Around four years ago, in the fourth year coming out of treatments, I found myself in a vehement phase of mourning. The pull towards expressing my love and losses through gardening continued to grow more fervent. It was then I created our candle and flower ritual to mark the conclusion of our final failed attempt – and to chauffeur me through winter in the absence of gardening. I was pulsing on a regular basis with the need for physical symbols that could mark, prove and memorialize. Read more
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
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
Onlookers stunned and baffled, sources say
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
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
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
Shrieking expletives soon filled the air of my cozy yoga space, along with yoga blocks boomeranging off the walls and a few crow poses raised in shoulder injury defiance.
This had never happened to me during a practice before. I’m all for working within my body’s limits and even find the excursion intriguing. But something else was going on. And so, as my likely wiser self hovered in the background gently whispering over and over, “Easy, tiger – don’t make it worse”, another aspect of my wiser self knew I needed to let it rip. Read more
Today is my five year blogaversary. Tah – dah!
It’s strange to think that five years ago today I clicked “publish” on this blog for the first time. Read more
I haven’t been playing coy. At least totally not on purpose anyway. I’m well aware of what time of year it is.
The often bargain basement notion of “focusing on something else” has functioned as a dismissive annoyance for the better part of my healing process. “Focus on the life you DO have” – when that was thrown my way for many years people may as well have been poking me with a fire iron. So disparaging and unintelligent in its simplicity, isn’t it? While ultimately that was what I wanted to move towards coming out of treatments (because really, who HASN’T thought of that), the trip from point a to point b is nothing short of a brutal, painstaking labyrinth. And that’s putting it nicely.
Not to mention that when you are putting yourself through the wringer to try to have a child, and when you are coming to terms with the fact you will never be a parent, these things ARE major parts of the life you do have. This is not a trip to Vegas, people. What happens in baby making and involuntary childlessness land does not merely STAY in baby making and involuntary childlessness land.
And there are always those people around you hyped to find you a “distraction”, especially when your pain reaches its peaks and needs to be felt and expressed most. A distraction deemed for you when it is really for them, as if it’s possible to focus on anything else but trying to comprehend your missing children and make sense of this new life you didn’t ask for.
It seems though, I’ve finally figured out an application for the peripheral “focus on something else” modus operandi (perhaps there is a time and a place and a grain of truth to almost everything). Yes boys and girls, so far this year I’ve found that “focusing on something else” during the Christmas season may be my way to go for now.
Please do let me explain. Read more
The carefully orchestrated campaign material came in the form of a gut punching drizzle.
First, a leaflet listing the candidate’s attributes – mom, community leader and South Shore native. Yes, in that order. Then a greeting card layout splattered with pictures of her children that introduced them to us – ready or not! Followed by a brochure featuring her and her children who were holding up a handmade “Mama for Congress” sign (which they clearly did not fashion themselves). Of the five pictures inside, two featured her children, one of which was her campaigning with one of them. Some people may view this as going above and beyond, as an obstacle to overcome. I view it as an opportunity I and so many like me will never have.
Two slightly more informative brochures followed. One donned with her lifting her son out of a car seat on the cover. With the last, a dash of hope things were heading to the realm of more substantive and relevant. Until I flipped it over to be greeted by her speaking in front of a group while cradling her son on her hip.
I wanted to support her, I wanted to help remove the incumbent in my congressional district, but through all the parenthood drool how was I supposed to determine if she’s a good candidate? Read more