In case you missed my recent post, I am expecting twins in May — and this much-wanted pregnancy comes after two years of fertility treatments.
The thing about fertility treatments and infertility in general is that it sucks you dry, mentally and emotionally. As a woman going through treatments, you’re pumping your body full of powerful hormones (sometimes involving lots and lots and lots of needles, with which you use to give YOURSELF injections), going through regularly invasive tests and procedures (some more painful than others), and constantly riding a roller coaster of hope and letdown. Hoping, hoping, hoping for that positive pregnancy test … and then crushing disappointment when you see yet another negative. Worse still are the times when you do see that positive, only for things to end in a miscarriage. (I had two within a few months of each other.)
It’s HARD to get through, and there are times where I wonder how my husband and I survived (with our marriage intact, no less).
But one of the small blessings that helped me get through some of the darkest days of infertility was reading. And while I continued to read and love a lot of YA books, the books that most helped me get through fertility treatments were romances.
That’s because the very definition of romance guarantees a happily ever after. And when your own life includes a lot of heartbreak and uncertainty, picking up a book that you know will end well is a very relaxing and satisfying endeavor. It’s also why I was particularly drawn towards romantic comedies in particular. Not only was I guaranteed an HEA, but I would probably get a lot of laughs along the way. I needed — craved — lightness and humor and happiness in my stories.
I read A LOT during my fertility journey, usually more so when things were going poorly. It would be near impossible to list ALL of the books that I read during this time, but here’s a look at some of the books and authors that really helped keep me going and made me laugh and smile, when real life made me want to cry endlessly.
Well Met by Jen Deluca
An advanced copy of this book landed in my hands just days after learning our first round of IVF had failed. Not only did this book bring me so much joy, it also inspired me to volunteer again for our local Ren Faire — which was an added dose of distraction and joy in the midst of utter heartbreak.
Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This book was published right after our first round of IVF failed, so I read it around the same time as Well Met. It is just a bundle of joy, in a charming pink package. I laughed endlessly while reading this book. Simply put, it made me feel so happy at a time when I was severely depressed.
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
A friend loaned me her ARC of this book over the summer, when my husband & I were gearing up for what would be our final attempt at IVF. Whether it worked or not, we knew this would be our last attempt at IVF because we couldn’t afford any more tries. The Bromance Book Club is not only a hilarious, refreshing new take on the romance genre, but it kept me distracted from obsessing over whether our last IVF would work or not. I re-read it again at the beginning of my 2nd trimester, and it still delighted me.
Literally (Almost) Everything by Christina Lauren
The only backlist books I have yet to read from Christina Lauren are, ironically, their first books ever — the Beautiful series is still on my TBR, and I’m hoping to get the last of the books from Christmas gift cards, so I can binge read the series during the remainder of my pregnancy. But the rest of their books seriously helped brighten my days during fertility treatments. Of note, I devoured their Wild Seasons series while recovering from my egg retrieval back in March (a procedure in which a GIANT needle goes into a lady’s most sensitive parts to retrieve her eggs). Several of their standalone books also got me through tough times, in particular: The Unhoneymooners, Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and My Favorite Half-Night Stand.
Not So Nice Guy & Other Books by R.S. Grey
A friend introduced me to R.S. Grey last January, and after reading Not So Nice Guy (which I loved), I went ahead and paid for a subscription to Kindle Unlimited and proceeded to devour a majority of her backlist throughout the entire month. I was going through my 2nd miscarriage, and these books brought me so much laughter and distraction from dark times, exactly when I needed it.
Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher
I first started following author Andie J. Christopher on Twitter earlier this year, but it was when she was having a lousy day and asked followers to send her GIFs of Chris Evans that I really took notice. I hopped onto the thread for two reasons — firstly, to share more Chris Evans GIFs (because they are a gift). And secondly, to admire those Chris Evans GIFs. Because GIFs of Chris Evans, weirdly enough, also helped me survive fertility treatments (as did re-watching all of my favorite Marvel movies, including Captain America). My friends would often send me this GIF in particular, because I said it always got my ovaries tingling:
Anyway, I was already a fan of Andie’s simply because we both shared a deep appreciation for the human being that is Chris Evans. So when I picked up a copy of Not the Girl You Marry in my first trimester — and figured out early on that the main character is very much meant to resemble Chris Evans — I was hooked. This book provided a much-needed distraction from first trimester worries and complications, and provided moments of great swoon and hilarity.
For the Comments: What books have helped you survive a difficult time in your life?