At 40 when she married, Chupack grappled with some of the fertility struggles that can come with age, enduring hormone injections, acupuncture and even a doctor who told her to imagine her husband's face "on a cartoon sperm with arms welcoming my egg to him." The troubles seemed to finally be over when she became pregnant with an egg donor; after making it past the critical first trimester, the couple emailed their closest friends that Baby was on the way. But the attempt ended in a painful miscarriage, the anguish and aftermath of which is detailed by Chupack's husband in her book: "On more than one occasion, I slept for 17 hours straight. The doctor said that was normal. My wife and I tried to make love, but, in her words, it was the 'scene of the crime,'" he writes.
Finally, the couple found their beloved baby, Olivia, through adoption. But the experience of creating their family gave Chupack a new understanding and empathy about the process. "The longer you're trying, the more trying it is," she tells U.S. News.
In large part, she says the book is meant to help men and women going through that struggle "to feel less alone with that and to just feel understood and be able to laugh a little bit."
With honesty about what you want and need – whether in marriage or family – you can achieve it, she says.
And once you get there, you've arrived not so much at a happy ending as a new beginning, Chupack says. After all, she and Wallach – who have now been together for eight years – craft new vows to each other on each anniversary, some of which are included in her book. On year five, after the miscarriage and its consequent grief, she wrote: "You were losing everything – again – and you cared only that I be okay. That is love. If I had to define love for myself, I would look to that moment and say I married exactly the right man, and he is the best man I know."
The experience of marriage, and family, has not only changed but also expanded her sense of self. Chupack calls herself a "citizen of the world," more conscious of children and parents – as well as their pets (she reluctantly grew to love Tink, her husband's St. Bernard). And in newly appreciating so much, she also has realized how much more there is to lose.
"I feel, quite often, like life was easier when it was just me, just one person, safely grounded, but it's too late," she writes. "We're all in this thing – the neighborhood, our families, our friends, our dogs and cats, and you ... You people just falling in love, just moving in together, just getting married, just having a baby, just reading this sentence .... We're all in this together."
For all the stories she's crafted about her own experiences, it's as if, for the first time, Chupack sees herself, so clearly, in everyone else.