The inability to conceive a child can be an Earth shattering diagnosis for any woman.
Using her own personal experiences for inspiration, South Brunswick resident and Patch blogger Judy Walters explores the pain and depression that comes along with infertility in her new novel, Child of Mine.
"I've been through fertility treatments to have my two daughters 20 years ago and 18 years ago, and the difficult experiences stuck with me," Walters said. "You never forget the feeling of thinking you might not be able to have children. You experience depression, anxiety, and the loss of control. You can't function on any level because you don't know what will happen next. I decided to write a book seeing the same experiences I had that one in six couples still have with infertility."
Child of Mine tells the story of Katie Cohen-Langer, a midwife who delivers babies for a living, but can't have her own child despite years of infertility treatments. The character, who was herself adopted, deals with the pain of never having had a biological connection to anyone.
"This was a novel I was trying to write for a long time and had a lot of stops and starts," Walters said. "The idea came to me to have a novel centered around infertility, and at first the main character was a TV producer tyring to get pregnant with enormous stress in her life, but it didn't work. Then I thought what could be more powerful than a woman working with babies everyday not being able to have kids. Once I went with that, it came together and didn't take long to write."
Walters, who worked as an editor in non-fiction publishing for years before starting her own family, said that while leaning on her own struggles conceiving a child, the story is not auto-biographical.
"A lot of people ask if I'm (the character) Katie. I'm not, but the infertility part is a lot of what I experienced," she said. "I had different issues than the character so it's not my story. It's more about a universal feeling for the loss of control, wanting kids and not knowing if you will ever have them. She's a strong minded career woman who's very independent and I'm not so much like that."
Despite the differences between herself and the character she explores, Walters said the feelings of dealing with infertility is something that resonates with any woman.
"Many women have a biological urge to have children, and for women who have that urge, you think how am I going to deal with it when it becomes overwhelming if I don't have kids?" she said. "What will my life be like? How will it affect my larger family and how can we afford fertility treatments, which are extremely expensive. Then you think about what happens if you still don't get pregnant. It's a constant roller coaster where you feel out of control."
Beyond the issue of infertility, the book also touches on issues of adoption and the search for one's biological family. Walters said she hopes that sharing something so personal from her own life will touch readers and give them perspective on a problem so common among families.
"I hope readers take away that this is a serious issue," she said. "One in six couples suffers from this and it's a life event that can be very traumatic. It affects every aspect of your life. Most people know someone who has been through infertility and understand the struggle."
Child of Mine is available for download on Kindle or click here to order to book from Amazon.com.