Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wanted: Hey, I'm OK Being Infertile!

I love getting e-mails from Bat Cave readers.  Especially when said e-mail gives me handy blog fodder.  Jami dropped me another e-mail recently (she hit pay dirt on many of your fairy tale suggestions!) with a most interesting inquiry.  Here it goes:
When Sarah on SBTB posted this question, I right away thought, "I wonder if there's any romance novels where the heroine has accepted and may even be happy to be infertile?" I wondered if any woman was brave enough to write from that POV. (And yeah, this is another one you're welcome to blog if you find yourself with Bloggers Block.)
My gut response is....probably not.  The romance genre has come a long way in oh, the last 30 years or so - but it's still a fairly conservative genre in some regards.  Husbands and babies = good.  Also, in many cases, people discover they have infertility issues after they've coupled up with someone and made the decision to "start a family."  Then finding out that getting pregnant will be very difficult is sort of like running nude through the Arctic Circle and skinny-dipping with polar bears.

But you know what?  I don't know everything.  I'm not widely read in single-title contemporaries and my paranormal burn-out has kept me away from that sub-genre.  I also read a number of historicals, and given the time periods - accepting infertility would be much, much harder for women.  Infertility in historicals tends to equal major issue and conflict.

So....I'm tossing this out there.  Just for general discussion, blog fodder, and maybe for potential writing inspiration for any authors.  Anyone know of a romance where the heroine is infertile and has come to "accept it."  Where it's not necessarily a major issue, or a driving force in the conflict of the story?  Fire away!

29 comments:

*Goddess* said...

There have been books though in which the woman didn't want children, haven't there? It irks the hell out of me when the book starts with the man not wanting kids and the chick gets pregnant, then hopes he'll change his mind. I hate reading stories like that because if a man doesn't want children, his woman needs to respect that, not try to change him.

K said...

The only two stories that comes to mind is Erin McCarthy's Flat Out Sexy where the hero is infertile and Robin D. Owens's Heart Choice where it's the heroine who can't have children.

JamiSings said...

Yeah, Goddess, Bet Me is one of those types where neither of them wants kids. But likely could have kids if they wanted.

Claudia McDaniel said...

Carnal Promise by Robin Rotham has the heroine infertile. It's not a huge issue in the book but does come up and is accepted.

Lynne Connolly said...

I've done one. "Last Chance, My Love," is a historical. If the heroine has another baby, she's likely to die, so when she gets puerpural fever, which tended to render the woman infertile, it's good. The book is about how they come to terms with that (they don't want more children, but the hero wants to treat the heroine like she was made of glass).
That was my first Samhain book. Happy days!

JamiSings said...

*rushing off to library catalog* I appreciate the start here. I was telling Wendy that the one good thing about PCOS is because it can cause difficulty conceiving if not straight out infertility it's gotten people who were pushing me to give up my dreams and have children instead off my back. That's why I was curious. I'm okay with not being able to have children. If I ever desire to be a mother I will look into adopting an older child that's been over looked because they're not a baby. But I'm fine with not being able to have a biological child. Family is family no matter how they come about.

I do like reading about characters I have something in common with because I find it easier to relate to the book and get lost in it. And I love getting lost into a book.

willaful said...

Cool, that's going on my wish list. My husband and I did eventually have a son, but I, at least, seriously considered the childfree option and am interested in this topic.

An excellent nonfiction book I read back then: http://www.infertilitybooks.com/titles/sweet_grapes_how_to_stop_being_infertile.html

Wendy said...

Two that were mentioned on Twitter: Teller of Lies by Laurel Ames (an older Harlequin Historical) and Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook (this is 2nd book in steampunk series).

Wendy said...

Someone also mentioned Shoulda Been A Cowboy by Lorelei James on Twitter. But it's erotic romance, and I know those are dicey for Jami (who is not a fan of the buttsecks....)

Also, Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas. A historical where the infertile heroine does NOT have a Miracle Baby in the epilogue (that one is buried in my TBR....)

JamiSings said...

Any idea what book comes before Heart Of Steel? I can't tell from the website as they have the books in all sorts of orders. (This is where Wikipedia comes in handy. For all it has wrong, the order books come in are 99.9% of the time correct.)

JamiSings said...

Yeah, I prefer to pretend "the buttseck" doesn't exist. Any other kind is fine, but that one just squicks me out. (We all have our hang ups. I've know people who are actually disgusted at just the thought of feet.)

I think I'll have to wait until I get to work in a half hour before I can find these. I'm having NO luck with the website. Grr!

Wendy said...

The Iron Duke. I know for a fact both it, and Heart of Steel, are in system. Also, pretty dang sure the Sherry Thomas historical is available as well.....

azteclady said...

Pretty much all that come to mind are of the "oh, I'm defective" variety--even though, in many, our protagonist has learned to accept this as immutable fact and she is 'content' with her life...until she meets the hero.

Yeah, not good.

Anonymous said...

I just read Kaki Warner's Blood Rose Trilogy.The couple featured in the second book (whose story continued in the third book) was childless. The heroine was depressed because of her infertility but the hero convinced her that adoption was the next best thing.

nath said...

The two books I can't think of is I Can See You by Karen Rose. The heroine is infertile... it's a sore spot for her, but not so much the fact that she can't have children, but how she became infertile. And hero is fine with it. Also, IIRC, in Black at Heart by Leslie Parrish, the heroine doesn't want kids.

BevBB said...

I can't remember any about infertility specifically. The only thing that comes to mind is where Shelly Laurenston has both her hero and heroine not want children in Pack Challenge, the first of her Magnus Pack paranormal. Of course, those started out as ebooks, so she might've had more leeway with taking that approach.

JamiSings said...

The librarian here couldn't find anything called Carnal Promise - but found one by the same author called Carnal Compromise, however, it's a threesome erotica. Got Not Quite A Husband on hold, Last Chance, My Love on ILL, having trouble finding Teller Of Lies. I'll look for the steampunk and other suggestions later.

This'll be great as with the exception of the October Daye and 500 Kingdom series I'm almost completely through all the Fairy Tale suggestions!

k reads said...

Min and Cal, from Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me, don't want kids. Besides the already mentioned Shelly Laurenston book, that was the only one I could think of. I wish it wasn't so uncommon.

JamiSings said...

Yeah, I've read Bet Me, but they likely could have kids. I'm looking for ones where the woman is fine with her eggs not being viable.

Reina said...

It's not exactly what you're looking for, and I can't recommend this whole-heartedly, but the heroine in Tami Hoag's Rumor Has It (1988) had an accident which caused her to be infertile. It is a source of conflict in the novel, but she (and the hero) come to accept it.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember all the details but Rachel Gibson's True Confessions (published 2001) has a heroine who had a hysterectomy due to endometriosis (at least, I think it was because of that). As a result, the heroine is infertile and if I recall correctly she's okay with it. It's been several years since I last read True Confessions so I may be a little fuzzy of the details but I know the heroine had a hysterectomy. Hope this fits the bill!

RachelT said...

In Emilie Richards' The Trouble with Joe it is the husband who is infertile and has trouble coming to terms with it. His wife can see a solution to their family situation.

Lynnd said...

I heartily recommend both Sherry Thomas' Not Quite a Husband and Meljean Brook's Heart of Steel. I also recommend Courtney Milan's Unclaimed.

FD said...

I've read a couple of M&B UK set romances with infertile and fairly cool with it heroines, but I'm drawing blanks on specifics so I guess they were just OK reads for me and only memorable for that. Possibly medicals? Will think and see if I can remember more. I've come across more where the heroine is infertile and 'fills a hole' by taking care of the hero's kids. (Bletch, pretty sure that's not what the OP wants, not to my tastes either, although it can be made to work; there's a Karen Templeton where the heroine, past baby-making age and not broody ends up taking on a widower and his kids, but the key point there is not broody.)
I don't actually think I've read any contemporaries ever with an infertile heroine who didn't want kids anyway at all - a few who were fertile, child-free and intending to remain so, and I'm sure I've read at least one a Temptation maybe? with an infertile and fine with it hero, whose heroine didn't want kids either. Again, the plot line was the most memorable thing. That's it. Gah, don't know if there really is such a paucity or I'm just being futz-brained tonight.

JamiSings said...

Yeah, FD, it's not that I would turn down the chance to be a mom if it came up, but I don't want to have kids and I'm okay with that part of my PCOS. Especially since it's gotten people who were being very pushy about me having kids off my back.

Ever since I turned 30 (I'm 35) lots of people, including complete strangers, have been on me about giving up all my dreams and "having kids like a normal woman." One guy actually said in front of his wife and kids that I should hook up with a random guy in a bar and get pregnant and that "Kids don't need a father."

His wife and kids weren't too happy with him.

I even had a coworker for awhile who kept trying to force me into having children with a guy I did not like and who did not like me.

So in that regard - THANK GOD for PCOS! Because it got so many off my back.

I could do without the acne, excessive face & body hair, and weight problems though.

Got a slew of these on hold now, thanks folks!

BevBB said...

You know, come to think of it, this is a plot/theme that actually sounds like it might've come up more than once in the old "medical romances". Now, in saying that, I also realize that it also could've been accompanied by much ringing of hands, but maybe not because 1) we are talking about medical romances and 2) there was always the adoption route. Who knows, though.

Which is also making me wonder that there could be a strong possibility that at earlier authors like, say, Emilie Loring or Victoria Holt might've dealt with the issue simply because of the time period they wrote in, not the time periods they wrote about. That is the key here. And if not with the hero or heroine then at least with a secondary couple. I'm almost positive Emilie Loring did the secondary couple thing in at least one story, I just don't have the books personally to verify it.

*Goddess* said...

Thanks, Jami and for the person who mentioned it, I LOVED True Confessions. I've read it several times and when you mentioned the hysterectomy, I was thinking, "Huh? I don't even remember that part..." LOL! Guess I'll be re-reading that this week:)

FD said...

The Karen Templeton I was thinking of is Swept Away. Ex-ballerina on a road trip with her father winds up in a small town - the cover makes it look like disasterfic, or suspense but it's not. Still drawing a blank on the rest, sorry.

JamiSings said...

So here's an addtion to my original question - does anyone know of any novels, romance or otherwise (I'm also fond of mysteries of all times but especially cozies & Sherlock Holmes-like ones, fantasies, sci-fi, and horror) where the heroine has PCOS? Especially if she has a multitude of symptoms such as the dark and thick facial/body hair, acne, infertility/difficulty getting pregnant, and even the PCOS-belly - what mom & I call a "front-butt" and the rest of the world calls a "gunt"?

I know some people get really upset if too much realism like sagging boobs and all that are in books, but I like it when I see a heroine who has to wax her upper lip and/or chin or who's nipples face the floor gets a guy. Gives me a bit of hope IRL. Plus like I said I get deeper into a book if I can relate to a character. Heck, even works when the character I relate to is a guy! Though I don't think I want to read about a guy with sagging moobs. Other things not being so perfect I can live with.