by Tegan Wren

“We read to know we’re not alone.” That’s one of my favorite quotations from one of my favorite writers, C. S. Lewis. When my husband and I were experiencing infertility, we felt isolated. In a hushed whisper, some friends of ours told us about another young couple they knew that was also having trouble getting pregnant. It was so eye-opening to connect with others who were experiencing this sickening roller coaster of highs and lows every month. I began to realize how hungry we were to be in community with others who knew the path we were walking.

Adoption and Healing

Our infertility journey led us to parenthood through international adoption. It’s true that adoption comes from a place of loss by everyone involved. We had to mourn the loss of our dream to have biological children. Our children were losing their birth families and birth countries. Their birth families were losing the opportunity to raise these fierce, amazing children.

Working through all the emotions that come with adoption helped bring healing to my heart. But I did still feel twinges of jealousy and awkwardness when I was the only silent one in a group of moms sharing their worst birthing stories. Even as our family grew through adoption, I still wondered about our chances of getting pregnant. For quite some time, I was off the pill—why bother? I admit that I held out secret hope that we’d get a surprise pregnancy during that time, even though our hearts were overflowing with love for our two young children who were adopted from two different countries. So, I learned to completely silence that part of me that still yearned to know what it would be like to feel a baby growing in my womb. I told myself those feelings were selfish, and I should focus all my attention on the children in my arms.

A Novel Idea

After we adopted our first two kids, several people urged me to think about writing a book about how we became parents. It was a lovely thought. I worked as a journalist, and writing came easily. But putting together an entire book about me and my family? It’s the exact opposite of what journalists are trained to do. We’re taught from our very first class to avoid putting ourselves into the story. I struggled for quite some time with wanting to write but not knowing how to tell our story.

When Prince William wed Kate Middleton, I had a burst of inspiration: what if I used my own experiences to inform a story about a royal couple dealing with infertility? Being under such intense public scrutiny and pressure to produce an heir would create incredible strain on the couple’s relationship. It seemed like the perfect way to dramatize a story but still reveal truths about infertility, pregnancy loss, and adoption. That’s when I got to work on the manuscript that would eventually become INCONCEIVABLE!

Reliving the Past

INCONCEIVABLE begins where most infertility stories start: with two people falling in love. It was important to me to show how being unable to conceive essentially interrupts a couple’s happily ever after. That part of the story was a real pleasure to write. I’m a sucker for a fairy tale romance, and I tried to bring that spirit to the first part of the book. Then came the difficult part.

To write Parts II and III of my book, I had to revisit my own experiences with getting diagnosed in my 20’s after being told repeatedly that there was nothing to worry about—we were young! We’d get pregnant soon! I recalled the various medications we tried, the procedures we endured, and the obsession with doing pregnancy tests. (Let’s not talk about how many I did every month.) I also had to bring back the despair we felt when we faced failure after failure. I cried as I typed a couple of scenes. But I wrote with the hope that someone going through that same experience would read my book and realize they aren’t the only ones experiencing this heartbreak.

Letting Go

When I finished revising the manuscript based on feedback from my editor at Curiosity Quills Press, a woman who had also experienced difficulties trying to conceive, I took a deep breath. In writing this book, I’d allowed the part of me that wanted biological children to have a voice again. I explored those feelings at a safe distance, comforted by my kids’ kisses. In writing this book, I realized it was time to let go at last and say good-bye to the dream of being pregnant and embrace the joys of being a parent. This time, I didn’t have to work to silence that inner desire to be pregnant. It simply stayed quiet, peaceful, still.

Writing a story about infertility was therapeutic because it allowed me to revisit feelings I’d buried long ago. It felt safe to filter those emotions through the lens of characters in a story, characters who are quite different from me and my husband. It helped me see that, like Hatty and John in INCONCEIVABLE, we have indeed secured our happily ever after. For those who are still in the throes of trying to conceive, I hope my book shows you that happy endings are possible, even if they aren’t exactly what you’re imagining for yourself right now.

Tegan Wren Inconceivable

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