Saturday, June 24, 2023


I'm not spiraling mentally or emotionally, thank goodness, but I am thoroughly involved in the spiraling process that is qualitative data analysis. 

I love qualitative research. Instead of using numbers to describe things, qualitative research uses words (i.e., narrative data). Qualitative research can describe the experience of an individual or group. It is very different from quantitative research, but there are ways of ensuring the rigor and accuracy of qualitative studies. I believe qualitative research can build a great foundation for future quantitative research in evaluating the effectiveness of treatments and programs.

I am grateful for this opportunity to interview women around the world to study being childless not-by-choice. I appreciate the support from my school and the guidance from my reviewers. I especially appreciate the study participants for trusting me with their data.

So that's what I'm doing on a Saturday night. It's an honor to do this work. I love it.

Archival print by Debra Bucci found at

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

You Can't Predict the Future

Several weeks ago I was hanging out with two new friends. They are both in their late 30s and neither one of them has kids. At one point we were all talking about how we couldn't believe we were in our late 30s and early 40s. One of them asked us, "What did you think your life would look like at this age?"

What an interesting question! Especially with two other women I didn't really know.

The first woman shared that she didn't know, that she honestly couldn't picture herself living this long and so she had no idea what it would be like in her late 30s. (I think she was referencing some health issues she had as a teenager.)

The second woman proudly said that she figured she'd be a cat lady. She always pictured herself single with a bunch of cats in adulthood. I hope she's not disappointed that she has a long-time boyfriend and only one cat, haha.

Then they looked at me. "What about you? What did you think your life was going to look like?"

I hesitated. These women don't know me, don't know my story. I didn't know what to say, and I didn't know what they were going to say in response to whatever came out of my mouth. I stuck with my usual style and went with the truth. 

"I thought I'd be married with 2 or 3 kids, living in a 4-bedroom house, homeschooling, driving everyone back and forth to their activities, and basically writing lists, keeping schedules, and staying organized. I wanted it so bad."

They heard me. They listened. My new friends didn't think my dreams were lame. They also didn't think I was tragic and broken and deserving only pity for not getting what I desperately wanted. 

And then the three of us talked about how we ended up here. We've all had hardships, although we didn't talk about those. We just talked geography. We are all from cities. From three different states. Now we're all here. In a fourth state. Living rural. Experiencing all four seasons. 

And loving it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Change in Feeling

Was it infertility? Or, was it the pandemic? Or, is it aging?
It's probably a combination with even more variables I haven't thought of yet.

Working with kids feels different. 

And I've worked with kids since knowing I wasn't going to be raising any. Actually, since knowing, I've worked in a couple of different positions in several different settings: preschool, public schools, and hospitals. It didn't hurt or bother me then. And it doesn't hurt or bother me now.

But something is different.

Am I sick of playing? I don't think so... Am I tired of redirecting behavior? Well, that comes with working with people no matter if they're kids or adults, so, no, that's not exactly it either.

Maybe part of it is I feel inefficient. I think Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, had my dream job. Take the kid out to a cabin, have high expectations, and work with them 24/7. I'm kind of kidding but kind of serious. I feel limited in what I can do once a week or even five days a week. 

I still like kids. And kids still like me. I think. But I just don't want to do it anymore. And for some reason, this perplexes me and I want to know why.

Another idea I've been having is maybe I relate better to older adults now. As I work with people who are sick or injured in the hospital or elderly adults who live in long-term care, I can relate to their frustrations with their health and body. Sometimes I share that my body didn't work the way I wanted it to either, but most of the time I just empathize with their sadness and frustration.

I knew what it was like to be a stressed out kid.
Now I know what it is like to have your adult body fail you.

Maybe, after working or volunteering with children for 25 years, I'm just ready for a change. I mean, my oldest student is 32 now. My niece and nephew are grown adults. Even my own children wouldn't be little kids anymore. 

Maybe it's a case of kids grow up and so have I. Hahaha. (I don't mean people who work with kids aren't grown up. I mean I've always been very young at heart, but now I'm feeling older.)

Anyway, I wouldn't say I'm regretting covering my co-worker's maternity leave. I am grateful for the opportunity to work. I remind myself that working with kids is the one thing I know how to do confidently. But I still feel anxious and I honestly don't enjoy it like I used to, so I've just been thinking about it a lot lately.

I've read some old posts of mine recently. They remind me of where I was, what I was doing, and how I was feeling. They remind me of what I've already been through, what I've already endured and survived. So I know this pediatrics coverage will come and go. Three months is not a very long time. And I know I will like parts of it every day. 

It just feels completely different this time and I don't know why. 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

We Are Not Robots

I'm glad I started blogging when I did. There's no way I could write about the hardest years now with the same rawness as I did back then. I'm glad I tried to capture what I was feeling at the time. Blogging was completely out of my comfort zone, but I didn't know what else to do. I was walking death and everything hurt.

There are several messages I've repeatedly given on this blog. 

  1. Infertility sucks.
  2. Feel your feelings.
  3. You deserve to enjoy your life.

Let's talk about #2. What happens when you don't feel your feelings? In my experience, they get stuck. The feelings get stuck inside of me. They start to rot and they turn to anger. Stuck feelings make me a very angry person. I experienced this in my teens, twenties, and thirties, each decade for different reasons. 

But if I let it all out... If I frequently cry quietly... If I occasionally cry loudly... If I use my words to tell a person why I am mad, sad, or disappointed... If I journal honestly... If I blog vulnerably...

It gets out. The feelings get out. And they don't stay stuck.

Things that used to hurt me, hurt less. Things that used to bother me, I just don't care.

It makes room for other things. 

(Which, years ago, was just more grief. But that's a part of the process too.)

I've yelled this from roof tops at every job I've had: we are not robots! I couldn't care less about unfunded mandates and pointless, inefficient protocols. I loathe productivity standards. 

(Image found in an article called "We Are Not Robots" about workplace productivity.

I am a human being. I have good days and bad. I am awesome, and I make mistakes. 

I don't know... It's just... I read something recently, started crafting a response in my head, and decided to just write it down here. From constant productivity at work and home to the expectation that we process our emotions in a tidy and linear fashion, I am freaking over it.

We are not robots. 


My point is this. Be sad. Be devastated. Be mad. Be livid. Be angry. Be depressed. Feel sorry for yourself. Acknowledge your losses. Not raising kids when you wanted to destroys dreams and life as you knew it. 

But you're still left at the end. You're still here. 

And you deserve to enjoy something about your existence, no matter how small.

(Image found in a brief post about grief.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

An Unexpected Conversation

I had an unexpected conversation recently. I don't even know what I want to say about it. Maybe I just want to share that it happened.

I was talking to someone I've met in the last couple of months. I knew she had two kids but didn't know their ages so I asked. (They are 2 and 7 if you were curious, but you probably weren't hahaha.) I was a little surprised that her oldest was 7 because she (the mom) looks so young, but she went on to say that she had her daughter at 18. Oh, okay, that makes sense.

She asked me, "What about you? Do you want kids?"

And I simply said, "I can't."

She probed further and I inexplicably did not mind at all. 

She said, "Why not?" And then apologized saying something like, "Sorry, I know it's not any of my business, but I'm asking anyway."

I actually laughed out loud at her approach and said, "My eggs are bad." She looked confused. I told her, "I waited until I was 30 to start trying and apparently that was too late for me." (Technically, I waited until I was 32 but I remember just saying 30 to her.)

What she said next was predictable: "Well, there's always adoption."

I simply said, "I tried that. I tried everything."

She looked at me with sadness but no pity (I don't know, I can't explain it, that's just how it felt) and said, "That's so sad." I agreed. I said, "It is sad. Thank you."

And then somehow we easily moved from that serious conversation to more light-hearted chatter.

I felt seen and heard by her, and I don't often get that from fertile women.