About Rachel Cathan
Rachel Cathan is a writer from Bedfordshire. Throughout years of fertility investigations and treatments, Rachel kept a diary of her experiences, and it’s from these first-hand encounters in the world of infertility and IVF that her first book, 336 Hours has been adapted.
On the subject of writing the book, Rachel says: ‘While I was writing them, I didn’t imagine that I would be sharing the contents of my IVF diaries with the rest of the world. But what struck me the most when I was in the thick of infertility treatment was how alone I often felt, and how disconnected from my own thoughts and feelings I had become. I experienced a profound sense of shame that I had allowed infertility to bring out the worst in me, to rob me of the most valuable relationships in my life, and to turn me into a woman I barely recognised.
‘When I spoke to other women, they always told me they felt the same. So I decided to write a book that would hopefully bring us all together, to laugh at the absurdities of infertility (and there is actually a lot to laugh about in the surreal world of fertility treatment) and to give a voice to all those thoughts and fears that are so difficult to share in real life.
‘I also wanted to write a book that would provide a real insight into IVF for anyone who hasn’t been through it; a book that you could give to your best friend, your mum or your sister and simply say “this is what it’s like.”
On choosing to set the book in the notorious two-week wait, Rachel says: ‘The IVF two-week wait is one of the biggest psychological and emotional challenges life can throw at you – and especially when you’re doing it for the second, third (or more) time. It was the time when I genuinely feared for my sanity and most needed somebody to understand what I was going through – so it made sense that the book should be set in that intense timeframe.’
Rachel now lives with her husband and two children (thanks to the discovery of a renowned fertility doctor overseas). As a result of her own struggle with infertility, she has also now trained to be a counsellor.