Thursday, May 14, 2015

E-book: "Finally Heard: A Silent Sorority Finds Its Voice" by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos

When I first started reading blogs some 7-8 (!!) years ago (and eventually screwed up the courage to start my own), the childless/free corner of the ALI community was a pretty small and lonely place. 

That's why I was so thrilled, early on, to find another blogger whose situation so closely matched my own -- and not only that, wrote about it so very well.  As I once described it, finding Coming2Terms by Pamela Jeanne (as she was then known) "was like stumbling into an oasis in the middle of a desert."

In the years since then, Pamela has continued to write about, inspire and advocate for "infertility survivors."  In 2009, she published her award-winning memoir, "Silent Sorority." And now, we have "Finally Heard: A Silent Sorority Finds Its Voice." It's a short read, an inexpensive e-book available through Amazon, and readable on a Kindle e-reader, or on your computer or other device using Amazon's free Kindle software.

Much of the material covered in "Finally Heard" will be familiar to regular readers of Pamela's blog and other writing, but presented here in one cohesive document, it gains new impact. The topics she discusses in this e-book include:
  • the transformative impact of infertility (one that most of us are completely unprepared for), including the effect it has on our relationships with friends and family members;
  • the "blind spots" and hidden biases we all subscribe to, often unconsciously, which set us up for the culture wars that pit parents against non-parents;
  • the pitfalls of the fertility industry, which remains highly unregulated in many countries while raking in money from desperate couples, despite ART failure rates in the range of 70 to 77 per cent;
  • the social stigma faced by those who leave fertility treatments without a baby; 
  • the "indescribably delicious" feeling of connecting with others in the same situation (often through the Internet) -- "kindred spirits" who help create a healing environment that allows many to move forward; and 
  • the weirdness of being a childless woman in a culture where, "if you're not a mother, you don’t rate... For the benefit of all in our society, we need to rethink how we value and characterize the contributions of those who are not parents."
There are also some questions at the very end of the book to prompt classroom or book club discussions. (They would also make great journaling or blogging prompts.)

During her post-IVF "coming to terms" journey, "I craved a mentor or role model who could show me that my life wouldn’t be ‘less than’ or empty for never having walked the well-worn parenthood path – for releasing a cherished dream," Pamela confesses.  But over time, as she encountered other women struggling to answer the question "what's next?" after unsuccessful infertility treatments, she realized, "When no obvious role model exists why spend all my time looking for one? Why not, instead, try to become one?"

Thank you, Pamela, for being such a great role model and mentor, for me and for so many others!

This was book #9 that I've read so far in 2015.


  1. dear Loribeth,
    thank you for great review.
    Thank you for being a great role model and a mentor too!

  2. Great review, Loribeth! I hadn't thought about using the discussion questions as blog prompts. Maybe I'll do this!

    Seriously though I'm thankful for you, Pamela, Klara, Mali, and so many more because you are all such great mentors!

  3. Well said! And I also haven't thought about using the discussion questions for blog prompts. Now you've got me thinking . . . .