Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Cathie Quillet, author of Not Pregnant. When I first saw the cover of this book, my eyes instantly filled with tears. Even though fifteen years have passed since we lost our daughter, Grace my heart still hangs in the balance between breaking and healing. I know women who have grieved the death of multiple babies and those who have grieved the absence of babies. My heart breaks for us all and at the same time, my heart rejoices when I see women like Cathie facing this struggle head on in an effort to help any and all who have walked the “not pregnant” road.
Dr. Ellen Anderson says, “Not Pregnant explores the profound sadness of infertility with kindness, wit, humor and good science. It brings out feelings that most of us want to ignore, deny or repress. The sorority/fraternity of those who have not been able to have children is a quiet, hidden group. People practically never talk about miscarriages, the struggle to have a baby and the toll it takes on a marriage and on other relationships. Not Pregnant addresses this conspiracy of silence in the best possible way: by incorporating a blend of frank truth talking with genuine caring concern, and understanding. No blaming allowed.”
Ladies and Gentleman…I give you Cathie Quillet.
Cathie, tell us about yourself and your family.
I am an Independent Marriage and Family Therapist. A Californian at heart, living as a transplant in Ohio. I am the wife of a pastor and mama to the two cutest boys, who were born an ocean away. We adopted them when they were eight-months-old and two-years-old. Of all the hats I wear, my favorite is being a wife to Tyler and mama to our sweet little boys. We are a crazy, coffee-loving, rambunctious, testosterone-y family that love each other fiercely.
We’re discussing your book Not Pregnant, would you tell us briefly what prompted you to write this book?
My husband and I experienced several years of infertility, four miscarriages, three surgeries, and more diagnoses than I care to count. During our journey, I felt hopelessly alone. People around me were conceiving easily. Other people pacified our journey. I felt broken and alone. I didn’t like my own femininity. I sought validation in others experiences, but it felt like a band aid. I just wanted someone to tell me that I was okay in my own journey. I wanted to have permission to feel what I did and I wanted to know that I was validated. As I struggled to find answers, I vowed to help others not feel so alone, in whatever capacity I could. My hope behind Not Pregnant, was that if I could help one woman feel peace in her journey, than it was all worth it.
Tell us, who is Not Pregnant for?
I wrote the book specifically geared towards women. That being said, I interviewed several men about their experiences and their answers are in an appendix in the back. Additionally, my sweet husband wrote an appendix to the men. I also interviewed several women and their stories and experiences and spread throughout the book. If the reader can’t identify with my perspective, hopefully they can empathize with another person’s story.
How long did you have Not Pregnant in your mind before getting it out on paper?
The idea was birthed years before I was ready to write. I needed separation from our own journey for my personal healing.
Is it important for men as well as women to read this book?
While it is mostly geared towards women, I believe that it is highly beneficial for husbands to read it also, to gain and understanding of what their wife is going through. It is crazy to believe that both a husband and a wife will share emotions and experiences completely. I firmly believe that we ought to be students of our spouses. If that is the case, then gaining as much of an understanding about their experiences is beneficial. If nothing else, it starts a conversation with a broader perspective.
Was writing Not Pregnant an emotional journey for you?
It was emotionally cathartic. The dream of writing a book starting in the middle of our infertility journey. I am glad I waited though. Writing helped me with my closure.
Did you learn anything new about yourself or experience specific healing while working on this project?
Writing Not Pregnant brought about a lot of closure and healing. Our story ended with me getting a hysterectomy at thirty, having had four pregnancies. The sum of our months pregnant were not enough to bring a baby to term. In a weird way, this book feels like an offering to the Lord. My OBGYN contributed medical knowledge throughout the book. I laugh about it now, but I tell her that I didn’t ever think a book is what she would help me birth. But, alas, here we are!
How do you hope Not Pregnant will help your readers?
The words permission and validation have been the motivation from the start. Hindsight to my own journey still hasn’t allowed me to put a pretty bow on our experience. I don’t get it. The last thing I wanted to do was try and “fix” someone else’s situation. I can’t. However, if they feel more at peace knowing that they are not alone, I consider that a success. If we normalized experiences and bring about some healing, then mission accomplished.
Would you take a moment to offer a quick word of encouragement to those walking the “not pregnant” road?
Lean into your spouse. Marriage can be complicated enough. It’s easy to do our own things. Fight together rather than fighting each other. Strive for unity. Make boundaries for your marriage. Don’t be influenced by the peanut gallery. Take good care of yourself. Be honest with your emotions.
Cathie, I’m confident your readers will want to hear more from you. Do you have any other writing projects in mind?
If so, God hasn’t impressed them upon my heart yet. I do post a lot of infertility related stuff on facebook and instagram, so you can follow me there at @notpregnantbook. I look forward to chatting with your readers there!!
Thank you, Cathie!
Cathie Quillet, Marriage & Family Therapist, has been working in the mental health field since 2006. Cathie is passionate about helping people walk through times of grief, infertility, working with marriages, helping them heal and reach their potential. In addition, Cathie works with those suffering from anxiety, depression, women’s issues, domestic violence victimization, recovery from abuse, and negative self-esteem.