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January 29 , 2010

Longing for Life

The Treacherous Quest for Motherhood Through IVF


Seeing motherhood as the raison d'etre of her existence, Christine Dodson is overjoyed when, after being slow to conceive, she finds herself pregnant with her first child. As evidence emerges in subsequent years that she may be infertile, she takes comfort in Jason, her growing baby boy. Being in denial about her infertility does not protect her when her son's 'developmental delays' are diagnosed as autism, compounded by some degree of intellectual disability. Jason's diagnosis transforms her infertility into a traumatic loss, something akin to the death of a baby, and the whole spiritual and psychological structure of Christine's existence begins to totter. She grieves for the son who is 'there but not there' and she is exhausted by the repeated, dispiriting episodes of IVF. Finally, with the help of a psychotherapist, Christine works at transforming her IVF experience through mindfulness, meditation and visualization. By detaching herself from the outcome of treatment and her 'all or nothing' way of thinking, she gradually allows herself to open to a new future. Feeling that she is ready to stop treatment, she says goodbye to her remaining frozen embryos and to the IVF cycle. This once tormented and fragmented young woman begins to feel whole. And it is good.
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