27 September, 2016

Trying to be inclusive

I’ve been thinking why the No Kidding amongst us sometimes feel so isolated from much of the rest of the ALI blogging community. It’s not just the fact that we have had a different outcome to the one that most of the community is focused on. I think too it’s the fact that we often have the benefit of time and distance.

We can, I think, objectively look at the issues around the fertility industry, because it doesn’t feel disloyal to us to assess, and perhaps criticise, an industry that might have created our family. We can, I think, objectively look at the issues around the fertility industry, because many/most of us we once had a vested interest in it, but no longer do. We understand what it is like to desperately want treatments to work (or to be available to us), yet we do have the benefit of experience and hindsight.

We also have the benefit of either facing/moving through/completing the process of coming to terms with life without children, that I think gives us a wider more view of society, one that many (certainly not all, including many of my lovely parent/pregnant readers) of those focused on becoming or being parents are simply unable to have (due to circumstances, perspective, and sheer time and focus).

What I think we do have to guard against is entering into an us vs them situation, though I do think that this becomes easier with time.

19 September, 2016

The pressure to find a substitute

Many people like to offer solutions to someone who expresses sadness. So when we might mention that we didn't choose not to have children, we get the standard suggestions, one of which is to work or volunteer with children - as if that is a suitable substitute. It will, at least, they think, keep us satisfied and most importantly, quiet!

Although I love interacting with my nieces and nephews on a one-to-one basis, being with children doesn't come naturally to me. My mother also was never very interested in other people's children, and by saying to me, "oh, it's different when they're your own," I think she gave me the confidence that I would have been a  loving parent, despite the fact that I was never very comfortable with many young children.

That gives me the freedom now to say that just because I wanted to be a parent, it doesn't translate that I'd be any good at volunteering with or working with children. Just as, on the other hand, there are also wonderful, talented, inspiring teachers/coaches/nurses who work daily with children, but who are perfectly happy not to have their own.

How do you feel when people say that we should volunteer or work with children?

12 September, 2016

When silence is the best policy

I’m still recovering from this virus, and though I thought I might be feeling better, the fact that I fell asleep on the couch when I was keen to watch the final of the US Open today, being woken only be the cheers announcing the winner, means I’m still not right. So I don’t have any great ideas about writing, or life without kids, right now.

Rather, I’ve been thinking about when not to write something. I was taught that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all, so there are times on this blog (or in my virtual or real life) that I choose to keep quiet, even if I think that I have a wider knowledge and experience than someone who may disagree with me.

I remember clearly how I felt back when it was all new and raw (and I’d documented this at the time in case I might forget), and my writing today calls on how I felt at the time - my intense emotions and rationalisations, the overwhelming desire that coloured my thoughts and decisions and life, my need to protect myself and my husband, and my anger that someone might suggest I wasn’t thinking clearly. But today I also have the advantage of time, of hindsight, of understanding what was hurting me or many others across the world, of understanding what would help, of recognising what was and is logic and what was and is emotion, of sensitivity and hurt and sadness.

Sometimes, people aren’t ready to hear what they don’t know, and knowing better doesn’t mean pointing that out, but holding off. After all, I remind myself,  I’m not in this to win arguments or be proven right, but hopefully to help someone who needs it on a day when they feel that the world is against them.

06 September, 2016

Trying to stay grateful is hard sometimes

I told myself earlier today that I could skip Microblog Monday this week, but I find that I can't do that. It will be too hard to go to sleep without writing something, so here I am, writing about nothing, and setting where it goes.

Both my husband and I have been hit with a nasty virus within about 36 hours, so we haven't even been able to look after each other. As always, I imagine how much harder this would be if we had children. But I think that I'm still allowed to feel miserable! The cumulative effect of this year - my mother's deterioration then death, my accident, my father-in-law's heart attacks, the slow and painful recuperation, and the results of my MRI last week (you never want to hear a Dr. say "it's not good news I'm afraid"), and now this virus - have me feeling pretty sorry for myself. I am trying to be grateful for what I have. Yes, it could be worse. But some years just suck, and I'm giving myself permission to acknowledge that.