The Art of Waiting Book Summary - The Art of Waiting Book explained in key points
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The Art of Waiting summary

Belle Boggs

On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood

3.1 (26 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs is a memoir that explores the complex emotional journey of infertility and reproductive medicine. Through personal experience and research, Boggs offers a nuanced and compassionate perspective on the societal pressures surrounding motherhood.

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    The Art of Waiting
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    The narratives around birth and pregnancy are contradictory.

    Do you remember those awkward sex-ed classes we had to sit through in high school?

    Whether we knew it or not, courses like these were meant to teach us about the human anatomy and the privileged place that the concept of birth occupies in our society. In fact, from an early age, most kids are taught to value reproduction and child-rearing; indeed, cultures uphold the belief that children are the center of all life, as evidenced by sayings like “the children are the future.”

    Beyond that, the desire for biological children is seamlessly coded into most world religions and art. Just consider the Hebrew Bible, which commands Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, or the Hindu belief that children are gifts and a reflection of karma.

    Even the earliest known works of figurative art, produced around 35,000 years ago, feature exaggerated sexual characteristics like wide hips, voluptuous breasts and prominent vulvas. These artworks are thought to depict fertility goddesses.

    So, due to millennia of cultural conditioning, most people now assume that their futures should include children. This belief is so ingrained that, during her time as a K-12 teacher, the author found that most of her young students saw themselves as future parents.

    However, we’re also taught about contraception and the importance of protection against both sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted births. As a result, 62 percent of American women of childbearing age use some form of birth control and, at current rates, 30 percent of them will have had abortions by their forty-fifth birthdays.

    Yet despite this contradiction between the simultaneous promotion of fertility and contraception, humanity has managed to reduce births with great success. We’ve been so successful that, compared to other members of the animal kingdom, humans have relatively few children, at a worldwide average of just 2.5 kids per woman.

    These numbers are lower in developed countries and higher in poorer societies – but not in any extraordinary way. In developing nations, women have around four to six children on average, about half of whom die before sexual maturity.

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    What is The Art of Waiting about?

    The Art of Waiting (2016) details the social narratives surrounding birth, pregnancy and parenting. These blinks offer poignant personal anecdotes alongside historical examples to shift the spotlight onto the often unheard stories of adoption, in vitro fertilization and forced sterilization.

    The Art of Waiting Review

    The Art of Waiting (2016) explores the complexities and emotions surrounding fertility issues and the pursuit of parenthood. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With both empathy and honesty, it delves into the struggles, hopes, and resilience of those navigating the trials of infertility, offering a compassionate and relatable perspective.
    • It highlights the myriad ways in which individuals and couples choose to create families, promoting understanding and expanding the conversation surrounding fertility.
    • Through intimate personal anecdotes and extensive research, Belle Boggs sheds light on the universal human desire for connection and the profound impact of the waiting game.

    Best quote from The Art of Waiting

    Many of the most common countries of origin for adopted children – Guatemala, China, Ethiopia, South Korea and Russia – explicitly forbid same-sex couples and single parents from adopting.

    —Belle Boggs
    example alt text

    Who should read The Art of Waiting?

    • Expectant mothers
    • Couples struggling to conceive
    • Anyone considering adoption or in vitro fertilization

    About the Author

    Belle Boggs’ stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, the Paris Review, Orion, Slate and many other publications. She is a professor in North Carolina State University’s MFA program and the author of Mattaponi Queen.

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    The Art of Waiting FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Art of Waiting?

    The main message of The Art of Waiting is about the experience of infertility and the choices people face in building a family.

    How long does it take to read The Art of Waiting?

    The reading time for The Art of Waiting varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Art of Waiting a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Art of Waiting is a thought-provoking read that sheds light on the complexities of infertility and the emotional impact it has on individuals and couples. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Art of Waiting?

    The author of The Art of Waiting is Belle Boggs.

    What to read after The Art of Waiting?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Art of Waiting, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • It Starts with the Egg by Rebecca Fett
    • Common Sense Pregnancy by Jeanne Faulkner
    • Expecting Better by Emily Oster
    • HypnoBirthing by Marie F. Mongan
    • The Gynae Geek by Anita Mitra
    • The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry
    • Parenting Outside the Lines by Meghan Leahy
    • The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson
    • Moms on Call by Laura Hunter & Jennifer Walker
    • We're Pregnant! by Adrian Kulp