So much more than a memoir about trying to conceive.
The situation in which Boggs (Mattaponi Queen, 2010) found herself has become increasingly common and is thus likely to resonate with a large readership. Having long put any thought of motherhood on hold—using birth control and focusing on her writing, career, husband, and the other priorities of a life without children—she figured that she would get pregnant when it was time. And when it was time, and then it seemed like time was running out, she couldn’t. A book about the author and her husband might have seen suspense build along with expenses, with new and different options explored as readers wonder whether all of this will result in a baby. But this deeply empathetic book is about more than one woman’s challenge; it’s about the whole scope of maternal urges, of how culture (and literature) treat the childless (or “childfree”), how biases against medical intervention serve to stigmatize those who need such expensive (and not always successful) assistance, and how complicated can be the decisions about whether to adopt rather than continuing to attempt to conceive, the moral dimensions of international adoption (and surrogates), the additional hurdles facing gay couples, and the seemingly arbitrary differences between states as to what procedures are covered and to what financial limit. While dropping a couple of offhand references early on to the fact that, yes, she became a mother, Boggs writes with considerable heart and engagement about the decisions that are so tough for so many. “Nothing about this experience had been what we expected when we thought of having children, or even when we first guessed that the road to parenthood might be a long one,” she reflects. “It was more uncomfortable and expensive than we imagined, and less private.”
In her reporting, researching, and sharing, Boggs has performed a public service for those in a similar position—and for anyone interested in the implications of parenthood or in a story well-told and deeply felt.