Monday, October 30, 2023

The Holidays Start Tomorrow

Halloween used to be the hardest day of the year for me. I wrote about it here in 2016.

And then last year I passed out candy and enjoyed it.

Things change. For better or worse, nothing stays the same.

The fall season brings back-to-school, then Halloween, and then Thanksgiving. The season changes to winter and we have Christmas/Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the New Year. 

It's a rhythm that people who are childless not-by-choice imagined sharing with their children. 

And it's freaking hard to deal with not getting to do all of that with your kids year after year.

So wherever you are in your experience with infertility and involuntary childlessness, go easy on yourself. This shit is NOT easy. Nothing can take the place of this profound loss. 

Remind yourself that you won't feel this way forever. Who knows how you will feel in the future. But it won't be this.

And if you are getting to a place where you can enjoy some aspects or traditions, let yourself.

You deserve to enjoy your life.

Picture found at

Saturday, October 28, 2023

IVF Failure Mentioned in a News Story

This news story isn't about IVF failure, but failed treatments are mentioned in the first sentence.

This CNN article is about a couple that moves from the United States to Spain. Yes, their move happened after IVF failed and they reevaluated their lives. But really, the article is about the couple's cost of living being more affordable and their work-life balance being easier to maintain. 

It's another example of how moving can change the quality of one's life. 

But then the end of the article touches on involuntary childlessness:

"While the couple still sometimes struggle with the prospect of not having children, Luban, now 53, says they feel 'too old now,' adding that while they previously looked into adoption, 'the process seemed to be a nightmare, financially and otherwise.' 

'And it was such an emotionally (and financially) painful experience to try and fail, we couldn't go through it again,' he adds, stressing that they have 'no regrets.'"


And now I want to take a trip to Spain...

(Picture from a hotel's blog post about the best tapas bars and restaurants in Ronda)

Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Things We Say

Mali's latest post on Language and Assumptions was perfect timing for me. She writes, "I'm a fan of words. I love the nuances of language, and languages. Language tells us so much about cultures and individuals and history and colonialism and oppression and dominance and, thankfully, change." She briefly references "as a mother" and "childLESS" in particular. Both of these sentiments came up when I was with my family last week.


First, my mom was telling a story about waiting outside the restrooms at a sports stadium. She overheard a little boy saying he refused to go into the women's restroom and the woman he was with (presumably his mother) saying that she had to use the bathroom. My mom stepped in and told the woman, "I am a mother and a grandmother. I can wait with your boy right here while you go to the bathroom." And so she did. And that was the story. 

When the story ended I said, "So I couldn't have waited with the little boy?" And my mom looked confused and asked what I meant. I said, "Well, I'm not a mother or a grandmother, so I guess I couldn't have waited with the boy." She stammered and said something like that's-not-what-I-meant. She told me I could have said, "I was a teacher. I can wait with your boy."

My mom seemed defensive and I let her know that was not my intention, that I was just pointing out the pronatalist world that I live in 24/7. I'm not mad at her for her defensiveness. I am just really seeing in a new light how threatened majority populations feel when marginalized populations find their voice. 


Then at another time we were all at dinner. I don't even remember what we were talking about... Oh, I think it was about how it seems like more younger people are choosing to not have kids. My niece doesn't want kids. My nephew doesn't want kids. One of my sister's stepdaughters doesn't want kids. Someone mentioned the word "childfree," and one of my sisters smiled at me and said, "You're childfree!" And I said, "No, I am childless..." I was going to say "not by choice" but got cut off as she countered, "No, you are childfree." And all I said was, "We all get to choose how we self-identify."


Language and assumptions... We could talk about this for days, weeks, and the rest of our lives!

Monday, October 23, 2023

Moving Can Change Everything

I took a vacation with my family last week. I have written candidly on this blog about my difficulties with my mom and sisters over the years. It is the biggest reason why I hope my blog remains anonymous. I don't want them to read what I needed to process here.

But last week's trip was awesome, and I am so, so thankful. I got along with everyone, and everyone got along with me. We ate delicious food and spent most of the time hanging out just the five of us. We haven't done that in... Decades? It was very special for me.

The point of the trip was to visit one of my sisters. After living in the same small town for 30 years, she and her husband moved across the country last spring to start a new business in the tourism industry. So, lucky for us, they now live in a beach resort area! And I hope to visit every year.

I've heard people say that moving doesn't solve anything. I've heard, "Wherever you go, there you are." It's implied that you take your problems with you. Which can be true... but isn't always.

Moving changed my sister's life. 

Yes, there were problems. Yes, there probably still are. I mean, everyone has problems. But things are SO MUCH BETTER. She still has health issues to manage and there's stuff in the past and you can't change the past. But... You might as well live where you want to live! At the very least, don't live where you don't want to live. 

These are our lives we are talking about. And we only get one.

My sister wanted to move for a very long time. Moving is hard. Moving is expensive. Plus, moving is not always possible. The logistics of life require money, housing, jobs, etc. You can't "just move" just like you can't "just adopt." 

But you can work toward moving. You can make plans and then see what ends up working out. You can take steps toward living the life you want to live.

My sister is happier. She is living somewhere she wants to live. She is working at a job she wants to work. She is spending her days and time in a place where she wants to be. Naturally, the positive consequences of all of this are radiating out into the rest of her life. She moved, and everything is getting better.

Moving changed my life.

It got me out of the house I bought for my children. It got me living near a school where I could study for a new career. Ultimately, moving got me out of the city, which I loved but it's not where I wanted to live anymore. It got me to my new spot in life. It's a simple life; it's not for everyone. But I love it. I have my home, my jobs, my hobbies, and my new friends. It's where I want to be.

So I don't subscribe to the thinking that moving is merely a temporary fix or that moving is a change of settings for the same problems. Moving can completely change your life. 

It doesn't happen overnight. 

It took me a year to figure out where to go next and to put my house on the market, sell it, and actually move. Then it took me two more years to move away from the city where I'd lived for the past two and a half decades. Then it took me two more years to find a landing spot that felt right.

It took my sister 30 years.

But you know what? Those five years for me were gonna go by whether or not I worked toward moving. Those 30 years went by for my sister, and another 30 would've gone by just the same if she'd stayed where she was. 

But we didn't stay stuck. We came up with ideas and chipped away at plans and went with what happened. We moved. And we created lives we want to live.

(My view for three days. I hadn't taken a vacation in 4.5 years. I was giddy the entire time.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Your Friendly Reminder To Do What You Want

I finally had some days off last week. I spent them running errands and going to medical appointments. I have some days off this week too. I am spending them doing what I feel like. Sewing, sleeping, watching tv. My house needs cleaning and decluttering, but I am very tired.

I will admit that I rented a storage unit. I accept that I'm keeping too many keepsakes, tea cups, and framed things, but I'm not ready to purge any of them yet. So yesterday I got a small storage closet to get them out of my house. But today it's raining so I'm not going to move anything.

I am resting instead.

We have all been through so much in the last couple of years, and that was on top of what we'd already been through before that. It's a hell of a lot. It's demanding. It's exhausting. It's hard on our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls.  

How can you give yourself a break? What demands can you decrease or set down altogether? Where in your day or week can you give yourself some time to do nothing? 

The bills don't stop coming and neither does the bad news.
How can we shift our thinking so that we see and recognize the good stuff too? 

Like, I get aggravated with how much utilities cost, but I also love having indoor plumbing in my home. Going to the grocery store stresses me out, but I'm glad I have access to food. I don't say these things in a flippant way, and cultivating gratitude for all of the little/big things in life doesn't solely sustain me. But it does help me. So I'm sharing in case it helps you. 

Our brains are hardwired to hold on to the bad information. It's a protective action. I've had to put in a lot of work over the decades to learn how to see and recognize the good. It doesn't dismiss or absolve the bad, but it does help balance it out.

The loss of motherhood was more than the loss of my lifelong dream and my primal yearning to raise and nurture little humans in my home as they grew to be adults. It was also the loss of societal roles, normative routines, and expected milestones. It was the loss of a life that was completed structured around having children. It was the loss of relationships with family and friends as every single one of them changed. It was the loss of connection with others. It was the loss of connection with myself. It was the loss of who I was and who I thought I'd be. 

And then we all endure a pandemic? One that never really ended, it just wore us down as we adapted to this neurological virus becoming endemic.

Moving sucks. Finding a job and place to live. Packing, moving, closing down accounts, opening new accounts, changing your address on everything, learning your new town and neighborhood, meeting people, finding a place for yourself... It all takes years. And so many of us move so often. It sucks. It really sucks.

Divorce sucks. Changing your name back sucks. Even when it's "easy," it still completely sucks. It's the end of a relationship that you thought would be there forever. It shook my foundation, my sense of security. It was also freeing because I was so painfully lonely. But it still sucked. I don't ever, ever want to get divorced again.

Working a job you hate sucks. But how else are we going to buy our milk, coffee, fabric, car insurance, and rent/mortgage? I'm extremely thankful that I like what I do at my job. I worked hard to find something I liked and was good at. But not everyone gets that chance. 

It's a lot. It's a lot of stress. For anyone. And for so many of us, we are navigating it all under a thick blanket of disenfranchised grief. It can make everything heavier and harder. 

What can you quit? 

I'm a big fan of quitting. I'm countercultural like that. If it sucks, I quit. My parents used to worry that I'd had so many jobs, but now all of my experiences are such a benefit to my career. I've worked in multiple industries with all ages in all settings, and the skills are transferrable. I quit law school. I quit my marriage. I quit infertility treatments. If it's not good for us, we should quit. 

Life is too short.

Can you do less? Can you rest? Can you go to bed earlier and/or get up later?

What do you do to get in the flow? 

You deserve to enjoy your life.

(Artwork above found here for sale.)

(And listen to the song Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than You Think here.)

Monday, October 9, 2023

A Thought-Provoking Purse

I like to window shop online. I can build a big shopping cart and then order nothing. Or whittle it down and order an affordable amount. Usually, I'm looking at fabric. Lately, I've been looking at winter clothes because I want warmer pants for this winter. Then I came across this bag. I love it. It's so cute. I've decided not to buy it because everything comes down to, "Do I want to buy this or save my money for shopping while I'm on my trip?" Plus, it's a little expensive, haha.

(Purse found at

But let's think about this purse from the CNBC perspective. Well, quite honestly, that's pretty much how I look at everything because that's the perspective I have in life. I have other perspectives too, but the CNBC lens is always at the forefront. It turns out that not raising the children you thought you'd raise your whole life has a tremendous impact on, well, everything.

So, the purse.

Does anything about it stand out to you?

My first thought was "I love books!" Then "What a cute purse!" Then "Can I justify buying that by using it as a project bag?" And then "Wow, that's a lot of messed up story lines!"

Dumbo touches on infertility. I haven't seen it in a long time, but at the beginning of the movie, a lot of storks come and deliver babies to the circus animals. Except Dumbo's mom is left out.
(At first. Later, a stork delivers Dumbo to her.)

Pinocchio doesn't have a mom.

Bambi's mother dies.

Peter Pan ran away from his family, then expects Wendy to take care of him and the Lost Boys.

And then, is there any mention of parents in Alice in Wonderland? Isn't she on her own journey?

Do other people think like this? Do they see a purse while window shopping online and immediately think of all the associated family-related narratives? Just me? Just us? Oh...

I'm not getting the purse. I like it, but I don't need it.

But I'm still thinking about it.