Rohini S Rajagopal’s book recounts her battle with infertility

Writer Rohini S Rajagopal with her son Advaith   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement


Five years of treatment for infertility, three miscarriages and many disappointments later, Rohini S Rajagopal became a mother. But the trauma she had to endure during treatment, she felt, was almost never recognised by her family or friends.

“That is why I wrote the book,” she says; her book is titled, What’s a Lemon Squeezer Doing In My Vagina. “The desire to tell the world what it was like to go through the process — emotionally, physically and mentally — was uppermost on my mind. There was almost no kind of emotional support or experiential literature on the subject. All through the procedure, I was expected to function as normally as possible at home and the workplace,” she recalls.

Without resorting to euphemisms or glossing over the details, Rohini tells it as it is: the confusion, the dehumanising treatment protocols, the lack of sensitivity and empathy. When she was going through physically invasive procedures, the internet became her go-to place for information and support. “There are several support groups on social media, all consisting of women going through the same journey. Empathetic and honest, they were a source of strength because each of them had been there and through the roller coasters that they were forced to endure,” Rohini explains.

She adds that the book, perhaps a first of its kind in India, is a validation for their efforts to handhold women going through different medical procedures to have a baby. As she points out, it is only when a woman goes through the process herself that she learns about the treatments, medical terminology and stress. While she counts herself lucky that there was no pressure on her to have a child, she admits that she often wished her family had been more empathetic and open, about her efforts to become a mother.

 “Until they read the book, they had no idea of the mood swings and loneliness I was going through. There were few that I could talk to about the procedures one has to go through and the lack of privacy in many labs and hospitals,” she says.

Writer Rohini S Rajagopal

Writer Rohini S Rajagopal   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Rohini lived each day even as she nursed hope; she learnt to monitor her ovulation, endometrial thickness, the growth of the embryo and so on; the medical terminology could not be avoided in her book as the numbers and dates are important for women opting for invitro fertilisation or intrauterine fertilisation. Although health professionals might see it as a regular treatment protocol for women finding it difficult to conceive, for the women themselves, there is a lot of emotional investment that most doctors fail to understand, says Rohini.

It is her sense of humour and candour that stops the book from becoming a journal of dashed hopes and uncomfortable medical interventions. She also wanted the book to be a wake-up call for health practitioners treating infertility. “There has to be more sensitivity and empathy from family and health practitioners. Since it is also my family’s journey, I showed them the first draft after I had finished writing it. They were all moved by my account of those harrowing years and asked for no rewrites or edits,” she says.

Rohini hopes that more books will be written to address the lack of material on what women experience in labour rooms, and the entire cycle of physical examinations leading to the delivery of the baby. “Unless we talk about it, things won’t change. I am hoping that my book inspires more women to talk and write about pregnancy and labour, and bust the myths and taboos associated with it,” she says.

With her six-year-old son Advaith keeping her busy, Rohini is not sure when she will be able to sit down to write her next one though she is sure there will be another one.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 12:46:29 AM |

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