Women who are trying In Vitro Fertilization are finally given a voice in Jennifer Prudenti's new book One Mother's Journey: Creating My Family Through In Vitro Fertilization. Written with humor, honesty, and heartbreak, in a voice that makes you feel as if you are sitting across the kitchen table from her, Prudenti shares her personal journey with trying to conceive her twin children, leaving no stone unturned.
"There are no other books written on this topic by an actual woman who used IVF," says Prudenti. "There are clinical books, but no one has written a book about their personal journey."
"There are so many things that you are never told about, not prepared for, and it's a very isolating journey," says Prudenti. "And there seems to be a negative stigma attached to it. Nobody wants to talk about it. I felt it was a conversation that needed to be started, and I was the person to do it."
It's the book Prudenti would have wanted to read when she was trying to conceive.
"In the waiting room of these clinics, women are all sitting around with their heads down, not talking, reading, not wanting to be approached. Nobody wants to discuss it. I'm not sure why. People are embarrassed, and maybe even a little ashamed. I think it starts with well-meaning parents who probably say, 'You can't conceive? What's wrong?' and suddenly the woman now feels less. Of course, the parents don't mean to do that, but that's how it comes out."
Her story begins: My journey to give birth to my beautiful twins Michael and Sophia, was one characterized by multiple setbacks, steely determination, mind numbing disappointments and inimitable joy, so in other words - an eventful one.
And from this point on comes the story - a journey really with every step of the process of IVF described in detail clinically and emotionally (each chapter includes a postscript written by husband Marty) that resulted in the birth of their twins Sophia and Michael by C-section. All of the ups and downs of this successful IVF production of beautiful twins is shared in a manner that makes this fine book a primer for any couple considering IVF.- Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Top 100 Reviewer.
Prudenti starts off with an honest account of why she couldn't conceive, then goes through her journey, which involved several failed IVF attempts, the draining of their bank account, and finally, the conception of her twin children. She shares her stressed-filled and hormone induced emotions throughout the journey, and introduces readers to the concepts of "2WW" (the two-week wait), T-Day (transfer of the eggs day) and finally, the BFP (Big Fat Positive) that is the overall goal.
Prudenti struggled with several complications, including pregnancy bleeding and a three-month hospital stay before she gave birth to premature twins. But now her children are healthy and happy and she counts every day a blessing.
"They are the most amazing kids in the world," she says of her eight-year olds Michael and Sophia. "I feel that as a parent to them I have a lot more patience because they were such a labor of love, literally."
And because dads are involved in this too, her husband Marty has included his thoughts at the end of each chapter.
"The men feel helpless," says Prudenti. "They're a little afraid because we are so hormonal. It's different than PMS. It's hormonal but it's also this enormous pressure to produce family. But then after, if men feel so amazed that their wife has carried their child for so long, they are even more amazed to see all we go through with IVF."
She says in the book: A huge part of getting through this is barreling on completely focused on the end goal. In fact you need to assume the mantle of a warrior forging ahead despite any temporary setback and not allowing time for your emotions or pain to get the best of you. Although, I will admit, they did a pretty good job on me this time around.
Since her book came out, Prudenti, an advertising executive in New York, has been fielding calls and emails from women around the country who want to know more.
"I'm here if they need to talk," Prudenti says. "I completely understand what it is you are going through. This is a journey that is all too familiar but at the very same time it's every woman's own journey. There are giant similarities we experience, and emotions we have to process that are the same."
Prudenti's book finally gives a voice to the untold thousands of women who quietly suffer the shots, hormone treatments, painful procedures, the emotional roller coaster, and the stress that goes along with In Vitro Fertilization. Now she hopes they don't have to do it alone.
One Mother's Journey: Creating My Family Through In Vitro Fertilization (ISBN 978-1490883953 (Hardcover), ISBN 978-1490883977 (paperback), ASIN B012CUOFEC (E-book), WestBow Publishing, January 17, 2017, 95 pages available on Amazon, $28.85 Hardcover, $19.95 paperback, $7.99 E-book.