by Rachel McGrath
Finding the Rainbow is a personal account of Rachel McGrath’s experience of trying to conceive and carry a baby. This is McGrath’s first published book and I found it very engaging. I thought that it was a very authentic account of her fertility problems.
The book begins with McGrath talking about her expectations around her fertility; about how she felt fit and healthy, and how she had assumed that falling pregnant would be a piece of cake, even though she was in her mid-thirties.
She always knew she wanted children. She had planned to have a family when she was ‘good and ready’. As women of this modern age, we have become accustomed to the new normal of having a career and independence first before settling down to marriage and starting a family. So after heeding all of the well-meaning advice from friends and family the time had arrived to embark on the next chapter of her life which included her own much longed for children.
As her story unfolds it becomes apparent that her idyllic expectation of how everything would fall neatly into place becomes increasingly uncertain. She does eventually fall pregnant and records how she revelled in the natural anticipation and excitement of being pregnant, of imagining the baby she was soon to have and feeling hope for the future. Her elation is crushed when she miscarried, and grief and trauma ensues.
McGrath continues with her story, writing a lovely open and honest account of the emotional devastation.
I really enjoyed her discussion about the pros and cons of social media and emphasising with her acknowledged addiction to ‘Googling the answers’ and reading forum posts. I guess this will strike a chord with many people going through fertility issues. I also liked the way that she enlightens the reader about the Hughes syndrome with its ‘Sticky Blood’ and how this can have an impact on the likelihood of successfully carrying a baby. Knowing this is important as it is a treatable condition.
Despite Rachel’s harrowing account of her fertility journey to date I enjoyed the book. I liked her attitude to life and how she seemed to come through turbulent times and find some rationality through the onslaught of intrusive and uncomfortable medical procedures. She does not offer advice and this is not a self-help book, but rather it is about sharing and reaching out to connect to others who have been through a similar experience. Throughout the book McGrath is able to look on her experiences with an observing eye, discussing her decisions and exploring the question ‘Would I have done anything differently?’ She skilfully navigates the subject of miscarriage talking about her experience with clarity and humour.