Thursday, March 23, 2023

Odds & ends & updates

  • Hey, it wasn't just my imagination!!  Ontario (and the Toronto area, where I live) experienced its darkest winter in more than 80 years.  :p  
  • Bloglovin' update: More of the same crap, as described in previous posts (with a few more posts showing up in Chinese, Arabic and Cyrillic characters -- when they showed up at all...!). It's been more than a year since I started having regular issues with the site, and it's been more or less defunct since last fall. Incredibly frustrating.
    • As a result -- I finally got fed up enough to pay for an upgraded account on Feedly (paid annually), which gives me access to up to 1,000 feeds (vs 100 for free). (I followed almost 600 blogs on Bloglovin -- gulp!  Not all of them active, mind you, but...!)  
    • Thankfully, I had backed up my Bloglovin feed about a year ago (and haven't added too many blogs since then), and I still had the file saved -- I just uploaded it to Feedly and voila!  It even imported the categories I had created on Bloglovin, so I don't have too much (re)organizing to do. There were a couple of blogs that "failed to add" (mostly older ones that haven't posted anything in years) but that's OK.  
    • The Feedly setup will take a little getting used to -- but I'm hoping for more reliable service than I've been getting from Bloglovin for the past year or so...! and I'm looking forward to staying better updated from now on...! 
    • I've kept my Bloglovin' bookmark for now, but deleted it from my startup tabs on my laptop (and added Feedly instead). On my cellphone, I deleted the app entirely. 
  • A couple of Little Great-Nephew stories I want to remember, from a visit to BIL & SIL's house on Monday (before we spent the day with him on Wednesday):  
    • SIL: "[LGN], if you use the potty, I'll get you some ice cream."  LGN (after thinking for a moment): "What KIND of ice cream?" 🤣
    • Dh, as we were leaving: "Now [LGN], you're going to be good for Daddy when he comes to get you tonight, aren't you?  You're not going to cry or kick..."  LGN, nodding:  "Or hide under the table..."  🤣
  • After spending the day with LGN on Wednesday (see post link above), this article (via The NotMom on social media) was very timely and struck a chord:  "I Will Never Be a Grandparent."  
  • Three cheers for Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post, whose advice is generally pretty sound and sympathetic towards the childless/free, infertile and grieving, and whose answer to a recent impatient would-be grandfather (essentially:  MYOB)  warmed my heart.  :)  Here's a gift link: "Would-be grandpa scoffs at couple’s reason not to have kids." 
  • Also for Yael Wolfe on Medium: "Stop Giving Unsolicited Reproductive Advice to Childless Women." Just read it;  it's fabulous.  :)  
  • In an "odds & ends" post last weekend, I mentioned a Times of London article/book excerpt by Elizabeth Day, "My fertility sadness — and what not to say to a childless woman." 
It’s a brilliant coinage, I think. Those of us who have walked a similar path to Day, whether through loss, infertility - or both - know instantly what she means here. Most people are wildly unaware of their own fertility privilege.

It’s there in Mother’s Day cards that say things like: ‘Well done mum for keeping me alive!’. Or first birthday posts on social media that are captioned to the effect: ‘Kept them alive for a whole year!’

It’s there in the way people will casually say: ‘We’re going to keep going until we get a girl/boy’. Or: ‘We want one of each’. (In a chapter of Life, Almost I write about the way we’ve normalised discussions about family size ‘as though it were always a straightforward choice – like ordering from a menu: two girls and a boy, with a side of twins, please’.)

When I asked on social media for other examples, the response was overwhelming, from ‘being able to joke about a partner needing a vasectomy’ to ‘taking family members along to scans for fun’. Other commonly given examples were conversations about ‘ideal’ age gaps or timing pregnancies around seasons, the start of the school year, or work contracts. (Or worse, joking to someone who is pregnant and due over a holiday or other significant date: ‘Well that wasn’t very well-timed, was it?’ or ‘I wouldn’t want a Christmas baby, personally’.)  

It’s not that saying these things makes you a bad person. Or that you’re not allowed to think or feel them (or even say them, if you’re confident you’ve got the right audience). It’s simply that they’re brimming with unacknowledged privilege.
I want to have hope that I will be able to grow a child. But I also want to be prepared for a life that may mean I am unable to. I actually don’t want to only be prepared, I want to imagine myself able to find joy on many life paths.

One path leads to the experience of growing someone inside me, birthing them, guiding them through park music classes, temper tantrums, scuffed walls, stained carpets, graduations, rowdy teenage years with clinking bottles in knapsacks rushing out of the house thinking I’m oblivious to the mischief – all of that.

Then there are the infinite other paths – including alternate ways of becoming a parent – available to me in this life. All unique and all equally fulfilling and deserving of celebration of a life well lived.

  • On a somewhat related note:  this New York Times opinion piece (gift-linked) muses on the Oscar-winning "Everything Everywhere All at Once" (which I have not yet seen) and the idea of multiple possible lives and alternate universes:  "I Fantasized About Multiple Timelines, and It Nearly Ruined My Life." It wasn't hard for me to think about how it related to grief, loss and infertility -- particularly this passage:  
For years, I couldn’t stop thinking about other, better timelines where it didn’t happen, where my stepfather was still alive and my family intact. It helped me understand what was missing, but it did not allow me to mourn what I’d lost.

And that’s the peril of the multiverse; I was becoming unreal to myself, nostalgic not for a time before the death happened but for a timeline in which it never happened at all. 

...We can joke or wonder whether we’re in the wrong timeline. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that this timeline is the only one we’ve got.


  1. I'm going to read all your links. I think I've read some - and I actually have a Carolyn Hax quote as the basis of a half-written post in my drafts document - I'm always thankful to Mel for introducing me to her.
    I laughed out loud at the "what kind of ice-cream" LGN comment, and the "or under the table!" Adorable.
    But you got me at the Everything Everywhere quote - about the dangers of what-if-ism. It's so perfect!

  2. Wonderful, wonderful links! And I bet Rochester was similarly dark and gloomy. Bring it, spring! Love when little tiny humans blow themselves in for behaviors you forgot to list. :) Gosh I love Yael Wolfe. Just love her. Thank you for compiling all the goodies!

  3. Thank you for all the links! They were fantastic reads.

    "Fertility privilege" is a perfect term. So many decisions are completely out of your hands when you're in treatments.

    I will say, re: Yael Wolfe's post, I honestly want to ask those questions of women with children. I genuinely do want to know why someone chose to have kids or whether they tracked or not.