LISTEN to Janeane's conversation with Emma Brockes!
When Emma Brockes decides to become pregnant, she quickly realizes that, being single, 37, and in the early stages of a same-sex relationship, she’s going to have to be untraditional about it. AN EXCELLENT CHOICE: Panic and Joy on My Solo Path to Motherhood chronicles Brockes’s journey to single motherhood, from selecting a fertility doctor, through multiple trials of IUI, to giving birth to twins, and the many “ups, downs and pharmaceuticals along the way.” The result is a most delightful, extraordinary memoir that comes at a time when more and more women are exploring fertility treatment options and becoming single mothers by choice.
Brockes quizzes her friends on the pros and cons of personally knowing one’s sperm donor, grapples with esoteric medical jargon and the existential brain-melt of flipping through donor catalogues, and conjures with the politics of her Libertarian OB/GYN—all the while exploring the cultural circumstances and choices that have brought her to this point. Anxious that biological children might not be possible, she wonders, should she resent society for how it regards and treats women who try and fail to have children?
AN EXCELLENT CHOICE comes from a unique place. Having grown up in the U.K., where residents have access to universal health care, and now pregnant stateside, Brockes brings an outsider’s perspective to the many idiosyncrasies and frustrations of the U.S. health care system. She writes with charming self-effacing humor about being a gay British woman undergoing fertility treatment in the U.S., poking fun at the starkly different attitude of Americans.
Brockes also deftly uses her own story to examine how and why an increasing number of women are using fertility treatments in order to become parents—and are doing it solo. This is still relatively uncharted social territory, as Brockes is uncomfortably reminded every time she’s asked “who’s the father?” But it may not be in the future.
AN EXCELLENT CHOICE grapples with what it means, on a both personal and societal level, to embrace the amazing new reproductive possibilities women today and in the future are and will be afforded by technology.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma Brockes is the author of She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me. She writes for The Guardian's Weekendmagazine and has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist and Vogue. She is the winner of two British Press Awards—Young Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year—and while at Oxford won the Philip Geddes Memorial Prize for Journalism. She lives in New York.