and just as fertility clinics have become a boom industry, with over two million women a year seeking them out. Buffeted by one jaw-dropping obstacle after another, Orenstein seeks answers both medical and spiritual in America and Asia, along the way visiting an old flame who's now the father of fifteen, and discovering in Japan a ritual of surprising solace. All the while she tries to hold onto a marriage threatened by cycles, appointments, procedures and disappointments. Waiting for Daisy is an honest, wryly funny report from the front, an intimate page-turner that illuminates the ambivalence, obsession, and sacrifice that characterize so many modern women's lives.

30 review for Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Peggy Orenstein paints herself in such a bad light in Waiting for Daisy that it’s next to impossible to sympathize with her predicament. And that’s too bad, because three miscarriages are a lot to suffer through. However, Orenstein paints her desire for a child not as a powerful emotional urge but as an accomplishment she can’t live without. She never once talks about wanting to be a mother, or even wanting to have a baby. She is singularly focused on getting pregnant and staying that way for as Peggy Orenstein paints herself in such a bad light in Waiting for Daisy that it’s next to impossible to sympathize with her predicament. And that’s too bad, because three miscarriages are a lot to suffer through. However, Orenstein paints her desire for a child not as a powerful emotional urge but as an accomplishment she can’t live without. She never once talks about wanting to be a mother, or even wanting to have a baby. She is singularly focused on getting pregnant and staying that way for as long as possible. Near the end of the book, there’s a truly bizarre incident that actually broke my heart a little bit. Orenstein’s husband is Japanese, and during one trip to Japan, Orenstein put her name on a list for a Japanese baby. She gets a call that there is a baby who needs parents, and she never calls back. However, when her husband learns that she hid this from him, he goes ballistic. So they get back on the waiting list and eventually another baby comes up. They travel all the way to Japan and spend the weekend with the little guy, like they’re test-driving him, and then decide not to go through with it because the paperwork will take too long and besides she’s pregnant again anyway. Her writing about this incident is so vague and unfocused and emotionally detached that I got really creeped out. Shopping for babies. I don’t like to criticize a book like this, one that is so personal, and came from such a dark and difficult experience. But I don’t think Orenstein did her own story justice. I am glad that she had a child in the end, and I hope that she is enjoying every minute of it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    The publication I work for has recruited Peggy Orenstein as a writer, so her publishing company sent me a copy of her newest book. I didn't know much about her, other than she wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine (is it okay for little girls to loooooove princesses, pink and glitter?) that I loved. Now I feel like I know EVERYTHING about her. This book is a memoir of Peggy Orenstein and her devoted husband trying to get pregnant. For a year....then two....then six. They try *everythin The publication I work for has recruited Peggy Orenstein as a writer, so her publishing company sent me a copy of her newest book. I didn't know much about her, other than she wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine (is it okay for little girls to loooooove princesses, pink and glitter?) that I loved. Now I feel like I know EVERYTHING about her. This book is a memoir of Peggy Orenstein and her devoted husband trying to get pregnant. For a year....then two....then six. They try *everything* imaginable, from IVF to Chinese hamster guts to Italian nun hormones (no, I'm not making this up) to good old-fashioned sex. Nothing works - at least, nothing works for six years. I've yet to find out what eventually brings Daisy, the couple's young daughter, into the world. But it's more interesting than it sounds to read about all the differnt ways a pair of strangers tries to get pregnant. Because rather than a gets-old-fast "and then I tried this, and then I tried that" account, Orenstein consistently ruminates over one of the great feminist questions of our day: when should a woman get pregnant? Indeed, one of the best achievements of second-wave and third-wave feminism is that women have the opportunity to accomplish more in their careers and personal lives before having children - or not having children at all. Orenstein was on the fence about having kids; then her biological clock went off like an alarm clock on the first day of the school year. She's my kind of feminist: doesn't buy into any of the crap about only women who have children as valuable, how sad you must be if you want to have children, and (what she struggles with the most) you shouldn't wait too long to have kids. But then you could end up like Peggy Orenstein and be in your late thirties, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on chances (which at times feel like snake oil, I'd imagine. Quite the paradox. Trying to get pregant - rather, a feminist trying to get pregnant is a really fascinating memoir.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lain

    I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. While Orenstein is doubtless a terrific writer, her narcissism kept me from fully sympathizing with her plight (case in point -- WHY is there not a picture of her with her little girl on the jacket cover?). As the mom of three, I never had to walk the infertility road, so I cannot identify with the lengths people go to to have of child "of their own." But to risk her marriage and her health....! The ends seemed to justify the means. I am sure I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. While Orenstein is doubtless a terrific writer, her narcissism kept me from fully sympathizing with her plight (case in point -- WHY is there not a picture of her with her little girl on the jacket cover?). As the mom of three, I never had to walk the infertility road, so I cannot identify with the lengths people go to to have of child "of their own." But to risk her marriage and her health....! The ends seemed to justify the means. I am sure that many women struggling with infertility will find comfort in Orenstein's tale. At the same time, I think it will cause many raised eyebrows

  4. 5 out of 5

    Braden

    SPOILER ALERT. I’m pretty sure I understand the genre of memoir. I understand that it is honest and raw. When it's good, it often ain't pretty. Full disclosure: my husband and I are considering international adoption. I suspect that’s why I reacted so negatively as a reader when Orenstein described stalling an international adoption in the most passive-aggressive way possible. (Not returning the adoption agent's calls about a particular baby, then promising to get back to the woman in "a day or SPOILER ALERT. I’m pretty sure I understand the genre of memoir. I understand that it is honest and raw. When it's good, it often ain't pretty. Full disclosure: my husband and I are considering international adoption. I suspect that’s why I reacted so negatively as a reader when Orenstein described stalling an international adoption in the most passive-aggressive way possible. (Not returning the adoption agent's calls about a particular baby, then promising to get back to the woman in "a day or two," then never returning her call. And not telling her husband, who has been unfailingly patient and supportive, about the agent’s calls until months have passed.) Of course, adoption isn't right for every family. No judgment here. I thought Orenstein’s prose seemed sincere and compelling (if not very forthcoming) in a subsequent passage, in which (bizarrely!) the same adoption agent gives this couple a second chance and they choose not to adopt an infant boy after meeting and naming him. Kudos to Orenstein for *admitting* that her "struggle with infertility" is more about (her words) "my compulsion to succeed, to 'win' at pregnancy" than about having a child to raise. But here's the thing: however honest it may be, this book is the heroic narrative of a narcissistic personality. Guess what? Orenstein does (in her own words) WIN at pregnancy! And ultimately she doesn’t even need a donor egg or IVF to help her out! She does acknowledge that she had to struggle not to be “revisionist” about this, not “busily rewriting our history in my head so that the end justified the means.” Still, I wonder…without achieving the kind of ending she desired, would the book have been written at all? I’m definitely not convinced. All that said, I still might consider suggesting this to a friend struggling with infertility, if only as fodder for thought. The book does tell a uniquely 21st-century story about motherhood (at least upper middle-class American motherhood)….. and Orenstein is a masterful and honest writer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A must read for anyone who's ever experienced infertility or multiple miscarriages. I was fully expecting this book to be a difficult read because of the personal connection I have to the subject matter. I was also worried it would be 'churchy'. Instead, I was stunned by just how much I had in common with the author. I could have written the first half of the book (except for being a wildly successful author married to an Oscar winner, of course). The second half deals with things I have yet to A must read for anyone who's ever experienced infertility or multiple miscarriages. I was fully expecting this book to be a difficult read because of the personal connection I have to the subject matter. I was also worried it would be 'churchy'. Instead, I was stunned by just how much I had in common with the author. I could have written the first half of the book (except for being a wildly successful author married to an Oscar winner, of course). The second half deals with things I have yet to experience, but it's not that far outside of what we'd consider doing. There was some discussion of religion, but not in a 'trying to convert' way. She discusses her faith and her husband's, but that's about it. I really enjoyed how the author seems to be able to look back on that time in her life with an objective eye. There are some points where I think she gets off topic and rants a bit about things that don't pertain to the subject matter, but in a weird way that adds to the conversational feeling of the book. Maybe it's because I connected with this book, but I think it's very much worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    Wow! Just wow! If you've been through any of the experiences Peggy Orenstein has been through (and I've been through many of them) then you should read this book. It is brutally honest (which I appreciated) and unflinching. A few of her decisions might make some cringe (but not me and I had many of the same thoughts and reactions to things) but you can't fault her for her honest portrayal of the horrible roller coaster that is infertility. Also, unless you've been in the situation, it's probably Wow! Just wow! If you've been through any of the experiences Peggy Orenstein has been through (and I've been through many of them) then you should read this book. It is brutally honest (which I appreciated) and unflinching. A few of her decisions might make some cringe (but not me and I had many of the same thoughts and reactions to things) but you can't fault her for her honest portrayal of the horrible roller coaster that is infertility. Also, unless you've been in the situation, it's probably truly impossible to understand and empathize with what she went through. It's easy to criticize, much harder to put an honest account of this brutal experience out there for all to read and judge. Kudos to Orenstein for taking this subject on and for exposing it to some much-needed fresh air --especially the infertility industry (and it is an industry!) that constantly manipulates and uses the women and men who find themselves dealing with this (often hush-hush) subject. "Waiting for Daisy" is a well-written, very readable and honest account of a couple's struggle with infertility.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    This book was hard for me to rate because while it was well written, the author is a truly terrible person. To start off with, she states that she doesn't believe that women who choose to be stay-at-home moms are feminists, which is basically like saying that you're not pro-choice if, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, you choose to have the baby. Hate to break it to you Peggy, but feminism isn't about choosing a career over family. It's about having the freedom to make that choice for your This book was hard for me to rate because while it was well written, the author is a truly terrible person. To start off with, she states that she doesn't believe that women who choose to be stay-at-home moms are feminists, which is basically like saying that you're not pro-choice if, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, you choose to have the baby. Hate to break it to you Peggy, but feminism isn't about choosing a career over family. It's about having the freedom to make that choice for yourself. Believing that all women should be working outside the home is no different than believing that all women should stay home. Maybe if Orenstein had realized this, she would have been able to make her own life choices, instead of merely living her life by someone else's rules. Or maybe not because it's apparent time and time again in this book that Orenstein cannot make the simplest of life choices by herself. She never actually decides that she wants to have a baby, she just kind of goes on this pregnancy journey as a reaction to a few events in her life. Nor does she ever say that she doesn't want children, though it's very obvious that motherhood holds no appeal for her. There are several more examples of this in the book. At one point, she's asked to appear on Oprah and even though she 100% does not want to do it, she can't say that. Instead, she makes up some bullcrap requirements that she knows the producers of the show will never agree to so that they can be the ones to rescind the offer, instead her being the one to turn them down. She does this again when she gets a call about a child up for adoption. Instead of telling the adoption agent that she's no longer interested, she simply doesn't return the woman's multiple messages. This kind of behavior, driven by some kind of combination of laziness, doubt and fear, would be annoying in an early twenty year old but the fact that Orenstein is in her late thirties/early forties throughout the course of this book just makes her pathetic. And whiny. She's really, really whiny. At one point during her quest to become pregnant (and rest assured that it is a quest to become pregnant, not to actually become a mother. Throughout this entire ordeal, Orenstein states repeatedly that she doesn't actually know if she even wants to be a mother, which makes the whole thing even more absurd) she ponders if her infertility is punishment for her independence. Um, no, you're infertility is due to the fact that even though you got married at thirty, like a moron you didn't start trying to have a baby until you were thirty-six, an age where every educated person knows it's harder to get pregnant. Several times she refers to her body as being a failure when in truth, her body is doing what it's supposed to be doing biologically. It's not like she's dealing with infertility at twenty-five or even thirty years old. If you're trying to get pregnant in your late thirties/early forties, you should expect that it's going to be difficult. That's just common sense. If Orenstein would take some responsibility for her predicament, then I might have had a better view of her but she never does. She just continues to act like a spoiled child from start to finish. So yeah, I don't think I could recommend this book to anyone because while the subject matter is interesting, the author is so selfish and annoying that you just don't feel any sympathy for her or her plight. Her long suffering husband though? That man I have all the pity in the world for. **Edit: Also, did anyone else love how she liked to say that she was all progressive when it came to race and diversity, saying that if they did adopt, adopting a white baby wouldn't be a priority for her and her husband, yet the two of them never even considered adopting a black baby? Which, let's face it, if you're going to adopt is by far the easiest race to get. They literally discuss just about every other race option (white, Asian, hispanic) but adopting a black baby is never even mentioned, even if just to say that they rejected the idea. What kind of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner crap is that?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paperback Dolls

    Originally posted at PaperbackDolls.com I ran across this book when I first was diagnosed with infertility last summer yet decided it wasn’t the time to read it. I am glad I waited because after 10 more months Waiting for Daisy has had a profound impact on how I view my quest for a baby. Peggy Orenstein opens her memoir Waiting for Daisy with riveting words that struck me deep inside as they anyone who is currently or has dealt with infertility. ‘I’d taken my temperature every morning. I have bee Originally posted at PaperbackDolls.com I ran across this book when I first was diagnosed with infertility last summer yet decided it wasn’t the time to read it. I am glad I waited because after 10 more months Waiting for Daisy has had a profound impact on how I view my quest for a baby. Peggy Orenstein opens her memoir Waiting for Daisy with riveting words that struck me deep inside as they anyone who is currently or has dealt with infertility. ‘I’d taken my temperature every morning. I have been obsessive. I’d peed on ovulation predictors five days a month. I’d craned my neck like a yogini to see my nether regions while sluicing my finger around to check for the monthly fluid that would guide sperm to egg. I have been impatient. I’d chugged bottles of cough syrup, whose active ingredient supposedly improves the flow…..I’d transported cups of sperm in my bra. I’d turned lovemaking soulless …..Pardon me, forgive me, allow me to atone.” Anyone who is dealing with infertility will recognize these statements, they hit really close to home and I must also add: “I have become addicted to pregnancy tests, any changes in my morning temperature and analyzing my BBT chart on Fertility Friend.” I read a few comments online about Orenstein’s memoir and I was struck by how many people that have gotten pregnant easily were so quick to say negative things about Orenstein. What makes this book so special is that she is honest, brutally so. Anyone who is dealing with infertility will relate to her struggles. One of the things that struck me strongly in this book is how we get caught up and do things we said we would never do. We put our own health at risk for the chance to have a baby. We become obsessed with everything surrounding getting pregnant. I look back and though I don’t think I’m completely obsessed, I can relate to Orenstein more than I would like to admit. You set limits for yourself such as “I will only take Clomid for four months”. (My own statement) Then you find yourself sitting here seven months later because you keep saying just one more month. I find Orenstein’s experiences moving and helpful. It is hard to look at this roller coaster you are on objectively when it is you that is riding it. Reading someone else’s experience made me step back and look at my own life. A few things that struck me is how we become addicted to hope much the same way a gambler is addicted to gambling. “What if this is the only way I will have a child?” is something you ask yourself so often. As I read the book, I was struck by how the doctors play on this mixture of fear and hope to make more money. At least my Doctor told me up front that our chances of success are less than five percent. At least I get to go into this with my eyes wide open. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is caught up in the midst of this infertility roller coaster. You will find Orenstein’s honesty moving and touching. You know the pain she is going through; you are either right there at this moment or have been in the past. She has been brave to show us a part of herself that is not pretty and I think you have to have been here to understand how easy it is to become that person. I thank you Peggy, for your bravery and writing such a touching story. I am walking away from it with resolve to set firmer limits on what I am willing to do and a realization that I need to live. I have a wonderful loving husband and I need to cherish my time with him and enjoy this wonderful life that I do have instead of spending every second obsessing over what I don’t have. Easier said than done but I am stepping out into the brave unknown ready to try and no matter the outcome, it’s going to be ok.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

    i feel kind of bad criticizing this book because peggy orenstein's six-year battle against infertility sounds hellacious. & i actually do enjoy her writing style, for the most part. (some of the stuff about her visits to hiroshima to meet with bomb survivors seemed kind of like history & social commentary shoehorned into a book on a totally different topic. it was interesting & everything...but it should be it's own book.) other reviewers have commented on how orenstein's quest to become pregnant i feel kind of bad criticizing this book because peggy orenstein's six-year battle against infertility sounds hellacious. & i actually do enjoy her writing style, for the most part. (some of the stuff about her visits to hiroshima to meet with bomb survivors seemed kind of like history & social commentary shoehorned into a book on a totally different topic. it was interesting & everything...but it should be it's own book.) other reviewers have commented on how orenstein's quest to become pregnant read more like the story of a woman who wanted the accomplishment of becoming pregnant & staying that way for as long as possible as opposed to a woman who was ready for the next step after pregnancy: being a parent. there was pretty much nothing in the book about orenstein's hopes, goals, or plans in the event that she succeeded in becoming a mother. this is kind of a cultural meme--women who look at pregnancy itself as The Goal. when i was in midwifery school, there was a woman in my class whose e-mail address was "5under5@whateveritwas.com". yeah, she had five children, all under five years old at the time. i went to her house a few times & met her kids, & the way she interacted with them was horrifying. they'd be all pumped to see her, all, "mommy! look at this picture i drew! mommy! want to play sorry?" & she'd be all, "shut up! be quiet! i don't want to even LOOk at you right now!" then she'd yell at her sitters (her parents) for putting the baby to bed too early because then he'd want to get up early & she didn't want to get up with him. & she was in the process of trying to become pregnant yet again. she was a classic example of the kind of woman who loves being pregnant & getting all the attention that goes along with it, but could give two fucks about being a mom. not that i'm saying this is how orenstein behaves in this book. but how she does behave is that she tries increasingly expensive & risky fertility treatments (especially risky for a breast cancer survivor, which she is), all the way up to attempting to become pregnant via donor eggs. she puts her name down on a list to adopt a baby from japan, but when the call comes saying there is an infant ready to come home with her, she doesn't return the call or bother telling her husband about it. when the adoption woman calls again some months later with another baby, orenstein & her husband fly to japan to spend the weekend with the baby. they even name him (the same name they had selected for orenstein's first two pregnancies, which both resulted in miscarriages). but there's a hold up with their adoption paperwork & eventually they give up on that baby, which is adopted by another couple in san diego (they keep the name orenstein chose). orenstein eventually gets pregnant on her own & manages to carry to a viable gestational age. so the book has a "happy ending," i guess. but all the other shit before that is kind of harrowing & sad & alienating. maybe i am just burnt out on novels. everyone seems to think that their life adventures would make for a great book, but some things are better left in private diaries. i also found it really weird that orenstein seemed to find fertility tracking so weird. when she & her husband are first trying to conceive, that's what they do. orenstein charts her temperature & all that good stuff to determine her most fertile days. & she's weirded out by it. what's so weird about that? it's pretty typical among people trying to conceive.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I'm not sure what to say about this book. It was really interesting to read it right after reading "Finding Grace" because the two books, though about the same type of six-year struggle with infertility, had very different feels and conclusions. I was uplifted by the former and many times flabbergasted and disgusted by this one. The main difference, for me, is that the author of "Finding Grace," had an anchor of faith to rely on during her trials, while Peggy Orenstein seems to believe in everyt I'm not sure what to say about this book. It was really interesting to read it right after reading "Finding Grace" because the two books, though about the same type of six-year struggle with infertility, had very different feels and conclusions. I was uplifted by the former and many times flabbergasted and disgusted by this one. The main difference, for me, is that the author of "Finding Grace," had an anchor of faith to rely on during her trials, while Peggy Orenstein seems to believe in everything and nothing at the same time. She's into fate, talismans, signs, etc., yet is not a practicing Jew and scorns an old friend and his wife who have fifteen children. She is absolutely solid in her feminist convictions, yet she constantly moans about how they go against her deepest desire to become a mother. She writes of the scorn she feels for mothers who define themselves by their maternity and vows that she won't be like them, yet her obsessive quest to achieve a pregnancy flies in the face of what she supposedly believes. The most heart-wrenching part of the book, for me, was when she receives a call from a woman in Japan who has a baby in need of a home. Instead of responding to the call, discussing it with her husband, and making a measured choice, she ignores the call and doesn't tell her husband until a year or so later! First, I just cannot understand a person, especially one supposedly longing to be a mother, who could turn away an infant. Second, her dishonesty about the incident and her absolute rudeness to the person in Japan, who was previously a professional contact, was just too much for me to take. The book was about a narcissistic personality willing to take any risk to become pregnant, but unwilling to consider what it means to become a mother. Nevertheless, I found the book fascinating, mostly because of how constantly conflicted Peggy felt. To me, that's the real result of modern feminism. She experienced a deep connection to her unborn, growing baby, yet when she miscarries, she has a tough time reconciling her feelings for that child with her absolute belief in the choice to have abortion. So she tells herself it was just a zygote or a fetus, not a baby. Ick. In the end, she decides it is one of those things that just exist side-by-side and there should be no conflict. It's fascinating to me that she holds onto the tenants of feminism so hard even when they go against her own feelings and experience. She knows she's supposed to feel fulfilled by the successful career she's had, yet her six-year, obsessive quest to become a mother shows how much motherhood really can't be rejected. Even at the end, she apologizes for telling us that being a mother is the most wonderful thing she's ever done, because she knows that sounds so anti-feminist, yet she can't help admitting she finds it very fulfilling. I do appreciate the author's honesty and the book was well-written, with interesting details of the author's travels and interviews during the process. Her time in Japan interviewing Hiroshima bombing survivors was fascinating, as I hadn't realized how much Japanese culture had eschewed the survivors.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I picked up this book at an impromptu book swap my book club held a couple weeks ago, and although I don't think I'm really the author's target audience, I'm avoiding the reading of another couple books I've got around the house and this one looked like a quick read. It was, indeed, and it turned out to be much more interesting than I expected. This book is one woman's tale of her journey from being a married woman who wanted nothing to do with the having of children, to wanting to get pregnant a I picked up this book at an impromptu book swap my book club held a couple weeks ago, and although I don't think I'm really the author's target audience, I'm avoiding the reading of another couple books I've got around the house and this one looked like a quick read. It was, indeed, and it turned out to be much more interesting than I expected. This book is one woman's tale of her journey from being a married woman who wanted nothing to do with the having of children, to wanting to get pregnant and having difficulty doing so but still not really wanting to be a mother, to finally getting what she wanted... but at a high cost. I've read several blogs by women and couples facing infertility, so some of the modalities and lengths to which the author and her husband went in order to get pregnant weren't as shocking as they might have seemed if I hadn't known anything about the process, and this tale seems to echo so much of what I've heard from others: that the process of getting pregnant takes over one's life entirely, to the exclusion of others and sometimes to the detriment of the marriage itself. I was honestly expecting this book to have much more of a whiny tone to it, and I was happy to hear her honesty in describing how she found herself transforming into the kind of woman she swore she'd never become. I also appreciated the fact that she readily admits - several years into the babymaking endeavor - that she hadn't really stopped to consider that getting pregnant was a means to a end: becoming a mother, a role which she still wasn't entirely sure she really wanted to take on. When I first began reading this book I thought that this is a work which no woman in a similar situation should read, but after finishing it I think I've changed my mind. Orenstein's tale - though it has its happy ending - can be used as a cautionary tale about the lengths one may go to, and the depths to which one may fall, in the pursuit of something that carries with it no small amount of ambivalence.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    As a new mother who endured a 12 year quest for a child, I was curious to read Peggy's account. So much of her ordeal resonated with me, except for the reluctance to adopt. The self-indulgence, self-doubt, the self-loathing, the exhaustion of the pursuit of one singular goal - it's all achingly familiar. Major points for Orenstein's humor, honesty and unique perspective. The only critism I have (and one Peggy freely admits to) is the baby-obsession she had was tiresome for her, her husband and a As a new mother who endured a 12 year quest for a child, I was curious to read Peggy's account. So much of her ordeal resonated with me, except for the reluctance to adopt. The self-indulgence, self-doubt, the self-loathing, the exhaustion of the pursuit of one singular goal - it's all achingly familiar. Major points for Orenstein's humor, honesty and unique perspective. The only critism I have (and one Peggy freely admits to) is the baby-obsession she had was tiresome for her, her husband and at some point, for the reader as well. But I guess that is part of the honesty in her writing and the exhaustion she felt at reproducing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I've read many memoirs over the year, and this book was fair. The author jumped around from being in San Francisco to Japan, and from infertility to WWII. The ending felt really rushed, and I was interested in hearing more about Daisy!! I also felt like I didn't get to know the author and her husband very well besides their journey towards having a child.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This book does not paint Peggy Orenstein in a flattering light. She's indecisive yet obsessive, self-centered, destructive, manipulative, and just plain icky. And then she went and bred. Oh I'll bet that kid is just one big ball of spoiled "miracle baby"-ness. Women like Peggy are why women like me can't get their tubes tied. I'm nominating her husband for sainthood though.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Hipps

    The author's writing style is conversational; I felt like I was talking with a friend, which made it a quick read. After going through a miscarriage, I was looking for some comfort and relatability. While I couldn't relate completely to the author's experience in trying to start a family, it brought me some sense of hope.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Knobloch

    This is a great book for anyone trying to conceive but also for woman in general. I learned a lot reading this book and the book also taught me how crazy woman can be and how we really need to appreciate our husbands.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Louwagie

    Around the Year Reading Challenge Item #13: Reader's Choice This book held my interest all the way through, but I'm having trouble coming up with something coherent to say about it. Like the best memoirs, Orenstein is not afraid to sacrifice her pride for the sake of emotional honesty, and she writes candidly about many situations and conversations that do not present her in the best light. Still, the pain, disappointment and powerlessness that accompany infertility are very real, and it is in the Around the Year Reading Challenge Item #13: Reader's Choice This book held my interest all the way through, but I'm having trouble coming up with something coherent to say about it. Like the best memoirs, Orenstein is not afraid to sacrifice her pride for the sake of emotional honesty, and she writes candidly about many situations and conversations that do not present her in the best light. Still, the pain, disappointment and powerlessness that accompany infertility are very real, and it is in these deeply painful places that Orenstein sometimes recedes into the shadows. She brushes off her first miscarriage, and subsequent miscarriages are covered in varying levels of detail. She captures the danger of obsession that can emerge when high-achieving women confront infertility, one thing for which they seemingly have little control over -- but that doesn't mean they don't try! Orenstein details her attempts to "control" the uncontrollable by doing everything from acupuncture to building shrines in her bedroom. There's always that tantalizing "one more thing" that just might work. But this book is strongest in the moments when Orenstein steps away from her infertility-fueled neuroses (no judgment) and reflects on what it means to her identity, particularly as a feminist. She struggles with her dedication to a woman's right to choose when she feels desperate for the pregnancy many women would give up, as well as the way women's sense of "worth" or "femininity" is tied to their ability to be mothers. She depicts how such an ongoing crisis colors the whole world in different ways, from how you interact to your friend who has 15 kids (yes, really), to how you think of sex, to the things you do when you travel (one of the most touching segments is when Orenstein visits a shrine for miscarried or aborted babies in Japan, the mourning of which happens mostly invisibly in the U.S.) Perhaps most impressive is her astuteness in pinpointing how the desire to become a parent can be subverted by the desire to get pregnant -- pregnancy becomes the "achievement" rather than the means to an end, a goal that can be focused on to the extent that it obscures serious consideration of parenthood (this has its parallel in brides who are so obsessed with the wedding that they don't contemplate the idea of marriage, I think). Orenstein's journey is truly harrowing, (view spoiler)[ rife with three miscarriages, two failed in vitro attempts, a handful of failed IUI procedures, a disastrous attempt using an egg donor, medical issues that interfered with Orenstein's ability to get pregnant or made doing so dangerous, and an adoption that fell through (hide spoiler)] , and yet, I couldn't help but notice that this memoir is still coming from a place of incredible privilege. Although Orenstein briefly notes that advanced reproductive technologies are only available to those who can afford them, she spends very little time examining her privilege beyond that point. She even mentions feeling envious of a couple who cannot afford IVF and so can forgo the emotional, financial and physical strain of it -- although I expect that couple would prefer to have Orenstein's "problem." It's not a perfect book, but as memoir goes it's eminently readable; the pages turn and the suspense of when and how she will finally get her daughter pulls you forward. (This is not a spoiler -- her author bio on the book mentions a daughter.) More importantly, it breaks the silence and offers companionship to the many women and families who are facing down what is still very much a silent struggle.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Roughly 10 years ago, I read Peggy Orenstein's book Flux. Flux is about (among other things) the difficulties of being a profesisonal women in today's society - with all the expectations of success in the public realm equal to those of men, but still the expectations of success in the private realm, without the corresponding shift in the expectations of our male counterparts. I found the book both inspirational in all that women nowadays are able to accomplish, but also daunting in the effort it Roughly 10 years ago, I read Peggy Orenstein's book Flux. Flux is about (among other things) the difficulties of being a profesisonal women in today's society - with all the expectations of success in the public realm equal to those of men, but still the expectations of success in the private realm, without the corresponding shift in the expectations of our male counterparts. I found the book both inspirational in all that women nowadays are able to accomplish, but also daunting in the effort it would take to accomplish it all. Years later, approaching 40, Orenstein is married and suddenly decides that she wants to have a child. Overwhelmingly successful in everything else she has set her mind to, she has no doubt in her mind that she will achieve motherhood and obtain all that entails. Instead, Orenstein runs smack up against infertility. She suffers through miscarriages and assisted reproductive technologies. She considers adoption and surrogacy, and questions her own decision to wait so long to try and have a family. She experiences wide-ranging emotions from sadness to guilt to frustration to anger. As her desire for a child becomes an all consuming obsession, she finds that it has distanced herself from her partner. Repeatedly Orenstein questions the assumptions she made in her earlier works - that women can, and should, have it all. I found it frustrating myself to read her questioning her decision to wait - to assume that she is somehow to blame for her inability to have a child, or that she would give up all the work she had done in the world and the good her books have brought thousands of people, to go back and have a child instead. Within this book about Orenstein's journey to parenthood, she goes to Japan to write a story about survivors of the Hiroshima bombings during WWII. While there is a parenting connection to her story - many women were disfigured as a result of the bombings and rendered infertile or because of their appearances unable to find partners. There were also many people left without parents and families, and their treatment was often inhumane and incomprehensible. Orenstein's reporting on this underground population in Japan was quite interesting, separate and apart from the personal issues Orenstein was dealing with while conducting her investigation. Given the title of the book, I assumed Orenstein ended up with her daughter, Daisy, in the end. But, I had no idea how she would get there - and after heartbreak after heartbreak, and what seemed to be a lack of support and understanding by her husband, I am amazed that Orenstein found the strength to keep trying. While her success is inspiring on one level, it also saddens me that a person of such intelligence and accomplishments would feel that her life were unfulfilled or lacking meaning simply because of her inability to carry a biological child to term. I question what this understandable reaction says about our society, but appreciate the struggle Orenstein endured and her willingness to share her story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This book was transformative. It wasn't about being in the same situation as the author (there are definitely differences between our stories), but more about feeling validated. I had so many yes moments - moments that I put down my kindle and smile because this writer got it. She understood the frustration, and the longing, and the desperation, and the sorrow of wanting to have a baby, because she had lived it. I marked a lot of quotes from this book - but let me share with you a few of my favo This book was transformative. It wasn't about being in the same situation as the author (there are definitely differences between our stories), but more about feeling validated. I had so many yes moments - moments that I put down my kindle and smile because this writer got it. She understood the frustration, and the longing, and the desperation, and the sorrow of wanting to have a baby, because she had lived it. I marked a lot of quotes from this book - but let me share with you a few of my favorites. The ones that made me nod my head in agreement: "Later I would remember that moment as the first time that I was ready but my body said no. You can't believe it, not in this age when we control so much of our own destinies." (The author talks a lot about the "Two Questions" you ask yourself when your hear suggestions about how to get pregnant - from a doctor, from friends, etc.) "What if this worked? What if it was the only way we could have a baby?" "I think you can feel the loss of something you've never had, or at least a phantom longing for it." The quotes that made me cringe a little because I've thought them: "Here I was instead, defined by my longing for a child, by my inability to become a mother." "This had to be my fault, didn't it? My education, my social status, the era in which I lived, had all taught me I could be anything I wanted to be, do anything I wanted to do, be mistress of my fate. Wasn't the corollary, then, that I also caused my own misfortune?" The ones where I clenched my teeth because it may not be pretty but there is truth in them: "Without form, there is no content. So even in this era of compulsive confession, women don't speak openly of their losses. It was only now that I'd become one of them, that I'd begun to hear the stories, spoken in confidence, almost whispered. There were so many." "Why are potential adoptive parents - most of whom have already struggled for years to conceive - subject to such intense scrutiny when most people become parents because the condom breaks?" The one that made me cry: "But there were so many thing I couldn't know. Maybe learning to live with the question marks - recognizing that closure does not always occur - was all I could do, at least for now." It was exactly what I needed to read, when I read it. It validated feelings I thought were insignificant. This book. I just...don't have words.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Polished this off in a couple of hours this afternoon. I have read Peggy Orenstein before (Flux and some of her essays) and I like her voice. In some ways her struggles with infertility and international adoption are very similar to mine, in other ways very different (no two stories are ever exactly the same). Regardless, as I approach the six-year mark of trying to become a mother and feel particularly hopeless (yet again), it is nice to read a story that reminds me (regardless of how our journ Polished this off in a couple of hours this afternoon. I have read Peggy Orenstein before (Flux and some of her essays) and I like her voice. In some ways her struggles with infertility and international adoption are very similar to mine, in other ways very different (no two stories are ever exactly the same). Regardless, as I approach the six-year mark of trying to become a mother and feel particularly hopeless (yet again), it is nice to read a story that reminds me (regardless of how our journies compare) that miracles do happen. Interestingly, I picked this up a year ago when it was new in hardback, skimmed it in the bookstore and put it back because it was a bit too painful to read some parts and other things rubbed me the wrong way. Today, I appreciated the painful (because they resonated so strongly with me) descriptions, but was still rubbed the wrong way by some things. Orenstein's description of mixing the IVF injections immediately hooked me because it brought back such vivid memories. But I was put off by the fact that she initially approached pursuing motherhood with such ambivalence (couldn't relate and I get annoyed when I read about women who only realize how badly they truly want to become a mother when they discover they are having a hard time doing so). Also, while she wrote about the pain of her miscarriages in a way that really resonated with me, I did not like that she seemed to give up on her international adoption fairly easily after learning she was pregnant again. Yes, the bureacracy and politics of international adoption stink (I am living it), but she didn't seem to feel that loss (even after having met and held the baby she was going to adopt) nearly as strongly as she felt the loss of her miscarriages. Anyway, lured by the promise of a happy ending (because that's what I was looking for), I gave this a try and got the shot of hope I needed. Originally gave this book four stars because of my personal connection to the subject matter. Upon reflection came back to give it three.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cristina Vanalstine

    I am a 28 year old woman struggling with infertility. There are so many of us, all different ages, and all different stories. I often feel like there is no one that understands what I am going through or what this pain and loss feels like. This book spoke for me in so many ways. I wish everyone in my life could read this so they could understand why I am the way I am at this time. We just had our first IVF cycle fail and I guess we are going to ride that roller coaster again. Exactly how Peggy d I am a 28 year old woman struggling with infertility. There are so many of us, all different ages, and all different stories. I often feel like there is no one that understands what I am going through or what this pain and loss feels like. This book spoke for me in so many ways. I wish everyone in my life could read this so they could understand why I am the way I am at this time. We just had our first IVF cycle fail and I guess we are going to ride that roller coaster again. Exactly how Peggy describes, it is much harder to walk away from treatment than we ever thought. Even at the risk of your health or relationships. How do you change your dreams simply because your body isn't cooperating? While I didn't relate to everything she went through, the book was enlightening. I have a great marriage, but reading how hers was imploding made me really dissect my own and remind myself not to ever stop thinking of my husband as my partner. We are in this together. There are times you want to reach into the page and strangle her and her husband for being so selfish, for being so harsh to each other, and for forgetting the love they have. Because without love, how can you bring a child into this world? Infertility doesn't have to take the love out of it, in fact, I think it makes it stronger. The only thing that really rubbed me the wrong way was the retelling of their brief encounter with Kai. How this beautiful child gets dropped in their laps and they simply walk away. I don't understand how you can turn your back on parenting a child simply because it is too difficult or too much paperwork. If you want to be a parent, you make that happen. If all you want is to be pregnant, then I guess that's a struggle I can't quite relate to and just made her seem so extremely detached from the grand scheme of things. Was she doing this to be a Mother, or just to cross that finish line to make her more successful at life? Sometimes her motivation seemed questionable to say the least, but I am glad it ended how she wanted it to. Good for her.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Young

    I have no idea why so many people in the infertility community have recommended this book. I usually only write reviews for books that are at least 3 stars, but I have read a lot of infertility memoirs and this is the worst one. I couldn't even finish. As someone who has dreamed of one thing in her life-being a parent, I had ZERO sympathy for the main character. She goes on and on about how she doesn't want a baby and how it would ruin in her life. Her husband wants a baby and when she finally a I have no idea why so many people in the infertility community have recommended this book. I usually only write reviews for books that are at least 3 stars, but I have read a lot of infertility memoirs and this is the worst one. I couldn't even finish. As someone who has dreamed of one thing in her life-being a parent, I had ZERO sympathy for the main character. She goes on and on about how she doesn't want a baby and how it would ruin in her life. Her husband wants a baby and when she finally agrees, she is older and cant conceive. Anyone who has longed for a baby for so long going through years of infertility struggles and treatments will be frustrated by the selfish and annoying main character. This book made me feel worse instead of being the great emotional read everyone claims. Dont bother.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lesli

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was a powerful story of infertility; I felt like so much of what she was writing and how she wrote it could have been pulled from my own head. *spoiler* My biggest struggle is that it felt like the story was set up, throughout most of the book, to pivot to adoption, specifically international adoption. I was looking forward to her take and experience with adoption, given how eloquently she described the infertility and loss experience. When the possible adoption fell apart and her pregna This book was a powerful story of infertility; I felt like so much of what she was writing and how she wrote it could have been pulled from my own head. *spoiler* My biggest struggle is that it felt like the story was set up, throughout most of the book, to pivot to adoption, specifically international adoption. I was looking forward to her take and experience with adoption, given how eloquently she described the infertility and loss experience. When the possible adoption fell apart and her pregnancy continued, I struggled to stay connected to her story, given my own personal experience. That being said, her writing is powerful and a valuable read for those looking for hope in the infertility journey.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dotti

    Peggy Orenstein's brutally honest story of her attempt to be a mother is a good read for any woman who has never suffered with infertility issues. Women who conceive and bear children comparatively easily can never completely understand what those who do go through. I was struck with her ambivalence even as she put herself and her husband into extreme situations to have a child. Orenstein is a good writer, and I loved her humor at her own expense, to share her truth.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    In some ways, this book was difficult to read as it conjured up my own journey through infertility, miscarriage and related medical horrors. Orenstein had plenty of cash to throw at her problems, which made her quest last that much longer. Harrowing true story written with as much objectivity as one could expect given the material. It's got a happy ending, unlike so many similar stories. Recommended with reservations, this one will be hard for those still in the thick of it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    "I resent that to prove we're good mothers, professionally accomplished women are expected to claim that motherhood is our most important job or the best thing I've ever done. Still, sometimes, sitting at a miniature table, covered in Play-Doh and reading Where's Spot for the zillionth time, I don't recognize myself-and that's not a bad thing. Identity, I've learned, can be sliced many ways and there is gain with every loss." Amen, Orenstein!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    This was fine and probably would have been very good if I was in her shoes or even the age she was. I had really liked her book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and wanted to know more about her infertility issues. For whatever reason, possibly, my own mood, this was not the book for me. I would recommend this to anyone who was living through this. I think Orenstein does a good job of describing a real rough patch in her life. I am sorry I was not more sympathetic.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    While it must be said that the author was honest about herself and her assessment of her six year quest to become pregnant, her honesty made her difficult to like and I think that fact hampered my enjoyment of the book. At a certain point I stopped hoping for her. I did find the discussion of the Japanese view of miscarriage and abortion interesting. The book packs a lot into a slim volume and I think if she'd fleshed out some of the experiences I would have felt more sympathy for her.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    It was really wonderful to hear a woman be so open and honest (mostly to her own detriment) about a subject that so few actually discuss. Miscarriage and infertility sometimes seem so taboo in American culture. Seeing how the issues were dealt with in Japan was very interesting and the various cultural experiences and expectations kept be interested until the end. A good read for women of every age and stage, although over 25 would probably find it more interesting.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sharman Wilson

    The reviews of this book on Goodreads are all over the place, but I thought it was well-written and very riveting. I have not had any of the horrible experiences the author had, but I've known people who have gone through the infertility nightmare. I was blissfully unaware of the details involved, however, until this book. Having now seen it through Peggy's eyes, my compassion for anyone facing this ordeal has grown by leaps and bounds.

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