Book Review: Standing in Two Places by Ashley Dyson
Standing in Two Places is a brief memoir of Ashley Dyson’s experience as an intended mother through the aid of a gestational carrier. It’s a story of her inner turmoil to accept her chosen method for having a second child is beautifully written and insightful. For her to have a second child biologically related to her, her husband and her first born her only choice was surrogacy. She realizes how lucky she is to have found a truly amazing woman as her gestational carrier and yet she is deeply conflicted.
I found myself initially feeling judgmental of Ashley’s resistance to share her experience with others. After all she was going to be able to have a child biologically related to her. But the truth is that even if I were faced with the exact same circumstances my experience would be different than Ashley’s. Every individuals life and life choices are shaped by our own internal filters; how and were we grow up, our families style for handling stress, conflict, joy as well as our own personal take on the world are very unique for each of us.
Where I would probably tell everyone my life story in hopes that they would understand me better Ashley’s response was to withdraw and keep her personal story to herself. Though you can hardly blame her when some of the few people she did share with had such preconceived ideas surrounding surrogacy that I think I might have kept my family building experience to myself too.
Ashley’s helped me to have some insight into her perspective. As her story progressed I understood her conflict as coming from a place of feeling helpless to actively contribute to the health and safety of her baby growing with in another woman’s uterus. With her first pregnancy, she had to spend many weeks hospitalized and immobile. To many that would be torture but for Ashley she was doing the best thing she could do for her unborn child, staying still. That was her job to keep her baby safe. As the intended mother her hands were tied.
Ashley has shared her story with literary flair. And though her fertility issue has to do with her surrogacy experience she brings up points that are true for intended parents building families through any form of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) I also think that this is a book that could be appreciated by the general public as well as those who have friends and family dealing with fertility issues.