Book Recommendation and Giveaway: Beside the Empty Cradle

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About a year ago I was contacted by author/speaker Pamela Sonennmoser.  She and I have some mutual friends in the CNBC (childless not by choice) community, and we had also become friends via Facebook.   Pamela has a real heart for  ministry . I’ve heard her speak through video, but I hope to meet and hear her live and in person one day.  She and I have VERY similar CNBC stories, so when she contacted me about submitting content for her upcoming book I jumped at the chance.  I went back through my blog and picked some of the pearls, and in some cases the hard-core laments, and sent them to her.

The book is now officially released.  I have to say that it is one of the very few books on infertility that has spoken to me on a deep level and actually gave me hope for my future.  Until recent years almost every book (especially from a Christian perspective) written on infertility was written from the perspective of a woman/couple who somehow found their happy ending through biological birth or  adoption.

I stop here to say again that I’ve become very upset with the church’s perspective that adoption is the magic cure-all for infertility and the logical next step for all couples who find themselves in that situation.  That is definitely not the case.  It wasn’t for Pamela and her husband, and it wasn’t for Eddie and I.  I’ve gotten on my soapbox many a time on this blog and in conversations about how adoption is a calling not the cure for infertility.  It’s my core conviction that adoption should be done with a child’s best interests at heart and not entered into simply to fill an empty nest.  Adoption is a very long,  expensive, and emotionally draining process.  When a couple  has faced years of infertility many (like us) are left with drained bank accounts and emotional reserves.   We realize that we do not have the resources left nor the call to pursue adoption.

With that said  Beside the Empty Cradle is written for the couple…or the family and friends of a couple…who is facing life-long childlessness.  Pamela does an excellent job of telling her story as well as others’ stories, and conveying the experience of life-long childlessness.  She even addresses the collateral damage on extended families which leads to grandchildlessness-not-by-choice by some of our parents and the ending of branches of family trees all of which I’ve experienced.  She also gives great ideas on creating legacies and becoming the “family expert” meaning we take the lead in ensuring that our families’ stories are kept alive.  We can undertake the responsibility of making sure precious photos and memorabilia are passed on through other members of our families (nieces, nephews, cousins etc.)  even if our particular branch of the family tree stops with us.

The book is written from a Christian perspective and gives good insight into dealing with permanent childlessness in a faith/culture where family and children are highly valued.  Even if you are not from a Christian background the book will speak into the experience universally shared by childless couples.

So, pick up a copy for yourself or someone you love who may be going through this experience.  You’ll be glad you did!

****I’m also doing a giveaway of one copy of Beside the Empty Cradle.  If you would like to be in the drawing in the comment section below tell me the hardest thing you’ve experienced because of infertility and childlessness, and you will automatically be entered.  Please be sure to include an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.  I will do a random drawing on or about June 10, 2011 and reveal the winner via the blog!

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11 responses »

  1. The hardest thing? The emptiness, i think. The knowledge that the future won’t change this and that there won’t be children growing up or grandchildren (for hubby’s mama now or for us later) either. I’ve wanted to be a mama for so long and the knowledge that my reality will not include motherhood is devastating on a daily basis. I can cope, i can deal, i can live, and we have a good life, but that lack will never be healed.

    Recently the hardest thing is a friend who desperately wants us to be parents. I know this is because she loves us, but a couple of weeks ago for the second time she called to tell us about a baby she knew of up for adoption. I had told her after the first one to please not do this again, but still it happened. And i grieve all over again. I will need to tell her – again – that she cannot give me health, and she cannot “make” me a mama (her words), it is out of her hands (and my hands too). This door is closed and i do not ever want such a phone call again.

    • Hi Kathryn,

      You’re right…unfortunately, you will always feel the lack. I wish I could say that it goes away, but if doesn’t. I’ve seen some people move on and the void go away. I’m just not one of those people unfortunately. I also had a friend who was dead-set on making us parents. Like your situation one of our near misses with adoption came through her. After the young lady changed her mind about giving us her child the friend became even more focused on “finding us a baby”. I know she had our best interests at heart, and I assume your friend does too, but I had to tell her to stop. I made it very clear that hubby and I would go through an agency or an adoption facilitation group if we pursued adoption again, and that we didn’t want her showing up on our doorstep again with a pregnant teenager. I love her, and she’s still our friend, but I had to set some boundaries. You need to too, even if it hurts the friendship. Hugs…

  2. I myself have been married with my husband for 4 1/2 years and together for 5 yrs and have been trying from the very beginning to have children. I also have two spoiled cats. It is really an emotional roller coaster for me, especially when I see everyone around me getting pregnant and they are debating if they want the baby. Or the ones that are pregnant complain about it all the time. Sure I would expect the sickness, and weight gain, and hormones throwing emotions all haywire, but seriously they are lucky to have been given this gift. I have been told: ‘you are stressing to much about it’ or I get some ‘you don’t want to have a baby they are hard work’ of course these comments come from a full household of kids. My husband is 1 of 8, his dad 1 of 6, and his grandfather is 1 of 12. I don’t want to deny him being a daddy. He says he loves me and that doesn’t matter, he would love for that to happen, but that he loves me and it isn’t a make or break situation. I try to keep my head up and have faith it will one day happen for me. But that is fading and fading faster the older I get…as hard as I try not to let it fade. I will definitely buy this book if I do not win it in the drawing. I know everything happens for the reason…and I know God has a plan for us. Sometimes it is just hard to hear. I know that I’m not the only one with a feritlity problem. I’m glad I’m not alone going through this. I hope and wish you well on the baby making and hope your wishes come true. :0) jshuerta_06@yahoo.com

    • Hi Jsh,

      Sorry for all you’ve been through. You are definitely not alone. I also hate to see when people take for granted the gift they are given, or worse, complain about the gift(s) they are given. The whole advice thing is a pain too. Actually, now I chuckle openly when people say stuff like that. When they say, “What?” I say, “You have no idea…no idea.” That usually shuts them up pretty quickly. I don’t do it in a mean way, but they will certainly think before they give “helpful advice” again.

  3. Thanks for the book review, I will have to look for it (especially if you’re in it!). I love the idea of being the keeper & trasmitter of family history, since that’s kind of how I view myself already. The knowledge that the family tree stops with me, that I haven’t been able to bring a grandchild home to my parents, is definitely one of the hardest things about infertility for me. 😦

    • Hi Loribeth,

      You’re welcome. Thanks for the kind comment. I’m in the same boat. I have not been able to provide a grandchild for my parents, and my only sibling’s life circumstances have prevented him having children of his own. So, I definitely know how you feel. I agree, it’s one of the most difficult things about infertility.

      Blessings…

  4. It is so hard to pick just one hardest thing I have had to go through because of infertility. Here are a couple:

    * This year two coworkers and I got pregnant at the same time. We were all due within a week of one another. I lost my baby at 9 weeks which was beyond life shattering for me. I took a week off to gather my thoughts and emotions and then headed back to teach my kindergartners. I had to get up every morning and pretend that “life is fine” when all I wanted to do was hide under my covers. The next nine months of watching my coworkers’ bellies grow was excruciating and joyous all at the same. I was TRULY happy for them but a little bit of my heart was dying each time I saw them. The final slap in the face was when one of the babies was born two weeks early on MY baby’s due date. It is so hard looking at this precious child knowing that my son would be the same exact age…it is truly a visual representation of what will never be for me.

    * I was told by a “friend” to get over my miscarriages. Hmmmmm, I wonder if she would be able to get over three little babies that never made it into her arms? Or the three futures that would never come to fruition? Or the grandbabies that she would never be able to spoil rotten? I’m sorry but I may NEVER be able to get over these miscarriages. My husband and are done trying for children. I obviously can not carry a child to term and now that we are both 40 now and our chances of a full term pregnancy are even less than before. We are now grieving the “what might have beens”: feety pajamas, reading books at night, coloring Easter eggs, teeth falling out, t-ball games, soccer games, graduations, proms, teaching the kids how to drive, sending the kids to college. We have missed out. We will never be able to do any of these wonderful things. So no, I’m sorry, I will NOT be getting over these miscarriages any time soon.

    There are too many more difficult things to list here. I just know that it is a *daily* struggle with a list of hardest things that grows day by day. 😦

    • three_angel_babies:

      I am SO sorry for your losses. I do find that our kind of grief is what they call “disenfranchised grief” meaning this type of grief has not been acknowledged by society very well. Infertility/childlessness and pregnancy loss for the most part has been a very private grief and society would like to keep it that way, because they cannot handle that babies sometimes die before their born, and some women may not ever become mothers. Society doesn’t know how to handle or process that, so the sufferers are relegated to “the back room” and are expected to function and carry on as nothing ever happened; however, I believe the tide is turning, because we are now finding a community of acceptance and empathy from other “sufferers”. It’s one of the only things that has kept me going…knowing I’m not alone, and you aren’t either my friend!

  5. The hardest thing was giving up the dream of being a mother. I have a very good career and I am proud of what I have accomplished, but I would have given it up and day, any time to be a mother. I never wanted a fabulous career, I always wanted a family.

    Thank you for reviewing this book. I definitely will be reading it. Every time someone from our world shares, it makes it easier to bear the pain.

  6. Vicki, thank you so much for posting this review. I read the comments with tears in my eyes. Truly we all know this journey oh so well, I hope that Beside the Empty Cradle can bring some healing and hope to those walking it with us. Blessings to all.

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