Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Happy and Sad at the Same Time

Infertility robbed me of my own little family. I didn't get to have kids. And my marriage didn't last. After realizing we weren't going to be raising children, my (now ex-) husband and I didn't want the same things out of life and went our separate ways. Yes, I have a boyfriend. Yes, we live together, and I love him and his family. But... Things are still up in the air. Changes that need to be made haven't happened yet. He is not my husband, and I treat the relationship differently than I did my marriage. Just being honest.

So, it's just me.

I have a lot in life. My home, my health, my jobs, my hobbies. Food to eat. Books to read. Shows to watch. Friends to text. My parents are alive. And I can always call one sister in particular knowing she'll be there for me.

But I don't have my own little family.

I'm not the first person anyone is going to call with news, be it good or bad.

When I get together with my parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins, I am the odd man out. I don't have a spouse. I don't have a child. Everyone else is part of a little unit, and I am by myself.

It's far from being the worst thing in the world. I like myself. I couldn't always say that. In high school and college I didn't understand all of my feelings and often got on my own nerves. But now I give myself grace and enjoy my own company.

But still... I'm not even on social media and Thanksgiving provided some stinging reminders. I got a couple of promotional emails from companies I like, but they included big family photos of everyone's spouses, children, and grandchildren. As resolved as I am about my CNBC situation and as happy as I am in the awesome life I've created for myself, it still hurt to see proclamations of gratitude for what I will never have: a family of my own.

Infertility sucks.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

More IVF Failure in the News

I think momentum is building. I think more people are talking about the high failure rate of IVF.

Women have been blogging for over a decade. (Thank you to them!!!) There is more than one book published that talks about living childless not by choice. And now the news...

Last year MSNBC published this article. And we all read the Allure interview with Jennifer Aniston a couple of weeks ago. Then yesterday CNN published this article.

Not to mention, I've been digging into the research as I write my project proposal... Ten years ago? There were a couple of articles across the globe and disciplines addressing involuntary childlessness. Within the last two years? I found over twenty articles across the globe and disciplines during a four-hour deep dive on Friday night. (Yes, I am wild. I've gone from partying to researching on my weekends, both equally fun for me hahaha.)

It's happening. Information and perspectives about living CNBC are getting out there. Momentum is building. People are learning. Very, very slowly... But surely nonetheless.

(Image found at 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Still Thinking About Jennifer

It's been a week, but I'm still thinking about Jennifer Aniston sharing that she experienced IVF failure. It's so punk rock of her. We are not the norm. Well, unfortunately, maybe we are... But our stories are not the normative narrative. 

What a relief it was to read a celebrity's story of a happy ending without a baby. Not only did Jennifer validate our community, but you know she gave a lot of comfort to women across the world who are experiencing involuntary childlessness without a supportive community.

It was this quote that resonated with me most:

“I would say my late 30s, 40s, I’d gone through really hard shit, and if it wasn’t for going through that, I would’ve never become who I was meant to be,” she says. “That’s why I have such gratitude for all those shitty things. Otherwise, I would’ve been stuck being this person that was so fearful, so nervous, so unsure of who they were.” She finishes her smoothie and reaches out to Chesterfield. “And now, I don’t fucking care.”

I am not the same after IVF, and I am not the same after IVF failure. Things that used to terrify me don't scare me like they used to. Oh, I need a shot? Well, I used to give myself shots for days. My marriage sucks and my husband has been ignoring me for years? Welp... So I said goodbye to my financially secure lifestyle and lived by myself 1,000 miles away from anyone I knew. 

I'm still anxious. I still have fears. Just not as much. After losing my lifelong dream of motherhood, there's not much else major left for me to lose. Of course, I am extremely thankful for the good health that I do have, and I also know that can change in the blink of an eye. But I also know I can get through anything.

I had a surprising conversation with someone about Jennifer Aniston this past weekend. For some reason I asked one of my boyfriend's sisters, "Did you hear that Jennifer Aniston had failed IVF?" Her immediate comment should not have surprised me. She immediately said, "Well, if she really wanted kids she could've just adopted."

My reaction surprised me. I was so... Nice. Lol. I validated her and said, "You would think so, right? I mean, that's what most people think. You want kids? Just adopt. But unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. First of all, IVF is awful. It really wipes you out, not just financially, but emotionally. I had failed IVF and there was no way I could've ended treatments and just jumped into the adoption process. It wouldn't have been the right thing to do for anybody involved in the situation, not for me or any child. Also, people don't realize how many years it can take to adopt and that it's not even guaranteed. So you can go through the process for years and still not become a mother."

Then her comment surprised me.

"Oh, I never thought about it like that."

Let that sink in for a moment...

I. Never. Thought. About. It. Like. That.

Bless her. Bless my boyfriend's sister. Not only did she listen and receive my message, she allowed her own thinking to change because of it. Most people are so invested in their own opinions and aren't open to change. But one little paragraph of my thoughts and my boyfriend's sister gave me the gift of understanding.

"I never thought about it like that."

And maybe that's what this interview with Jennifer Aniston is doing around the world--making people think differently. One thought at a time.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

One of Us: Phoenix Rising

I read the news yesterday and IMMEDIATELY texted my boyfriend.

"IVF failed for Jennifer Aniston. 1st time she's ever said it."

The news resonated across our CNBC community.
Pamela wrote about it here. Loribeth wrote about it here.

Jennifer Aniston, this woman that I've watched on tv and in movies for decades, owes us NOTHING. She didn't have to share her painful truth. She didn't have to tell us that IVF didn't work for her. She never had to address the topic ever in any way at all. But she did.

Thank you, Jenn. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

You added our story to the mainstream narrative of infertility:
our story that DOESN'T end with a baby.

My sisters read People magazine religiously. They may not feel my pain, but they will feel Jennifer Aniston's. This celebrity that I do not know gave me the gift of humanity. She validated our story.

"Phoenix Rising" indeed!!!

Monday, November 7, 2022

When People Are Noise

Some people will never change. Some people will never get it.

Thankfully, I have changed. What used to make me angry now makes me annoyed. What used to hurt me now shows me what's in other people's hearts and minds. Others' rudeness, meanness, and inconsideration have nothing to do with me. It's not my fault, and it's not my problem.

What prompted this latest round of thoughts? 

I talked to my sister yesterday. The insensitive one. Although nobody in my family has shown me they're willing to go the extra mile to even consider what living childless not by choice is like, this sister takes it to another level. Quite honestly, calling her insensitive is euphemistic for cruel.

So yesterday... My sister doesn't return most of my texts so when she called yesterday, even though I was just sitting down for a big work session for school assignments, I answered the phone. What resulted was a 45-minute conversation where she did not ask me a single question. She did, however, go on about cleaning out her closets for the past three weekends. She told me, "You have no idea how much stuff you can gather. It takes so long to go through everything." Of course, I just moved my stuff out of storage after seven years and spent two weeks unpacking and sorting (keep, donate, throw away), but she doesn't know any of that. I just agreed and let her prattle on. There's no getting in a single word with her and her one-sided "conversations."

But guess what her good news was. 

Her daughter's boyfriend has started calling her "Mamma Smith." Isn't that the greatest?? Isn't that just so cute?? Like she told me, "He calls me Mom! That feels so good!"

Um... 😑

"I can only imagine," is what I think I mustered to say.

She went on for a bit while I sat there with my mouth hanging open listening to her talk about how great it is to be called Mom. How thoughtless. How totally and completely thoughtless of her. 

I was mad. I was sad. But mostly... I was over it.


I am reaching a new point of acceptance. I accept that my family, especially this sister, will never get it. I am learning to accept that they'll never provide the understanding or comfort that I seek. 

2022 has been quite the year of rest and growth for me. And it's not over yet!

My conversation with my sister may have sucked, but I am thankful for my sense of self and everything else I've worked so hard to cultivate in my life.


Ignore the haters, my friends!

(Image found at https://www.myasbn.com/small-business/entrepreneurship/how-to-ignore-the-haters-and-the-naysayers/)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Unpacking My Life

It's been a bit overwhelming to unpack everything. Unpacking is so... Literal. 

I started packing in December 2015. I've written about it several times. Got a storage unit in 2016 and sold the house I bought for my children. Moved 1,000 miles in 2018 and moved everything from storage in one state to storage in another. Finally moved out of storage this past August. Grateful and relieved.

I unpacked about 50 boxes of books alone, about half of which were children's books. I used to teach, and I always planned on having children so every book I bought was an investment. Or so I thought. 

I had accepted the fact that I wasn't having kids. And I had accepted the fact that I left the profession of teaching. Next, I had to accept the fact that I was not going to buy a van or camper and turn it into a mobile library. With peace in my heart, I donated the majority of my books.

My keepsakes weren't so hard to go through. It was kind of fun, and I kept some stuff. I have a little bit of storage space here at my house. Now I know where I am going to be. Now I know what I have room to keep, and now I know what I can give or throw away.

I still have 5 - 8 onesies though. I keep moving them from one spot to another. I guess I'm holding on to them in case someone close to me gets pregnant, but I'm not sure how much longer I will hang on to them. Either way is fine.

The whole thing has been a process. Packing. Moving into storage. Moving storage units across state lines. Moving out of storage. Unpacking. It was worth it though. It was a lot easier to let go of certain things in 2022 than it would have been in 2015.

When you planned on having kids your whole life, recovering from not having kids takes time. It takes work too. We don't heal without feeling our feelings. We don't recover without doing things differently. 

Do what you can. One step at a time. Make things easier on yourself if you can. If you can dump all of your stuff in storage and deal with it later, just do that. You can take care of your stuff later. 

Just take care of you for now.


And now for some pictures that are not exactly thrilling but signify accomplishment for me...

Ok, I am pretty much retired from teaching and working in pediatrics. However, it is what I know and what I'm good at. So, I kept some of my teaching stuff. If I ever tutor again, I've got the basics to teach reading, writing, math, and social-emotional regulation. For all of my teacher friends out there, can you believe I got 20+ years of stuff down to two tubs??

This is another dorky picture, but I am just so happy to have my three Xmas tubs out of storage. They hold my ornaments, stockings, and holiday movies, and I have missed them over the years!

Ok, this picture doesn't have anything to do with unpacking, but it does show how much I've changed/how much things have changed for me. After years of avoiding Halloween, this year I dressed up and passed out candy! (Also, it turns out that if you wait until Oct. 31st to buy your candy, you might have to buy red and green packaged candy because the store already switched to the next holiday.)

This picture also has nothing to do with unpacking haha,
but I'm pretty excited about this fabric panel I bought for myself for my birthday.

Another good drawing from Self-Love Rainbow
This picture definitely relates to unpacking!
It took us every version of ourselves to learn what we did and get where we are. 💜