Out In the World

One of most sidelining aspects of my recovery has been the almost absence of seeing and hearing my experiences talked about in the world.

While infertility is being discussed more openly these days, one is still hard pressed to encounter its mention in conjunction with no baby bookending one’s plight.

And childlessness still seems to be deemed a “choice” by the outside world under all circumstances, no matter how insurmountable.

So when I found out about the filming of Should We Kid or Not in Jody Day’s Gateway Women online community, and that they wanted to include the childless not by choice voice (Huh?? OK!!), I couldn’t say no.

Through preliminary talks with the producers I learned the format would be a conversation, prompted by provided written questions, with someone coming from a different perspective on having children.  The hour or so long conversation would then be edited down to a five minute clip that would be part of a web series on PBS’s Independent Lens Facebook page.

Beyond that, I didn’t know who my conversation partner would be or their life experiences, or what questions I’d be asked.

The day of filming this past May offered up humidity at 95%, in full non-cooperation with my nervous system disorder.  I begged reminded myself to not indulge in my tendency to ramble as I desperately hoped my conversation partner would be reasonable.  Those of us who live with infertility and/or involuntary childlessness know all too well the dearth of emotional and empathic capacity that can potentially be on the other side of any given conversation.  Beyond that, all I could do was cross my fingers as my husband chauffeured me to and then from the studio in between his catering commitments on the other side of Queens, NY.

As it turned out my conversation partner was a thoughtful, perceptive soul and things could not have worked out any better.  The rest you’ll have to see for yourself by watching the link above. If it resonates with you, please share.  Most of the things I talk about are preaching to the choir at this point, it’s the outside world that needs to hear them.  Also please consider throwing down a like either on You Tube or Facebook in order to show support for the visibility of our demographic.

You can find this on PBS’s Independent Lens Facebook page here.

All five episodes of Should We Kid Or Not are on You Tube here.

**Since many sides of having children are discussed in this series, please be aware some topics are potentially triggering.

Another thing too absent from the conversation out in the world? Questioning and sorting out the truth behind some of the highly unregulated fertility industry’s practices.  

From assisted hatching to embryo glue, most IVF ‘add-ons’ rest on shaky science, studies find

Was glad to lend my personal experiences to this piece in STAT magazine (link right above) that addresses the efficacy of IVF add ons, and will reach so many readers well beyond those in the fertility industry.

After all of the procedures and treatments I went through, even I learned things from this article. The catalyst for this piece was a paper written by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos over at Silent Sorority along with six others, both academics and industry watchdogs.  You can access the eye opening paper HERE.  Congratulations to all of the authors for their important work.

11 thoughts on “Out In the World

  • Thanks for sharing – will check it out! PS – I was thinking of you the other day when I was watching the debates and Andrew Yang’s closing statement said something to the effect of “do you have kids?” and basically targeted only those with children and insinuated that only those with kids care about the future of our country and the children in it. Steam was blowing out of my damn ears I tell ya. These 2 years of campaigns are hard enough without hearing candidates ass-kiss the fertile and ignore the CNBC and CBC folks as if those who can’t or don’t have children are somehow not worthy of their attention. “Middle class families” in speeches always makes me nauseous, not only for the childless/free but also for any of those who are working class as well! Ugh.

    Vent done. More later 🙂

    • I’m so with you. The pronatalist rhetoric in the political world is out of control. I get peeved at the “hard working families” label because I know that label fails to include me and so many others who actually fall under the category. I believe the word “people” should be used in place of the word “families”. There now, is that so hard?? Vent over 🙂

  • Thank you Sarah for sharing and congratulations on the video! I found it very interesting. It struck me that childless and childfree people have so much in common: they both experience the social pressure to have kids, the difficulty to live as non-parents in a pronatalist culture and the lack of acknowledgment (of their grieve or their choice), plus they share the ability to reflect on why they want children (or don’t want to have them) and the open mindedness for people who are different.

    • Thanks for watching, Léa! The similarities were interesting, as is your clear analysis. That’s why I was all the more glad that my conversation partner was so acknowledging of my/our grief and of the difficulty in living this life not by choice. I think these differences are so important for society to hear, since they tend to lump us all into one category.

  • Bravo, Sarah, for putting yourself out there & for being such a strong spokesperson for our community! I loved the Independent Lens video & shared the link on my blog. I hope it gets a broad audience, because it deserves one!

  • That was such an interesting conversation…Cameron was just lovely. I was really touched when he said at the end that he would remember the conversation for the rest of his life. He seemed very moved by your conversation.

    You spoke so eloquently! No rambling at all. I think you and Cameron both really got at the feelings of exclusion and having to find others who really get where you’re coming from as people without kids.

    • Thanks so much, Melinda! I did do a little better at not rambling this time, and was also bolstered by an excellent producer. Phew! And yes, Cameron is completely awesome. The minute I saw him I somehow knew things were going to go ok.

  • Wonderful to see and hear you speak Sarah – you both articulated so well and asked questions that really got to the heart of life without, be it choice or not. I was surprised at the parallels and difficulties with friends and families. I thought it was good though that Cameron acknowledged the depths of the difficulty when its not by choice. It reminds me we have a long way to go – as this was someone who understood immediately how alienating it is. I rarely visit my Facebook page anymore, I may ask a friend to post it on her page though – I know nothing will change if I don’t help raise awareness! Well done again – you came across so well. Thank you.

    • Hi there Jane – it has been awhile. Good to hear your reflections on the Should We Kid Or Not video. It’s helpful to hear the positive feedback since I had no idea how it was going to come out and there are so many places it could have gone amiss – as is typically the case with our experiences! I too was glad when Cameron insightfully and gracefully acknowledged our plight.

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