After four years of trying to conceive, one surgery, and ten failed fertility treatments, I'm now five years into navigating this childless not by choice infertility survivor experience. The picture at the top of my blog is of Warrior 2 pose, in honor of our tribe of warriors.
While we still need and deserve many more things out in the world that reflect our lives and experiences, this is a positive step in the right direction.
You can check out the magazine here. The current issue includes a piece from yours truly on the subject of needing a tribe, aptly headlined “Hiding Behind the Curtains, Sarah Chamberlin avoids the local block party.”
How to participate in World Childless Week? Well. On one level it’s easy. I encourage you to visit their site and/or FB page to read and like posts. Since World Childless Week is an awareness campaign, sharing posts and especially sharing them with the good ole outside world is important.
This is where, at least for me, it gets challenging. I realized this when the other day I ran across a commenter on another blog that essentially said she’s put the word out about WCW and heard crickets, and how are we supposed to get the word out when we are basically ignored like lepers? So of course I burst out laughing. Her comment rung true and got me back in touch with the risks we take when we share and post on infertility and involuntary childlessness – the usual crickets, perhaps awkward looks or exchanges when we see people in person, or even having to moderate the mainstream dipshittery that can often happen in response to the sharing of our experiences. I haven’t had any of that this week, thank goodness, and I did get a warm response to my #IAMME picture (which I admittedly hesitated to post). But the risks are there and can be felt deeply on a visceral level. On the other hand, we will reach people and make them feel less alone, and we just may be changing the world little by little in ways that are not yet clear.
Many aren’t ready to share or be “out” with this experience and that space needs to be honored. There are phases of grief where sharing and fielding responses is the last thing someone needs to be doing. Looking back, I wish I was wiser to this in my own process at the time, however being silent was just too strangulating for me. Either way, I know you will honor where you are and if you are in a place where you can push through the natural trepidation, do consider sharing one piece via mainstream social media this week. If my piece doesn’t resonate with you, there are a bunch of spot on, well written and thought-provoking pieces on the WCW site to choose from.
Another thing to consider – the #IAMME campaign. #IAMMME was created by blogger Cherry Williams. The general idea is to show we are a diverse group of people who are shaped by other things beyond childlessness. You can read her post here.
You can visit their site here to read more about the daily events and find out how you can get involved.
Be sure to check out their #IAMME campaign and participate if the spirit moves you.
On Friday the 14th the people at WCW will be kindly sharing a piece from me addressing comments that hurt. This year’s pronatalist feature is the ever scintillating “You’ll never know true love until you have a child”, so as you can imagine I was more than happy to offer my rebuttal.
Am also pleased to have a piece featured in the upcoming edition of the Childless Not By Choice Magazine, due to come out in a few days. Will let you know when it’s available.
For the longest time, I have seen my children in other people’s children.For years, perhaps as many as seven, I have seen what I kept losing and then finally lost for good in other people’s children.There was no even imagining a day when this wouldn’t be.
And now, for the past couple of months, peculiar things have been happening.More and more, images of children seem to be computing as simply children instead of registering in every last cell as an unsolicited cannonball of all that I lost. Read more →
The experience of not being able to have children when you wanted them will always be life altering.And it has the capacity to inflict a level of grief that is, among other things, transformative.
The experience of wanting children and not being able to have them does not always have to be so inhumane, however.
What do we do when evolution is so clearly needed?When we are driven by the common thread of leaving this experience more truthful and less pulverizing than we found it?One doesn’t need to have their own children to have a vested interest in improving things for the next generation, that’s for sure.
A word from Jody: “It is my experience that childless grief is misunderstood and that learning to work with rather than against it is the path to getting your life back. There will be plenty of time for Q and A’s at the end.”
Actively engaging in the childless not by choice experience
“Do you have time to talk in person?I have to ask you something.Can’t really explain it via text.”
That piece of me that’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop, that piece of me cultivated and well primed by multiple failed fertility treatments and four years of actively trying to conceive, still lives on.Duller and more in the shadows now, but still there.
I quickly made the time for my dear childhood friend, preparing myself for the intense at the very least. Read more →