Parenthood and Grandparenthood in the Pandemic

Reflections on what’s missing from a year of headlines

It was early on in the pandemic that talk of grandparents not being able to see their grandchildren started to become part of the daily swirl.

I was genuinely moved by the grandparent heartache at first.  I could, all too well, relate to the plight of having something close to your heart to which you expect free access ripped from your existence.  Even if only temporarily.  I actually shed some tears on behalf of this not asked for angst. 

At the time, I was six years out of multiple fertility treatments rendering no baby.  Like most people who spend merciless stretches in the trenches of trying to conceive, or in other circumstances hoping for parenthood, I had formed surprisingly deep and influential bonds with my unborn.  

By the time the pandemic hit I had come to a point in my grieving and healing process where I was able to hold some space for life’s more meager infractions.  “Fertile world problems” I’ve come to refer to them as.  

Fast forward one year, and past endless headlines blaring the pandemic discord and disturbance heaped upon the parented and grandparented world.  Much of it entirely justified and important to air.  It’s what has been missing from our conversation that stirs concern.

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BOUNDARIES

Drawing lines in the conversation amid social invisibility

A couple of months ago I took myself to the dentist.  Fitting in a tooth cleaning while the Covid infection rates remained low, I found myself in what felt like a surprisingly normal conversation.

In an innocent exchange of “work and business during Covid” stories, I shared a slice of how things were going in restaurant world.  And the hygienist shared how thankful she was to get back to work in July.  Staying at home with her toddler had not been good for her mental health. Read more

Childless Not By Choice Myth #237

Lockdown – and everything else – must be easy without children

Hello everyone – you can find my post for WCW Comments That Hurt Day HERE.

If there were ever a childless myth I’m motivated to tackle, it’s that our lives are somehow easier.  Grrrrr…..I can’t even.

So, glad I got to do it with this year’s WCW theme “Lockdown must be easy without children”.

I wrote this one in an outward facing voice, so it’s meant to share with the outside world.

Also, check out the World Childless Week Facebook page for all of the other interesting posts on this topic. #worldchildlessweek

 

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

Childless woman announces her life not filled with freedom, money, travel, never-ending ease

Onlookers stunned and baffled, sources say

Credit – FeaturePics.com

In a parallel universe not yet known to man, childless not by choice infertility survivor Sarah Chamberlin decided to hold a press conference following the six year milestone of her last failed fertility treatment.  Actual humans attended.

AS a childless not by choice infertility survivor, Chamberlin knew she was going to be told – not asked – how things are for her.  So as she looked upon the starry eyed crowd who came expecting all themes resolution, uplifting, and most of all peripheral, she knew she’d need to exercise some control. 

“Ok, ok”, Chamberlin, who didn’t just become childless yesterday, bellowed as she tried to chorale the crowd.   Read more

From the Fire

“Sarah, This Is Sarah”

Strange things have been happening lately.  When I’m out in the world now, something is different.  

I find myself catching glimpses of someone I don’t fully recognize.  She is emerging full force but I have yet to really see her.  Life’s obstacles and hardships can serve as quite the blinders sometimes. Read more

Renunciate

We Are Worthy

Dear Readers, 

I miss you!  Life has been demanding a lot from me lately, leaving little time for reflection and expression.  There are positive resolutions to some of my challenges and obstacles on the horizon though, so I’ll take it.  I know I’m late to the party, but I just had to jump in on today’s World Childless Week theme in spite of my personal constraints.  And even though it’s already yesterday in the UK.  Hope you have or will get to check out WCW’s many offerings.  More from me soon, I hope.

XO Sarah

*****

For those of us acclimating to living without the children we expected, certain unyielding realities become abundantly clear amid the implosion of our formerly held world views.  

As we relearn the world through our involuntarily childless lens, we are brought face to face with the universally stringent conversational patterns that thoroughly omit our experiences and viewpoints. 

*****

It was a golden, crisper than usual mid September day as I made my way to my periodic neurology appointment.  I chuckled as I found the office, a drastically cozier and quieter place than the bustling hub where I had always seen my doctor prior.  This other location provided a much more cooperative environment for someone in the first part of an autonomic nervous system disorder, as I was now discovering two years and nine months in and approaching its merciful resolution.

I relayed as much to the friendly receptionist as succinctly as I could.  “It’s funny what we don’t realize as we’re coping, isn’t it?” Read more

How Not to Talk to a Childless Person

Credit: John Hain

Fertiles Behaving Badly

“Do you know the date?”  A woman to the left of me queried as I signed in at the office window.

“Uhhhhh, I’m usually the last person to know.  The 7th?  But don’t fully trust me on that.”

(Her) “The 7th?”

(Me) “Yeah, how does that sound?”

“Good enough I suppose” she said as we acknowledged each other with a knowing shrug and giggle.

Confirming it was indeed the seventh, she then pushed her phone into my line of vision.

“This is my husband” she stated.

I nodded and responded “Oh, okay”, leaving some space for what I sensed was to come.   Read more

WHAT I GIVE

As an involuntarily childless infertility and IVF survivor, the best Mother’s Day gift I can offer my Mom is my own well being

I know it has been awhile, dear readers.  More on my unexpected hiatus from blogging and the pieces above later.  

For now, I‘m happy to report that I made it through my end of the week travels relatively unscathed by any Mother’s Day hoopla.  A few people with whom I’m in regular contact even remembered to not bid me a “Happy Mother’s Day” and upgraded to the somewhat inaccurate but much more welcome “Have a nice weekend” instead.  

Or at least I’d like to think so.  I regularly check myself as I’ve been prone to fantasizing about people giving a shit over the past five or so years, often to find out they were not even dipping their big toenail into my shoes.  But assuming it was intended, these seemingly micro considerations render a difference in one’s well being for the better. Read more