Sunday, April 15, 2007

Barren Bitches Book Tour 3: The Time Traveler's Wife

I read The Time Traveler's Wife last year before I had a miscarriage myself. It touched me to the core of my being. I fell in love with the characters and found myself pleading God for a different ending. After my own loss of an angel to heaven I began to think about this book again and again. It began to haunt me. I had an even more connection with it. This is a book that should be read over and over to be reminded of love and loss.

Take some time to read the questions and comment as they touch you. If you haven't read the book, do. You will never be the same.

Don't forget to hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein.

Onto the questions!!!

Loss (and unrealized dreams) are a theme in this story -- Henry loses his mother, Clare loses Henry often and sometimes for long stretches, Clare's grandmother loses her brother and her husband, etc. At one point, her grandmother asks Clare, "do you ever miss him?" She replies, "every day, every minute. Every minute, yes that's the way, isn't it?" ... Self-pity floods me as though I've been injected with it. It's that way, isn't it? Isn't it?" How has your loss and/or unrealized dream changed you?

I have been talking and thinking about this very thought all week. Before my unrealized dream of having a family and the loss of my little one to heaven I was every one's cheerleader. I was full of hope and optimism. I never wavered in doubt or faith. I ALWAYS saw the silver lining. Now that I am still waiting while many others have moved on to their dreams I am changed. I don't see the world quite the same. I still have a positive attitude but it is very guarded. I still cheer others on but deep inside I have a little doubt that never was there before. I long for the old me sometimes. I am not sure I like how I am changed.

That is the ugly change that has happened. I keep that part a secret. It only comes out when I am low and blue. I believe that there has been good change. I value life more. I cherish my friendships to a greater regard. I work hard to find the little blessings that are in my life that before would have gone unnoticed. I have compassion and understanding because I have felt loss. I now know what it means for God to be my everything.

If someone told you with certainty that you will have a baby sometime in the near future, like Clare was told, how would that affect you? Would it change your approach to cycling?


My hope would be restored. I would have a new strength to push forward past the loss and pain and disappointment. Knowing that my dream would be coming true at some point would give me the reason not to stop. But I also believe that it would drive me crazy each month even more. I would wonder if this was the month. I also wonder if I would relax or do the opposite and work harder, which is funny since you can only do so much in order to conceive. I also wonder if I would question the person as time went on and my dream still hadn't come true.

Now if only we could find that person who could tell me my future. :)

For Henry, time travel is a heavy burden; because of this, he is very reluctant to pass down his gene mutation to his offspring - particularly when it results in multiple miscarriages. Do you think Clare is being irresponsible in pushing to have a biological child that is both a part of she and Henry? Or is it more than being a parent in which she covets?

I believe that Clare is going with her heart. She longs to hold onto a part of Henry, hoping that the part of Henry that would be in her child would never leave her. She has always had Henry throughout her life, something that many of us never have experienced. I am sure she knows that he won't be with her for forever. Always having someone and then never having them there with you for the rest of time could destroy a person. I believe she never gave up hope and stopped trying for her biological child because it would mean she would be letting go of Henry forever.

If you read the book without knowing about the pregnancy/miscarriage aspect of the storyline, how did you feel when you got to that part of the story? If you were unprepared for that aspect of the storyline, did you find it particularly jarring or upsetting? Or, if you read the book already knowing about this storyline, do you think that changed how you reacted to it? Did you find the pregnancy/miscarriage aspect made you relate to the characters more?

When I read this book I had no idea what to expect. I had yet to have had a pregnancy/miscarriage. When I got to the part of the story where Clare had had many miscarriages and then woke up covered in blood I was so upset for her. I knew the longing that she had for that cycle to work. I cried and cried for her feeling the pain and sadness. I felt so empty for her. So hopeless. I began to beg for it to end and for her to have her dream. When she finally was pregnant again I worried for her. I was waiting for something awful to happen. When it never did I was so relieved.

Having this be a major part of the storyline helped me to have an even deeper connection with the book. I became Clare. I became Henry. I felt their pain. I felt my own pain.


12 comments:

snapshots said...

Wow! Great post. Love your response to the questions.

I was in the middle of "The Time Traveler's Wife'--right at the part where Clare began having her miscarriages--when I was at your place and you had your miscarriage. It was eery. Really eery. But it didn't leave me freaked out. Not that kind of eery. It was as though the timing of me reading the book had a purpose. It filled me with a new kind of compassion and understanding.

Sunny said...

Snaps all I can say is WOW.

Curly Mommy said...

Amazed and speechless.

Rachel Inbar said...

Great post!

You mentioned that knowing that in the future you would have a child would make you crazy - wondering every month if this was the month... for me, that's what infertility was all about. During more than 10 years of my first marriage, there was hardly ever a month that went by that I didn't hope that a miracle had happened...

Karen said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading your answers. I agree with you that if someone told me with certainty that in my future (at some nebulous time) I would achieve my dream of having a child, I would go crazy with each cycle that it failed. I think it would give me hope for a short while, but if too much time passed, I would think maybe I had dreamt the encounter in which I was told it would happen. I would question my own judgment, my own sanity even.

(Still, I can't say I wouldn't like to know where this is all headed...)

The Town Criers said...

Have to echo the wow for snapshot's comment.

Great thought, Sunny. I think that change--that loss of optimism--is natural. And I think of it not as a loss, but as a mellowing and a rounding out of pointy edges. What is gained is a softness that allows you to connect to some many more people. Even if the world looks a little less bright and happy in the process.

And if I ever got the power to know the future, I would definitely jump ahead and give you some insights :-)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your comments - it gave me a new perspective. I read the book shortly (a couple months, I guess) after my miscarriage and I hadn't known about that aspect of the book. My reaction was to be angry/bitter and I realize now that I probably just wasn't ready to read it. Maybe I should reread it...
-Jill

littleangelkisses said...

Great answers. It's interesting how this book affects people.

I can relate to the changes, that guardedness that creeps in...you don't dare hope, you don't cheer so much. It's hard for that not to happen.

I can also relate to not being ready to read something. I've been there too.

Jessica said...

I liked your answer if you would like to know how things turn out. I think that while the month to month waiting would not be any (or much) easier, and each failed cycle would still be devastating, it would be nice to know that in the end we'd get the result we desire.

Big Pissy said...

Great post!

I read this book when it first came out.

It remains one of my favorites.

Drowned Girl said...

Poor Clare:

“My body wanted a baby. I felt empty and I wanted to be full. I wanted someone to love who would stay: stay and be there, always. And I wanted Henry to be in this child, so that when he was gone, he wouldn’t be entirely gone, there would be a bit of him with me.”

Noone can ever hold on to another person, really, can they?

Bea said...

Learning to live with that little seed of doubt is one of the hard parts. Hopefully you won't ever completely lose your ability to see the silver lining.

Bea