Kat Brown is a journalist and the book she has compiled No one Talks About This Stuff: 22 Stories of Almost Parenthood is what she wished she could read during the slow, painful period in which she and her husband were trying to start a family. Instead she felt isolated, silenced, and lost in a maze of expensive medical protocols and the expectations of others, and herself. 

When she was eventually told that IVF could not solve her problem, and that she would not become a mother, her agony was profound and she felt unable to see past it. But out of that pain came the plan to ask others for their stories. More than 200 people responded to her online call-out and she edited and shaped the experiences of 22 of them into this crowd-funded, heart-warming paperback.

It is not an easy read. There are no straight-forward trajectories of pregnancy, followed by birth, and the arrival of a gurgling baby. Instead the stories are of struggles with infertility, miscarriage, abortion, family disapproval, the pain of men who will never be fathers, and a trans woman who grieves that she will never be at the centre of female rites such as baby showers.

Some of the writers are well-known, such as Jody Day who created Gateway Women, the support and advocacy network for childless women, and psychotherapist and author Stella Duffy. But many of the contributors are women we pass in the street, or friends who don’t speak about their own situation. Kat Brown has given them the chance to tell their own, individual stories. If one of them could be you, then this book might be a huge solace, a support group of people who have walked in your shoes, and lived to tell their tales.

No one Talks About This Stuff: 22 Stories of Almost Parenthood by Kat Brown is our Book of the Month for April 2024

Further reading

Why emotions are so important in fertility

When IVF doesn't work: Processing feelings of grief

Losing a baby: The impact on subsequent pregnancy and birth