- Anne Helen Petersen mentioned it in her Substack newsletter (Culture Study) this week, in a piece titled "How to Kid-Proof Your Friendship."
- I saw AHP's post shortly after it landed in my inbox on Wednesday morning, and immediately dashed off a comment. In a nutshell, I said I thought The Cut article was great, but mostly left out an important perspective -- i.e., those of us who wanted/hoped/expected/assumed we would have children all our lives, but had to eventually face the hard truth that it was not going to happen for us, for a variety of reasons. I said it can not only be annoying when your friends abandon you after becoming parents, but that it can also be downright painful to see them living (and in some cases taking for granted) the life we wanted so much for ourselves.
- Mine was one of the first half-dozen or so comments to be posted. I'm thinking that must have given me a leg up, so to speak (the early bird catches the worm! etc. etc....) -- because a few hours later, I was shocked to see that mine was the top-liked comment! (including a "like" from AHP herself, who is childfree by choice).
- When I last checked, earlier today, it was still the top-rated comment, with 138 likes so far (!!)(and I'm still getting more!).
- I also had a few responses, including these:
- "Thank you! I have held it together for my friends who are parents so many times and then broken down sobbing on the floor afterward. It's really hard to experience how little space is held for friends who do not or cannot have children."
- "Thanks for articulating this. It feels like there's no space held for this. My pet peeve / emotional trigger is when I share my single/child-free plans which often include travel etc, and parents say "I wish I had your life." It feels so insensitive because truly, often, I wish I had their life! It's like they can't even see from your perspective at all and offer some empathy."
- "Yes!!!!! I was surprised that The Cut article didn’t expand in the deep grief that all of this entails! In addition to what you name (as Adam Phillips calls it “the grief of the life not lived,”), and also the grief of your precious friendships changing in ways that you wouldn’t have chosen! The loss of intimacy of not being relied upon in the same way, friends not having the capacity for care and comfort, grief over not being able to connect/relate in the same way (abandonment/attachment activation for many) etc and all of this happening within the container of the pervasive ocean that is cishetetopatriarchy that says “your value is yoked to that thing you don’t have and may want” (eg “landing a man, having kids.) In short “they won, you lost.” "
- "I grieved this for a long time. It’s affirming and comforting to read your comment and know someone understands it from this side. Thank you."
- A few other people have also mentioned or alluded to being CNBC in their own comments.
- As Stephanie Joy Phillips has said about World Childless Week, slowly, we're getting louder and getting the message out...!
- Jill Filipovic also addressed The Cut article in her Substack newsletter, taking a slightly different angle with a broader cultural assessment: "Children upend our friendships. Do they have to?: Lessons from life outside of America." So far as I can tell, it's not paywalled.
- Key paragraph, for me:
And those friends, by the way, are also stretched thin. The competition and precariousness of American life breeds exhaustion and resentment: The childless workers who are frustrated when yet again they are told to stay late and cancel their plans so that a parent can go to the school play; the couple out on a much-needed date they can barely afford who can’t focus on their conversation because of a shrieking toddler; the single woman trying to buy an affordable home who keeps losing out because sellers want their house to go to a young family, and because young families often have two incomes. The parents aren’t at fault in any of these situations. But the people without children also aren’t selfish jerks. Our policies and cultural norms pit us against each other.
- "Anything You Lose" -- a documentary about infertility and involuntary childlessness that Pamela at Silent Sorority has been involved with -- is having its premiere in Los Angeles on Oct. 7th! Details here on Pamela's blog.
- This has nothing to do with adoption, loss, infertility or childlessness -- but it put a huge smile on my face, and I hope it will do the same for you. :) Garrett Bucks at The White Pages (Substack) -- and an entire town -- pays tribute to his neighbourhood mail carrier, who is retiring from his job. Sample passage:
...there is a real “thirsty desert travelers sprinting to the oasis” vibe in how deeply an entire neighborhood craves Mike’s waves and smiles. We are starved for connection. We are too used to relationships as means to an end, commerce as a substitute for community, and the constant exhaustion that comes from running a rugged individualist race against each other. And by “we,” I don’t mean just me and my neighbors. I mean all of us. It shouldn’t be notable that a mail carrier is kind, because our days should be full of both giving and receiving compassion and delight. But that isn’t the world we live in yet. So yes, let’s celebrate the Mikes of the world. Let’s erect a million signs and host a thousand block parties.
Have a great weekend! :)