Stick It To Me Baby
By Danica Thornberry
What is the book about? Putting a bit of spirituality back into the scientific world of fertility
The tag line for Stick it To Me Baby is 'Inserting spirit into the science of infertility' and that is what this book is all about - how to work on your emotions, spirituality and mindset to positively influence your fertility. Many of the books sold on infertility focus on the science behind it, the diagnosis and tests that you may experience and the ins and outs of nutrition, including the science behind the food choices to make. This book is different. Totally different. Instead of the concrete and factual influences, it considers whether your approach to infertility and your mindset may be adversely impacting your ability to fall pregnant.
The book is split into three parts: 1) Embrace These Basic Concepts (such as Trust in the Process, Cultivate Patience, Practice Letting Go and more, 9 more to be exact), 2) Look Beyond Your 'Infertile' Diagnosis (including chapters entitled Be Willing to Make Changes, Commit to a Positive Outlook and Reframe Disappointment) and 3) Say YES! to The Process of Becoming a Mother (including Practice Forgiveness, Express Gratitude and Prepare for a Breakthrough).
The contents of this book is not based on research or science - necessarily so as it is difficult to measure in a controlled trial the impacts of emotional change and mindset, isolating it from other factors that my have resulted in change. This doesn't make the book a work of fiction though, as the author has years of experience in the field of fertility and the book is littered with case studies from her clinic of the successes resulting from the spiritual and mindset changes that she has worked through with her clients. It may not be 'scientific research' but it is anecdotal positive results, and that is good enough for me. It is more based in fact than some of the crazier things I tried to get pregnant.
Danica Thornberry is an American acupuncturist who specialises in women's health and infertility. She is the founder of the Seed Fertility programme - a 28 day online course aimed to optimise the body and mind for pregnancy. As with many people who enter into the professional world of helping those with infertility, she herself struggled with low ovarian reserve and blockages in her fallopian tubes. She overcame her difficulties to have children naturally. Don't you just love those success stories? Unless you, like me, are one of the ones who never seems to fall pregnant naturally, in which case such tales of natural accomplishment that seem to happen to everyone else can just get on your tits.
Who is this book for? Those who are willing to embrace the woo woo
Those who are willing to/open to/wanting to think about mindset in their attempts to beat infertility. If you are fed up with science based books telling you that your fertility test results are doom and gloom, or books that are focused on nutrition and diet changes (my personal faves) then this book is something out of the ordinary that is likely to appeal to you. Now, it is a little more on the woo woo scale than some other fertility books and you have to have an open mind to embrace the spiritual side. For example, there are chapters entitled Honour the Sun as the Source of All Life, Create a Fertile Garden, Identify the Tiger in Your Life and Let Your Heart Overflow. If that makes you roll your eyes then steer clear. If you think that karma is a load of bulls*t and what you put out into the world in no way impacts on what the world gives you back then this book is unlikely to float your boat.
What are the good points of this book? It contains great messages to focus the reader back on a positive path
There are some great and highly constructive messages in this book. The focus on mindset is incredibly important for dealing with the emotional fall out of infertility, even if, like me, you don't manage to overcome infertility itself through positive thinking. The book advocates for the reader to make their own changes to improve their situation, fertility and health. The author stresses that we are not our diagnosis. Fertility tests are just numbers. Numbers that can fluctuate, and they do not define your situation or your future. This is so easy to forget when facing the edge of the fertility cliff, seemingly looking into the abyss, and wondering whether you will ever fall pregnant. Or alternatively, if you are already at the bottom of the cliff, looking back up and wondering how the blooming heck you are meant to climb the sheer cliff edge back to optimal fertility. This book reminds the reader that the cliff is a figment of our imagination and not to allow the test results to define our situations.
Other messages in the book include a focus on achieving balance. Balance over the body, mind, work/life and stress. We should all be letting go and taking it easy. This may be easier said then done, especially as infertility itself can be the most powerful stressor that any of us have faced. But as the author reminds us, balance is the key to Chinese medicine and is essential for a healthy and fertile life. To help deal with stress the book discusses calming the mind from the chatter, especially through meditation. We all have that little voice in our heads who will not quieten down. My is incessant. And he is also an arsehole. It is like a share brain with a negative and repetitive idiot who isn't afraid to speak his mind. For me, mediation has been so beneficial to reducing the chatter and the stress, so I am delighted that medication is encouraged in this book.
Are there any drawbacks to this book? The mental gymnastics required to fully (and honestly) adopt all the messages
The biggest drawback is that the book is not hugely practical. It provides excellent messages and life affirming case studies showing how a change of mind and outlook can result in a pregnancy. But how does the reader get from the positive message to positive action? I've read it from cover to cover and I'm still not entirely sure. What I would have loved would have been some practical exercises to try or an action plan at the end, something to sink my teeth in to and implement. I finished the book, which was inspirational, but I wasn't able to convert it into life changes in the way that I'd hoped.
Another hurdle that I found was that some of the messages in the book, as aspirational as they come, are difficult to live out in reality. For example, 'wanting fertility for others'. Obviously I would never wish infertility on anyone, so in that sense I want fertility for others, but experiencing the positive fertility of those around us as a spiritual connection to other women and embracing pregnancy announcements as proof that 'if it could happen for others it could happen for me', remained a struggle. I understand the good intentions and it would definitely make me a more acceptable human being, but honestly, I didn't know HOW to adopt that thinking. Not really. I could and often did pretend to be positive (infertility is like a life lesson in acting) but deep down I felt anger and jealousy. Which leads me on to another message that was hard for me to adopt - learning not to be angry. Infertility made me angry and just telling an angry person that being angry has no positive benefits is a logical truth that is likely to bring out the anger.
Trusting in the process and visualising yourself as a mother were two other messages that challenged me. I continuously toyed with simultaneously trusting in the process whilst also trying to reach an uncomfortable place of acceptance that it may never happen for me. They are mutually exclusive and holding both in your mind at once involves mental gymnastics that is beyond my capability. Visualising myself as a mother made be feel warm and fuzzy inside during the ten minutes of visualisation and then devastated for the five days of my period each month. The maths says that is way more time spent devastated than warm and fuzzy.
How long did it take me to read?
One week. This book was a relatively quick and easy read. If you don't mind strangers judging you by the front cover, it can be speedily read on a public commute or on your lunch break. The case studies are engaging and easy to consume and the book is written in an informal and friendly tone, making it a pleasure to read.
Stick It To Me Baby is a definite case of 'don't judge a book by its cover'. It is harsh but true to say that the dust jacket design looks like the publishers set me loose on Clip Art and accepted the first attempt I provided to them without edit. And I am a Clip Art luddite. But rest assured that the content of this book is much better than the appearance and it is worth the purchase.
For me, this book is a 7 out of 10, putting me directly at odds with the reviews on Amazon, which all say that this book is exceptional. It doesn't appear as though the reviews are written by the author herself using different pseudonyms, something that my uncle-in-law blatantly does for his Amazon self-published spy science fiction novellas (Uncle Andy, I know those reviews are yours...) It therefore appears that I may be a grouch when it comes to this book and although I consider it to be very good, most other readers think of it as excellent. Chances are, you may fall into the category of most other readers and will absolutely love it. My reasoning for the lack of a full marks vote is finding myself left without actions or steps to implement in order to put the great and positive theory in this book into practise.