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Posts Tagged ‘infertility awareness’

This week is World Childless Week. You probably didn’t know that. You may not care. It’s World Childless Week because a childless woman called Stephanie Joy Phillips who possesses (it seems to me) endless energy and foresight, made it so! There is a week of activities – webinars, publicity, articles and blogs. If you are childless, or if you have relatives or friends or workmates or acquaintances who are childless, go and have a look at some of the topics they are covering this year – everything from men’s perspective, to the legacy we leave when we don’t have children, to the old perennial, guaranteed-to-raise-an-eyeroll “have you considered adoption?” You might not feel quite so alone. You might learn something. Or it might give you insight into the lives of those who don’t have children, but had once hoped to do so. Maybe you’ll change the way you see them, question your assumptions or unintentional judgements, and maybe you’ll change the questions you ask or the way you talk to or interact with them in the future.

I have two pieces featured on their website – the first is here, and the second is to come on in a day or so (which I’ll link here too), along with my I am me picture.

I’ve been very torn about how much to publicise this. I’m being more active than usual on my No Kidding blog, because I know how important this is to the no kidding community, how it helps so many newly no kidding people who think they’re alone and that no-one understands, and how it helps us decide what is important. But talking amongst ourselves isn’t enough. Educating the rest of society is important, and that’s why I’m posting here, today, and have written about this before, most recently in April here. The more we understand about all our differences, the kinder we can be to both groups, and the more we will ALL benefit.

The reason I am torn though, is because I am much more than my childlessness. I don’t want it to be the first thing people think about me, and I don’t want it to consume my life. But I do want it to be recognised. It’s finding the balance which is always tricky. So I write here, because the people who read are interested in more than just a meme. But I’m torn over posting on social media (except my nokiddinginnz instagram page), because a meme becomes a label. And labels are complicated. I don’t like childless, for example, but use it sometimes in the absence of anything else. It’s the LESS part I don’t like. Equally, childFREE is relevant at times, but definitely not always. I guess we’re all much more than one label – my friends who are mothers are not only mothers. They are smart, and creative, and motivated, and ambassadorial, and managerial, and dedicated, and interesting, and funny, and much much more.

So I’m still figuring out where I’ll share this. In the meantime, I’ve included a photo (meme? heaven forbid!) that is essentially a brief version of the 100 things about me that I wrote seven years ago. (I updated it on my other blog in 2019, but this reminds me to do it here too.) Not having kids, and the work I do in that community, features in these lists, but in no way dominates. That’s the way I like it.

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I blog, I blog in English, and the blogging community is dominated by Americans. So it would be impossible for me to miss that it is National Infertility Week in the US.   This week, they are trying to promote awareness by getting bloggers to “Join the Movement” and talk about how we are making a difference in ways large and small in the lives of people with infertility.

Now, my fertility issues have been resolved. I mean I’m 50, so I’m past all that now anyway. (I’m not a big supporter of women getting pregnant in their 50s and beyond). I’ve found resolution, but not in the way most people assume, ie by having children. Nope, no kidding, that’s me. And that’s okay. So in one way, I struggle with the exhortation to “join the movement” and make more people aware of the fact that 1 in 8 people will have fertility issues. After all, right now, I just want to be me. I don’t want to be defined by anything, certainly not the issue of whether or not I have children. Or more specifically, whether or not I could have children. This blog is not about infertility.  It’s about my life.  The one I just happen to be living without kids.

Consider too that up until last year, I volunteered for an ectopic pregnancy organisation, and I know what a difference I made in the lives of others going through pregnancy loss and those who then faced infertility.  And I write in other places about infertility.  I don’t think I need to be exhorted to do more.

Yet, 1 in 8 couples have difficulty having children.  Between 30-50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Infertility is a very real and quite common part of life. We all know someone who has been touched by infertility.  And yet these topics are not talked about; instead they are hidden away, rarely acknowledged.  We live in a world that assumes everyone will have children, that idolises the state of parenthood, and that often looks on those of us with no kids as lesser, or lacking, regardless of why we don’t have children. So I do really support the principle of raising awareness. The more people who are aware that fertility isn’t a given, being a parent isn’t a given, the better. In fact, the more people who realise it isn’t required, the better.  It will mean that people will feel freer in their choices not to have children, or the circumstances they find themselves in.  And it will mean those of us who tried, but couldn’t (or those who are trying right now), will not feel judged and found lacking.

And perhaps maybe, just maybe, someone reading this will think before they ask someone, “do you have children?” And it might stop them (or you) – forever – asking the follow-up question that almost always sounds like an accusation, “why not?”

For more information, follow these links:

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