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 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

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#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…)

Going Out In the World An Iffy Bet For Infertility Survivors

Long Island, New York. We’re in the living room of Sarah Chamberlin, child free not by choice survivor of infertility, as she ponders this upcoming Mother’s Day.

“The rampage of advertisements has already begun” Chamberlin calculates. (more…)

#Listen Up: Eight Ways to Support People Living With Infertility Now

With National Infertility Awareness Week on our door step, here are some ways friends, family, co-workers and community members alike can support the infertile community.

#1 HALT THE BABY MAKING MYTHS

Just relax and take a vacation. When you stop trying, it happens. It will happen when it’s meant to. Here, let me give you some sexual pointers…… (more…)

My Dicey Relationship with Goals

Musings on infertility’s psychological aftermath

In the aftermath of infertility, on the heels of the numbness and avalanche of grief that follows, there is a lot of sorting to do.

For me, it conjures the image of a once complete home now in shreds of rubble and shrapnel post tornado. Some of the pieces are just missing. Some still present are unrecognizable. Most noticeable is that the pieces no longer fit together into a form that shouts sense, direction and continuity.

And so in my mind, I have piles. (more…)