Grief Is a Form of Love

Grief Is a Form of Love

It’s been a few years since I first began to pick up the pieces broken and splintered off in the tempest of infertility. Because there were no instructions for reassembly, no “how to cope with infertility” imparted by elders or learned through societal observation, I’ve had my fair share of trial and error. There were times when I tried to force a piece into place in a well-intended but bungled attempt to hurry the rebuilding process. For instance, feigning happiness at pregnancy and birth announcements before I’d fully come to terms…

Not All Mothers Are Sanctimommies, Hooray!

Not All Mothers Are Sanctimommies, Hooray!

As part of my blogoversary week of lessons learned… #2 The Blogosphere Can Foster Strange Bedfellows One of the toughest aspects of being part of a group routinely held up for scrutiny (e.g. women without children) is facing detractors who feel perfectly at ease casting aspersions or passing value judgements on our lives. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly relish being put on the defensive. That’s why it was with some relief — and a smidge of amusement — that I found myself witness to, rather than…

Not Having Children After Infertility ‘An Assault to Identity’

Not Having Children After Infertility ‘An Assault to Identity’

Women who experience infertility and do not gone on to parent get short shrift not only in society but in research. They are left to cope without much needed support or understanding. This is made all the more difficult amid the deification of mothers. That’s why I’m pleased today to share an online discussion with the author of a dissertation that breaks ground and shines the spotlight on a community of women who for too long have been overlooked. The newly published research, Recovery from Traumatic Loss: A Study of Women Living…

Australian & American Leaders: Whose Got the Tougher Perception to Overcome?

Australian & American Leaders: Whose Got the Tougher Perception to Overcome?

Editor’s Note: I’m pleased to share with you a guest post from Gillian Guthrie, author of Childless: Reflections on Life’s Longing for Itself. You might recall I included a link to an interview with Gillian in a previous post. (Thanks again, Carmel, for pointing us to the story.) Curiosity led me to seek Gillian out. A few emails later the world got a little smaller once again… ~~~ Greetings from Australia, Pamela, and thanks for inviting me to contribute to your blog. I thought you might be interested in a story…

Post-Traumatic Growth

Post-Traumatic Growth

  A recent conversation with Lisa Manterfield, a fellow blogger, validated the delicate balancing act required when writing about a topic that is deeply personal — one that has wide-ranging impact and carries the power to reshape our sense of identity and the way in which we grow and move forward in our lives. Lisa described watching a frog swim valiantly and hard across a pond before resting and regrouping, and how it gave it her pause to reflect on her own journey. Further complicating matters, we don’t uniformly move in the same direction at the same time. Each of us…

Free To Be You and Me

Free To Be You and Me

I’m not sure what possessed me to write it. Was it my cumulative annoyance at People magazine for devoting so much editorial real estate (for instance every week!) to celebrating all aspects of parenthood (hey – how about some equal time, People editors)? Was it the veiled tone of pity, the whiff of judgment, or the implication that there is only one happy ending to the infertility story? But write I did, and I’m glad for what came next… Dispatch from “hell:” It’s not all bad became an Open Salon Editor’s…

Two Movies, One Gets it Right

Two Movies, One Gets it Right

Much has been written about The Help — the book and the movie. The book contents remain locked in my iPad; I downloaded it several months ago but lacked the urgency to tap it open. The movie prompted a different response. I made a point of carving out 146 minutes to lose myself in the film after the August 10 opening sparked new debates about character authenticity and raised questions about who is best equipped to tell the complex stories of women living in a turbulent and racially charged time…

Happy T(w)ogether, Thank You Very Much

Happy T(w)ogether, Thank You Very Much

In the category of inflammatory headlines posed as a question here’s one from a self-described “journalist, mother, thinker” that begs a response: Are Childless Couples Headed Toward Divorce? The short answer from my field research is an emphatic: Hell No! The link to the provocative Huffington Post blog headline first came from a longtime pen pal who wrote me with this observation: “[this] absurd article rambles and makes no particular point. Is it saying that more non-childed couples divorce than childed couples do BECAUSE they are childless or because, if they realize things…

Playing Against Type

Playing Against Type

Have you noticed the way infertile women are routinely portrayed as one-dimensional, downright pitiful creatures in TV and film? It doesn’t matter what era the story takes place in. Swap out the costumes and look beyond the hair and makeup and the character is always the same distraught, hapless woman. Take a recent episode of Boardwalk Empire — a series set in the 1920s. It included a cameo appearance of Agent Nelson’s wife begging for a operation that might help her get pregnant (can you imagine the quality of fertility…

Reader Mail Around the Globe: Discovery, Validation, Comfort

Reader Mail Around the Globe: Discovery, Validation, Comfort

I’m a bit jet lagged after flying across the United States. The travel part was easy. Now the challenge lies in what to say in my acceptance speech at the RESOLVE Night of Hope event on Tuesday evening. I’m allowed one minute and thirty seconds. That’s not much time to thank the international community of women who feel as close to me as sisters. You can be sure I’ll be thinking about each and everyone one of you as I nervously make my way to the podium. Meanwhile, I want…