Posts Tagged ‘NIAW21’

… about infertility and childlessness. This post is in recognition of the US organisation Resolve’s National Infertility Awareness Week. I’m a few days late, but better late than never! It seems appropriate to write this post here, on A Separate Life, than on my No Kidding in NZ blog, where I reach people who know these things already.

  • If I want you to know why we don’t have children, I’ll tell you. But it’s my business, and your privilege to know, so don’t pry. After all, I don’t ask if your children were the result of a boozy one-night stand, a contraceptive failure, an attempt to save a marriage, make-up sex, the result of years of trying, or a happy and lucky planned conception.
  • Infertility or pregnancy loss or childlessness is not a blameworthy situation. Don’t ask “who’s fault is it?”
  • A friend once said to me that I never had anything so I’d never lost it (when I was recovering from an ectopic pregnancy). She didn’t know how wrong she was. Whether childless people were ever pregnant or not, we have lost something huge – the future we wanted.
  • It was NOT “meant to be.” How would you feel if I told you your mother’s cancer was “meant to be,” or your child’s accident or disability, or your job loss, or car accident?
  • I AM a “real woman.” Motherhood is not the only female experience. Grief over pregnancy loss and infertility is a very real experience too.
  • Not having children lifelong is not the same as your single years in your 20s or 30s. Don’t presume you understand it.
  • Please don’t say “take my kids.” It is flippant and insulting. And we all know you don’t mean it.
  • Adoption isn’t the easy solution you think it is. Anywhere. In New Zealand, for example, it is incredibly rare, except for international adoptions, which come with their own complications and expenses. It is most likely that we know far more about adoption and its issues than you do, so asking “have you thought about adopting?” is insulting. If you mean, “why didn’t you adopt?” and you are genuinely interested, then ask that. But don’t be offended if we don’t want to answer. See my very first point above.
  • We like to hear about your children and be part of their lives. Please don’t exclude us. We could help you, and your kids, so much if you invited us in.
  • But also, learn to talk about topics other than your children! (And I really don’t want or need to hear about all your friends’ children!)
  • Talk to us about our lives. You might learn something. We might learn something about you too.
  • I learned a lot about myself, about grieving, and about society going through infertility and childlessness.
  • It is hard living in a society that is structured around families with children, that focuses on those families, and that seems to find it impossible to acknowledge those of us who don’t have children, or who might be estranged from their families, or who might have lost them. Look at electioneering, advertising around Christmas or Mother’s and Father’s Day, etc. Think about the people who are alone. Maybe reach out to them.
  • Old age can be scary for us, especially when we have cared for elderly parents, and have seen and understood the needs and fears of the elderly.
  • Sometimes I feel childless. Sometimes I feel childFREE. Both are okay.
  • Enjoying my life isn’t a rejection of yours. We each have to embrace the lives we have.
  • My life is full. And it is good.

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