Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook


 


 

Book Review: Precious Babies - a counsellor's view

16 January 2012

By Jenny Dunlop

Senior Infertility Counsellor

Appeared in BioNews 640

Precious Babies: Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting after Infertility

By Kate Brian

Published by Piatkus Books

ISBN-10: 0749954019, ISBN-13: 978-0749954017

Buy this book from Amazon UK

'Precious Babies: Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting after Infertility' by Kate Brian


This book fills a gap for many people who have conceived through fertility treatment, but realise that the physical and emotional impact continues well after the treatment has ended. It is essentially a reassuring book about how to cope, with personal stories interspersed with sensible, expert advice.

Author Kate Brian has used her own experience to illustrate the issues that can arise during pregnancy, childbirth and the subsequent years of parenthood. It draws upon many personal insights and wisdom, which could also help health professionals working in the field.

At the heart of 'Precious Babies', as Clare Lewis-Jones points out in the foreword, is the fact 'that [the] huge emotional impact doesn't go away once you find you are pregnant'. One of the personal stories reinforces this: 'I know it is not rational [that someone is going to snatch the pregnancy away], but when it does work, you are even more worried that you might be tempting fate by getting too confident'.

These words illustrate how pregnancy, birth and subsequent years of parenting following infertility treatment are both significantly and subtly different to those following a naturally conceived child.

I found myself immediately drawn to such emotional and moving personal accounts. However, Brian succeeds in balancing them with practical tips, and professional knowledge and advice.

She covers everything from the initial news (in 'The Long-awaited Positive Result') to the subsequent parenting stages ('Pregnancy', 'Birth', 'Donor Families' and 'The Teenage Years and Beyond'), as well as discussing some of the other associated issues (in 'Miscarriage', 'Postnatal Depression' and 'Only Children').

I think this book will help people who struggle with the continual feeling of being out of control following conception. This can often lead to anxious pregnancies, and similarly anxious early parenting years. Many women suffer from post-natal depression following fertility treatment, and yet they feel unable to return to their fertility clinic. Hopefully it will help those people, who are often left feeling they should be overly grateful for their child. Personally, I found the chapter on post-natal depression, and its discussion of how to recognise the condition, as well as other issues of bonding, and what can be done, particularly useful. It is such a complex area, and yet I feel is often neglected.

I believe healthcare professionals could learn a lot from this book. As Professor Bill Ledger says in the foreword, many who work with infertile couples assume that certain areas will be dealt with later on in the process of pregnancy. A personal story detailing one woman's feeling of abandonment following successful fertility treatment stood out in particular. This book is a stark and timely reminder that clinic staff should not take anything for granted.

However, although this book could be extremely useful to those who have achieved a pregnancy following fertility treatment, I did wonder whether in looking at the teenage years (and beyond) Brian went beyond the scope of the main title and theme 'Precious Babies'. Perhaps there is room for another book looking at the issues that arise during the teenage years, and beyond.

A final, small, criticism is that I felt secondary infertility seemed to be rather dismissed. I am sure all infertility counsellors will own to having had clients to whom secondary infertility was just as traumatic as primary infertility.

Would I recommend this book to someone who had had fertility treatment and now found herself pregnant? Most certainly, yes. Even more than that, I would suggest that clinics consider giving it to everyone they help get pregnant.

Without a doubt, Brian has achieved her overall aim to help others who have complex emotions surrounding fertility treatment; the feeling they are, and will always be, different from other parents because of how they conceived their precious baby. Any book that makes people feel less alone during one of the most important stages of their lives must be beneficial.


Read Rachel Pepa's review of Precious Babies: Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting after Infertility from a donor conceived person's point of view, and author Kate Brian's response to Rachel Pepa.

Buy Precious Babies: Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting after Infertility from Amazon UK.

SOURCES & REFERENCES

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

31 March 2014 - by Dr Barbara Kramarz 
Professor Daniel Davis began his lecture at the Royal Institution by introducing 'the compatibility genes', the DNA components that vary the most from person to person. Unlike many of us would expect, these genes are not responsible for features such as skin or hair colour. This engaging lecture tells their story....
25 March 2013 - by Gisela Lockie 
Every page of this slim volume (nice and short if you are already on information overload), is packed full of sound tips and advice that cut to the chase, from one who knows, both from personal experience and as an experienced fertility coach...
23 January 2012 - by Kate Brian 
I was delighted that Rachel Pepa's review of my book 'Precious Babies' concluded that it had much to recommend it as a guide to having children after fertility problems as that's exactly what the book is intended to be. I wasn't surprised that she didn't feel it addressed her issues as a donor-conceived adult because the book is not about donor conception or adults...
16 January 2012 - by Rachel Pepa 
As an informal guide to having children after fertility problems, Precious Babies has much to recommend it. There is, however, an omission which, as a donor conceived (DC) person, I found particularly troublesome - the book is entirely devoid of DC voices...

16 January 2012 - by Rachel Pepa 
As an informal guide to having children after fertility problems, Precious Babies has much to recommend it. There is, however, an omission which, as a donor conceived (DC) person, I found particularly troublesome - the book is entirely devoid of DC voices...
09 January 2012 - by Dr Rosie Gilchrist 
A new study has shown that babies born following IVF using frozen embryos may be born later and weigh more than babies born from fresh embryos....
28 November 2011 - by Rachel Lloyd 
'All I want is some bodily fluids, are you really going to begrudge me that?' - 'Donor', the third episode in BBC One's contemporary daytime drama series 'Moving On' tackled issues of infertility, sperm donation, parenthood and the societal expectation on women to become mothers...
30 September 2011 - by Dr Kamal Ahuja 
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has already made two decisions following its public consultation and review of gamete donation policies in the UK: first, intra-familial gamete donation can continue as before (subject to certain provisions); and second, the number of families which a single donor might help create remains limited to ten. The bigger question on compensation and benefit in kind to donors will not be answered until later this year...
18 July 2011 - by Daniel Malynn 
'Sextuplets: The Little Lambs' tells the extraordinary story of the Lamb family. Vicky and Andy Lamb are the first parents of sextuplets born in Britain for 17 years...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation