The morning after last week’s election I lay on my couch, practically immobile. As it did with many, the election results struck me sideways. First, I felt all of it. Confusion. Anger. Sadness. Sadness for people on both sides of the aisle who don’t feel seen and heard by our society and are not having their needs met by this country. Disheartened that things crumbled to the point where someone who I truly believe is not an intelligent, decent well-meaning human being could be elected. Upheaval. Concern for the future – mine and everyone else’s. Numb. Violated. Discombobulated.
Wishing deep in my heart of hearts that Trump does a good job is much like wishing for a pregnancy on the heels of multiple failed fertility treatments; you want it more than anything but know on a level it’s probably not going to happen. Most of all, I was shocked that I was shocked. When one loses their children to infertility after years of trying and doing everything right only to walk out into a sea of indifference (please read the “you can have mine”, “you’re lucky”, “you can always foster or adopt” “it wasn’t meant to be” and “at least you can travel now” minimizations), one’s list of what will shock them in life from that day forward becomes severely truncated.
So it started to dawn on me that, by chance, I’m already set up for this, this Trump presidency thing. That piles of knowledge, heartbreak, wisdom and grit sit in the space where my children should be does not thrill me, and it may never. But as the wheels kept turning I saw that it’s useful in some regard. And as my mind wended its way over the Cliff Notes version of my experiences, it became clear. “Come on woman,” I said to myself. “You may not feel like it now and that’s ok. But you’ve GOT this!”
So in the spirit of getting your own feet on the ground first, I offer this:
Top Nine Ways Infertility and Involuntary Childlessness Prepared me for a Trump Presidency
9) My life has already been profoundly shaped and changed by a train wreck I never saw coming.
8) I’ve got a PHD in the nonsensical.
7) Very few things are more unfathomable than a 72 year old school yard bully reality TV star turned internet troll being elected president of the United States. However, good loving people not being able to have children after trying harder and longer than most humans on the planet happens to be one of them. #beentheredonethat
Number 6 warrants an intro. Though my country has more pressing woes at the moment, woes that I’m willing to take action on behalf of, those of us who wanted children but couldn’t have them just got through a campaign drenched, as usual, in the presumption of parenthood. Months of “our sons and daughters” bombardments (complete with a campaign flier in my mailbox emblazoned with the heading “would you want your daughter drinking this water?” The answer is I and those like me wanted our daughters to fucking exist first and foremost, seems they skipped a few steps), candidates siting their parenthood and grandparenthood as some sort of a qualification to properly govern (dream on, assholes) capped off by Obama thanking, and I quote, “the Moms and Dads” who helped with Clinton’s campaign (while “the Moms and Dads” who campaigned for Trump were, notably, not mentioned). And what in the Sam Hill does one’s parental status have to do with one’s campaigning efforts anyway?? Like every other political race before, this one continued to exclude from the conversation the twenty percent of our population in this country over the age of 45 who do not parent while incessantly inferring that those with children have a greater stake and thus care more about the future of this country. Politics aside, voting for the candidate that would set an appropriate example for the young people in this country was one of the top 3 motivations that got ME, me infertilityhonesty, out to the polls. So, without further adieu, I leave you with number 6.
6) Concerns about my factions of folks in this country (people dealing with infertility and child free not by choicers) being more excluded and socially disenfranchised while being less seen and heard? Uh, nope. No worries there. The masses have already got that down. Even Trump at the helm can’t take that one any lower. I’d like to say we are marginalized, but I believe a group/life experience has to be societally acknowledged and actually INCLUDED in the human conversation before graduating to marginalization.
5) If I can get used to the permanent absence of my children then hell, what CAN’T I get used to?
4) My El Salvadoran husband has been a tax payer in this country (not to mention a successful business owner and member of society) for almost two decades. Though not likely, Donald could repeal his status and that of tens of thousands of other law-abiding, hard-working Central Americans. But hey we already lost our children – having to relocate to another country would be by far NOT the worst thing that ever happened to us.
3) My experiences have trained me to handle roller coasters of emotion, perpetual suck and constantly having no idea what in the world is going to happen all in a single bound.
2) Unlike the traumatic life altering loss of my children to infertility (which leaves one with no rituals, no societal acknowledgement and no community support in case you were wondering) I’m actually getting to process this debacle with my fellow humans. #sociallyacceptedlossesjustmightbeeasier
1) I’m adapting to the fact the human goodness and decency has got absolutely nothing to do with becoming a parent. Surely I’ll be able to adapt to it having nothing to do with becoming the president of the United States either.
14 thoughts on “Top 9 Ways Infertility and Involuntary Childlessness Prepared me for a Trump Presidency”
I hear you! Abiding with you.
Thanks! I feel a bit more settled and adjusted to this new reality now.
Perfect! Totally with you xx Even as an Australian, I had these thoughts about Trump’s presidency elect (& other shit that has happened in the world, including our own fuck-stick Prime Ministerial disgraces & gen Govt incompetencies of recent years….) VS what I have endured, survived & begun recovering & gaining strength from post-TTC/infertility treatment nightmare.
BTW I love sharing your posts on our farm’s Twitter account & ALWAYS hope all the insensitives out there who see/read it, who retain their wilful ignorance regarding our 20% of the population’s heartbreak & voices have a bit of a look at themselves (Ha!), as well as offering support to anyone else like us who benefits from your posts (always numerous ‘impressions’ even if not ‘likes’ or RTs!!).
THANKS as always. I Feel like I am reading my own thoughts/words 99.9% of the time with your authentic & heartful posts. xxx
Hi Desiree – I really appreciate the shares. I write for my own therapy and to change minds – the two don’t always go well together but if I make a bit of headway in both departments over time that’s good enough for me.
Here’s to hoping both of our government systems are stronger than any one (or few) misguided individuals who might be temporarily occupying them.
Thank you for this amazing blog post! It hits the nail on the head. I’ll be sharing this on my blog.
Thank you! I’m hoping we’re all some level of recovered by now, even if just a little.
Here, here!!! Well said and spot on!!
It still eludes me how one’s ability reproduce would qualify them for any job involved with leadership (parenting included here). Fertility is NOT a measure of morality and an ability to guide a nation. And yet this is thrown out time and again as a qualification. So maybe that’s another thing we can add to the list. Because Trump is a father 5 times over and I am dreading all the damage he will do to this country, if not the international community.
Thank you, and great point about Trump’s fatherhood status, Cristy!
Continuing on this train of thought, I question the good it does humanity to constantly site an aspect of candidate’s lives (parenthood) that they weren’t really in control of to begin with. My Dad was gushing recently about how wonderful it has been to have the Obamas in the white house and “what a nice family” they are. I know what he means, but still. And to say that thoughtlessly in front of me?? I promptly informed him that I think the current prime minister of the UK (I should be up on this but haven’t fact checked) is an child free not by choice by survivor of infertility. I wish I had asked him how he thinks he’d feel about the Obamas had they not been able to reproduce or have children via other means.
You took the words right out of my head, Sarah. I wanted very much to write this but lacked the discipline and focus to sit down at the keyboard. You may have given me the kick in the ass I need … it’s now back on my to – do list
I would have also liked to explore why these election results were so triggering for so many – I heard time and time again from people “it felt just like…. (insert past life altering trauma here)” But I realized I can’t begin to have a grip on the complexities of this.
But as always, there was enough else to go around between the parent parading themes that surrounded the campaign and the unique way in which our experiences qualify us to deal with things.
Hi. I’m sorry I’m so late, but I was travelling at the time, and was so appalled at the result, that I couldn’t bring myself to read this earlier!
Elections are always horrible – as you said, the incessant references to “our children and our children’s children” and the “mums/moms and dads” and the inference that if you don’t have children you don’t have a stake in the country or its future. I hate them. And campaigns only last six weeks in New Zealand!
I can relate to your feeling that “this is okay, you’ve got this.” If infertility has taught me one thing, it’s helped me figure out what to stress over, and what not to stress over. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration, because I’m still terrible at stressing, but I do find it easier now to say, “I’m not going to freak out about that now” and actually turn away from whatever it is.)
Point # 6 – I was interested in your argument about needing to be acknowledged to be marginalised.
And your last point – #1 – “the fact the human goodness and decency has got absolutely nothing to do with becoming a parent.” Besides going through all the self-doubt about “did I deserve this?” and “was I deemed to be unworthy of being a parent,” I think that accepting this – that being a parent has nothing to do with worth – was one of the most major steps I took to acceptance and healing. So it’s a good one! Though personally, I never really related it to politicians! (Though I don’t think most politicians are as bad as they might be made out, there’s certainly no prerequisite that they have to be good and decent either!!)
I hear you Mali, I barely could bring myself to write the post. 6 weeks of campaigning – chalk up one more in favor of living in New Zealand!!!
Interesting to hear that acceptance of the lack of relationship between getting to parent and good person-hood was key for you. I think it’s healthy for me too, but on another level I’ve found it hard to grapple with. The ramifications for the world regarding this truth – not so good.
I’ve noticed too that being pushed to extreme places forges a sharp sense of what matters and what doesn’t. In some ways I’m still more fragile, in others I’m like “I’ve got some major skills, ABCXYZ is not going to be a problem!”