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Frances Jones
Overcoming the Emotional Stigmas of Infertility: Barren but Not Ashamed

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Do you feel like a failure because you cannot conceive or carry a baby to full term? Do you feel unworthy for being infertile? Are you ready to transform from a mindset of defeat and low self-esteem to one of victory, freedom, and peace? There was a time when I saw myself as damaged goods. I was hard on myself, felt unworthy because of my infertility, and was tormented by negative thoughts and emotions. The worst part was that I didn’t know how to stop. Then a miracle happened: I had an awakening. The crippling pain, heartache, and toxic thoughts associated with infertility no longer control my life and my self-esteem. I now feel worthy as a mother, wife, and woman, and I coach others who are dealing with infertility. I hope that the story of my journey inspires you and guides you through your infertility challenges.
Jones’s relatable and straightforward memoir-with-purpose details her faith-grounded, emotional transformation: after years of secretly harboring grief, embarrassment, and self-judgement because she was unable to conceive, she arrived at a newfound perspective of value from an unexpected life path. Jones describes the emotional trials of navigating the roles of step and adoptive parent while feeling the absence of a biological child, as well as the financial stress that came with pursuing fertilisation treatments. Jones’s advice leans on developing a “right mindset,” encouraging readers to reframe negative self-defining beliefs, and let go of the idea that having children makes a “real woman.”

Jones favors plain, accessible language, and she keeps her self-reflection in the realm of common-sense, approachable thinking without diving into psychological theory. This, together with her stated identity as an African American woman from a large family of sharecroppers, means her story will connect with an audience that understands the desire to appear strong while managing internal pain—readers who may not find appeal in expert-centered approaches that presume whiteness as a default. Jones’s honesty about the emotional conflicts that arose through her step parenting experience is particularly touching. Basic exercises at the end of the book offer less guidance than readers may need in order to use them effectively, but the frankness with which Jones shares her own struggles makes her ultimate recommendation of a count-your-blessings approach to life sound intentional.

Jones’s placement of blame on her own negative thinking about her endometriosis as a primary cause for her infertility is a hard sell in the context of self-care or causality, and she walks an awkward line in touting the power of positive thinking and faith while simultaneously categorizing that her thought-induced trauma as irreversible. Readers looking for hard data on the prevalence of infertility—or hearing about new technology—will miss this in Jones’s strictly personal approach, but those who appreciate authenticity will applaud her bravery in telling the story.

Takeaway: This true-life story will make readers facing infertility feel heard and understood.

Great for fans of: Anne-Marie Scully’s Motherhoodwinked: An Infertility Memoir, Sarah Kowalski’s Motherhood Reimagined.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A