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Book Review: Fertile Thinking - Your Practical and Emotional Aid Through the Trials of Infertility...and Beyond

25 March 2013
Appeared in BioNews 698

Fertile Thinking: Your Practical and Emotional Aid Through the Trials of Infertility...and Beyond

By Cat Dean and Anya Sizer

Published by Infinite Ideas

ISBN-10: 1906821550, ISBN-13: 978-1906821555

Buy this book from Amazon UK

'Fertile Thinking: Your Practical and Emotional Aid Through the Trials of Infertility...and Beyond' by Cat Dean and Anya Sizer


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.

Although 'refreshing' is not a word I would expect to think of in relation to this difficult and painful topic, it is the feeling this book has left me with, long after I have finished reading it. Strength, hope, comfort and wisdom are also words that come to mind.

Indeed Anya Sizer, a proud mother of two, after six years of IVF treatment, sees her goal in this book is to provide readers with some of the tools she gives to her clients to help them live full and positive lives while they are going through treatment. Sizer herself was given a 1 in 125,000 chance of conceiving. Unsurprisingly the underlying theme of her book is that statistics don't tell the whole story.

There can be no guarantee of a baby following fertility treatment, of course, but what Sizer does offer is to help you regain a feeling of control over your life and a renewed sense of self. Both of these are issues that anyone involved in infertility, whether personally or professionally, will recognise as coming with the territory and being experienced by many as extremely difficult to cope with.

This book differs from others that have a greater bias towards counselling, which may be less directive, possibly focussing more on helping a person to recognise and bear the lack of control. Sizer, firmly in the coaching tradition, aims to keep the focus in the present and on ways in which you can help yourself unashamedly regain control of your life.

As someone who has had more of a counselling bias myself, I used to be uncomfortable with the seemingly relentless self-help slogan that I associated with coaching: 'Think positive!'. A motto designed to encourage people to believe that they could achieve whatever they want as long as they have the right attitude; if you could dream it you could do it. Sizer addresses this issue and admits this was the face of coaching in the early days.

She asserts that now coaches are challenging that premise, recognising that this credo has caused vulnerable people who are already suffering from events beyond their control to feel even worse about themselves. Indeed she believes this type of thinking can be extremely damaging particularly in the area of difficulties in conception and especially for someone who may not end up with the biological child they are longing for.

Included in this volume are the voices of many men and women in different situations with which a reader can identify. However, if you are a single person, though many aspects will still be relevant to your situation, this book is not going to be your first choice. Sizer herself openly confesses, though full of admiration for those who are prepared to go it alone, this isn't her area of expertise.

'Fertile Thinking' is a good book for those facing infertility, by providing hope without being unrealistic. It is worth a read, particularly for those wanting to mitigate the sense of a life on hold while going through fertility treatment. If you think the style I describe speaks to your situation then there is a good chance it will deliver to you what it says on the tin.


Buy Fertile Thinking: Your Practical and Emotional Aid Through the Trials of Infertility...and Beyond from Amazon UK.

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