Read the Flipping Chart, Please

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The medical profession’s tone deafness surrounding infertility and involuntary childlessness

On the Thursday before this past Sunday, the day that shall not be named here in the US, it finally came.

Considering the fact I’m living as, among other things, a childless not by choice survivor of infertility, I had had a relatively trigger free week.  I went food shopping twice (a newly regained ability since coming down with post infection dysautonomia almost a year and a half ago) and no one wished me happy mother’s day.  I ran into a neighbor while getting my groceries out of the car and she didn’t mention the looming national holiday.  Making up for my winter of hibernation, I went out twice – once grabbing lunch with a friend and another having dinner with my husband and two friends of ours.  Nary a peep.  And aside from the usual commercial bombardment, which seemed to be making me only mildly grumpy and was not spiking my sarcasm meter to the degree it usually does, I was actually starting to feel like this is my world too once again.  

Now, I want to be clear, it’s not like I was just skipping through my week.  Four years out of trying to conceive and four years into the grieving and healing process, there are still many times when I wish I could emblazon myself with a “fragile, please handle with care” stamp.  The week leading into mother’s day is of course one of them.  Sensing my wounds and vulnerabilities undulating just beneath my now quasi functional surface, I attempted to make the necessary adjustments.   (more…)

An Easter Note to Self

Pulling into the parking lot, we were overcome by an unanticipated wave of families with young children.  Someone decollapsed and snapped into position a twin stroller as I got out of my car.  On my right, as I walked into the garden center, a set of grandparents were suspended in time, gazing oozingly at their grandchild before re-entering their vehicle.

It was Good Friday, and Holy Shit indeed.   (more…)

An Advent Calendar for the Involuntary Childless

My Christmas Conundrum

I remember vividly my first mother’s day which came about three months after our final failed treatment. My heart was so heavy breathing felt like bench pressing. The intensity of my pain deemed the question “Will I survive?” more than legitimate, my need for self protection fell just short of having to inhabit an actual cocoon.

But recently I found myself thinking, there’s an efficiency to mother’s day the winter holiday season is entirely lacking. Albeit one of the more hard hitting emotional blows that exists, it’s mostly one hit and you’re done. A bit of lead up, nauseating commercialism and some violating conversational recap here and there, but a seasonal noose it is not.

This winter holiday/Christmas thing however is a bonafide MARATHON. And the longer something goes on, the more deeply it begs the question “what to do?”, and in cases of being childless not by choice, “what NOT to do?” Our fourth holiday season out of our final failed treatment and I still have no real answers. (more…)

#WorldChildlessWeek Day 4 WORDS THAT HURT

WORLD

CHILDLESS

WEEK

#WorldChildlessWeek Day 4 WORDS THAT HURT

20% of our female population over age 45 worldwide does not parent.

As many as 90% of the world’s child free population has been found to be child free NOT by choice.

One in eight couples of childbearing age seek medical treatment for infertility.

AND YET, The following responses to infertility and childlessness are still considered appropriate:

“It just wasn’t meant to be”

“At least you can travel now”

“Maybe God doesn’t want you to be a mother”

“You can ALWAYS foster or adopt” (so NOT true) (more…)

Going Out In the World An Iffy Bet For Infertility Survivors

Long Island, New York. We’re in the living room of Sarah Chamberlin, child free not by choice survivor of infertility, as she ponders this upcoming Mother’s Day.

“The rampage of advertisements has already begun” Chamberlin calculates. (more…)

Top 9 Ways Infertility and Involuntary Childlessness Prepared me for a Trump Presidency

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. (more…)

#Startasking Eight Reasons Why Asking is Hard

I’ve done my share of speaking out on my trip through infertility and now involuntary childlessness.  I’ve asked my family and friends for support.

I insert my truths in conversation when I’m able.  I educate when I can.  In doing these things I’m habitually asking people for acknowledgement and to be informed themselves. (more…)