Monday, 19 June 2017

Those dreaded Days

As mentioned last month, I was in Iceland for Mother’s Day, and never saw any advertising or any mention of it (I think that I’d have figured out what it was, despite the language barrier), which was a refreshing change. Besides, I had rather more to worry about that day, because there was a close and rather violent encounter between some Icelandic rocks and sand and my face. (I’m fine now, though I did have some technicolour cuts and bruises and black eyes for about a week.)

There was, of course, the usual onslaught on social media, as there is today for Father’s Day, where the curse of social media is that people seem to place importance on being seen to recognise their parents or partners. I will admit that I was a bit fed up that my normal feeds this morning were clogged up with northern hemisphere people cheerfully wishing their fathers or husbands a good day, and even resented* those people who tagged on wishes for “those who find today hard,” and wondered why, if they acknowledge that today is hard for some people, do they post about it at all?

I guess I’m just thankful that my husband isn’t very active on Fb, so won’t even know that it is F-Day elsewhere in the world. Besides, as we don’t celebrate Father’s Day here (or in Australia either, I think) until the beginning of September, we’ll both have to go through it all again in a few months.

The world is both too small on days like this, but – as I’m still suffering a bit from jet-lag – not small enough!

* Though after a nice coffee and muffin at the local cafe, I was feeling much better!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Some No Kidding post-travel gratitude

I'm grateful today that I have no children, for reasons which may become obvious.
  • We have just returned from an amazing trip we couldn't have done with children.
  • I don't have to deal with my own jet lag at the same time as dealing with children with their own jet lag.
  • I could fall asleep on our dining table last night whilst waiting for my husband to get home with the Chinese food for dinner.
  • I can have an afternoon nap without guilt.
  • I don't have to cook tonight if I am not up to it.
  • It may take some days to adjust, so I won't stress if I'm wide awake in the middle of the night.

I hope to catch up with all my missed blog reading over the next week or so, and to do some blogging myself, but first priority is that afternoon nap.

Monday, 5 June 2017

We are now enough

This post is inspired by the following quote, written by Nora, in a guest post on Lisa’s Life Without Baby:
Somebody related the question of motherhood to a form of immortality, and said it is viable through creating children or something else of lasting value, like art.
Continuing the family line is a common reason for having children, and the feeling that our line ends with us is often a source of grief and loss for those of us without children. I’ve felt it, though I have to admit that (mostly) I don’t feel it any more. The need to compensate for this, ie, through the creation of art or something else of lasting value, is not uncommon, and goes hand in hand with the search for the Next Big Thing. If we can’t be parents, we figure that we have to do something else in our lives that has a similar impact – for a while.

Ultimately, though, I’ve realised how much of this quest for immortality is also all about ego, the selfish (but all too common) desire to have your particular DNA carried into the future, or to see your name at the top of a family tree. And this immortality only lasts for one or two generations, but rarely much beyond this. The truth is that what matters is now, and right now, we are enough, we are all enough, no matter what we create.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Taking back control conversationally

I’ve been thinking about ways of dealing with the inability of (some) parents to talk about anything other than their children, and would love you to share any ideas or success stories of your own. I am tired though of always being the thoughtful ones, the ones who do all the emotional work in having conversations with parents, because we’re worried about being rude if we actually try to point out – either bluntly or through hints as below – how unfairly (and frankly, rudely) we are treated when we answer, “no” to that inevitable question.

There is of course the possibility of making a pre-emptive strike, responding, “before I answer, I want to check you’re not going to walk away if I say that I don’t have children,” and then tell them a funny story about this actually happening – if they actually walk away after that, then they truly have a problem!

Another pre-emptive response (similar to the one above, or perhaps the next step in the conversation) is to diplomatically ask them about how they feel about those parents who lose all their conversational abilities and interest in others when they have children. I personally know many mothers who roll their eyes at always being asked about their kids, rather than their work or travel or what movies they’ve seen recently or the weather or current events, etc, and would respond very positively to this.

As soon as possible, ask them questions about their lives (other than their children), showing you’re interested in them rather than just their status as parents, whether it’s house renovations or what grows (or doesn’t) in their garden, what sports they follow, where they grew up, etc. People love talking about themselves, and should respond positively to you, perhaps not even noticing they’re not talking about their kids for once.

If they’ve opened the conversation asking about children, then it's easy to ask about their kids, demonstrating in the nicest possible way that it is perfectly possible to have a pleasant conversation about children without actually having children. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Healing and my Personality

I was thinking the other day about how our individual personalities affect how we heal after infertility, how they can both help and hinder us in the process, and came up with this preliminary list of my own helpful and unhelpful personality traits:
  • I don’t like failing.
  • I don’t like the feeling that I’m missing out.
  • I worry too much about what other people think.
  • I hadn’t spent my whole life wanting only to be a mother.
  • I never thought “things happen for a reason.”
  • I have always had strong feminist tendencies, and so have never defined women by their biology.
  • I was older, so was already learning to accept that I am the one who chooses what matters to me.
  • I am pragmatic, and so didn‘t (always) fall for society’s messages I was hearing.
I’d love to see your lists too - here in the comments, or on your blogs linked back here.