Greetings, longtime blog readers! My recent blog sabbatical wasn’t planned. Competing writing projects, doctor visits and travel demanded my time. More on those activities in a subsequent post.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to report our community continues to make new inroads into education and support for those affected by involuntary childlessness.
First Up: Fresh and Frank Dialogue
Questions on complicated, personal topics are never easy to answer. That’s why I’m all the more proud of my friend and fellow infertility survivor blogger Sarah Chamberlin.
Sarah volunteered to be part of a PBS series called ‘Should We Kid or Not.’ The series involved sitting down with a stranger to tackle taboo topics.
(Sidebar note to PBS producers and writers: Kudos for tackling taboo topics. Demerits for your series title. Choice doesn’t always exist here. The cutesy characterization does a big disservice to those who experience deep grief after being unable to achieve a successful pregnancy. Hopefully your viewers learned something from the articulate and poignant discussion in episode 5.
As Sarah writes in her blog, Infertility Honesty:
One of most sidelining aspects of my recovery has been the almost absence of seeing and hearing my experiences talked about in the world … those of us who live with infertility and/or involuntary childlessness know all too well the dearth of emotional and empathic capacity on the other side of any given conversation.
Yes, my friend. We know it well.
Sarah also talks about the pressure and lack of compassion she experienced from the ‘fertility’ industry and from those around her who were unwilling or unable to acknowledge the trauma that results from failed IVF.
Tone Deaf Society Fueled by ‘Fertility’ Industry Whitewashing
From 4.12 of the nearly eight minute discussion, the conversation broadens to the cultural and social impacts. Sarah reminds her dialogue companion Cameron and viewers that there’s a distinct and real loss that follows a failed IVF cycle. Rather than society’s casual dismissal, she calls for a cultural acknowledgement.
Later, Cameron and Sarah’s discussion raises the ugly truth that society values parents more than non-parents. Both would like to see that changed. Cameron described what it felt like to be ostracized by his church when members learned he wouldn’t be a parent. Sarah opens up about the relief of being in social circumstances where she doesn’t have to explain herself but rather is fully seen and heard. It’s moving and powerful to watch. I encourage you to tune in or take a listen and share your thoughts below.
Support and Community: This Holiday Season and into 2020
If you’re having any difficulty this holiday, or want to remind yourself you are not alone, our community offers many ways to connect and reflect. Here are just a few ways you can engage or participate:
Lesley Pyne has a roundup of posts and resources that will resonate.
The Full Stop Podcast hosted by Sarah Lawrence, Michael Hughes and Berenice Smith developed a F**K Festivities epidsode, and will have a holiday support themed podcast in mid-December.
Jody Day’s Gateway Women Community offers a multitude of ways to connect and share. She recently hosted a Coping with Holiday Expectations webinar that can be viewed on YouTube.
Suzan Muir in Australia is organizing two retreats in the Grampians for women who are childless not by choice in January and April 2020. You can find our more here and here.
2 thoughts on “How Has Not Having Kids Affected You? How Much Time Do You Have…”
I’m so glad Pamela, and somewhat relieved to be honest, that my PBS venture seems to be resonating with our community. Having had such little control over the end result of this project, your words of acknowledgement mean so much.
A part of me can’t help but wish that you were on the other side of this conversation, or at least that I was able to pull out “How much time do you have???” in response to the “How has not having kids affected you?” question. I’m still giggling at the prospect…….
Oh we’ll find time to showcase your delicious wit, Sarah … we’ll reveal that and more for another interview. One of these days we’ll get us all together and let our hair down. xo