29 August, 2022

A Wealth of Community Wisdom

Recently, I found myself reading some old posts, and the very wise comments from my very wise readers. I found comments from readers in the midst of their pain, fighting against my message of hope and positivity, and smiled, knowing that they get it now, and are shining their own light for those who follow. I found comments from parents both during and after their infertility, from non-IF/ALI readers, and from those who have been through loss and childlessness. The variety in perspective, and the self-knowledge, curiousity, and understanding in the comments heartened me. They should all be celebrated, I thought. They/you deserve it!

So today, I thought I'd focus on some of the comments just on my 2020 Healing Project. They are wise. They explain things differently to my posts, maybe bring up something I hadn't thought of, maybe disagree with me and make good points. They are all inspiring, and I wanted to share them with you:

1       Show Up
“Showing up is halfway there, for sure. I try to remember this and when I heed it, I proceed. When I don't, I stay stuck.”

2       Feel
“there's no healing without feeling”
“It took me awhile to get that "what we resist persists" -- especially when it comes to feelings. It does take a good deal of courage to go there and feel them, doesn't it?”

3       Delight
“Yes, yes to joy!”
“It was hard. I felt guilty, but I loved how you put it - that joy helps the sadness pass.”
“... you've reminded me to be OK with joy.”

4       Surrender
“... love that you made this discernment between surrender and acceptance. I didn't realize that sometimes I aim first for acceptance, which doesn't go very well. I see that surrender is an important step that shouldn't be skipped.”
“Surrendering the effort to try and control that which is not within my power to control. To be very clear about what I can influence and what is outside my sphere. That these are not giving up or not caring but simply accommodating the real, even if not welcome.”
“I'm learning that if I can't get to gratitude, then go for acceptance, now I see that surrender is the first step.”
“The reminder that surrender is not a weakness, it's the way to a new beginning.”
“At some point you have to change the way you look at the thing.”

5       Love
“I love this idea, to give comfort, forgiveness, love and compassion to ourselves. I feel like it's the upper limit to what we can give others, so it is worthwhile to work on.”
“it's often so much easier to give compassion and kindness to others than to yourself. Being kind to myself is something I have to actively practice, as my inner voice is that 7th grade mean girl. But I love the idea of imagining the hurt child and comforting her.”

6       Forgive
“Those what-ifs and navel-gazing moments are killer.”
“I'm also of the school of thought that there’s no point in self-recriminations or in feeling guilty, or constantly blaming. It's futile and will suck the joy out of life”
“Another way I find helpful to deal with guilt or self-blame is "You are not a slave." It is not right for another person to force us to use our bodies or time to fulfill their desires or needs. And by the same token, it's not right for us to do that to ourselves, either, although that might seem less obvious. I am not a slave to my desires, nor should I ruin my body or mind forcing it to do something. It can be hard to find a way to articulate this concept when we value individuality and personal choice to so highly. But like all ways of looking at the world it has its limitations.”

7       Honour
“I would not have thought of honor and guilt as opposing forces, but you make me see how they are.”

8       Write
“processing something with words helps me clarify, release, and heal. Doing in on my blog also helps me feel not so alone.”
“Even just writing down stuff to get it out of your head, listmaking, is such a great way to alleviate anxiety.”
“writing to connect with others was a game-changer.”
“the lesson in kindness, too...using writing to discover good things nestled in with the bad that you might otherwise not see as clearly.”
“writing, for me, definitely helps, no matter what the forum!”

9       Appreciate
“I notice I always find whatever I set out to look for. So I might as well look for things to be grateful for ...”
“I started small and started cultivating gratitude one little moment at a time. Over the years, it added up to a lot of gratitude and a perspective shift. I do not deny all that I've lost, but I am also grateful for all that I've gained.”
“It helps so much to know that you can actually appreciate your life for what it is, not what it's missing -- because in the very beginning that seems impossible.”

10   Balance
“the (im)balance changes as we move through the stages of grief and readjustment. And that no one can balance for us. ... so important to know that perspective and balance do eventually come.”
“I remember the horrid imbalance in those last years and feeling like I could control the uncontrollable if I just tried harder (nope), and then the bizarre sweet relief of resolution I didn't think possible.”
“It doesn't happen overnight... but over time, some sense of it does return.”

11   Dare
“It IS daring to go against the norm the way we have. And while we're not the first ones to do so, I think we're the first generation of women giving voice to this particular experience, writing and talking about it and what our lives are like, both the good and the bad. It's not always easy being a trailblazer, and I know we make a lot of people who aren't in our situation uncomfortable when we speak our truth. (Too bad! lol)”

12   Accept
“Acceptance is a powerful concept. My younger self really appreciates your examples of what acceptance does NOT mean.”
“I accept the ups and downs that I feel as I live my life after infertility without children.”
“… how you've defined acceptance. It does NOT mean that we like what's happened... only that we're shifting focus.”

13   Connect
“…The shame of suffering alone and the balm of finding a tribe who understands. And online interactions do give you space and time to process complex emotions.

Connection is a huge factor in healing. In living, really, as we are getting super creative in finding new ways to connect even amid the quarantine.”
“. I often felt "seen" most by you guys, most of whom have never seen me in the flesh! This connection is such an important part of healing. It's such an isolating experience. The connections of this community help break those walls down.”
“don't know how I would have survived the past 22 years without my online friends -- first through an pregnancy loss email list, then infertility & then childless/free message boards and blogs. I've only met a handful of them but I've felt more "seen" & supported by people like you, Mali, than many of my friends & relatives. I too expect to be in touch with many of my online friends for years to come. :)”

14   Enquire
“You've really touched on something important here, that we can't always believe what we think, and a closer look can often help identify faulty assumptions and ultimately help us find contentment.

This is one of those posts that I want to carry with me throughout my day, my week. I want to be more Inquiring with my negative thoughts about myself and others.”
“it helps break down the nasty little voice that tells hurtful lies. And that question, "what makes them behave like that?" is such a great one for empathy. I use it a lot in special education, for parents as equally as for the kids. There's a quote that says "kids (people) most in need of love and understanding ask for it in the most unlovable ways."”

 15   Admit
“t was so hard to admit that feeling of relief to be done with the process of trying to add to our family, and to admit that I love our family of two because sometimes it feels like a betrayal to how much I wanted children, in those emotional ouch days. Admitting I'd hit my enough was the doorway I had to blow through the get to a life that is better than I'd expected it could be without the dream we fought for. That contradictory feeling things is the hardest for me.”

 16   Experience
“I finally realized that I am responsible for my own happiness, with or without the one big thing that I wanted to achieve! It was quite an epiphany. I now try to live my daily life in a way that I don't have to wait for something to change in the future. That meant adding small elements that would contribute to my wellbeing …”
“I remember when I "just began to experience my life as it was," which ended up being a big life event for me.”

17   Speak
“Your point about degree of openness is important. Similar with the filters people have who are listening of our stories. It's something I've really struggled with as they often blindly apply their truths. My hope is that this recent pandemic will make people more open when listening, but the filter is always there, meaning that impact has to come through understanding that filter. That said, I think speaking is important as normalizing the conversation is long overdue.”
“It's more than not being afraid about talking about my own experiences and my own reality (which is all very much shaped by living life without children after infertility). My voice has grown from that topic to a stronger, more generalized groundedness... If that even makes sense.”
“Everyone needs an outlet of some kind, for sure!”

18   Remember
“the recognition of how the story we tell ourselves changes over time, as emotions settle.”
“There's power with triggering this memory of pain and grief, but what people fail to see it that in the process of doing so, they don't allow themselves to grow from it, creating something beautiful and wonderful from the ashes. Remember is so important. It sets the foundation for so much good that can come. But part of that means allowing for healing and growth out of the pain and tragic, harnessing that memory to do so.”
“I'm a firm believer in the importance of remembering & memory-keeping, for all the reasons you've given here and more. People marvel at my memory, but it's not infallible (especially as I get older!), and so I'm grateful for the writing I've done & the photos I've taken that help me remember both the good & the not-so-good in my life.”

19   Liberate
“Too many are stuck in conforming as there is a feeling of safety with being part of the crowd, and yet it also can be limiting. Breaking free is scary, but I have found so much benefit from doing so, which started with infertility and continues in all other aspects of my life.”
“And as for updating our definition of success? I find I have had to do this in an ongoing way in terms of what it means to be successful …”
“ … I'm at the point where I can be grateful for the things childlessness brings to my life. And feel free!”

20   Celebrate
“I find myself applying it to all sorts of other things I'm seeking healing for.”
“Liberate, then Celebrate!
I particularly love your idea of celebrating the following things: the tiny and often painful steps that I took toward healing, my survival and resilience, my relationship with myself, and the other women who write and share their experiences so that we all feel more understood and less alone.”
“I agree, celebrating is so important. Resilience, hope, new life, milestones, joys, and the wonderful network of women.”
“it is important to celebrate and give ourselves credit for what we survived and how we make progress”
“We absolutely have reasons to celebrate!”


Note: I’ve referenced the comments to each of the Healing Project topics, and provided links. You can read the posts again, and check out who made the wise comments!



  1. Mali, this is such a wonderful idea! I loved reading through the comments inspired by your awesome posts. I love this communal wisdom hub, and that you've highlighted when like minds add to our understanding of living childless not by choice!

  2. I agree with Jess -- this is a great idea! So much wisdom, not only in your posts (and others' blog posts too), but in the comments we get!

    (I think I spot a few of my own comments in there!)

  3. Wisdom Hub for sure! I love the way you have gathered these wise words by topic. Bookmarking this page for when I need it. Which is every day.

    I love the community that has sprouted up in the soil tended by you, Mali.