Vela Magazine reviewed my essay, "On Fertility," (The Butter, September 2015) in their Women We Read This Week Feature.
Eileen Favorite’s “On Fertility” in The Butter
Since Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced their pregnancy and disclosed their multiple miscarriages, a lot of articles and essays have come out on the topic. While it’s great to see this subject coming out from the shadows, it’s also refreshing to read a miscarriage memoir that appears to be wholly untied to this news cycle. “On Fertility” is a captivating essay that weaves family history and religion into the author’s story of enduring multiple pregnancy losses and eventually giving birth to two girls.
Be warned: this is a highly detailed account of a miscarriage, but it is as graphic as it is beautiful. The miscarriage described occurs on a family trip to Ireland to the author’s ancestral land. The imagery and sensory details she evokes of the Irish landscape are marvelous, as are her metaphors of this now-fertile landscape once bearing witness to barrenness and famine. In answer to the scene of her miscarriage experience, we are treated to the scene of the birth of the author’s first child—but this isn’t your typical “it’ll happen for you if you just relax,” self-help story of overcoming infertility.
“Sometimes I wave away those ten years of “trying” to get and stay pregnant with a cavalier flick of my hand. I’m old enough now to wave away an entire decade and still have years to spare. Nobody wants to hear about those dark-night-of-the- soul years; those years of despising other people’s Christmas cards; years of boycotting baby showers (as advised by my therapist); years of looking on the bright side (I can travel! Go out whenever I want; Get a master’s degree); years of feeling as if I were being punished. … Sometimes friends trot my story out as an example of hope for others struggling with infertility. I don’t want to be an example of anything.”