Book Chronicles Winnipeg Couple’s Seven-Year Infertility Journey

Opinion






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Morwenna Trevenen, author of Chasing Baby: An Infertility Adventure.

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JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Morwenna Trevenen, author of Chasing the baby: an infertility adventure.

Spoiler alert: Morwenna Trevenen’s infertility story has a happy ending. Her book on her fertility journey, however, is a bit more open.

Chasing Baby: An Infertility Adventure, published last month by Great Plains Publications, is a chronicle of the seven-year infertility journey that Trevenen and her husband Kyle Collins went through to become parents. The failed intrauterine inseminations and invasive procedures, the physically and emotionally taxing hormone treatments, an adoption that was reversed less than two weeks later: it’s a lot to go through.




A round of in vitro fertilization resulted in a pregnancy in 2020 and now, the Winnipeg couple are parents to a 14-month-old boy with cherubic cheeks. But she didn’t want to end chasing baby that way. When she was writing her book proposal, the only infertility books she could find followed a similar narrative structure: ‘yeah, it was hard, but now I have a baby.’

“And it made me a little mad,” says Trevenen, 39, over iced coffee on a June afternoon. “Maybe it was in the depth of all the hormones and the things that they did to my state of mind. But I thought, I don’t like that message because I’m torturing and hurting myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. And the idea that it’s really only worth it if you end up having a baby? I feel like that could put me in a dangerous place in the end if it doesn’t work out for us.

“So, it was important to me to have an ending that was like, you’re going to be fine. if you have a baby? Excellent. If you don’t have a baby? Still a great life. I promise.”

Trevenen’s book is vulnerable, to be sure, but it’s also a lot of fun. Being able to have a sense of humor about a situation ripe for despair kept both Trevenen and her husband afloat.

“Levity helps, because it gives me perspective and gets me out of my head,” he says. “Because it’s so easy to spiral down and become super solipsistic, I guess, and be like, ‘Oh, it’s just me.'”

Humor also serves as an accessible entry point into a difficult subject for readers. chasing baby — the title is a nod to the 1997 Kevin Smith comedy chasing amy — began life as a blog, a way for Trevenen to process his feelings about infertility. It was her husband who planted the seed so that she could have a book in her hands.

Writing the blog, while Trevenen was in the middle of it, was a different experience than writing the book, allowing him to take a more thoughtful stance. She noted this deeply in the editing process.

“I was like, wow, I was really mad, hey? And it was important to me to keep that there because I wanted people to understand how I felt at the time and how I went through it,” she says. “But it was interesting to be pulled back from that and look back and go, wow, like, Ooh, I was just full of emotion.”

The book was also written during Trevenen’s fertility treatments, her pregnancy, and her life with a newborn. “It was three rounds of super-emotional versions of myself working on this book: the hormone-challenged IVF version, the pregnancy-challenged hormone, and the postpartum-challenged hormone, all working together.”

I first met Trevenen from another story, about what it was like to be pregnant during the pandemic (not great!). That experience didn’t look like what she thought it would either. And, like many mothers who finally have a baby after struggling with infertility, Trevenen feels the pressure to be grateful at all times.

“Sometimes I still look at it and say, oh my God, I can’t believe you’re mine,” she says. “It’s super surreal, after so long, and I feel very lucky. But she also adds this kind of flavor that being a mom is really hard and there will be times when you’re like, argh, you’re so frustrated and so tired. And like, ‘Mommy needs a break from you right now, I love you more than life, I need a minute.’ And there’s a kind of, tinge in the air of, almost guilt, like, no, be thankful, be thankful, be thankful because I’m so blessed to be able to have him after a fight like that and so many people. don’t end up being successful. So there’s also a kind of weird guilt that she attaches to it.”

But just as her mother friends have assured her that everything she feels is normal, Trevenen hopes her book can be a similar voice in the wilderness of infertility. She would love to see more openness around infertility and better maternity care in general, though that’s for another book.

“I hope it helps people talk more. I hope it makes people feel less alone, because it really is very common. And maybe not everyone is willing to be as open as I am and that’s okay, it’s a very private thing. But maybe if they understood more that it’s very common, then they wouldn’t feel so alone, even if you’re so isolated going through it.”

According to Health Canada, one in six Canadian couples experiences infertility. “Which basically means everyone knows someone,” says Trevenen. “They may not know that they know someone who is going through that, but they know.”

To that end, she’d love for people who haven’t experienced infertility to also pick up chasing baby to get an idea of ​​what it really means to run this particular challenge. Very often, when Trevenen told people that he was doing IVF, they responded as if he had told them that he was thinking of playing tennis, largely because they just didn’t understand.

“I was hoping people would respond more like ‘Ohhhhhh, my God,'” he says. “Like, even if you still review and move on, but you’re aware of, ‘Wow, they went through a lot.’ Give them a hug. Buy him a glass of wine or a box of chocolates or something. Because it’s a lot.”

Chasing Baby: An Infertility Adventure it is available from McNally Robinson Booksellers and Indigo.

jen.zoratti@winnipegfreepress.com

Twitter: @JenZoratti

jen zoratti

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