This book is surprisingly helpful, supportive, optimistic and is written for both men and women. I am a 40-year-old woman who doesn't have children because of illness. This book is applicable to unwanted childlessness from all causes--not just infertility. An alternate title could be "Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Feeling Miserable About Not Having Children and Start Living Again." With some effort, the whole book can be generalized from the specific case of infertility to childlessness for other reasons.
The authors make the case that a person who is not fertile can actively choose either infertility or childfree living. Their unusual definitions of childfree versus infertile and childless actually made sense after I read their detailed explanations. They write, "It is choice that makes the difference between voluntary and involuntary childlessness. Childfree means turning involuntary childlessness into voluntary childlessness. And we would rather live our lives in the achievement of a major life goal than in the constant reminder of the frustration of one." Childfree does not mean disliking children.
This book does a good job of explaining exactly what childfree living is and how it has worked for them. Luckily, they are not pushing this option on readers.
Key points are:
1. Happiness after infertility is much more likely if one makes active choices about how to spend the rest of one's life than if one drifts.
2. Every loss such as infertility or childlessness also contains the potential for gain and personal growth.
3. Building effective communication skills between partners is important.
4. Decision-making processes and skills can be learned. Decisions addressed are how much infertility treatment to undergo, how to spend the rest of one's life if biological children are not possible and whether to live childfree.
Be sure to read the revised 1998 edition because it includes an Epilogue. Bibliography but no index included.
I highly recommend Linda Hunt Anton's 1992 "Never To Be A Mother: A Guide For All Women Who Didn't--Or Couldn't--Have Children." Written by an infertile, childless, social-worker-therapist, it is the best self-help book I've found on dealing with emotional aspects of childlessness. Readers benefit from her non-threatening writing style, professional training and years of experience in infertility and childlessness counseling.