So THIS Is How Long “It” Took….

Revelations and Reflections On a Healing Trajectory

Photo credit: Geoff Colley/Shutterbug

Once upon a time, I gleefully passed out Halloween candy as a wide eyed new homeowner. 

This occurred for a couple of years before the friction between my envisioned future and actual reality started to grind.  And it culminated amid my ttc efforts with hurriedly drawing the blinds down in the wake of an unexpected onslaught of trick or treaters in 2012, hardly 36 hours after hurricane Sandy left town.  Seriously.

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20 Reasons To Not Ask Childless People About Adoption

#worldchildlessweek2021

Not even two months after my final failed fertility treatment, I had entered the adoption option’s funnel cloud.  As harsh realities and impossibilities swirled from every direction on this front, I was also sharing myself with people as I tried to make my way out into the world again.  I’ve noticed since this is something that other grieving people commonly and spontaneously tend to do.

After conveying some grief over my unfruitful attempts at trying to conceive I was told by an acquaintance I thought well of, “Well, you can ALWAYS foster or adopt…..”.  Given that this was someone with a few healthy biological children of her own, I was thrown by her unyielding certitude.

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Exploring the “It Can’t Happen to Me” Mentality…

And what precious little separates us

The day after the fierce flooding caused by Hurricane Ida here in the northeast United States, I had just so happened to have a consultation scheduled with a solar company.  A sobering, “too little too late” synchronicity?  Perhaps.  But given the years – long absence of it in my trying to conceive and healing processes, I now revel in any remnant of synchronicity that comes my way!

As I took the virtual call, I was fumbling through assimilating the events that had occurred a mere thirty miles from my home while feeling mildly comforted in taking a step that would perhaps contribute a drop to leveling off the climate crisis.

Towards the end of the call I inquired about the benefit to the environment.

“You care?” The representative said in a facetiously caught off guard tone.

“It’s a quaint notion, but yeah, every now and then…” I shot back sarcastically.

As he went on to connect the dots between solar power and burning less fossil fuel, he also shared that almost no one ever asks about the environmental benefit when looking into going solar.

“Well, that’s strange,” I thought.  I mean, of course people want to know the ways in which THEY will benefit, as did I.  It’s only human.  And, if infertility and childlessness have enlightened me to anything, it’s the human tendency to be disinterested in other people’s suffering.  But what about one’s own potential suffering due to the climate crisis?  Why would that not be of any concern?

And then I remembered – there’s also the human tendency to fail to see how easily other people’s suffering could (or could have) become their own.  Or as I inwardly have been referring to it, the “It Can’t Happen To Me” mentality.  

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We Have a New Book, Drumroll Please……..

I don’t have to tell most of you, dear readers, that in a world that likes to think of itself on a progressive social change trajectory, it has, in fact, become increasingly HARDER to be involuntarily without children.

In our modern day world, the now ever plentiful pathways to mommy-hood grab headlines.  Along with the myths and implied simplicities surrounding those pathways that also have seeped into the human conversation. 

I mean, you could be a person without children living solo in an igloo close to the north pole with your hands literally tied behind your back, and you would still get the “You really shoulds……..” and the (my favorite)  “You could ALWAYS……” overtures regarding becoming a parent.

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Parenthood and Grandparenthood in the Pandemic

Reflections on what’s missing from a year of headlines

It was early on in the pandemic that talk of grandparents not being able to see their grandchildren started to become part of the daily swirl.

I was genuinely moved by the grandparent heartache at first.  I could, all too well, relate to the plight of having something close to your heart to which you expect free access ripped from your existence.  Even if only temporarily.  I actually shed some tears on behalf of this not asked for angst. 

At the time, I was six years out of multiple fertility treatments rendering no baby.  Like most people who spend merciless stretches in the trenches of trying to conceive, or in other circumstances hoping for parenthood, I had formed surprisingly deep and influential bonds with my unborn.  

By the time the pandemic hit I had come to a point in my grieving and healing process where I was able to hold some space for life’s more meager infractions.  “Fertile world problems” I’ve come to refer to them as.  

Fast forward one year, and past endless headlines blaring the pandemic discord and disturbance heaped upon the parented and grandparented world.  Much of it entirely justified and important to air.  It’s what has been missing from our conversation that stirs concern.

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All That Comes Back

At the onset of my nervous system disorder four plus years ago, I became intimately connected with the spring phase of my gardens.  It somehow served me to meander around and stick my face inches from the earth, securing ring side seats to nature’s first pokes back from dormancy.  For the fifteen or twenty minutes that I could anyway.  Dizziness, lightheadedness and light overwhelm would drag me back inside all too soon – where I would then be overwhelmed by the darker setting to which my body could barely readjust.  

What I remember though was the awe at this phase of unfolding.  Never again was I going to miss it, to dismiss it as subtle or to only turn my attention to plants once they became more “obvious”.  I recall last early spring stumbling upon something I had forgotten I planted stridently spearing itself through the earth.  “You came back!!” I literally gasped in wonder.  It hadn’t owed me that, or anything else.  But yet there it was.  

early rumblings of white sage

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Integration

On questioning ritual and getting different

Around four years ago, in the fourth year coming out of treatments, I found myself in a vehement phase of mourning.  The pull towards expressing my love and losses through gardening continued to grow more fervent.  It was then I created our candle and flower ritual to mark the conclusion of our final failed attempt – and to chauffeur me through winter in the absence of gardening.  I was pulsing on a regular basis with the need for physical symbols that could mark, prove and memorialize.   Read more

BOUNDARIES

Drawing lines in the conversation amid social invisibility

A couple of months ago I took myself to the dentist.  Fitting in a tooth cleaning while the Covid infection rates remained low, I found myself in what felt like a surprisingly normal conversation.

In an innocent exchange of “work and business during Covid” stories, I shared a slice of how things were going in restaurant world.  And the hygienist shared how thankful she was to get back to work in July.  Staying at home with her toddler had not been good for her mental health. Read more