Back in World Childless Week, I reposted
Worthy. Since then, Sue posted about feeling worthy
and talked about the issue of coming out as childless. Recently, Loribeth has
written two posts about coming out(here
In Sue’s post, she said, “Don’t
those who matter already know, and as for the rest, it’s none of their
I loved this. It is exactly how I
feel. I don’t hide the fact that I don’t have children. But what I do hide, a
little, are the emotions around it. Well, except here! But then, I generally hide
emotions around a lot of things. They’re mine, they’re personal, and I don’t
want to share them! So I don’t talk about personal issues or opinions very
openly. Correction. I discuss these things with people I trust, or people I
think will try to understand. I’ve said frequently that I tell my story only
when I choose to do so. That goes for any personal issue, not just
childlessness. And childlessness and infertility is awfully personal. It involves
our bodies, our reproductive systems and sex lives, our personalities and
character, and – perhaps most importantly – grief. These are very personal
issues, intimate issues, that some people feel comfortable sharing, and others
don’t. Each of us is different. And as I've written before, coming out takes a toll.
I’m kind of in the middle about
sharing. I don't hide my childlessness, and I don’t deliberately hide my
feelings about it. However, I do agree that it is important to talk about the
issue if we’re ever going to see people change their behaviour towards and
their judgement about those of us who don’t have children. But I don’t go out
to proselytise either. (There are others who do this brilliantly through blogs
and groups and websites, and I thank them for their voices and their courage.) My
blog here has two purposes. The first is for me to make sense of my situation,
and figure out what I think and what is important to me. The second and most
important purpose is to try and help those who have been through similar things
or those who want to learn about what it is like to go through these things. My
focus here is the No Kidding, not the rest of the world.
There is, however, no doubt though
that I am “out.” I've been interviewed in a national magazine and newspapers.
These were opportunities for me to spread the word. I was nervous, because
doing this meant I put my pain and my otherness out on public display, and it
meant that I didn’t have a chance to respond or deal with judgements that might
have come up as such. It was very scary. I probably prefer the individual
interactions I have with people to help them understand, or just – hopefully –
make them think, just for a moment, about the No Kidding who walk amongst them.
If I want to say something to an
individual or a group, I do speak up. I’ll casually mention in conversation
that I don’t have children if it is relevant and then just move on. If someone has made a
glaring judgement about people without children, or deliberately overlooked my
situation because it isn’t the norm, I’ll point it out. As I have said, I’m not
going to be dismissed or ignored! If I am asked about it, I choose how I want
to respond – it ranges from saying simply "no, I don't have children"
to willingly sharing more deeply, depending on the context and the person asking.
I hold strongly to that right to choose how or if I respond. It gives me the power,
and the confidence, in a situation where I might otherwise feel vulnerable.
But mostly, I have to say that it just
isn't top of my mind to share (unnecessary) details of my story. It goes
against my nature. But also, and most importantly, because being childless is
really only a small part of who I am. At one stage of my life it felt like it
was 100% of who I was. But no longer. It’s part of me, but only a small part now. I am not kidding.