World Childless Week 2020 To Begin Tomorrow

For the fourth year in a row (!!), World Childless Week will be taking place starting on Monday, September 14.  Combining the best of both worlds, WCW serves as a support for our demographic AND as an awareness campaign.

Below are just a few of the webinars on deck for the coming week addressing topics on all things childless.

While many of us need to pace ourselves this week, it’s also a great opportunity to give our demographic some traction in the “outer world”.  I encourage you – and myself! – to like and share as much on social media as you reasonably can.  Posts, including a couple of offerings from me, will be shared throughout the week on the WCW website, Facebook page and on Twitter.

On Friday the 18th Comments That Hurt Day, look for my post tackling the notion that lockdown – and everything else – must be easy without children.  I’m looking forward to the other posts on this topic (also coming out on Friday the 18th) and to see how we address this misconception collectively.  As it may have come across on this blog in the past – subtly of course – the myth that childless lives are automatically easier could be my most despised childless myth of all time.  Given the stack from which we have to choose, well, that’s really saying something!  So I’m glad I and others will have the opportunity to unpack this one.  My post is outward facing – voiced to the outside non-cnbc world in other words – so feel free to share it.

And on either Saturday the 19th or Sunday the 20th, look for my Mindfulness, Meditation and Breath Work video.  Accessible for beginners, I’m leading us through a brief dabbling into the practices that have been useful and supportive for me throughout my childless journey.  I’m really looking forward to having this one shared and hope it serves our community in some way.

As a childless person, I’m very conscious of how much energy I give (or really, don’t give) to the parented narratives that dominate our human conversation.  So most of all I’m grateful that this week exists (Thank YOU Stephanie Philips!!), and in that OUR narrative is finally given the space and voice it deserves.

#worldchildlessweek

PHASES

SpaceX-Imagry, Pixaby

The psychological trajectory of non parenthood is not a flatline

Over the past year plus now, I’ve been on an expedition with my body.  I enlisted in physical therapy due to a shoulder injury, which then spanned, at my urging, to a fuller body physical therapy program to address scoliosis.  Between that and osteopathic manipulation therapy sessions, I notice slow but steady improvements.  It’s hard, consistent work.  And even though my present musculoskeletal issues would likely qualify as minor, I’m choosing for now to keep trekking.  

Characteristics that shaped my infertility experiences have resurfaced and this puts me on alert.  My persistence, ability to commit, need to see what’s under every rock and general fire – the very things that screwed me in baby making land – have re-emerged within this plight.  A scoliosis body carries with it a whiff of mystery, it’s conceptually akin to a Rubik’s cube that never quite gets solved.  I remind myself that I am now also equipped with a much softened expectation of cause and effect, an awareness of persistence’s dark side and an honorary PhD in that which we don’t control.  With all that, I think I’m ok to keep going. 

I’ve gotten the idea along the way that I’m not your average patient.  Much of this is due to my alignment based yoga practice and training, and the heightened body awareness that renders.  But underneath the surface I feel there’s something else. Read more

Social Isolation on Mother’s Day Not a Novel Concept For Many

And other pandemic deja vus

Well folks, here we are.  In a worldwide crisis with no known ending.  A crisis that entails a major loss of control, an utter disruption of our normals and a smashed view of the future.  We are dealing with a disease that was initially not taken too seriously, a condition whose effect on individuals is intensely swerving and has the capacity to leave major wreckage in its wake.  And all in a situation where social isolation remains one of the few ways to lessen bad outcomes, where much time and energy is expended re-learning daily life basics. 

We’re fumbling our way through a global pandemic.  And for me and many like me, it all feels so familiar.   Read more

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. Read more

My Full Story

As the recent piece in Marie Claire ended up presenting a severely stunted form of my TTC story, Pamela from Silent Sorority opted to piggy back it with the full version on her important platform, reprotechtruths.org.

So hold onto your hats folks, you can read a much more robust account of my fertility industry journey HERE.  For years I wasn’t able to speak or write about it in its entirely all that coherently.  The amount there was to process seemed endless and unfathomable.  It’s only recently (about 4.5 years out of treatments) that a quasi rear view mirror of sorts has emerged through which to view and assimilate things.

People come to childlessness via many different paths.  I feel it’s important for the entire CNBC community to have a reasonable level of awareness regarding the perpetual trauma from which many of us are emerging or have emerged.

Reprotechtruths.org is dedicated to #unmaskingIVF and to helping “future generations understand the associated risks and costs”.  Thanks to Pamela for creating and curating this crucial site.

For those who have direct experiences with the fertility industry, your stories are important, especially in light of the current lack of patient tracking.  If you too are interested in sharing your story on reprotechtruths.org, click here.

Be back in a couple of weeks with some writing, finally, just for this blog:-)

 

 

 

In a National Women’s Magazine

A piece researched and written by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos over at Silent Sorority went live recently in this month’s online edition of Marie Claire magazine.  You can find the piece, The Wild World of IVF, Explained here.  You’ll also recognize the lede – I’m committed to lending my voice and story to more truthful and realistic portrayals of infertility and the CNBC experience.

There were plenty of other valuable personal accounts and hard-hitting research on the fertility industry that didn’t make it into the piece, as Pamela attests to in her most recent post.  It’s crucial that mainstream media grant readers access to in-depth, accurate reporting on the emotional fallout and mental health ramifications including PTSD that result from multiple failed (and sometimes not failed!) fertility treatments, as well as the current lack of palliative care.  Just to name a few.  The “How to have a baby” subtitle, one of which landed right next to the brief account of my plight, gave me and will give others a bit of a lurch.

That said, what did make it into this piece results in what I feel to be a very straight-forward, non sugar-coated overview of the IVF process, from which even I, quite the IVF veteran as are many of you, learned a few things.  Hats off to Pamela for her persistence and astute reporting.

Overall a strong step in the right direction of not glossing over the IVF experience.  All I ever caught wind of via the media in my years leading up to trying to start a family with children were people getting pregnant naturally in their late thirties and early forties, rare live births of high number multiples, or miracle baby “just keep trying” stories resulting from IVF.  What do you think? 

On another note, it has worked out that I’ve been collaborating with others and putting my work on broader platforms lately.  Not sure how it feels from your vantage point, my valued readers, but I rather miss the intimacy of pouring my heart out and writing just for your eyes (plus whoever you care to share it with) and this blog.  I’m looking forward to getting back to that soon.

 

Childless Voices Resound on IVF’s 40th Anniversary

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.

We start talking. Read 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. Read 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. Read 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