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…)

On Ritual

Honoring that which never got to be

A settled chill hung in the air as we hurriedly pulled into the flower shop on our way to buy groceries.

“Why don’t we get them at Whole Foods? Whole Foods has flowers.” my husband pointed out irritably.

I slammed the car door without a word and stomped into the flower shop, disregulated autonomic nervous system and all.

I respectfully waited for the owner to take a funeral order as my autonomic nervous system failed miserably to adjust to the cold (which is typically hard on people with dysautonomia as well as other neuropathies). But knowing what it’s like to have a loss that is not societally regarded in any way, I was not about to impatiently huff and pout in the face of someone else’s moment of acknowledgement.

I ordered an arrangement of white flowers in a low, square vase as my lightheadedness ballooned and the room spun a bit, perhaps from both the cold and harsh reality. (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…)

Summer Reading

The most illuminating book for my process so far

I’m recalling those days of summer reading. From the dank public library basement children’s section in northern Massachusetts to propping myself up with a book in my bed, in a tree, or on the back porch. The focus was different back then, needless to say. I read stories and about history and historical figures. I was Laura Ingalls Wilder obsessed and had an innate interest in physical handicaps, reading whatever I could that would take me into the worlds of those who had to struggle where I didn’t.

Today it’s different. I have a reading list for the first time in my adult life, spurred by my experiences with infertility and involuntary childlessness. This list is mostly filled with stories of those who have gone through some kind of life altering traumatic loss or plight. Seems I’m propelled to read whatever I can to take me into the worlds of those who have been forced to struggle in ways similar to those in which I have. (more…)

Reflections on Grief and Feeling

You can find my latest round on Lesley Pyne’s blog HERE, dear readers.

I had mentioned in a comment on her site that I had taken my grief head on.  She asked me what that meant and if I’d be willing to write about it.

How refreshing to have someone stop and pay attention to that which most people want to avert!!  An important reminder of the power of community.  And that our involuntarily childless club needs to grieve and mourn just like any other set of humans who lost a key component in their lives that was near and dear to them.

And so I did write reflections on my grief journey and included some tools that have been useful to me that hopefully others will find empowering too.

 

XOXO

Sarah

 

 

 

Musings From the Middle

In both disenfranchised grief and resurrection, it is hard to know where you are. And often times, it feels irrelevant. Post life altering traumatic loss Road is perpetually foggy, no doubt. But is having some sort of proposed road map really going to alter the slog of now? (more…)