2011-04-29 / Community

Rockaway Author Wants You To Listen Up

By: Kahalia Solano

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. Author Fran Meadows hit it right on target as she references the phrase in her new book. We are all familiar with the childhood nursery rhyme but few realize the weight it currently holds. The catchy verbiage speaks volumes to societal pressure and expectations that many women and couples are faced with today.

Meadows, a Rockaway resident, brazenly goes there. She addresses and unveils a topic that is considered taboo. Often whispered about behind closed doors, it is suffered in silence, masked in secrecy, and cloaked with guilt and shame.

In her new book, “The Truth Behind the Secret, Infertility,” Meadows delivers an open and honest account of her journey toward motherhood. The book has a tentative release date of April 29, and will be available on Amazon.com. It debuts in time for National Infertility Week which is April 24-30.

The thought-provoking publication takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster. It provides a personal portrait and inside look to infertility. The audience should be prepared to laugh, cry, and relate to a woman who traversed through obstacles in an effort to have her first child.

There is an array of topics touched on in the book; infertility misconceptions is one of them. “People think if you go through with treatments that kids will automatically happen. It does not work that way; it is a commitment.” Meadows said.

The book also talks about Meadows’ three unsuccessful artificial inseminations. Her first successful pregnancy left her emotionally scarred after the delivery of a stillborn.

With her book, Meadows hopes to create a forum for public discourse about infertility. She wants to engage people and get them talking about what she considers to be a disease. “This is necessary because I want people to be more open to the disease. People think it’s a joke. They need to open their eyes and talk,” Meadows said.

According to resolve.org, the National Infertility Association, infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. The organization encourages women to go under the care of a specialist if there has been more than one miscarriage.

A widespread fallacy is that infertility is the female’s fault. Resolve states that 30 percent can be attributed to male factors and about 30 percent can be attributed to female factors. Twenty percent of infertility cases are unexplained and the remaining 10 percent are caused by a combination of problems in both partners. “I was diagnosed with unknown infertility; doctors didn’t know why I couldn’t get pregnant. The little things are what causes it,” Meadows said.

Meadows hopes to use her book as a tool of empowerment and let others know that infertility has nothing to do with iniquity or immorality. “Infertility back in the ’80’s was like a sin, but now in the millennium it’s like a secret sin. It’s as if you have a profanity written on your forehead, walking around and everybody stares,” she wrote.

In the chapter, “Dreams of Something Missing,” she provides a psycho-social commentary on the disconnect between fantasy and real life. Meadows wrote, “I imagined having six kids living in a big house with a white picket fence, just like the doll houses I played with.” “When you’re little, all the dreams seem so real and practical. The house, definitely not a doll house, turned out to be more like my little bungalow that needed lots of work,” she wrote.

Going through infertility and receiving treatments can be a devastating challenge, but Meadows insists that no one is alone in infertility. “Living in Rockaway, I know that there are people that this does affect. The disease affects 1 in 8 couples,” Meadows said. “A woman’s body is a complicated thing. It’s an anger and confused thing, and I wrote about that,” she said.

Meadows gets personal and offers a front row seat to her life to strangers. “I wrote this when I was going through the experience; it is my self-journal, my self-therapy,” she said.

On the road of sadness and havoc, triumph is often not too far behind. Meadows is a 38-year-old woman who has been married for more than 10 years. Together the couple now raises their 3- year-old son. “I thought I was weak, but I think this made me a stronger person,” Meadows wrote.

The author attributes her emotional well-being after a struggle with infertility, to her husband, family, friends, therapist, and co-workers.

“The Truth Behind the Secret, Infertility” is laced with humor, real-life experiences, and memorable quotes. Meadows finds a way to morph a touchy subject into one that makes it OK for people to discuss the pain. Her seeds of passion and genuineness for the topic are planted throughout the novel.

In these times of uncertainty, the book’s closing line makes a powerful statement. She wrote, “No one knows what tomorrow will bring; face it bravely and with a smile on your face.”

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