This post is dedicated to the newbies arriving after listening to the Bitter Infertiles podcast Episode 20.
(If you’re new, I hope you’ll see it’s quite pleasant here; that contrary to conventional wisdom, flowers grow. Laughter is encouraged. All in all we strive to make it a happy blog. A place where women, mostly those who are not mothers through chance or circumstance, gather and kibbitz about the world as we as see it, how we can make it better. Sometimes we discuss movies, books, dish, ya know.)
If you, dear regular readers, haven’t yet tuned in to the podcast (and please do), let me set the scene. While millions prepared last weekend for the Super Bowl, four women fired up Skype to have a conversation normally reserved for the closest of friends. Episode 20 started at midnight in Israel (Mo), 5:00 pm outside of Toronto, Canada (Loribeth), 2:00 pm somewhere in view of Mt. Ranier in Washington (Cristy), and 2:00 pm for me, located a 45-minute drive south of San Francisco.
Far from shy, we near strangers plunged deep, starting with talk of “lady parts.” Our discussion broadened from the bio to the psycho to the social. (Hat tip to Tracey Cleantis aka LaBelette Rouge who first described infertility as a bio-psycho-social syndrome in a recent panel about letting go of biological children. Tracey: we put your syndrome under a microscope. We taught it a lesson! We testified…)
Trying to recap the full conversation, I fear, will flatten the spontaneous interplay.
What I will say is that I was startled by the willingness, the openness of the hosts to go where most women in their early 30s, keenly familiar with infertility losses, fear to tread. Warm, intelligent and inquisitive Mo and Cristy wanted to know it all and then some. They broke new ground. How?
I don’t know that there has ever been this level of honest, taboo-busting public discourse with women in such different places in the infertility world. It was initiated by women still pursuing motherhood, unafraid of infertility’s stigma and eager to uncover the truth. Along the way the hosts questioned the wisdom of their peers who, in pursuit of children, abuse their bodies and their sanity, who throw away what they do have for something they might never have.
Mo and Cristy raised concerns about the “healthiness” of those parenting in today’s society, those who glorify pregnancy but overlook the responsibilities of parenting, who view children as accessories. They acknowledged that, perhaps, women like me and Loribeth who never achieved motherhood got it right. Despite all our best efforts and repeated attempts to conceive over an extended period, we came away winners with our sanity, our self-respect and our willingness to embrace life.
I went into this Skype call nervously, much as Tracey described in a recent blog post, feeling like “the proverbial skunk invited to the garden party, or the divorce attorney invited to the wedding expo.”
But skunk nothing. I came out of it, blushing, feeling like an adored big sister.
Courageous? Selfless? Founts of sanity?
Come again? These are not descriptions my people are accustomed to hearing.
Cristy shares more of her thoughts, post-recording, in her blog and offered thanks to those in our little corner of the blogosphere. Stand tall, my friends, as our stories have:
taught me so much about life and helped me see that though I can’t control what happens to me, I can control how I chose to confront each disappointment and moment of pain. You’ve taught me that from the ashes we can rise like Phoenixes and pursue a life that is full, filled with purpose, happiness and joy. Saying ‘thank you’ is not enough
That leaves me with another lesson in my blogaversary week:
Lesson #3: Blogging makes the world a smaller place; offering us platforms to reach out and touch others in ways we never imagined.
Cheers to all who embrace defeat and course corrections in life as an opportunity for growth.