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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All That Comes Back

At the onset of my nervous system disorder four plus years ago, I became intimately connected with the spring phase of my gardens.  It somehow served me to meander around and stick my face inches from the earth, securing ring side seats to nature’s first pokes back from dormancy.  For the fifteen or twenty minutes that I could anyway.  Dizziness, lightheadedness and light overwhelm would drag me back inside all too soon – where I would then be overwhelmed by the darker setting to which my body could barely readjust.  

What I remember though was the awe at this phase of unfolding.  Never again was I going to miss it, to dismiss it as subtle or to only turn my attention to plants once they became more “obvious”.  I recall last early spring stumbling upon something I had forgotten I planted stridently spearing itself through the earth.  “You came back!!” I literally gasped in wonder.  It hadn’t owed me that, or anything else.  But yet there it was.  

early rumblings of white sage

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Integration

On questioning ritual and getting different

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

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

WCW Mindfulness Meditation and Breathwork Video

My mindfulness meditation and breathwork video is now live, just click on the link below.

It touches on some of the practices that have been useful and continue to be useful to me throughout my infertility and then childless not by choice journeys.

The practice session itself is short, about 9 minutes long, so it’s accessible for beginners.  So glad to be sharing this with you all, & I hope it serves you in some way.  #worldchildlessweek

https://worldchildlessweek.net/sat-19-2020/mindfulness-meditation?fbclid=IwAR1Egn2MmwEFEqmttoewWO67H_J7QykFV96bhDrJzqIXoxXGeIalaKUL078

 

You can check out WCW’s other offerings on their FB page.  So many great posts this year.  I’ve been inspired by all of the writing, and by so many people speaking up and out in such a frank and honest way.

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

 

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