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Crossing the Moon: A Journey Through Infertility, by Paulette Bates Alden

Crossing the Moon: A Journey Through Infertility

by Paulette Bates Alden

Purchase at:  Amazon.com 

Format: Hardcover, 295pp. 
ISBN: 1886913080
Publisher: Ruminator Books 
Pub. Date: September 1996

Description from Amazon.com

From Booklist 

When nearing her thirty-ninth birthday in 1986, Alden's biological clock turned into a ticking time bomb; however, she was still uncertain whether she wanted to unleash all her maternal instincts^-the kind once lavished on her Little Ricky doll and her cat, Cecil. Investigating her feelings about motherhood, she sifted through memories of growing up in the South, sexual freedom in California, and surviving several difficult relationships. Yet, even stronger than her desire for a child was her desire to write. A teacher of creative writing, Alden used spare moments to work on stories and worried about whether having a baby would allow time for writing. She tried for nearly four years to get pregnant and sought assistance with infertility treatments, artificial insemination, and support groups. Although her writing fantasy came true when her book of short stories was published, her idea of giving birth developed into an obsession. Many readers will find Alden's well-crafted journey revelatory, witty, and worthwhile. Jennifer Henderson

From Other Reviewers

The publisher, Hungry Mind Press , October 10, 1996 
Praise for Crossing the Moon 

"Uncommonly sensitive and revealing....An eloquent self-examination without self-pity that helps resolve the now-common struggles of 30-plus women who face not only infertility but the conflict between society's expectations and personal fulfillment." -Kirkus Review

The publisher, Hungry Mind Press , October 10, 1996 
Praise for Crossing the Moon 

"This book is by no means only for women struggling with infertility, no more than Moby-Dick is for budding whalers. Think of this more as a remarkable story of a perceptive writer's journey....Alden is a superb writer." -BookPag

The publisher, Hungry Mind Press , October 10, 1996 
Praise for Crossing the Moon: 

"I have rarely read so moving and honest and fine a memoir." -Phillip Lopat

Description from BarnesandNoble.com

Synopsis

The author discusses her life and her experiences with infertility. "She tried for nearly four years to get pregnant and sought assistance with infertility treatments, artificial insemination, and support groups." (Booklist)

Description from The Reader's Catalog

'So how was it, I wondered, that I had arrived at this point in my life: almost thirty-nine years old, no child? When I looked back, I could see why, and even when, I took a sharp turn away from motherhood. I could also see why motherhood would catch up with me.' So asks Paulette Bates Alden in "Crossing the Moon," a memoir -- at once witty and wistful -- in which the author recounts her initial ambivalence about motherhood, the pain and frustration of following a course of treatment for infertility, and ultimately the birth of a new self: a writer, comfortable at last with her family of two. Inevitably, the book also touches a wide array of other issues: aging parents; being raised Southern and female in the fifties; the trade-offs between a life of work and one devoted to nurture; coping with grief and loss. This is a fine companion for anyone struggling with infertility and a treasure for any woman coming to terms with who she is.

From the Publisher

Crossing the Moon is a memoir--at once witty and wistful--in which the author recounts her initial ambivalence about motherhood, the pain and frustration of following a course of treatment for infertility, and ultimately the birth of a new self, a writer comfortable at last with her family of two. It also touches a wide array of other issues.

From the Critics

From Carol Sternhell - Women's Review of Books
{This} is more of a writer's memoir than an 'infertility' memoir. Not that I didn't find Alden and her husband Jeff's struggles with infertility compelling. I've been there, done that, resolved things differently. I loved her story, found it sad, hilarious, wise. But Alden's passion is strongest when she's writing about writing. . . . In the end, Alden gets the 'one thing that Ihad to have,' her book. . . . Especially because I made a different choice--for me, a child was the one thing I had to have--I'm particularly glad to have read this book. And I think it's good for feminism, good for women: the more different choices we can make, the more genuine our choices will be.

From Library Journal
In this memoir, Alden, a writer and teacher, has written more about her life in general than her struggle with infertility. She describes her Southern upbringing and college years in the turbulent 1960s, when traditional roles were seen as suppressing women. As she concentrated on her writing career and then a marriage in her thirties, motherhood seemed like a desperate afterthought. Alden does share some of the consuming and heart-rending experiences of infertility, which include grueling treatment and emotional upheaval. Her story is an example of how a couple can survive infertility and accept childfree living, but the difficulties of reaching that decision are not well expressed. A better choice is Jean W. Carter's Sweet Grapes (Perspectives Pr., 1989).Lisa A. Errico-Cox, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Stewart Manor, N.Y.

From Publisher's Weekly - Publishers Weekly
After a comment by her mother that "people who don't have children are the most selfish people in the world," the 39-year-old author (Feeding the Eagles) and her husband, Jeff, began trying in earnest to have a child. In this often touching memoir, Alden details the medical procedures she underwent after learning that her progesterone level was too low to sustain pregnancy. She also describes how her infertility initially impacted negatively on her self-image and gave her physical problems. The product of a 1950s Southern girlhood, Alden had to overcome cultural expectations that she marry and become a mother immediately after college in order to pursue a career as a writer. Eventually her writing, in addition to support from her husband and other women in the same situation as hers, enabled Alden to end her struggle to become pregnant and to enjoy and appreciate life without motherhood. (Sept.)

From Kirkus Reviews
This low-key exploration of belatedly (age 40) wanting and not being able to conceive a baby is uncommonly sensitive and revealing. A casual observation of two mothers and their rambunctious offspring on an ice cream break at Dairy Queen launches Alden's (Feeding the Eagles, 1988) memoir of the years she spent waffling between wanting a child to nurture and wondering how a woman could surrender her life to the peremptory needs of a child. Alden longed, she came to realize, both to be her mother and not be her mother, to be a writer (inspired by mentors Wallace Stegner and Tillie Olsen) and to bear a child and be "swallowed up by caretaking." Always ambivalent, she and her husband nevertheless moved ahead, at first leaving conception to the fates by simply abandoning birth control. As time went on, they more pointedly "tried," scheduling intercourse for the fertile times dictated by thermometer and monthly cycles. Then they tried harder, enlisting the help of infertility experts for hormone treatments, artificial insemination, and the counting of follicles. Ultimately, they stopped trying, decided against adoption, and continued building their life as a "family of two." But not without tears and a long, painful period of mourning for Alden. "Our bodies were made to have babies," a therapist tells her. "It takes a long time for the body to get over not having them." Far more than a recitation of the frustrations faced in specialists' waiting rooms, this is also an exploration of growing up as a southern girl, the conflicts encountered as the '60s and feminism overtook the wearing of white gloves and chicken salad luncheons, and the bending and mending of a mother and daughter'srelationship. An eloquent self-examination without self-pity that helps resolve the now-common struggles of 30-plus women who face not only infertility but the conflict between society's expectations and personal fulfillment.
 


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