Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology

By Jane Haynes; Juliet Miller | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

Clinical waste

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is a novelist.

A couple of months ago, I was reading a book called The Therapeutic Purpose of Creative Writing. In a section called 'Healing Narratives' I came across a sentence that must refer to me; it must, because my name is in it. 'Hilary Mantel had half her insides, including her ovaries and her womb, removed when she was 19.'

The words on the page gave me a physical shock. I felt shaky, as if blood had drained from my head to the (allegedly) missing parts of me. It was the inaccuracy which shook me. It wasn't just the implication that my eight novels are a way of patching up my biography, doing a job on the defects of my life. It was more the matter of poundage, or whatever measure you use to weigh a person's insides; there should be some Old Testament sort of measure, you feel, with a short, blunt, bloody name. I wanted to protest that, though I might be damaged, I wasn't quite as damaged as that. I wouldn't like to say what proportion of my insides is missing but I don't think it's half. As a doctor once remarked to me-or perhaps I dreamt it-'one has plenty of bowel to spare'; but only two ovaries, and a solitary womb. It's true I was sick when I was nineteen, but I was sick when I was eighteen, when I was fifteen, when I was twelve. No one diagnosed my sickness till I was twentyseven. Then I was 'cured' surgically, leaving behind the rattling lightweight of which the book speaks-a woman without her due portion of guts.

While I was puzzling over this misinformation, and wondering what I had said or written that had given rise to it, I was conscious of a picture forming-of a hollow person stalking the world, holding open a door in its solar plexus so that everyone could see the empty space within. And it occurred to me that, at whatever age it was created, there is such a gap, always waiting to open, wider and wider still, a black hole into which all the accomplishments of the years might vanish.

The disease which made me infertile and childless-there is a difference, of course-is endometriosis. I will give a lay-person's definition. Endometriosis is a condition in which the kind of cells which line the womb are found elsewhere in the body. These cells have the property of bleeding each month, and do so wherever they are. When the bleeding stops, scar tissue is formed. If there is room for it, the condition may go on for quite some time without causing a problem. If space is tight, pain ensues; sometimes, because of pressure on nerves, the pain is felt elsewhere in the body, which makes the condition hard to diagnose. Mostly, the

-19-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements x
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Fertility Clinic 11
  • Experiencing Infertility 17
  • Chapter 3 - Clinical Waste 19
  • Chapter 4 - One Man's Story 27
  • Psychological Aspects 31
  • Chapter 5 - Eros and Art 33
  • Notes 45
  • Chapter 6 - Mourning the Never Born and the Loss of the Angel 47
  • Chapter 7 - The Battle with Mortality and the Urge to Procreate 60
  • Bibliography 72
  • Chapter 8 - Myths and Reality in Male Infertility 73
  • Bibliography 84
  • Chapter 9 - Love, Hate and the Generative Couple 86
  • Changing Patterns of Kinship 103
  • Chapter 10 - The Story of Seth's Egg 105
  • Chapter 11 - Seth 109
  • Chapter 12 - Gifts of Life in Absentia 120
  • Chapter 13 - Women's Work 143
  • Bibliography 165
  • Chapter 14 - Egg Donation 166
  • The Shadow 179
  • Chapter 15 - Dark Reflections 181
  • Afterword 205
  • Chapter 16 - Afterword 207
  • Appendix 217
  • Glossary of Terms Used in Art (Assisted Reproductive Technology) 219
  • Index 227
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 229

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.