Review: Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein
Author: Peggy Orenstein
Tittle: Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night and One Woman’s Quest to Become a Mother
Release: February 6th 2007
Reviewer: Steph (Eowyn)
Source: Personal Library
Purchase: | Book Depository
Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It’s about doing all the things you swore you’d never do to get something you hadn’t even been sure you wanted. It’s about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It’s about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it’s about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby.
Orenstein’s story begins when she tells her new husband that she’s not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she’s done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal, from “fertility sex” to escalating infertility treatments to New Age remedies to forays into international adoption. Her saga unfolds just as professional women are warned by the media to heed the ticking of their biological clocks, and just as fertility clinics have become a boom industry, with over two million women a year seeking them out. Buffeted by one jaw-dropping obstacle after another, Orenstein seeks answers both medical and spiritual in America and Asia, along the way visiting an old flame who’s now the father of fifteen, and discovering in Japan a ritual of surprising solace. All the while she tries to hold onto a marriage threatened by cycles, appointments, procedures and disappointments. Waiting for Daisy is an honest, wryly funny report from the front, an intimate page-turner that illuminates the ambivalence, obsession, and sacrifice that characterize so many modern women’s lives.
I ran across this book when I first was diagnosed with infertility last summer yet decided it wasn’t the time to read it. I am glad I waited because after 10 more months Waiting for Daisy has had a profound impact on how I view my quest for a baby. Peggy Orenstein opens her memoir Waiting for Daisy with riveting words that struck me deep inside as they anyone who is currently or has dealt with infertility. ‘I’d taken my temperature every morning. I have been obsessive. I’d peed on ovulation predictors five days a month. I’d craned my neck like a yogini to see my nether regions while sluicing my finger around to check for the monthly fluid that would guide sperm to egg. I have been impatient. I’d chugged bottles of cough syrup, whose active ingredient supposedly improves the flow…..I’d transported cups of sperm in my bra. I’d turned lovemaking soulless …..Pardon me, forgive me, allow me to atone.” Anyone who is dealing with infertility will recognize these statements, they hit really close to home and I must also add: “I have become addicted to pregnancy tests, any changes in my morning temperature and analyzing my BBT chart on Fertility Friend.”
I read a few comments online about Orenstein’s memoir and I was struck by how many people that have gotten pregnant easily were so quick to say negative things about Orenstein. What makes this book so special is that she is honest, brutally so. Anyone who is dealing with infertility will relate to her struggles. One of the things that struck me strongly in this book is how we get caught up and do things we said we would never do. We put our own health at risk for the chance to have a baby. We become obsessed with everything surrounding getting pregnant. I look back and though I don’t think I’m completely obsessed, I can relate to Orenstein more than I would like to admit. You set limits for yourself such as “I will only take Clomid for four months”. (My own statement) Then you find yourself sitting here seven months later because you keep saying just one more month.
I find Orenstein’s experiences moving and helpful. It is hard to look at this roller coaster you are on objectively when it is you that is riding it. Reading someone else’s experience made me step back and look at my own life. A few things that struck me is how we become addicted to hope much the same way a gambler is addicted to gambling. “What if this is the only way I will have a child?” is something you ask yourself so often. As I read the book, I was struck by how the doctors play on this mixture of fear and hope to make more money. At least my Doctor told me up front that our chances of success are less than five percent. At least I get to go into this with my eyes wide open.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is caught up in the midst of this infertility roller coaster. You will find Orenstein’s honesty moving and touching. You know the pain she is going through; you are either right there at this moment or have been in the past. She has been brave to show us a part of herself that is not pretty and I think you have to have been here to understand how easy it is to become that person. I thank you Peggy, for your bravery and writing such a touching story. I am walking away from it with resolve to set firmer limits on what I am willing to do and a realization that I need to live. I have a wonderful loving husband and I need to cherish my time with him and enjoy this wonderful life that I do have instead of spending every second obsessing over what I don’t have.
Easier said than done but I am stepping out into the brave unknown ready to try and no matter the outcome, it’s going to be ok.