First-time Moose Jaw author Janice Colven is releasing a new book detailing her own personal struggle with infertility, in the hopes of offering a new perspective for women who may be experiencing the same kind of journey.
Colven’s debut book, titled Baby Rollercoaster: The Unspoken Secret Sorrow of Infertility, tells the personal story about Colven’s journey learning about her infertility and coming to terms with what that meant for her future.
“It's hard to be a childless woman,” said Colven, about the message of her book. “You really have to blaze your own trail and that felt hard and scary, [and] I just want to raise awareness and start a conversation because, as women, we go through so much that we don’t speak of, whether it's through motherhood or childbirth or infertility.”
Baby Rollercoaster is perhaps best classed as a memoir, as the book shares how Colven faced a diagnosis of endometriosis and several years of fertility treatments, concluding in a hysterectomy at age 33 that altered the plans her family had for the future.
But, as Colven explains, the ultimate goal for her as an author is to see her book help other women during their experiences with infertility and the subsequent changes that means for motherhood.
“Baby Rollercoaster is my way of turning my pain of infertility into something purposeful, something that hopefully will resonate with other women going through infertility,” said Colven. “There’s so much pressure on women, I feel, to follow that path of motherhood but it's not always a reality for all of us.”
Baby Rollercoaster talks about the three key things that Colven said have helped her, that she feels everyone struggling with infertility should know: don’t be afraid to seek counselling, write your story and share it, and try to include movement in your daily routine to stay connected with your body.
The idea of writing her own book began when she was undergoing fertility treatments, said Colven, when she was searching bookstores for titles on the topic of infertility — and coming up short.
She found she was unable to find a book that talked about the emotions of experiencing infertility and coming to terms with childlessness, or the loss of motherhood.
“There’s lots of infertility cure-all books out there, like ‘eat this, not that,’ or ‘if only you did more exercise, you would conceive,’ that sort of thing, but there wasn’t anything about childlessness,” said Colven. “And so I wanted to write the book that I needed, in that season of life.”
Writing then became part of Colven’s healing process, she said, and ultimately resulted in something she wanted to share with others.
“At first [the writing] was very healing for me, and then somewhere along the line I thought, this story could impact someone else’s life. And if even one woman feels connected because I shared my story, that would be worth it for me,” said Colven. “And it's helpful because I know what is written down here in the book, and I don’t have to hold it quite so tightly in my heart.”
Colven hopes that by sharing what her experience taught her, she might offer some comfort for other women feeling the same during their own struggles and also spread some awareness about infertility.
“For a long time, I felt really stuck, deep in my grief and sadness and I couldn’t imagine a life outside of motherhood,” said Colven. “And so I wanted to give women who might be in a similar situation hope [and] some guidance on how to move forward.”
Infertility affects one in six couples in Canada, said Colven, and yet it remains a topic that can sometimes feel taboo. She hopes that Baby Rollercoaster will help open up the conversation not only for women experiencing infertility, but also for those within their support system as well.
“It’s also written for those supporting someone going through infertility, because it’s a really lonely place to be sometimes,” said Colven. “Some things in life are too big to handle on your own, and infertility is definitely one of them.”
Colven is very excited to debut Baby Rollercoaster at her upcoming virtual book launch on April 24 at 2 p.m., organized via Zoom by publisher Wood Dragon Books, which will also coincide with National Infertility Awareness Week. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Once launched, Baby Rollercoaster will be available for purchase online at Amazon, or at Penny University Bookstore in Regina, or by contacting Colven herself to request a copy.