Emotional Labor Misconceptions

In the face of involuntary childlessness, grief and recovery

How am I going to live THIS life in THIS world?

It’s one of the questions that has adhered itself to every aspect of my being since stopping fertility treatments three years ago. It’s a question that has become only more throbbing as I make my way back out into the world and initiate my life rebuilding process. It’s a question that is unavoidable. And how could it not be? My experiences trying to conceive, the physical absence of my children and our loss of parenthood colors everything.

I’m not alone in this. When one has come through and out of the wanting of parenthood in any way shape or form, finding themselves on the other side of their dream or pursuit or hard work without the desired children in tow, we are all in some version of a related boat.

Thoughts, feelings and instincts on this question percolate in our systems. We organically, if not subconsciously, become silent, unseen coping skill factories, working overtime to generate a new life that makes sense to us, a new social normal and perhaps most of all, self-preservation.

I was recently made more consciously aware of part of my process when I read Cathy’s latest post, Are You Doing More Than Your Fair Share of Emotional Labor? over at Slow Swimmers and Fried Eggs (Thanks, Cathy!). Realizations rising to the surface were of course prompted by the writing and investigating of fellow infertility survivors because where else would they come from? There’s no context out in the wider world acknowledging the plight forward for those of us who wanted children but couldn’t have them, even most if not all infertility support groups are tone-deaf towards this journey. (more…)

Collateral Damage Gets a Breather

Socializing With Fellow Child Free Not By Choicers

I felt my whole body present and peaceful before I opened my eyes.  Light filtered in through our hotel window which faced Pittsburgh’s Point State Park, just to the side of Heinz field.

“I feel, like…..good” I stated to my husband (mornings for me have never exactly been a time of intellectual prowess).  However, in the noticeably less plowing and more functional third year of grieving and mourning the loss of one’s children to infertility, feeling good still rates as news.

“I can’t quite explain it….” I meandered as I stretched my body and gulped in as much of my good feeling as I could, reflecting on our weekend in “the Burgh” with fellow blogger Kinsey.  “I think I might feel…normal……..which is of course weird.”

The precious few times I’ve been asked to site the toughest aspect of what I go through, aside from not getting to have children, I always answer “the social ramifications”.  Hovering in the backdrop of my response is the shaky, filmy sense that even I don’t yet really know what that means.  Not fully, anyway. (more…)

Precious Resonance

The Global Sisterhood Summit Part 2

Wrestling with the feeling that the other shoe is always about to drop was unavoidable – my subconscious associates anything infertility with the reasonable becoming a debacle, things going wrong when you do everything right and, most of all, deprivation.  I was concerned that my flights weren’t real, that my boarding passes wouldn’t print and anything else non – sensical you can think of.  (more…)

The Need For a Tribe

The Global Sisterhood Summit Part 1

“It’s just so damned basic, THAT’S why it’s hard to iterate.”

I was musing to my husband as I attempted to compose an e-mail to my yoga teacher training colleagues.  I was on my way to Vancouver for the first known formal gathering of women who wanted children but couldn’t have them and desired to share why I was not going to be in yoga teacher training attendance that weekend.   But, like all other communications these days it was proving to be a challenge.  (more…)

Truth, Death and Mother’s Day

“It’s a pronatalist world and we’re just living in it……”

I knew entering a nail salon the afternoon before Mother’s Day was not the brightest of moves.  It’s about as smart as adopting an indoor porcupine, actually.  I live in permanent mockery of my “poor little first world problem”, as I’ve been known to call it – yet my trips to the nail salon have turned fodder for many a blog post.  For the involuntarily childless infertility survivor, women + mindlessness is never good.  And so off I went, in part because my sweet cousin had just passed away, I was a little shell shocked and knew I’d be on a plane in a couple of days, and in part to treat myself. (more…)

Let’s Hang Out! The Child Free Not By Choice Social Conundrum

A Week in the Life of an Infertility Survivor Pt3

One of the greatest losses stemming from infertility and childlessness for me is the hefty strain it has put on socializing and forming relationships with people.  It is, in my opinion, one of the least understood and most underrated challenges of not only childlessness, but of one’s changed perspective having survived trauma and loss.

The phone rings in my car, somewhere on the New Jersey turnpike, interrupting my pop music reverie.  Perhaps it was Rachel Platten’s Fight Song, or Adele’s Hello, or Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, I don’t quite remember.  In the midst of anticipating a quiet Thursday evening at home organizing myself and gearing up for my yoga teacher training weekend, I was reminded by my husband that we had a party to attend at one of his restaurants. (more…)