I’ve been spending less and less time in the infertility blogosphere — and for all the right reasons. With my mind no longer preoccupied or dogged by tortured emotions associated with not being in the mommy club, the messiness of healing from infertility, or the rehab-like experience of reinvention and learning to live again, I am busy engaged in a full life.
It’s not that I’m not interested in what everyone has been writing (because there are certainly lots of provocative posts and followup thoughts, including this set of comments), it’s just that I don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do — and that’s a first class problem. I also see this fullness as progress, harkening back to the time that predated my infertility struggles. Today feels familiar and reminiscent of the joie de vivre that once infused my life.
I am both amused and heartened to see that I’m not alone in feeling like I’m at a new stage of life. I read recently that Lisa Belkin, 53, who pioneered The New York Times Motherlode blog (and was kind enough to publish an essay I wrote about Mother’s Day years back) made the decision to leave her latest role as a senior columnist covering family life and parenting for The Huffington Post to join Yahoo News as a senior national correspondent. She explained: “I’ve aged out of parenting, so it’s time for someone else to go and cover that subject.”
KJ Dell’Antonia, today’s Motherlode editor, said it best: “Lisa heads off to a real new adventure–back to longer form reporting and showing us ourselves, and not just our parent-selves.” KJ is also leading an expansion of Motherlode, complete with a new tag line: “Living the Family Dynamic” and inviting a new, more expansive approach.
That’s what we all are doing, as parents, as children, as aunts, uncles and siblings. ‘Dynamic’ is exactly the right word for our always active, ever-changing lives, and the family dynamic is, for many of us, the greatest driver of all that change.
Amen, sister. (You can read my two cents on the expanded blog scope. Feel free to share yours.)
We’re all part of a family, but sometimes in answering filial obligations or in our single-minded efforts to grow our family we lose sight of the other attributes that make up who we are. Fact is, our friends, hobbies, talents, work, community and life experiences add up to make us multifaceted. We might get separated from the pack or stuck disproportionately on one facet as we move through different life stages but with some imagination and a broadening of our view our varied paths can join up again in new and different ways. Personally, I’m delighted to find my friends who are parents eager to focus on the non-motherhood aspects of their lives. Seems there are limits to how much mommy and child-rearing talk anyone can stomach.
I’m heartened, too, to see that as we move through different stages of life we have the ability to once again try on different roles, test the waters and reconnect with and build upon different parts of ourselves. For instance…
Last night I was out with friends listening to great live music. This morning I was working on a research project with a new client. Late this afternoon I was on the phone with Miriam Zoll brainstorming a new grassroots health education initiative. Tonight, I’m learning to cook up a new homemade marinara sauce with a friend who first came into our lives professionally but has since traveled the world and is now in the midst of remodeling a condo. She’s given us some creative new ideas for our home. Tomorrow, after some meetings, I’m scheduled to meet an AP photographer. This photo shoot resulted from an interview with an AP reporter collecting stories about those experiencing job flexibility due to the Affordable Care Act. I described how as an asthmatic (pre-existing condition, anyone?) I’m breathing easier since the ACA gave me the freedom to leave a job I stayed in longer than I wanted to due in large part to my employer’s health insurance plan. My departure opened up an opportunity for a new hire, and I’m growing a thriving small business practice. This entrepreneurial chapter eliminated a tedious commute and opened up more time in the yoga studio. I’m bendier than I’ve ever been.
What new and exciting non-infertility, non-child-rearing activities are you involved in?