I loved this book. I knew I probably would, because the subject matter is right up my alley, and because I love Tracey's blog, but it was great to finally have a copy in my hands and to read it for myself.
"The Next Happy" grew out of Tracey's personal story, which in some ways resembles my own. Like me, she wanted a baby -- and like me, she didn't get one, despite 20+ rounds of IUI, four-and-a-half IVFs, a failed adoption, and $100,000 down the drain. And yet (and also like me), she will tell you that her life today is happier than she ever thought possible. And that your life can be, too.
The really great thing about this book is that it isn't just an infertility survival guide or memoir (although Tracey does refer to her own story throughout the book to illustrate some of her points). It's applicable to anyone who has had to let go of a a cherished dream and try to find happiness elsewhere. In its pages we meet people whose dreams included running a hotel in Atlantic City, earning a master's degree, being an entrepreneur, being a martial arts expert, owning a dream home, hosting a talk show (a la Oprah), attending West Point, being in a committed relationship with the seemingly perfect partner, and becoming a diplomat. All of them had to let these dreams go.
Tracey refers to herself as "the Dr. Kevorkian of dreams," which sounds kind of ominous -- but the book is highly readable, full of common-sense insights, practical advice, humour and empathy. Writing in a warm, chatty style, Tracey examines topics that include:
- our "never give up" culture,
- the consequences of not giving up,
- when and how to say goodbye to a dream,
- acknowledging just how much this sucks (grief work),
- "the ugly stepsiblings of emotion" (envy, fear, shame) and how to deal with them,
- getting support from family, friends, professionals and others,
- the search for meaning,
- identifying the symbolic meaning of your original dream (what were you really hoping to get, and how else can you do that), and
- getting to your next happy.
"There is always hope for a happy life," Tracey says near the book's end. "It takes work. It isn't easy. But if you believe in it, if you are open to all possibilities, and if you do the work, it does happen." I agree! I so wish that a book like this had been around when I was making the transition from fertility treatments to childless/free living.
This was book #2 that I've read so far in 2015.
(Actually, it's #3, but I'm still working on a review of #2, lol. So to make it easy, we'll call it #2.)