Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Odds & ends

  • The Childless Collective Summit -- a rare opportunity for CNBCers to gather en masse -- was held in Charleston, South Carolina last weekend. I had #summitenvy as I scanned my social media feeds, looking for photos!  
  • I was also a little envious when I heard that Australia's Senate is holding an inquiry into menopause and perimenopause. (We in North America really need to get with the program!!)  Sarah Roberts at The Empty Cradle has made a submission that expresses some of the unique concerns of aging childless women (adapted from a previous submission she and Judy Graham made to the Queensland Women's Strategy). Her submission is #121 at this link.  
  • The Full Stop podcast is celebrating 5 years of monthly episodes on May 19th! Their May episode is being recorded THIS Sunday, April 21st!  
    • Listeners are being invited to ask a question, or share a message via Speakpipe, to be answered by the hosts. Here's a link!  
    • There will be a competition with prizes, too!  
  • Jess was a guest on the Adoption Unfiltered podcast, talking with hosts Lori (adoptive parent), Sara (adoptee) & Kelsey (birth mom) about pronatalism, and her decision NOT to adopt and to remain childless. (She wrote about it here.)  The podcast is available on the Adoption Unfiltered website, YouTube and various podcast platforms. It's an amazing, in-depth and much-needed conversation, and well worth a watch/listen!  
  • Mel recently flagged this lovely article from Oregon Humanities: "Fertile Ground:  Reflections on grief and gardening." 
  • This is a great article from Next Avenue (a couple of years old) about "The Long-Term Realities of Being Childless."  
  • Medium articles are sometime paywalled (boo, hiss), but if you can access "The Childless Woman Who Soared:  A modern fable and love story to a woman long demonised" by Nadia Huq, it's so lovely, and well worth a read!  Excerpt:  
...a child is not actually a goal, when you think about it.

A child is a map...

But for women without children there is no map.

And instead of a well-trodden highway, there are fields and forests and lakes and seas.

So what does she do?

Perhaps if she has chosen this life with a free and easy heart, she bounds into the landscape, excited by this unconquered territory.

But if not, perhaps she sits down and she cries. How will I ever find my way? She wonders. She has no tools. No handbook. Precious little confidence. She feels wholly unequipped for this life.

She feels sad, and no wonder, for all she has ever heard of this life is its’ many heartaches and regrets. For a time, she simply sits and cries.

But she has courage, and eventually, she rises....
  • I'm not sure if this is behind a paywall either, but Alison Motluk's post on her Substack "Hey Reprotech" is also worth a read and share (especially if you know someone who is thinking about freezing their eggs):  "Questions no one asked at the egg freezing webinar." (She recently sat in on a webinar about egg freezing, and she was struck "by how few questions were asked, and how so many seemed vague and unclear. I was also struck by how incomprehensible some of the answers were.")(Are we surprised?)  
  • I was struck by a passage in a recent opinion piece by Shree Paradkar in the Toronto Star, about abortion rights and the recently resurrected law from 1864 (!) in Arizona. (Apologies if it's behind a paywall;  there wasn't a gift link.)  This passage in particular rang SO true to me:  
Mainstream pregnancy stories are often about grinning mommies and gurgling babies, often in heterosexual relationships, living in relative luxury, with a shopping component thrown in — what to get for the baby? Heavens forbid we ignore the capital to be squeezed out of every life experience.

If there is a deviation from such narrow representation, it is to express sadness and grief — about a woman’s inability to become pregnant or an inability to carry a fetus to term. Don’t get me wrong. Having babies can be a wonderful experience, and not having one can leave one with profound sense loss. But the archaic, gendered expectation of giving birth is so seeped in the pores of our society that women often internalize feelings of inadequacy even when the issue is outside their control. Someone not wanting to be pregnant is too outside the realm of this blinkered view.
  • I read some great pieces about the recent eclipse. I loved how Lyz Lenz ended hers, in her Men Yell At Me Substack, "Chasing the dark."  Excerpt:  

This lasts for three minutes. Three beautiful moments. Time passes. The moon moves. The sun flashes. And then it’s over. We have to pack. We have to go so we can get home before too late. Because there is school tomorrow. And I have to work.

As we walk back to the car, my daughter says she can’t believe things have to go back to how they were. “This should have changed everything,” she says.

I know what she means. I’ve felt this before in moments of grief. The way your world changes with loss, but the stock market doesn’t stop, school buses still arrive. The world ended, but it didn’t. I wonder about all the small world-endings. All the apocalypses we see and walk by. How grief and miracles are the same. A brief rip into the light. We peer into it and then we are expected to return to the same. Together we’ve seen the light change. We’ve seen the sun disappear.  I know they’ll remember this one. Together we will remember the tear in space, how it felt so vast, how we held hands through every minute of it as it passed. 

I think about the last eclipse and I tell her I think everything is different. We just don’t know the shape of it yet.


  1. Re: my second point, about the Australian Senate inquiry, Submission #130 (at the link above) is also from a CNBC perspective.

  2. Thank you so much for including our interview with Jess in this Odds & Ends list. So many great links, and it's wonderful to be one of them!