Life is strange. Not that I had to tell any of you that. It’s an obvious truth that just needs to be plainly stated sometimes.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
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
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. Read more
“The rampage of advertisements has already begun” Chamberlin calculates. Read more
“It’s a pronatalist world and we’re just living in it……”
I knew entering a nail salon the afternoon before Mother’s Day was not the brightest of moves. It’s about as smart as adopting an indoor porcupine, actually. I live in permanent mockery of my “poor little first world problem”, as I’ve been known to call it – yet my trips to the nail salon have turned fodder for many a blog post. For the involuntarily childless infertility survivor, women + mindlessness is never good. And so off I went, in part because my sweet cousin had just passed away, I was a little shell shocked and knew I’d be on a plane in a couple of days, and in part to treat myself. Read more
“Happy Mother’s Day!” my spin class instructor called out.
I lurched to attention, having been yanked from my “spinning zone”. This weeks’ class had given me time to think and engorge my lungs with prana after a week of little physical activity. Visions for my future, for this life I didn’t chose, had finally started to creep in and I used the class to focus on them. And I was feeling GOOD.
“Happy Mother’s Day to you all!” she called out again. It was only Wednesday. Read more
Right now, I have only one question.
Yes, normally I’m perplexed by society’s indifference to early child losses, especially when coupled with all of the mommy mania out there. I think what many might label as “serious thoughts” about the hows and whys of life, or more so lately the lack thereof. I’ve been accused of being too long winded, too divergent, too intense. I’m down with mindfulness and feeling every nook and cranny of my emotions, especially the taboo ones.
But right now, I ponder only this:
Given that I’m an involuntarily childless infertility survivor going through my second Mother’s Day without my children, at what time should I start drinking?
I don’t ask much from you, my dear readers, but I could really use your input on this. The absence of script for this kind of life is really getting to me.
So whadaya think? Noon too early?
I’ve got a nice bottle of rose champagne (a gift for my b-day back in Feb) that needs some attention. Granted, I feel anyone who has lost their children should be bathing in the shit instead, but alas I’ll be drinking it.
Yeah I get it – there are more noble things I could be doing on this not so fine day. Feeling my feelings as I did last year, reaching out to others and yada yada yada. It just so happens that not giving a shit is something I’m also able do quite well every now and then.
What about 11:00 am? Any opinions?
I leave you with my Facebook post for the day. I pretty much never post on Facebook. I’ve made no bones about the fact that avoiding humans has been one of my tickets to surviving infertility. But I might actually be peeking out from under my rock.
I said might.
So rather than re-emerge on FB (otherwise known as the fiery depths of hell in IF circles) with a benign comment about the weather, or some fake holiday oriented cordiality, as a more intelligent person would do, I threw down this instead:
On this day that is still shamelessly embalmed in the exclusion of so many, I pass on this quote:
“I believe that in the same way we need species diversity to ensure that the planet can go on, so we need this diversity of affection and diversity of family in order to strengthen the ecosphere of kindness.”
On this day I grieve.
And on this day, to all of the aunts and stepmothers, to all moms of alpha pregnancies, moms of miscarried pregnancies and stillborns, to everyone who participates in the welfare of children, child free by choice people who contribute greatly to this world, and every person without children who has relentlessly nurtured me throughout my adulthood, to people who have lost their potential children to tragic and unfortunate circumstance, to all my fellow brothers and sisters in loss and especially to every parent without children out there for whom I know all too well how hard this day is, I salute you. My infertility survivor child free not by choice family of two salutes you all.
Oh, did I mention I practically have no friends since I’m never on FB? So that whole heart outpouring was for like 13 people. I’m a genius.
One Infertile’s Perspective on Mother’s Day
That the experience of infertility changes the way one contemplates and goes through Mother’s Day really should go without saying. For those of us who are forced to endure any kind of loss, getting through days significant to that loss becomes a project of sorts, hurdles that survival mode warns you of yet also beckons you to clear. It’s not that I don’t want anyone else to enjoy Mother’s Day. Unfortunately I have to point that out since our culture has this weird habit of misinterpreting the expression of one’s pain as the desire to take happiness from another.
This isn’t that.
This is my fourth Mother’s Day as an infertile. It is my first as an involuntarily childless infertility survivor, my first knowing that I will never bring a child into this world through my body and will never have biological children. How to process Mother’s Day is quite the inquiry for someone who is a slender three months and eleven days out of their failed fertility treatments and currently too depleted on every level to decide on whether or not to pursue adoption. My mind turned to what to do about it, as the human brain is prone to do. One of the tough things about going through the infertile experience is having to constantly call off many of your instincts that are so innately human. The lack of control that is the nature of infertility renders many of these formerly tried and true coping skills useless. The need to problem solve and fix is one of them, and the instances over the past four years I’ve had to tell my brain “There is no fix, no solution for the moment. You are going to have to sit in it” are beyond plentiful.
Although I found myself sensing that this Mother’s Day was going to be one of those “nothing to do but sit in it” situations, my pesky, over active mind of course managed to fit in some musings in the space before I was able to redirect it. What would make Mother’s Day less worse? Read more
I like randomly inserting myself into fertile world conversations. I was at first tempted to not take this ad too seriously. It’s an American Greetings Mother’s Day card ad, so the fact that it’s completely barfy goes without saying. However, I strongly object to the “being a Mom is the TOUGHEST job on the planet” nonsense, so that in and of itself is worth sounding off on. More importantly, I then noticed that there was no representation of the infertile perspective in any of the comments. “Well, THAT just won’t do”, I thought as I decided to add my two cents. Better to be there than not there, right? There were comments from mothers, people who hate their mothers, people who lost their mothers, comments from every side of the Dad perspective, I think even a few animals chimed in. Mothers of dogs, mothers whose dogs lost their mothers………
Take a look. My comment is in there under Sarah C.
Ok, now so what I love is that, aside from the one comment I got, my comment was just ignored while people continued going back and forth about the whole ordinary Mom vs Dad thing. I entered the conversation a bit late, but still.
Oh, and then I love how the one response I got, though totally decent enough is like “my problem is I’ve been in bad relationships”. Yeah, you know, cuz just like bad relationships infertility results from poor uninformed choices and from being brainwashed. I can break up with my infertility, really? Why I had NO idea!!
Some of the comments are interesting, especially those from people who have OTHER tough jobs. Looks like you don’t have to be infertile to find this ad offensive, or at least obnoxiously exclusive.
I just find the whole dynamic (or lack thereof) pretty damn funny.
Here’s my response in case you couldn’t find it combing through:
I am an infertility survivor with no children. My husband and I have just gone through three years and eight months of trying to conceive that entailed one surgery and ten failed fertility treatments, all at an out of pocket cost of $77,000. Our medical case unfolded in such a way that it made sense for us to continue for as long as we did. We are currently too depleted on EVERY level to pursue adoption.
Let’s get a few things straight. First, I understand that this is merely a card commercial, the first of many that I’ll be bombarded with during this season that is so painful for the infertile community. I take it for what it is, my response is more directed towards the other responses.
Second, for those who lost their mothers or who were abused by theirs, I’m truly sorry for all of your losses.
And third, even after everything I’ve been through I still believe that being a parent (Mom or Dad) is a tough job. I have no trouble appreciating my mother. In addition to being a great mother, she has also been my biggest support and cheerleader throughout our battle with infertility.
Now, to those who want to make the claim that being a mom is “the toughest job on the planet”, have you given ANY thought at all to how excruciating it would be to be denied the privelege? How about trading the cruel hardships of interrupted sleep, trips to the bathroom, and showers you describe for the depletion of your bank account (since most health insurance doesn’t cover the medical issue of infertility), which will pay for countless fertility drugs with debilitating side effects, endless objects rammed up inside of you, infinite needles and visits to the doctor, waiting, confusion, and perpetual grief, trauma and loss that turns upside down and devastates many aspects of your life? Any takers? Oh and don’t forget, you’ll have to give up your child/children and all that goes along with them in order to do it – the love, the relationship, the genetic connection to the combination of you and your beloved, family holidays, birthdays, all future milestones, every moment that you’ll teach, share and impart something important to your child – you have to give all that up in order to get your sleep and bathroom privacy back. Aaaahhhhh, “fertile world problems”.
And to those who “want acknowledgement” for the nurturing of the greatest gift of your life: I have no objections to any credit or praise you may receive. But that you should be in wanting of anything does make me wonder if you have a true awareness and appreciation for what you already do have. Also, it is important to note that, although I came out of over 3.5 years of trying to conceive, 1 surgery, 10 failed fertility treatments, the grief trauma and loss that goes along with it and a depleted bank account with both my sanity and my marriage well intact, nobody kisses my ass. Nor do I expect them to. The truth is most of us work hard in life, whether it’s at a job or commitment we choose, or because of an unfortunate unjust hand we’ve been dealt.
The people who were rubbed by this video the wrong way are not any more flawed than anyone else. Their perspective is simply angled more towards the unfortunate overly self important martyr thread that all too often runs through conversations about motherhood these days. People who produce offspring are the lucky recipients of nature’s fine programming, not the victims of it. Perhaps I should make my own video and interview people for the job of infertile – a job that, unlike motherhood, NOBODY chooses.
This Mother’s Day may the moms out there enjoy the gifts they’ve been given as well as taking a few moments to hold a thought for those of us who are not as fortunate. In the meantime, next week (April 20 – 26) is National Infertility Awareness Week.