Monday, May 23, 2005

Infertility (and Illumination) in Unexpected Places

From time to time there are discussions in the IF blogosphere about literature that treats themes of infertility. I just came across a book that deals with the subject beautifully: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead Books, 2003). The book, about a young man from Afghanistan, has little to do with infertility overall. But, midway through the book, infertility unexpectedly enters the life of a character-- as unexpectedly as it has entered many of our lives. Hosseini writes about it with such knowing detail (both medically and emotionally) that I think he must have some direct personal experience with it. I want to share one especially moving passage (but I'm blacking out the characters' names so as not to spoil the plot for anyone who wants to read the book):

"Sometimes, [with her] sleeping next to [him], [he] lay in bed and listened to the screen door swinging open and shut with the breeze, to the crickets chirping in the yard. And [he] could almost feel the emptines in [her] womb, like it was a living breathing thing. It had seeped into [their] marriage, that emptiness, into [their] laughs, and [their] lovemaking. And late at night, in the darkness of [their] room, [he'd] feel it rising from [her] and settling between [them]. Sleeping between [them]. Like a newborn child."

Tears filled my eyes as I read that passage and again as I transcribed it now. It captures a lot for me. Please, if you come by and read this, won't you leave me a comment and tell me about something, anything, a poem, a novel, an essay on infertility that has affected you too?