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…)

My Two Warriors

The Merging of Old Self and New Self

The morning after we got the news I was up and running. Making phone calls, writing, plotting, planning, energizing the troops. And the next day, and the next. This centrifuge of energy continued for the next ten or so days as I found myself knee deep in files, sorting through pictures, discussing strategy and making decisions with the speed and precision with which a chef would chop an onion. (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…)

SHOWERED

Our Tribe Comes Together to Honor a Milestone

I was never a fan of the concept of showers. In my twenties I felt indignant that, according to some rather dominant social systems, my deserving of a blender hinged on the status of my love life.

According to my vision, if we had to have showers at all, then ALL women (and maybe men too, who knows?) should be given one upon striking out on their own in the world, partnered or not.

By the time I had my own bridal shower at the age of 33, we kept it small. I just wasn’t that into it, plagued by my discomfort with the whole tradition and its inherent inequities.

Ten years or so later, I found myself tussling with a different set of inequities, seemingly far less black and white than the former. The obliteration of anticipated milestones for those of us who wanted children but couldn’t have them hangs heavy as one grieves and transitions into their life unexpected. (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…)

I Actually Want To Do Something

Trauma’s lethargy finally cracks

Inertia. Indifference. Strangulated passion. Latent drive. A void of direction. An arduous and unchosen reconfiguration of self. All of these things are going on, or as it can feel like, NOT going on post life altering traumatic loss.

And if we are being true to our process, there is no manufacturing our way out. Amid the mysterious and painstaking unfolding all one can do is wait. And observe. And tend to the present the best one can and engage in life to whatever degree one reasonably is able.

A year and a half ago I embarked on a basic 200 hour yoga teacher training. Clocking in now at a whopping 45.5 years old (as of August 19), a peculiar kind of fascination takes over as I gaze back at my 44 year old self. You see, the conventional middle aged settled, predictable and basking in the illusion of being fully sure of one’s future does not apply here. When one sustains a life altering traumatic loss, particularly in mid-life, one undergoes evolvement and transformation that possesses a depth, velocity and trajectory that is highly abnormal for the phase of life in question.
(more…)