Calgary

Calgary mother writes children's book explaining infertility

A new children's book, A Lemon Tree for Wilshire, was inspired by a Calgarian's personal journey with infertility.

The book is about the mother's personal journey to becoming a parent

Author Gina Thornton says her book focuses on infertility and some 'non-traditional' ways to becoming a parent. (Bonnie Lamaire)

A new children's book called A Lemon Tree for Wilshire was inspired by a Calgarian's personal journey with infertility.

Gina Thornton, the author of the book, says she wrote it as a tribute to her two children, William and Scarlett, as way to explain their "special" birth story.

"The concept was inspired by my family's personal journey with infertility and pregnancy loss, and highlights the experience of families growing through non-traditional paths," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.

She says that in their family's case, they received help from an egg donor. At the fertility clinic, Thornton says, it was stressed by a psychologist that in the future, they should explain to their children how they were conceived. 

"I personally struggled with, 'How do you communicate this in a way that's both relatable to our children but also in a manner that was completely transparent?'"

Thornton says her two children love the book, and that another one may be in the works. (Amanda Glynn)

"We initially set out to find children's books that we could use as a tool to help guide this discussion."

That's when Thornton realized there was a gap in children's books that talked about infertility and egg donors.

"We found countless books that focused on adoption and other alternative family dynamics," she said.

"So once I recognized there was a bit of a space in the market, I set out to write a story that focused on these important topics."

The story follows a child who plans on growing his family tree by venturing out and exploring lemon trees. 

Thornton's son, William, was the main character, and in order to bring both his and his sister's perspective into the book, the mom says she would press them with questions.

Thornton says she hopes the book can serve as a resource for other families. (Amanda Glynn)

"I told them that I was working on a special project and I needed some feedback on trees and how they like to play in trees," she said.

She says she kept the final reveal of the book a surprise and that her children's reaction was something she will keep close forever.

"The book has done exactly what I had hoped it would do in terms of prompting some additional dialogue and questions with our children about their amazing story," she said.

A Lemon Tree for Wilshire is available for purchase on Thornton's website.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

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