One of the best parts of reading Finding the Rainbow by Rachel McGrath is feeling like you’re talking to an old friend. In her memoir about recurrent pregnancy loss, she shares her story with candor, humor, and truth, fully acknowledging the pain and hope that live in tension in the hearts of women who go through this kind of struggle.
In my review, I gave Rachel’s book five stars and recommend it highly (purchase links are at the bottom). Rachel kindly agreed to let me ask her some questions to find out more about her personal journey and her decision to write about it.
Tegan: What made you decide to write a book about your experiences?
Rachel: I actually didn’t start out with the intention to write a book What I do remember is writing down my experiences in the form of a journal as a way to help me through the hardest times (particularly the miscarriages). I remember sitting in bed for hours, trying not to feel sorry for myself. By writing about what had happened, it helped me find ways to look at the future differently, perhaps more optimistically and to always find a hopeful angle. I had kept it all on a Word document, and when I realised how much I had written, I started to play with the formatting and layout, thinking that perhaps if someone else read this story, it might help them feel less isolated throughout the experience.
Tegan: How did you decide what to share and what to keep private? I was touched by the level of detail you reveal in the book. It helped me connect to you and your story.
Rachel: Unfortunately (for me) I didn’t keep anything private – except names! It is all there, the warts and all, including the ‘almost break up’ with my now husband. I wanted my story to be honest and intimate, so it was important to take my readers through everything, regardless of the consequences. Some of the chapters also exposed some of the feelings, situations and experiences and whilst I did not name anyone, many have come to me after asking who I was referring to. Of course anonymity has been my primary focus for friends and family, but anyone who knows me well have made well calculated guesses. Nevertheless, I did have a few friends and family read it before it was published just to sense check my own sanity, and luckily there have been no friendship fall outs as a result!
Tegan: Society in general still struggles to feel comfortable with topics such as infertility and pregnancy loss. What impact do you hope your book will have on how the public views these topics?
Rachel: There are more and more blogs out there on this topic, and I am seeing more books developing/being published with personal stories. It is uncomfortable and even when I tell people about my book, some feel they need to apologise to me. It is not their fault of course, but it has been an interesting way of saying ‘congratulations’! I work in the corporate world and there has definitely been a mixed response to the fact that I wrote about my experiences, as most people would not even share that they are ‘trying’ until they have good news to share. I’m glad however that I have written about it, and I’m pleased with how it is being received. I hope that it helps other women feel comfortable to talk about it, if they want to.
Tegan: How have your friends and family reacted to reading your story?
Rachel: My friends, family and especially my husband have been incredibly supportive, from the first submission right through to my continuous blogging and sharing of my experiences. Many who have read it found it insightful to really understand my emotions, and have said that at times they had not realised how emotional the ride was. Many friends who have dealt with infertility have applauded my honesty and can empathise with much of the book; my husband finds reading the book difficult at times, as it really does bring you back through the pain and heartache in parts.
Tegan: Where are you on your journey to parenthood? (And I want to applaud you for writing the book even though your ultimate “happy ending” is yet to be decided.)
Rachel: I am still dealing with the ‘storm’ and hoping for a rainbow! Since my last miscarriage, I had some medical problems that have actually halted my ability to conceive. Currently I am seeking specialist help to overcome this, to give us that one last try. IVF is a potential possibility within the next twelve months, and we truly hope we will get there. Nonetheless, we are also open to alternative options for parenting in our future, so essentially our rainbow may show up in a slightly unexpected way!
Top image via Flickr by Cessna206