The Seven Birthstones: A mother’s heartache and loss – review by Shelia Lamb
Author: Nicole Narracott
The Seven Birthstones is the author’s memoir of her fight to become a mum. Finding herself single in her 30’s and having always wanted a family when she was young, Nicole decided to start her journey as a single mum using a sperm donor and got pregnant on her first cycle. Sadly, this much longed for pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. This was her first of seven miscarriages, hence the book title: a birthstone for each of the author’s babies.
She shares very, and I mean very, honestly the emotions of finding herself single and wanting to be a mother, doing IVF as a single woman, and dealing with how to choose a sperm donor. She then met someone and fell in love whilst doing an IVF cycle that also ended in a devastating miscarriage. But what the author mainly shares is the effect that infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss had on her emotionally; how some days she just wanted to stay in bed because she didn’t want to have to think about the babies she’d lost, the disbelief that her body couldn’t do something that for others is so natural, smiling and acting ‘normal’ at work then sobbing as soon as she arrived home. And either reluctantly attending or missing out on social and family events because it’s just too hard sometimes when your heart is breaking more every day.
Challenging themes of infertility, pregnancy loss, and infertility
After reading The Seven Birthstones the reader will absolutely understand the trauma and emotional devastation of infertility, pregnancy loss, and especially recurrent pregnancy losses. It will also knock on the head those insensitive comments that frequently accompany miscarriage, such as ‘you can always have another’, (what six others!!), ‘just relax’ (for how long, 10, 12, 15 years?), and ‘just do IVF’, (why, because it isn’t guaranteed!).
There isn’t a happy ever after ending in the book and this is one reason Nicole wrote the book, because when she looked for books to help her, all she could find were stories that ended with a baby, and this didn’t resonate with her.
By Sheila Lamb, author of the This is series of fertility books, and My Fertility Book: all the fertility and infertility explanations you will ever need, from A to Z