Friday, May 7, 2021

More odds & ends (pre-Voldemort Day)

  • Not sure what I did to deserve this, but why do I suddenly have Pampers diaper ads popping up in all my social media accounts??  And just before Voldemort/MDay, too... Ugggghhhhhh....  :p 
  • Speaking of V/MDay, Civilla Morgan at the Childless Not By Choice podcast has posted a lovely special episode full of practical advice and encouragement on that subject. It's only about a half hour long, but it packs in a ton of wisdom from 10 childless & childfree women on how they manage this difficult weekend. Some of them will be familiar to many of you, perhaps some not. Worth a listen
  • Also speaking of V/MDay, a Facebook friend flagged a post from the writer Anne Lamott in which she reproduced an old essay of hers, "Why I hate Mother's Day."  I know I've read it before but not sure I've shared it here -- at any rate, worth a reshare!  
    • Anne prefaced her Facebook share of this essay by saying: 
Here is my annual Mother’s Day post, ONLY for those of you who dread the holiday, dread having strangers, cashiers and waiters exclaim cheerfully, mindlessly, “Happy Mother’s Day!” when it is a day that, for whatever reason, makes you feel deeply sad. I told Neal last year that I didn’t think I’d run it, because I always get so much hate mail, and he said, “It’s never stopped you before.” 
This is for those of you who may feel a kind of sheet metal loneliness on Sunday, who had an awful mother, or a mother who recently died, or wanted to be a mother but didn't get to have kids, or had kids who ended up breaking your hearts. I wrote about how I’m still getting over having had Nikki as a mother, and how I miss her, 20 years after her passing, in Dusk Night Dawn. If you love the day and have or had a great mom and happy, highly successful kids, maybe skip this:
  • A great article from Forbes (!) about "miscarriage: the costly business taboo" -- the costs to businesses, the value of greater recognition and more compassionate treatment of employees who have experienced pregnancy loss, and practical things employers and managers can do to help. 
  • This is a gorgeous piece by Yael Wolfe, a childless woman writing about the children she has mothered over the years. 
    • Quote: "Too often, I feel the contributions women make to children who are nor their own are dismissed and ignored. But I’d like to see that change — to see our culture celebrate all expressions of maternal love. All of it is worthy."
  • The New York Times had a recent article/photo essay about a photographer in Berlin who is photographing and telling the stories of consciously childfree women.  These women are childfree by choice, but I think there's still lots here that not-by-choicers can relate to. (Some interesting comments too.) 
  • This article from the NYT, published a few weeks ago, tells the story of a couple in their 60s who thought they had put their IVF treatments behind them nearly 20 years ago. Then they got a letter -- and a bill -- from their clinic. (Beware the comments section.) 
  • Another NYT article (& podcast):  U.S. birth rates are plummeting, and the pandemic hasn't helped. 

“It could be good news if women feel like they have more control over their fertility,”  [Caroline Sten Hartnett, a sociologist at the University of South Carolina] said. “But it is not good news if having a child is just becoming harder than it was because jobs are more precarious, and families just can’t make it work in a minimally functional way.”

But this comment, from a 29-year-old woman interviewed at the end of the article, set my teeth on edge, with the tired old assumption that postponing having children (or not having them at all, for whatever reason) is "selfish." 

“I’m feeling a little bit selfish,” Ms. Jones said. She said only one of her friends had a child.

“Everybody in my friend group is saying, ‘When is the right time to let go of that selfishness?’” she said. “We are all putting it off.”

  • I did like this take on the population decline from Jill Filipovic on her Substack newsletter: "The Great Birth Rate Freak-Out." (I enjoy Jill's writing/newsletter in general!) 
    • Although they allude to the gap between the number of children women say they want and the number they are actually having, neither of these two pieces mentions rising infertility rates as a factor in declining birth rates. If governments truly believe that falling birth rates are a problem, why not provide policies and funding to ensure that those who would like to access infertility treatment can do so without going bankrupt (while recognizing that ARTs do have their limits and won't work for everyone)?  


  1. This is such an amazing roundup of reads and listens and thinks regarding Voldemort Day and childlessness. I saw that birth rate thing and was like, "is this REALLY surprising???" Thinking of you today and sending you tons of love. 💜

  2. Another good take on the birth rate story from Anne Helen Peterson:

    Also this older piece from Lyz Lenz:

  3. You're always so good at providing us with a reading/listening list.

    Ugh, double ugh, triple UGH to that "selfish" comment. They don't really think about it, do they? Just stick with the stereotype.