Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Swimming in Circles: Book Review & Giveaway

When Mook and I stared at the results of his sperm analysis, life changed forever in that instant for us.

The results were bad. Truly bad--and the even harder part is that we were prepared for the problem to be with me. Such a "standard" when thinking about why you aren't able to get pregnant--the woman automatically thinks: "something is wrong with me!"

So as we absorbed what the doctors were telling us, we were both wondering how we were going to navigate this path that had been laid out for us? I was having a hard time finding books/websites/blogs that had any more than a blip about male factor infertility.

Thankfully, I connected with the ALI community and it became a place where I learned, shared and received support. But as I've mentioned before, Mook was dealing with the diagnosis in more private manner and felt isolated as far as sharing his feelings and connecting with other men experiencing a similar diagnosis.

I only wish we could have had a book like Swimming in Circles by Michael Barr for Mook and I to read together during those really dark days. However, it has proved to give us some "back-dated" healing after absorbing Michael's thoughts and reading about the experiences he and his wife went through.

Thanks to the wonders of social media, Michael and I have become blog and twitter pals in recent months, so it's meant a lot for us to be able to have this connection.

He has graciously offered to giveaway a signed copy of his book! You can also read the first 64 pages here.

Here is a quick blurb from Michael during one of our discussions:

"...if you think infertility is a taboo subject to begin with, just imagine being a guy. That's quite honestly why I wrote the book - almost all the books and all the (good) blogs are from females, and while it's not impossible to interact, I think guys often feel like the impostor - so we often lurk, but rarely share.  I just about went nuts going through all the in vitro because I literally had nobody to talk to about it - and the book became the outlet.  What comes out quite literally looks like a love story with all the ridiculousness of our lives and infertility mixed in. I'm not sure that's going to get guys out of their man-rooms and into the discussion, but at the very least, maybe the story will resonate with them a little and they won't feel so alone. If that happens, I've done my job."

Michael has also offered to hold a Q & A session here for anyone who has questions about male factor infertility, his book or other question about his journey--just ask in the comment section!

And now onto the giveaway!

To enter to win a signed copy of Michael's book:  ways to enter!
1) Leave a comment below discussing your thoughts on male factor infertility. For example: is it talked about enough or not? Do you think men suffer just as much as women in the IF journey?
2) "Like" Michael's Facebook Page for Swimming in Circles (leave comment stating you did so)
3) Tweet this post (leave a comment stating you did so)

You can enter the book giveaway from May 24, 2011 - May 31, 2011 and a winner will be chosen by a random generator. Please leave an e-mail where you can be contacted!


  1. I read the first few pages and I'm sucked in.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hooked! Thank you Michael, and consider this MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

  3. Sounds like a good book.

    I think there is still so much taboo surrounding male IF, so much that people still think, for men, their identities are wrapped in whether they can father a child.

  4. I think in many ways there is much more of a stigma attached to male infertility than female infertility...and i think it's a crying shame because a man is no less of a man just because he can't father a child.

  5. I liked his facebook page as Kristin O'Donnell Cruz

  6. I clicked 'like' on the fb page. :)

  7. Liking the facebook page; tweeting your post.

    Yeah, I wish there had been someone like this for us. :-)

  8. I tweeted about the giveaway :-)

  9. Also, I do not think infertility as a whole is discussed enough, and certainly not male-factor infertility even among the infertile community.
    I think men suffer and struggle through infertility in a very different way than women, so comparing the amount isvery difficult. The things they face, the way they process things, and what they even need to process are so much different than what women do, or at the very least manifest at different times along the journey than for the female. Rarely, in the seven years of our journey through infertility, have either of us been dealing with, hashing through, or grieving the same thing at the same time. It definitely happens, but it's apparent that his struggles, while deep and painful, are very much different than mine in timing and thought processing.
    I think it's fantastic there's a book out like this. I wish we would have known about it much sooner. My husband asked me the other day to share the twitter handles with him of any men in the infertile twitter/blogging community. It's difficult to deal with alone, whether male or female. It seems to be a little easier for the ladies to find a supportive network of people whether in real life or on the Internet. Not as easy for men.

  10. Just "liked" his Facebook page.

  11. Thanks to all for the positive feedback, for liking the facebook page, and I encourage anyone to ask me direct questions if you happen to have any.

    Searching for Serenity and Hollie - honestly, music to my ears to hear that the beginning grabbed your attention!

    Julia - you probably already know this, but I think in general, guys tend to bottle emotions up. When and how we let the cork out depends on the guy, and it's usually not very constructive. The entire reason I wrote this was because I so, so needed someone to relate to that I could talk about how strange and surreal the whole thing was - and I'm hoping this book can provide that at least in part.

    You ladies are awfully good at your blogging/tweeting/networking as a system of support. Hopefully I can sneak this book in there somewhere to help the husband that was as confused as I was...

    Cheers to you all -

    - Michael

  12. Oh yes please I would love to read more. Husband has vasectomy!! Yes, not traditional MFI but it 8 years infertility for me, the second wife :(

    Email: thekaitakeblog@gmail.com

  13. Great book! It's definitely needed out there. Thanks for sharing!

  14. About to tweet. Will cc you on it.

  15. This looks great! Though our secondary infertility (SIF) was not male factor (at least not predominantly), I think any book about the male perspective of infertility fills a huge void in literature and support for men going through this. I wish something like this had existed when my husband and I were dealing with SIF and loss, though I don't know if he would have actually read it. I am so glad to know that it exists now for all those that will surely benefit from reading it. Way to go Michael for writing this and to JJ for helping to promote this! I will be back to confirm that I liked the FB page and tweeted about your post/giveaway. :)

  16. I just "liked" the Facebook page and hope that my friends who are dealing with infertility, especially male factor, will see that and check it out.

  17. I also just tweeted about your blog entry and hope that some of my followers will click through to find out more about the book and enter your giveaway! :)

  18. As a guy, infertility is something that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a man, and I think many men feel that they are somehow being punished with infertility. Being told that your little swimmers are mutants with two heads and lazy, is kind of like saying your a mutant with two heads and are lazy.

    As a pharmacist I am seeing more people than I used to come in for advice about getting pregnant, and I consider it a blessing to be able to help them with a little bit of knowledge, But I have learnt to just be as forthcoming as possible with people, and they appreciate it. Having blogged a little bit has been rather therapeutic, and here you can say what ever is bugging you while still having some annonymity.

  19. umm, so THANKS A LOT for my sleepless night last night. I got my book from Amazon, and couldn't stop reading! ;o)

  20. First of all I think MFI sucks. It's so taboo which is a shame that our men can't get the support they need like we gals can.

  21. I tweeted!

    GO! RT @reprojeans: Last day to enter to win a signed copy of @michaelcbarr's book! Hurry on over! http://bit.ly/j9ZcCb

  22. And I "liked" his page on FB.

    Thanks for doing the giveaway! You're awesome.

  23. oooohhh.. My thoughts on MFI? The first thought that goes through my head? um...can I type that on here? "$()%*&*((*^@# BLEEPIDY BLEEP BLEEP" Pretty much sums it up.
    It sucks the life out of you. At least for a while. It blindsides you b/c you just don't see it coming! It is never talked about and even the words 'fertility' or 'infertility' conjure up the imgages of women.

    As painful as IF is for women- at least there isn't as much stimga associated with talking about it. For men- it feels like your 'maleness' is automatically in question. The jokes from other men "I could get your wife pregnant" or "Jane washes my underwear and is knocked up" really DON'T help.

    My heart aches for my husband. I am 30 weeks pregnant via donor sperm. A year ago we learned there was no chance of a biological child due to non obstructive azoospermia. My sweet, broken spirited husband APOLOGIZED to me. That is the part that really makes me sad- it isn't his fault.
    He processed it in his own way,and there were a few books out there to help him...I think another one is ALWAYS helpful.

    Not only that- I think books like these should be in libraries for people to read!
    Thank you for writing the book Michael!!

  24. I twittered. :) *twit**twit*

    (sorry, can't do FB- hubs has too many work people on there....he isn't ready for it to be 'out' there)

  25. Congrats to Julia Lynn--our giveaway winner! I entered 1-24 in random.org (did not count Michale's comment) and the result was number 10. Thanks to everyone for entering, and Julia Lynn, I will be in touch!