Sweet Grapes

By Jean and Michael Carter
ISBN: 0-944934-23-4
LCCN: 97-34135
Paperback, 142 pages
Price: $13.00

Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again

A discussion of communication and decision making that empowers couples to take back control of their lives, this book was also the first to consider at length the positive option of childfree living after infertility!

Jean Carter is herself an ob/gyn, delivering other people’s babies! Mike is a college English professor. Together they figured out a way to pull themselves out of the pit of infertility, re-evaluate, and embrace a joy-filled life without children. They share that communication method, and their reasoning and resources, with other infertile couples who are feeling “out of options” in Sweet Grapes

Over the years, though, our infertile couple clients have often asked about the staying power of the Carters’ decision. Do they have regrets? Aren’t they sorry that they didn’t adopt or go into more high tech treatment? They updated the book ten years after their original edition, 15 years into living childfree. You’ll find wisdom and support in their answers!

Mike and Jean Carter

The Carters’ personal journey through infertility was certainly complicated by the irony of Jean’s profession–she is an obstetrician/gynecologist (while Mike is a college professor.) It was the Carters’ commitment to communicating thoroughly with one another and examining carefully their hopes and dreams that led them, ultimately, to see the joy in choosing to identify themselves no longer as childLESS, but as childFREE! Their practical and fun “tag-team” workshops and the intelligent, rational and warm approach of their award-winning book Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again have empowered thousands of couples to examine and embrace a family alternative that had been thoroughly rejected or reluctantly accepted before.

Sweet Grapes: Table of Contents


Introduction: Fertile, Infertile and No Longer Fertile
An Alternative to Fertile and Infertile
Childfree and Adoption
The Focus of This Book

Chapter One: Jean Tells Our Story

Chapter Two: What It Means to Live Childfree
Childfree Means Changing Negative into Positive
Childgree Means Taking Advantage of the Advantages
Childfree Means Taking Control of Your Life Again
What It Does Not Mean to Live Childfree

Chapter Three: The Transformation from Childless to Childfree
GRief Again: What the Metaphor Misses
Stress Reaction: A Different Approach to Grief
How All of This Helps Us to Understand Childfree

Chapter Four: The Power of Choice: Making Life Decisions
Thinking about Ending Your Infertility
The Paradox of Choice
Task One–Identifying and Removing Decision Blockers
Task Two–Establishing a Foundation for Decision Making
The Third Task–Committing Yourself to Your Decision

Chapter Five: Choosing to Live Childfree
Redefinition: Looking at Why You Want toHave Children
The Real Work of Deciding to Live Childfree: Communication
The Relationship between Adoption and Childfree

Chapter Six: But What About…?
But What about Regret?
But What about the Pressure to Have Children?
But What about the Maternal Instinct?
But What about Old Age?

Chapter Seven: The Future
Is Childfree Right for Your Future?
What to Expect from Others
What to Expect in Living Childfree
Making Plans for Your Future
Sweet Grapes; Or, Here’s to the Future!

Chapter Eight: Open to Adoption:Considerations of Traditional Adoption, DI, Surrogacy and Embryo Transplant
The Transformation from Infertility to Affirmation
Choice: Identifying and Removing Decision Blockers
Choice:Estalbishing Your Priorities
Choice: Committing Yourself to Your Decision

Chapter Nine: Mike’s Turn

Epilogue (Update,1998: How has life been in the over a dozen years since the Carters embraced a childfree lifestyle?


Reviews of Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again

Some snips from reviews…

From Midwest Book Review (May, 1998) Sweet Grapes: How To Stop Being Infertile And Start Living Again addresses an important issue in contemporary society: Can childless couples lead a satisfying and fulfilling life in the absence of children? Jean and Michael Carter address this issue with intelligence, sensitivity and candor. The result is a well respected guidepost for infertile couples as the Carters reflect on the more than ten years after their original choice to live childfree. Sweet Grapes is highly recommended reading for anyone willing to thoroughly consider all of their options to infertility including high tech treatments, third party parenting assistance, adoption, and childfree living. Of special interest is a chapter of resources and a bibliography for further study.

From ALA Booklist (10/1/89)… A powerful book that offers hope to childless couples seeking to regain control of their lives.”

From the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Fertility News (December, 1989)… “Dr. Jean Carter, an obstetrician-gynecologist, and her husband an English professor, coauthored this book. Together they have pesonally wrestled with the many issues of infertility and have resolved to live “childfree.” Their unique circumstances have enabled them to write a book that is both informative and entertaining. Few, if any books in this are deal with the issue of chidlessness and resolving fertility desires as well as this text. The authors’ approach is best summarized in this quotation from Linda P Salzer, author of Infertility: How Couples Can Cope...’When you are chasing the dream of a baby, it is easy to forget that life has the potential for many other dreams and fulfillments.’ Dr. and Mr. Carter review the pros and cons of accepting infertility and choosing childlessness as well as describe the many reasons why couples may or may not have difficulty in accepting this option…. This book is recommended for all couples who are nearing th end of their infertility options , or for those who are unsure whether to pursue infertility therapy at all.”

From Provident Book Finder (March/April, 1990)…”An
excellent resource for infertility counselors and thoes infertile couples
who have become ‘drifters’ within the decision making process.”

From RESOLVE’s national newsletter (September, 1989)… This
provocative book offers guidance on how to end the infertility crisis and
to reinvigorate life by making positive choices….The book presents clear
models for decision-making; for rediscovering and ordering priorities,
which often become obscured during the infertiliyt years, and for
investing in the decision to stop being infertile, whether that decision
is one to lead a childfree life or to build an adoptive family…SG is a
major contribution to the dialogue on infertility resolution. It
demystifies and legitimzes the childgree alternative and offers a fresh
perspetive on life after infertility… The good life the authors
obviously hae forged, even enhanced, through experiencing infertility
seems proof that the fabled grapes indeed may be sweet, even if one is
unable to reach the longed-for fruit: a biological family.”