30 July, 2018

Some of "those" comments reinterpreted

Infertile Phoenix inspired this post by noting all the incidents and comments she heard mothers and pregnant women say this week, making me recognise how much they would have hurt me in my first years of recovery and healing, and how now I am able to look at them more objectively, thanks to the passing of time, and the ability not to feel them so personally.

When women talk about putting others lives before their own when they have children, I think of their lives, and know that they don't just mean that their children go first, but also that they put work before their own needs, and perhaps their parents or other relatives, or neighbours, and probably their husband's/partner's needs before their own too. This makes me incredibly sad for them, and I wonder if they feel anger or have regrets about what they are missing, or how their lives turned out, and this is the reason they turn to the stereotypes* of selflessness and sacrifice of motherhood to make themselves feel better.

The women who joke that if we had to look after their children or other people's children it would put us off having children, or make us feel better about not being able to have our own as make me wonder if that's a cry for understanding. Do they say that because they (understandably) want and need some acknowledgement that children aren't always little angels, or (like my mother) that they like their own children but don't want to look after anyone else's, or that maybe they don't always (or at all) enjoy being a mother?

And of course, we've talked many times here and on other No Kidding blogs about the parents who can only talk about their children, and again, these days I am more likely to feel sorry for them that they don't have wider interests and intellectual activities, and that they don't have the social abilities to pick up on that, and I am always so thankful for my friends who are parents but talk about books and politics and travel and society and the weather and plays and music and films, etc etc.

The women commiserating about their kids growing up make me roll my eyes a little, because I know people like this, people who have based their lives around their children and who get their sense of identity from their children, rather than being individuals themselves, and so look to the empty nest future with a feeling of "what now?" I can relate to this, as I think can many of us when we are faced with the finality of a future without children, and I hope that they too will learn that there's a whole world out there to discover and create (though I know many struggle to make that adjustment), in the way that my fellow No Kidding men and women have done with such courage, hope, and full hearts.

* yes, I know there is a reason for these, I'm not blind.

23 July, 2018

Nanette, Childlessness, and the Importance of Perspective

The world is talking about Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette Netflix special about her life as a comedian, a lesbian, a “not-normal.” It’s powerful and moving, at times funny, but at times deadly serious, and she made me think, and I hope many others.

As a childless woman, I know I am also a not-normal, although to a lesser extent, as I only stand out when asked the question, “do you have children?” So my No Kidding status helps me, just a little, understand what it means to look at the world from the outside, and most importantly, teaches me that not everyone views the world with the same perspective; though sadly I know there are many, many people who just don’t get it, and don't make any effort to understand.

For example, my MIL can never understand that it was okay that her daughters-in-law might have different tastes in art or clothing, and my BIL casually dismissed the often callous ways people with children treat or discard their childless friends, without even bothering to try to see something from our perspective. As Infertile Phoenix pointed out in an excellent post, her sister has never understood it either.

I hope though, that the more often people like Hannah Gadsby speak out about the way they are treated, then more and more people will start considering their family and friends and fellow humans as individuals, with different experiences and perspectives, and begin to show some sensitivity, some empathy.

Gadsby ends on hope though, saying, "there is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself," and looking around this community, I have to say, I agree.

16 July, 2018


I am always happy when a new blogger arrives* in our group  because they always say things that make me think, or that describe my own experiences in a slightly different way.

Léa at Des Meandres aux Etoiles has written some lovely posts so far, although I’ve only read a couple as I am attempting to read them in her original French, though Google Translate or DeepL do a good job of translating her posts into English; Léa, like so many Europeans, responds to English comments in perfect English herself.

Léa made a comment that spoke to the heart of my understanding of how to move on, and that is one of the reasons I called this blog No Kidding, when she said,
“ … gathering the energy to keep moving forward in life means to not lie to yourself.”
Making the decision to end the process is a moment of brutal honesty; an honest assessment in the medical (or practical, eg with adoption) likelihood of success if we continue, honest assessments of our own ability (mental, physical, financial, etc) to continue the process of trying to build a family, and honesty in accepting that this will not be our lives. But it also means honesty in accepting that our future lives will be fine, that we will be able to bear life without children, and eventually, the honest acceptance that our lives without children will be good, happy, fulfilled.

She also said that 
“becoming aware of my experience has given me the effect of deliverance.”
I absolutely adore this, because she acknowledges that all this honesty delivers freedom, a release from the burden of trying and failing, a liberation to move forward and live, and love, her life. Brava, Léa, I look forward to (hesitatingly in my schoolgirl French) reading your posts.

* though I am sad for them that they have found themselves here

09 July, 2018

Miscellaneous No Kidding Thoughts

1. Another shout-out to Mel, who has hosted her 600th Roundup by inviting her readers to highlight particular posts (their own, or those of others) they have loved, and it is a celebration of infertility and No Kidding blogging. I encourage you to go over and read some of the posts* that are being featured. I wish my memory was better, because I have read so many posts from so many of you that have made me punch my fist and say "yes!"

2. I had a major eye-rolling even late last week when I was watching a news show talking about the Thai boys trapped in the cave, and someone commented that it was "the worst thing imaginable, being trapped in a cave in the dark with water rising."

"I'll tell you something worse - it's being the parent worrying about your kid trapped in a cave," said another guy.

As a parent, he was relating only to the grief and fears of the parents, whereas I (like the actual parents of the boys, I suspect) was worrying about the the boys and their young coach, thinking about what they were feeling, what it must have been like to spend ten days in utter darkness, the fear and hope, the hunger, the desperation.

3. My husband and I put the cat amongst the pigeons last week when we decided to give all his other siblings six month notice that we would not be spending Christmas with their parents (we have done so for the last three years in a row), and it was up to them to decide if they wanted their parents to be alone, and if not, who would be the ones to visit. They have hidden behind having Christmas with their children (or allowing their children to spend time with cousins) for years, implying that, because we don't have children, Christmas is less important to us, and also hinting - quite strongly - that the idea of enforcing their children to celebrate with us and/or the in-laws was just too cruel** to the kids. So this year we got in early, saying I want to visit MY family this year for a change, and we're sitting back and watching the fireworks!

 * and thank you to those who featured my posts, two of my personal favourites - Infertility's Waiting Room, and The Real Success Stories.

** despite one of the children telling me she didn't want to spend Christmas with all her cousins and aunts and uncles

02 July, 2018

A Thank You to Mel

Last week, Mel at Stirrup Queens reached a landmark, writing her 600th Friday Roundup, where she highlights posts from around the ALI (Adoption Loss Infertility) blogging community, and invites us to do the same in the comments. This is an amazing achievement, and has taken real commitment to read multiple blogs every week, and to then consistently post a Roundup of posts every Friday for the last eleven years (missing only one on average per year).

I know that many of you don’t read Mel’s blog, but I have noticed that increasingly the posts she is highlighting are from the No Kidding community, and increasingly, the posts highlighted in the comments are from our community too. In doing this, she helpfully brings our perspectives to the wider infertility blogging community, legitimises our choices and our lives, and also reminds us where we came from. And for that, I thank her.

Likewise, her Microblog Mondays project, has kept me blogging and writing about our No Kidding lives consistently, and succinctly, for some years now. I’m pretty sure I’d still be writing here, but probably not as regularly, especially as I keep this for No Kidding thoughts only, writing more generally on A Separate Life about my everyday life, and this year blogging daily on TakeTwo x365. So I am thankful for that too, as this space, and my interactions with you are all, are important to me.