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For Those with Empty Arms: A Compassionate Voice for Those Experiencing Infertility.

For Those with Empty Arms: A Compassionate Voice for Those Experiencing Infertility

by Adams, E. H.

Sanger, CA: Familius

2015; 239 pages; $16.95

A combination of essay and personal poetry, this book reaches the author's intended audience of those with "outstretched arms." The author of this book discusses a topic, infertility, commonly perceived as rare or even taboo. Unfortunately, the struggles eloquently detailed throughout this raw description of one couple's journey through an infertility diagnosis are not at all unique. While there may be numerous clinical resources available for those seeking information about infertility, there are very few well-written books on the topic of support and encouragement through the infertility process. This book helps to fill that gap.

The strength of the book is the combination of lighthearted moments and heart-wrenching moments that will resonate with many readers, as the infertility struggle is often a rollercoaster of emotions. Grounded in the belief of a higher power, the book and author grant permission to feel all emotions throughout the struggle with infertility. Themes such as grief, blame, envy, healing, hope, and womanhood are thread throughout the reading. The book provides a sense of validation while getting an up-close glimpse into the author's experiences and thoughts.

This book serves an audience greater than intended. The brilliantly written chapter titled What Not to Say is a must-read for everyone that has not experienced infertility. This chapter explains why certain well-meaning questions may not be appropriate to ask. Additionally, the chapter explains why offering a personal story, or unsolicited advice is almost never a good idea. The author reminds us all that the last thing a couple experiencing infertility wants to hear is "just relax" or "have you tried..." Readers that have experienced these remarks will appreciate the playful tone of the chapter.

The book concludes with a chapter titled Hope. Most books with the focus of infertility end by discussing the author's resolution of the struggle through either conception or adoption. What is unique about this book is that is not how the book ends. The inspiration and encouragement that is found within this chapter stems from the author continuing to live her life in spite of her and her husband's struggle with infertility. The author describes hope as "moving forward, not arriving" at the intended destination of motherhood. It was refreshing to read that the author was all right despite not having conceived. The message was loud and clear that you can, and will survive infertility no matter the outcome. The chapter concludes with a poem titled Make No Mistake that leaves the reader feeling hopeful and encouraged. That is exactly why this book is recommended reading for both men and women struggling with infertility.

reviewed by Adrienne D. Wilk, MSN RN

Adrienne Wilk is an adjunct professor at Pikes Peak Community College and is currently working toward her PhD in Nursing Education at the University of Northern Colorado. She has an extensive background in cardiovascular nursing and has recently developed an interest in infertility and adoption after becoming an adoptive mother.

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Author:Wilk, Adrienne D.
Publication:International Journal of Childbirth Education
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2016
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