In the early months of 2017, I was preparing for my first IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle and obsessing about everything I should be doing to give me the best chance of success. I researched online, participated in forums, changed my diet, adjusted my fitness routine and thought about very little else besides getting pregnant.
One night, while watching television, I happened to catch an episode of Big Little Lies, the series based on the Liane Moriarty novel, and was immediately hooked. I began the second episode and then had a thought – I bet I would really enjoy reading the book. I always liked to read but had not been a consistent reader since college and had not finished a book in many months. Once I began this novel, I didn’t want to put it down and realized something amazing. Being lost in this exciting story with lots of twists was the only time I wasn’t thinking about my treatments. I was truly relaxed.
When I finished that book, I jumped into The Husband’s Secret, and then read The Girl On The Train, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orphan Train, and The Nightingale. I didn’t stop. I began making a special effort to visit independent bookstores when I traveled. I started a Goodreads account to track my reading and get ideas for what I would read next. I even started listening to podcasts about reading. I traded books with my mom and became a source for friends looking for their next read. I was tremendously proud to be a reader again and felt so good about myself. It was therapy I desperately needed, a safe escape that had benefits of confidence and knowledge I could have never imagined.
Meanwhile, in real life, the treatments continued and failed forcing me to be patient and wait between cycles. I filled up my time with books to help with the stress and anxiety. By the end of that year I had read 25 books (more than I ever read before) and was finally pregnant with my son. I read through the nights when I was too uncomfortable to sleep. I read in my hospital bed during my 30+ hours of labor (not much, but my book was there for me). Then I read while I nursed my baby boy in the middle of the night and now read to him every day. The material might be different but what a joy it is to share a story with my child.
It’s been over two and half years since I first picked up Big Little Lies. Approximately 85 books later, it is still my escape from the stress of life. I do what I can to read at least a few pages of my current book every day.
I’ve heard that instead of a person finding the right book, sometimes the right book finds you. I have certainly experienced that magic. I will always be grateful for Liane Moriarty’s story to have found me, giving me what I needed and then showing me how special a reading life can be. Sometimes, the right book is just what the doctor ordered.
Laura Watson lives in Boston, MA with her husband, Jared and son, Duke. She shares her family’s story in order to help remove the stigma of infertility and give a voice to those who are struggling to become a parent. More of Laura’s work can be found on her blog Reading, Writing and Nursery Rhymes.