Saturday, January 5, 2019

Childless living odds & ends

  • I can't remember which one of you suggested I should read "Cup of Jo" a few years ago (Brooke?? Jjiraffe?)(I think it was this post here). I have been a regular reader ever since then. Lots of posts about motherhood (which I tend to skip over) but other stuff too... including, sometimes, infertility.  Back before Christmas, she asked 8 women to address the subject of choosing not to have children. There's a lively, intelligent (and mostly very respectful -- so heartening!!) conversation going on in the comments section, including comments from women who wanted children but don't have them, women who didn't want children and now have them, as well as younger women who are unsure of what they want, and are looking for advice. Interestingly (for me), many said they would love to hear from older women who are living without children, what their lives look like, and whether they regret their decision... feel free to add your $.02!   
  • Speaking of aging without children, Jody Day of Gateway Women recently mused on this subject, both on social media, and in a great "Reflect & Renew" webinar (also accessible through this GW blog post, which comes with a list of helpful resources mentioned in the webinar). On Facebook, she said: "I'll be 55 next year and it really feels like a huge milestone - the beginning of my transition towards my 'young elderhood'. I'm excited by the idea of what an older, childless woman's life can be like - because as with my trip through being a middle-aged childless woman, I've found there's very little guidance or inspiring role models out there and so I'm going into unchartered territory - again!"  
    • My 58th (!) birthday is coming up shortly, so I will probably have some (more) thoughts on my own on this topic soon!  
  • Pamela from Silent Sorority brought this article from the New York Times to my attention:  "The Special Misogyny Reserved for Mothers." I won't dispute that mothers face some significant challenges -- or that most people (both men & women) don't want to hear about upsetting/"messy" issues such as birth injuries (as a stillbirth mother, I know a bit about taboo subjects...!). But to say or imply that motherhood, generally, is a topic that's been treated as "niche" and "unimportant" is a bit of an exaggeration, I think -- certainly from my perspective as a childless woman,  subjected to a daily barrage of mommy-related conversations, assumptions and marketing messages.  Even if there is resistance to discussing the problems and challenges of motherhood in the mainstream media (which seems to be one of the author's key complaints), these concerns are certainly broadly shared, acknowledged and accepted, by other mothers, and by the many media & forums specifically aimed at women, if not all mainstream media outlets -- and they are being discussed there more than they have been in the past.  I was happy to see several commenters (comments are now closed, unfortunately) pointing out that childless/free women face our own special challenges... hey, we definitely know a little something about our own unique problems & issues being dismissed and minimized too. 
  • On the subject of being dismissed and minimized:  How about this choice comment from my mother while I was home for Christmas? She was telling me about how upset my 85-year-old aunt is that her middle son (age 55) has moved from Canada to England to be with his British girlfriend:  "She's never had her kids live more than a few miles away from her... I'd be upset if it was MY kid... but then, you wouldn't know anything about that." (!!!) My mother doesn't often refer to my childlessness (and she could also have been referring to the fact that I myself moved far away from her & my dad -- albeit not half the world away...!), but when she does, she can sure come up with some zingers. :(  I think my jaw literally dropped, and of course I couldn't think of a pithy response... although perhaps it's just as well that I kept my mouth shut...!  


  1. OMG on your mother's comment. My jaw dislocated from my head just reading it! Zinger for sure.

    Happy upcoming birthday, Lori. I've long seen you as an inspiring role model for others on your path. I look forward to your thoughts on the subject of the Reflect & Renew webinar.

  2. Oooof your mother's comment! Ouch. I'll echo Lori here that my jaw dropped too on reading it.

    I'm looking forward to reading the article and discussion over on Cup of Jo. Funny enough, I'd just found that blog this weekend after reading what I discovered was Jo's brother-in-law's book. I don't doubt the article will be interesting.

    I'll echo Lori again here in that I also think you're a fantastic role model in the infertility community.

    Happy (soon to come) birthday!

  3. Ouch! Sorry about your mom's comment. :/

    I just listened to an interview with the op-ed writer on Fresh Air. I don't think misogyny is any worse for mothers than women, and agree with your point. I don't think the op-ed was that thoughtfully crafted TBH. The interview with Frank on Fresh Air was a lot more interesting and nuanced.

    Definitely possible I brought Cup of Jo to your attention, that was one of my go-tos for a while!

  4. Ouch times ten! Our mother's can sure come out with some cutting comments without trying. And her comment itself is strange, because she's either sympathising because she understands the feeling of missing a child when they move away. But equally, her comment is inaccurate, because if anyone understands the feeling of missing their child, it is you. I'd have said something if my mother had said this - though not in later years. As they get older and more vulnerable, I've bit my lips more often.

    Interestingly I made a note of Jodie's comment to write a blog, because I don't feel as if I'm navigating this alone. Also, I object to 55 being labelled as young elderhood! I still call it middle age, and intend doing so until 65 at least!

    1. Eek. I've just seen my iPad inserted a stray apostrophe where it wasn't needed. I hate that.

    2. Ok. Rereading I've found even more typos. This is why I prefer commenting on my laptop. Argh.