I participated in the Barren Bitches Brigade Book Tour #3, which was on The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The way the book tour works, is those of us who participate had to send in a question. These questions were then put in groups, and each person got a single group of questions to choose from. We were to choose at least three questions to answer. So without further ado, here are my answers!
The present and future intersect frequently in the book. Often the result of these minglings is that information about the future is hinted at or revealed early but the actual experiences cannot be altered or prevented. If you could have known about the struggles you’d face on your path to parenthood, would you have wanted to know? Would you go back and warn or prepare yourself, even though you’d be powerless to change the outcome? Why or why not?
I think I would have wanted to know. I went through three chemical pregnancies. In my mind, that was equivalent to three losses. That was very difficult. If I could have known that in the end, after all of the waiting and devastating losses, that I would still have a successful pregnancy in the end, maybe all the pain and loss would have been a little less sharp. Maybe.
I love the references to music in this book. They are a convenient way for the author to clearly define the era the narrative is taking place in, but for those of us who can’t time-travel, music and the times in which we listened to it play a powerful role in constructing memory. Which is to say, that it is almost impossible for me to think about our experience of infertility without thinking of “The Waters of March” as performed by Susanne McCorkle. Mel’s written about this in the past. I also think about going with Mel to see Bruce Springsteen concert right when we started TTC and just being so certain that there was a child in-utero at the concert with us. There wasn’t. Or not one that became a viable embryo. For that reason, I hardly ever listen to The Rising, which is the album Bruce was touring behind (The Seeger Sessions however is awesome and on regular rotation). That said, what are the songs you associate with your experience — even if they have nothing to do with IF?
I can’t think of a song to sum up all of my experience, but after my last loss in October I was driving in the car when “Who You’d be Today” by Kenny Chesney came on. The lyrics are:
“Sunny days seem to hurt the most
Wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
I see your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
Still can’t believe you’re gone
It ain’t fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
The death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the pain that I’ve been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you’d be today
Would you see the world?
Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family?
I wonder, what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky’s so blue
I feel like I can talk to you
And I know it might sound crazy
Today, Today, Today
Today, Today, Today
Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
The only thing that gives me hope
Is I know I’ll see you again someday
What particularly struck me was the chorus, then the second verse. I think it was the first time I’d really noticed the actual words to the song, and when I heard that chorus I nearly lost it. Which was bad since I was driving to work. Sometimes, this song still hits me when I hear it, all because of how I felt that one time I heard it. I know the context of the song isn’t quite the same. But I do hope that someday I will meet my lost babies.
Due to his ability to time travel and jumps into the future, Henry knows that he is going to die. Yet in the beginning, he works hard to try to create a baby with his wife. This situation obviously benefits Henry in that he gets to parent Alba for a bit before he dies. This situation also benefits Clare since she wants to be a mother. Yet Alba grows up without her father yet with his extraordinary abilitiesâ€”abilities that were a difficult adjustment for Henry growing up. Do you think he acted in the best interests of his child when he helped create her knowing that he would not be around to help her understand her ability to time travel? Do you think it is truly possible to take the feelings of a child in mind prior to creation as well as fulfill your own need to parent? If you had been in Henry’s shoes, would you have created this child knowing she would be able to time travel and you would not be there to help her understand this anomaly?
Ok, I think this is a difficult one. I think Henry had no idea how to predict if his child would definitely have the same disorder as he. He also couldn’t predict how his child would be able to handle the ability. We have no idea how our children may emotionally handle the same things we’ve been through. Of course we want to protect them from the things that we felt were bad, but sometimes we can’t always do that. Infertility may be a good representation of that. Some causes of infertility could be genetic. Yet we still want to have our dream baby, even if that means our baby may some day go through the same pain and heartache we did. Of course, they may not. We just don’t know. Obviously, we hope they do not have to go through these things. But if they do, we hope that we will have instilled in them the strength necessary to fight it, and hopefully their ability to cope with it will far outweigh our own.
Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein.