For almost two decades, Charlene Carr’s life has been defined by pain. The 31-year-old author, who lives in St.John’s, says as a teenager, she remembers lying on the floor, crying and sweating from the debilitating pain that would accompany her menstrual cycle.
She says doctors told her it was normal – that she couldn’t handle being a woman. But Carr’s symptoms were more than the abdominal cramps commonly associated with menstruation. There were cysts, inflammation, pelvic pain, fatigue, immense pain…but nothing that compared to the pain of finding out that she might never become a mom.
Carr has Endometriosis. It’s a disease in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside it. The main symptom is infertility. Doctors discovered Carr had the disease almost two years after she and her husband began trying to have a baby.
The diagnosis was bitter sweet. Carr says after years of feeling weak, she finally understood her pain. “The pain has affected my ability to work and to feel like a functional woman. I spent years feeling broken, sensing that something was terribly wrong—but told that it wasn’t.”
The diagnosis confirmed that Carr’s pain was more than what was commonly dubbed as PMS, but it also confirmed her infertility. “Having children has always been incredibly important to me—a dream. Learning that may never happen was a devastating blow,” says Carr.”
“To hear my diagnosis, and then, after almost two years of trying to conceive, to hear my doctor say I had less than a one percent chance of ever having a baby.”
Consumed by her disease and desire to have a baby, Carr escaped to a world that allowed her to write the fate of a character much like herself. In a two-part story, Carr writes about a fictional character, Tracey Sampson, who faces a similar heartache.
“I was putting so much energy into trying to come to terms with what it meant for my fertility, and my whole life, that I decided the best way to ‘free’ myself from some of that would be to create a character who could learn as I learned and work through some of the pain, fears, and insecurities I was struggling with,” says Carr.
Whispers of Hope is the second book in the series about Tracey Sampson, a woman who was adopted and yearned for the day she would have her own children. Carr, who has published four other novels, says Whispers of Hope explores the challenges endometriosis presents to fertility and the need for the character to reassess her view of what makes a true family—biology or love.
The book comes out on March 4th to coincide with Endometriosis Awareness Week. Carr hopes the story helps spread awareness about Endometriosis and helps people accept the disease, “the biggest thing I want people to take from the story is that even though life may not work out the way we hoped or planned, it can still be wonderful and fulfilling.” You can get the book here http://www.charlenecarr.com/getwhispersofhope/