Reading Matters

Belle Boggs on IVF, ‘baby fever,’ cicadas

“It’s spring,” Belle Boggs writes in the first paragraph of her forthcoming memoir, ‘The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood,’ “when I realize that I may never have children, and around that time the thirteen-year-cicadas return, tunneling out of near, round holes in the ground to shed their larval shells, sprout wings, and fly to the treetops, filling the air with the sound of their singular purpose: reproduction.”

Boggs, who teaches at North Carolina State in Raleigh and is the author of the 2010 novel, “Mattaponi Queen,” gives us a book, according to Kirkus, “about the whole scope of maternal urges, of how culture (and literature) treat the childless (or ‘childfree’), how biases against medical intervention serve to stigmatize those who need such expensive (and not always successful) assistance, and how complicated can be the decisions about whether to adopt rather than continuing to attempt to conceive... .”

It’s a powerful book, one I read in a single sitting, nodding in agreement my head all the way.

Boggs was lucky – she got pregnant with a daughter. But her descriptions of “baby fever” are wonderful, how it washes over you like a “tidal surge,” how women “will follow baby carriages on the street, tack baby pictures next to the bed, how they imagine the down on their heads, the soft spots at the temple... .”

A truly amazing and enlightening and informative memoir.