How’s your relationship with your mother? Are you guys the “talk everyday” types? Is she one of your BFFs? Or do you live thousands of miles apart and only talk on special occasions? Are you working through enmeshment or estrangement?
Do you think she would be willing to carry your baby? — and I am not talking about swaddling her and carrying her across the room. I am talking about allowing doctors to place your ovary, sperminated by your baby daddy, into her uterus (where you once dwelt) so you could have a baby?
Does the thought of your 60-ish year old mother carrying your child sound like pure fiction?
Well, it’s not. It’s the subject of a can’t-put-down memoir about to hit the shelves. Bringing In Finn by Sara Connell is the chronicle of Connell’s attempts– and gut-wrenching failures– to carry a child to term. When her medical advisors suggested surrogacy, Connell struggled to remain open to all possibilities. When her mother suggested that she carry Sara’s child, soul-searching ensued.
I would be more than happy to tell you more about it, but really, Connell’s story is best told by Connell. (If you are more of an auditory person, you can pick up the audio book.)
Here’s why I love this book: While the narrative offers and delivers a gripping story about an unorthadox reproductive journey, it is also a metaphor for what can happen if you allow unexpected people in your life (perhaps your mother, as in Connell’s case) to bring you great gifts.
I knew I would give this book to all the people I know who are struggling with fertility. My mind naturally drifted to those who have suffered losses on the route to parenthood. And I firmly believe that they will find in Connell’s story inspiration, comfort, and hope.
But, I am passing Bringing in Finn along to anyone who expresses any kind of longing, not just for children, but also for family, or partnership, or healing, or purpose. Those are the friends I most want to read this book full of heroes: Connell’s mother, the newly retired 60-year-old, who prepared her body for a post-menopausal pregnancy. Connell’s husband who embraced the miraculous possibilities and made delicious meals for the women in this story. Connell herself who generously and gorgeously chronicles her family’s story, taking readers from the heartbreak of a second-trimester miscarriage to the triumphant birth of her son Finn. And finally, Finn, the baby whose birth is the result of both astounding medical advances and the awe-inspiring tenacity of his entire family.
And, just for fun, I sent my mom a copy of this book without any explanation. I plan to call her tonight and say, “Well? What do you think? Wanna carry my baby?” If you don’t see a post from me in the next few days, it’s because my mother’s withering stare (part annoyance and part horror), even through the phone lines, stopped my heart in mid-tick.
But, man, it will be so worth it.