The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood by Belle Boggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
More than just a memoir on infertility, this is a collection of essays through which the author uses her own infertility journey to examine the ethical, political, biological, and even literary issues surrounding difficulty conceiving.
I appreciated this approach, even though I found the author's personal story to be the most compelling; I often wanted to find out more than she disclosed. For example, she mentioned low progesterone and that "multiple issues" contributed to her infertility, but she never went into further specifics than that. Perhaps a lay reader would not be interested in all the gory details, but as someone who tried for almost two years before conceiving my son, I am familiar with the jargon and the various potential issues and was hungry (voyeuristically, perhaps) to know specifics.
My favorite essay by far was "Imaginary Children," which examines both the way we imagine yet-to-be-born children of our own and the way that literature has grappled with the subject of infertility, particularly the play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," which made a lasting impact on me long before I was even thinking of having children or how I would cope if I was unable to do so.
"Paying for It" made me re-examine my views on whether insurance should cover infertility treatment. Although previously on the fence about it ("It would be nice, but are children really a 'right'?"), she convinced me that because it is a medical issue, insurance should pay to treat it just as they would any other health complication.
Boggs' writing is thoughtful and thought-provoking, her prose effortless, the details she chooses to include and her reflections on them meaningful and vivid. My primary complaint is that many of the essays felt as though they ended too abruptly -- in almost every case I was left wanting more.
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Singer claims to have coined the term "neurodiversity" in her undergrad thesis about autism, disability and society, which is printed here with a lengthy Introduction. It's a quick read and a worthwhile one from a historical perspective and for its blend of social commentary, autism advocacy and personal memoir.
It's interesting to note that the term "neurodiversity" now covers a much bigger range than just the categories of neurotypicals and autistic people/Aspies. It's been adopted as an umbrella to cover dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, AD(H)D, stroke survivors and more. It's become an important social movement in less than twenty years but still needs much greater recognition and acceptance by society as a whole.