Test Tube Tales

by | 2 Aug 2015

When I got into bed on Wednesday night, I opened my laptop and saw that I had a new follower on twitter: Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF baby. Wow, I thought, sleepy-eyed, why would she want to follow me? Unlike Louise, my own test-tube tales are traumatic not triumphant. I read her profile and saw that she was bringing out an autobiography on the 1st August (ie. yesterday). Ah, I thought, that’s good marketing. I didn’t know about her book until she followed me but now I’m definitely going to buy it.

To be honest, I’ve been a bit bereft of books recently. Whilst, they’re good for the beach they don’t survive in the sea (which is where I’m spending most of my time). But, this week whilst on dry land, I did finally get a chance to read Finally Heard by Pamela Tsigdinos which came out on the 1st May. Pamela is one of my idols. Her award-winning memoir Silent Sorority is the only book I’ve read (apart from mine) about a woman who goes through fertility treatment and doesn’t end up with a baby. Finally Heard explores her perspective ten years on. One of the things that struck me most when reading it is that we’re living in unchartered times. Pamela was one of the first women to speak publicly about the prevalence and impact of fertility treatment failure in a world where the media is much more interested in the miracle baby story. Louise Brown is, of course, queen of miracles and the first in a line of new generations to speak out about how it feels to be given life by science.

All of us who have been through fertility treatment are making history and the consequences of our success and failure are only just finding their voice. This makes both books a must-read this summer. Something for the beach (if you’re lucky enough not to be in the sea swimming to France).



  1. Lou

    Morning Jessica,

    I’m definitely going to read both books, thank you for sharing.

    It’s a little spooky really, as I read this to day 10 years on from having my first laparoscopy at the start of trying for a baby, I’m today having a laparoscopy due to women’s problems! But it has hit me today that in a way this is the end of my trying for a baby journey, the last few years I have know this but today it does feel that this chapter has to come to the end. Also my consultant has suggested having a coil fitted to help with my problems. It’s weird isn’t it we stop taking taking contraceptives then it’s offered to us to help women’s problems!

    I really enjoy reading your blogs & I truly believe that you are helping with raising awareness & giving us a voice.

    Thank you Jessica.

    Love Lou xx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Morning Lou – lovely to hear from you. Sounds like it’s going to be a big day for you emotionally and I just want you to know my thoughts are with you. If you do feel that your pursuit of motherhood chapter has come to an end I would definitely recommend both Pamela’s books if you haven’t read them. She’s a great writer and thinker. I am definitely going to keep writing and blogging too so my ramblings will continue to pop into your inbox! You are not alone. Sending you all my love and solidarity. Jessica x

  2. livingwithrobyn

    Jessica, your test tube tales are triumphant in that you are one of the women writing about their experience, I’m sure it helps many to read and know they are not alone. I used to want to read the miracle baby stuff but then I wanted to know what else there was in life, that we could still live a fulfilling life and I think that is a miracle life in itself when we have been through such heartache and struggle. From a slightly different angle, I’ve been reading the very limited stories of stillbirth but so far they all end with that miracle baby. Which is wonderful of course, I just wanted to know what’s on the other side of the wall if you get a different miracle xx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thank you! I hope it does help, and it’s certainly helped me writing about it. That’s why you’ve definitely got to persevere with your blog and your diaries. I’m really looking forward to reading them in full soon. I also completely agree with you about the miracles that are not baby-shaped that come out of the struggle to conceive. Yesterday, on my way back from Dover having spent 13 hours training in the sea this weekend, I joked (as I do) about not being an ‘open water swimmer’ and my new swimming friends said ‘but you are now!’ And I couldn’t help thinking that it’s true, and that it’s a miracle which probably would never have happened without my struggle to conceive and that it is a rather wonderful thing. So you’re totally right and I really hope you’ll find your miracle too. Jessica x

  3. Ettienne

    I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this blog and for your book. I’ve literally just finished reading it and have found the familiarity tremendously helpful. I am only just over 2 years into the madness that is the ‘infertility journey’ but already I find myself feeling lots of the emotions you describe.. Unable to face certain friends some days and blaming the world for our misfortune. I know I shall keep those written words with me and they will help me get through those dark days
    Xx I wish you all the best.
    Thank you.

    Ettienne x

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Ettienne, thank you so much for reading and writing and saying so! If it it helps you get through the dark days that makes me very happy, and that’s from someone who knows how dark those days can get. I had one of them myself today. I wish you all the best too. Do stay in touch. With much love and solidarity and thanks again for writing. It means a lot. Jessica x


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