My name is Inadequate

by | 9 Feb 2014

Here’s a promise. This is the final blog in which I’m going to mention my book launch which took place at Waterstones Covent Garden on Tuesday night. The last thing I want to do is become a book launch bore. But, truly, it was a great night for infertility. In fact, if I wasn’t already an infertile woman, I might actually want to be one!

Towards the end of the Q&A, Janet Ellis who chaired the event brilliantly asked me to describe the chapter in which I attend an intensive therapeutic course called the Hoffman Process. One of the first things you have to do on this course is give up your real identity and take on a new name. I will never forget my intense embarrassment when one of the staff – having read my pre-course questionnaire – suggested that my name should be ‘Inadequate’, nor the terror I felt at having to stand up in front of my fellow participants and announce this. But at the time there was probably no better word to sum up my feeling of failure at not being able to become a mother – so ‘Inadequate’ I became.  The fact that I could now recount this story confidently in front of an audience of over 60 people is the best possible example of how far I have come.

Later that evening someone I’ve known for a long time but never really known (if you know what I mean) came up to me and said: ‘Jessica, if I did the Hoffman Process my name would be ‘Inarticulate’’. It was a profound moment of connection between two acquainted strangers. And this week, what that moment and my book launch has taught me above all else is that when we speak aloud our darkest demons they can become our finest friends. Try it.

So this week’s question: can you speak aloud your Hoffman name?


  1. Emma

    My name could be in “limbo” I can’t move on with anything.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thanks for being brave and commenting. I can definitely empathize with that feeling. Jessica x

  2. Dragonfly

    Currently I guess I am still “angry”. Angry about being Infertile, about losing our baby and about a myriad of other things in between. After reading your book, I have realised that I cant conquer that feeling without help, so I will be booking with a therapist to find out how to deal with it better.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      I definitely know what it feels like to be angry (and if you’ve read my book you’ll know that I know!). If you’ve never seen a therapist before and reading the book has made you book an appointment then I’m so happy because it really is so important to get this type of support. Thank you so much for commenting on the blog (and for reading my book). I’d love to keep in touch. Jessica x

  3. Joanna

    On a good day, ‘restless’, and on a bad day, ‘unfulfilled’ – ironically, because I am striving for many of the things you have achieved (writing, and running a theatre company.) I found your reading intensely inspiring, and have been writing more since attending, so today I’ll go with the more promising moniker of restless.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      I’m so glad you found the reading inspiring, that’s wonderful to hear and know. If you ever want to meet up to discuss writing/running a theatre, I’d be really happy to. But being restless to achieve something is definitely a good place to start. It worked for me! Jessica x

      • Joanna Norland

        Thank you for your generous offer – I will be in touch via FB shortly, as I would love to discuss.

  4. Lesley Pyne

    My name is content & it has taken me a while to own it. I’ve been through angry, disappointed, sad, grieving etc & come out the other side a lot more positive.

    I wanted to comment to let your readers know that happiness and contentment (& other positive things) are possible even if you don’t succeed in having children.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      And I would say that I’m now Contented Inadequate! Happiness is definitely possible for us all, even though the bruise of our infertility journey may always be there too. Jessica x

  5. Pippa Kassam

    My name would be ‘spoilt’. Not as in ‘spoilt rotten’ unfortunately, although in many other ways in my life some might argue I am! But when it comes to infertility I have been spoilt (damaged) in ways that I did not expect. I do feel I have a different angle on life now compared to some of my piers and dearest friends. It sounds cliche but I see life differently. My Husband used a good description recently when he said that at 32 and 33 , we have lost our innocence early. We have only been married for three years but we have faced a huge strain on our relationship already. “Ignorance is bliss” as they say, and I think on my darkest days I would agree with that.
    However I would say that on my better days I can see the challenges we have faced as the ultimate test of our love for each other and our strength of character. It has made us so much stronger with a new found respect for one another that is incomparable. Every cloud and all that! Your book confirmed how we can turn around a desperate and dreadful time to something positive and wonderful. You are an inspiration.

  6. thepursuitofmotherhood

    I found your comment so moving when I read it yesterday. The word ‘Spoilt’ is such a sad one. Infertility does spoil us in so many ways and it is a brilliant, evocative word to describe how it feels. I also agree that going through it is such a test on your relationship but it can survive it, it can make it stronger. Thank you so much for commenting and reading the book. Your response to it gives me the inspiration to continue and write more. Jessica x