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This Is Not a Story About IVF, This Is a Story About a Woman

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

The Mess In Her Womb is a unique novel.

For most of the first half of the book I was thinking about a very important thing that was missing from the story - a layman's guide to infertility. I felt like the tragedy that has befallen Dr. Drishti Kapoor, the protagonist, is so profound and yet so hard to relate to for anyone who hasn't been through the same pain, that the book might suffer for it with respect to average readers.

This is no one's fault but the only people who can understand the depth of the misery, desperation, frustration and the mental pressure felt by a woman undergoing #IVF are those who have either been through it themselves or have seen someone close to them go through the ordeal. This is a fact. And is very clearly depicted in the story. Which is why I felt that to make any casual reader, who has neither endured nor observed the pain of #infertility, care for this story, a little more narration was needed to bring them up to speed with the pain of accepting infertility and starting the torturous journey through IVF.

Later, however, it became apparent that this wasn't a story about IVF - this was the story of a woman and the ordeals in her life. IVF being one (and the most difficult one) of them.

This book is not the simple story that begins with the protagonist having failed to have a natural conception, then go through the tale and processes of IVF and then to eventually be rewarded for their courage and unwavering determination with a baby.

Dr. Drishti Kapoor is not a superwoman. She is a person scarred by her past, traumatised by her presence and betrayed by her physiology. And the only way that she could get through is with help. A lot of help.

Another point that most readers (especially male readers) would find unfulfilling in this story is what a background role the only significant male character in this story has been given. This is addressed very subtly towards the very end of the novel - the narrator (Drishti) could not have fathomed that the male character was going through a struggle of his own. And it is this realization that drives the story to its conclusion, and not the IVF itself.

The author has taken a bold step by addressing the possibility of a "childfree" life (although I didn't like her using the word "childless" in those scenarios). But in the end the driving force behind a decision of going through IVF or considering adoption (or other options) must be a particular couple's own informed decision, not the outcome of social pressures.

This book truly deserves a five star rating but I am forced to reduce half a star because of a few minor language issues.

Overall the Language of the story is absolutely to the point, a well crafted prose with ease of understanding and, at the same time, depth of picturization of situations and emotions with well written words. Only a few phrases felt out of place so much as to push me out of the moment on the pages. And those instances being mostly in the last quarter of the book, I was not happy.

In any case, Dr. Chhavi Gandhi Juneja has written a beautifully painful story and the story deserves to be read.

I'll recommend this book to mature readers only, I feel young adults under the age of 25 would not appreciate the tragedy of the story. But for anyone who is either a parent or planning to be one, this book is unputdownable.

Warning: Mental Health issues including tendency for self harm; and events that may depress susceptible people need to be kept in mind before picking up this must read.

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