Before hatching, a baby chick develops a temporary “tooth” at the end of its beak to chisel through its eggshell to be born. Author Angela J. Hogle evokes this arduous process as a metaphor for her own difficult journey to parenthood, in the title of her memoir, Cracking Through My Egg Shell.
Diagnosed as a child with Turner Syndrome, a chromosomal condition that can cause stunted growth and infertility, she grew only to 4-foot, 9-inches. She was certain no man would find her attractive, but her parents reassured her: “God never says Oops.” Devoutly religious, Hogle uses her life story as a testament to a belief in a higher plan.
After college, she met a man at the Christian school where she taught, and they married. But when they wanted children, they hit a years-long series of heartbreaking setbacks, from unsuccessful IVF treatments to a failed adoption—until ultimately finding a happy ending.
Hogle writes from the prism of her faith, trying to keep it intact even as what she wanted so desperately continued to elude her. “I kept telling God I would try to be happy without children because I wanted to be in the will of God,” she writes.
Her story is compelling, unfolding with straightforward, unsophisticated prose. However, at a mere 18 pages, the book is underdeveloped. Hogle shares the broadest of outlines of her journey, but leaves much unsaid about her life, her marriage and how she reconciled crushing disappointment with her faith. She mentions how Mother’s Day is tortuous, for example, but only in passing.
This is more of an essay than a book, perhaps to be used as a church teaching. If that was Hogle’s intention, it succeeds in that narrow venue, especially with its inclusion of Bible verses. But she might have found a richer retelling had she also included more secular details of her life and built them into a deeper and fuller narrative.