Tag Archives: ChildFree

I’m not the “Great Uncle” Type

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and it’s mainly because I haven’t had anything happen or come up relating to infertility. All in all things are well. Put another piece of the life we were trying to build behind me as I replaced my Toyota Camry which was big enough for a baby with a smaller more sporty VW GLI (which I love). Also started wearing my hair differently dumping the spikes which I had worn for over 17 years with a more conservative part. Small changes that are positive putting things in the past.  
The only thing that has come up recently is with my brother moving in with his girlfriend it looks like he finally may have found the one. With that thoughts of them getting married and kids down the road. I’ve wrote about this a little bit in the past that people tell those who are Infertile to not worry that they could always become a “Great Aunt/Uncle”. My feelings have been that it’s not the same as being a parent.

Lately my thoughts have gone beyond it just not being the same. Not only is it not the same but for me I don’t think I want to be a “Great Uncle”. It’s just not something I ever had a desire to be. Don’t get be wrong I’d be happy for my brother and his spouse and wouldn’t ignore his kids. I’d do the usual gifts see them on holidays once or twice a year but I don’t have the desire to be that Uncle that is involved in their lives. Those kids would have their parents. They wouldn’t need an Uncle getting in the way of that.

Settling for being that “Great Uncle” is a weak attempt at pretending to be a semi parent. It’s having fun with kids without doing any work. Those kids will never really care or have the bond that they do with their parents. I know this comes across as me sounding selfish but if god intended me to have that bond with a child he would have given me the ability to become a parent.

Deep down I feel this way because it would be another reminder of what I’m not capable of. I’m not capable of making my parents grandparents. I’m not capable of raising a child. I’m not capable of doing something the majority of adults can do.

Again I know I come across as being selfish but I really do hope my brother never has kids to avoid this trigger. I just fear of the fallout. It’s fallout I don’t want to face or have the potential to fall back into the deep depression I was in two years ago. Only time will tell whether I will face this but I know that I have no desire to be that “Great Uncle”.
On a side note I’d like to finish this piece promoting a new book by Justine Brooks Froelker “The Mother of Second Chances”. I just received my copy the other day and can’t wait to read. Justine is amazing a very special person. Below is the link to purchase on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1544630662/ref=ya_aw_od_pi?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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The Value of those without Children in Society

I’m going to write this piece as politely as possible and my intention is to get everyone to think rather than offend people.  This piece also is not directed at any one person as this is a societal norm.

Until infertility came along I never fully recognized the bias society has towards those with children.  In the work place in families, in the media and everyday life people with children are given a break more so than those without children.  If you have two employees one has kids who can’t stay late because of their kids softball/baseball game and the other doesn’t have kids but has a dinner date with their spouse it’s easy to know which one will have to stay late.  Same goes for families with aging parents where the sibling without kids has to take on the responsibility of taking care of their parents rather than the sibling who has kids.  The idea is the person with kids and their time and life is more valuable than those without children.

The situation when this is at its worst is when someone tragically dies young be it from cancer or some other awful tragedy.  You’ll hear how a person died at the age of 34 and had two young kids and how awful it is.  Yes, it is awful.  Anyone whose life ends so young is an awful situation that is unfair.  However, would it have been less awful if they didn’t have two kids?  Would it have been less awful if it was just a spouse and other relatives that were grieving that person rather than adding on the kids?  I know the intention isn’t to do this but basically our society is saying that those with children have more valuable lives than those without children.  It tells me that my life is less valuable because I’m unable to have children.

Things like this can drive the so called “commodification” of children that opponents of third party reproduction and anti adoption groups talk about.  Though none of them recognize or talk about the bias against those without children nor did any of them have to make the choice that those going through infertility have to.  I’ve always taken them with a grain of salt and recognize their agendas that could care less about those going through infertility.  But they do have a point in this regard, having children has become a status symbol in our society as the difference between the socially acceptable haves and have nots.

I don’t believe that all people with children are like this.  I also don’t think they believe their life has more value than those without children.  But I believe they have the power to think about the message they are sending to their kids and society that people without children are just as important as those with children.  Next time someone tragically dies or faces some unfortunate circumstances I hope they recognize what’s happened to them regardless of whether they have kids. 

Why not a Non-Parents Day?

I’ve written before how I think that Mothers and Fathers Day are bullshit holidays and nothing but hallmark holidays.  It’s not that I am jealous or bitter that I’m not a parent it has more to do with the idea that we shouldn’t need one day a year to show appreciation for our parents.  We should do that everyday.  I wish we would just dump them as holidays but that will never happen because there is too much money to be made off of them.  And to a lesser extent some parents (not all) with egos need these holidays for themselves.

These holidays isolate those adults who are not parents either by circumstance or by choice.  It’s as if these people are second class citizens and lesser people because they lack children.  They are not worthy of their own day to be recognized so the rest of society knows they exist.  They are seen as people who aren’t worthy of being celebrated.  I’ve seen some alternatives such as “Aunt’s Day” where the Monday after Mother’s Day this “holiday” is celebrated.  But you don’t see much about it because it’s on a Monday when people are at work.  It’s a half hearted attempt by the Parent community to do something.  To me there is a better way.

As an alternative I propose Non-Parents Day (The third Sunday in July) to celebrate the contributions and sacrifices that those without children by choice or circumstances make to better society.  The people who pick up the slack in the work place when those who have children are on maternity leave or have to leave early to tend to their children.  They make it possible for those with children to take that time off to tend to their kids without the work place falling a part.  The people who help take care of their friends and families children when their parents are unable to.  The sibling who takes care of their aging parent when their sibling with kids is unable to.  The people who give back to their communities when parents don’t have the resources (time or money) to do so.  These people are just as important to our society and make just as important contributions to society as parents do.  Yet we don’t have a day to recognize or thank them for that.

I think having this new holiday is important not only to recognize those who are childless/free but also to teach the next generation to value those who are childless/free and the sacrifices they make to society.  For those who attend church children should see these people stand up so they are recognized in their community as being valued.  I know for me when I grew up I didn’t look at my Aunts and Uncles who didn’t have children the same way I did my Aunt and Uncle who did have children.  Looking back on it now I realize that it was wrong and I wish it took something other than infertility to help me realize their value to society.  I don’t think I’m alone in how our society teaches kids to devalue those who don’t have children.

I don’t expect this blog piece to generate anything that leads to a Non Parents Day to being created. At best I would only expect the half hearted “Aunt’s” and “Uncle’s” days to be put out there.  But I hope it hits home to people with kids to value their childless/free friends and family members more than they might on the surface.  Our world wouldn’t be what it is today without the contributions that those without children have made and continue to make.  Those people deserve to be celebrated and thanked for their contributions and sacrifices.

Giving Up on a Legacy

There are many things infertility robs couples of that couples who don’t experience it would never understand.   Even those people who are able to eventually have a child are forever changed.  For those of us who aren’t able to ever have kids who don’t move forward with adoption or third party reproduction there are many things we have to come to terms with.

One of those things I have talked about on this blog is my concern about not having kids and the fear that I will leave no legacy behind when I pass.  Now that it was confirmed last month that there is no chance of me being able to have biological children I’ve gone back to thinking about living life without ever becoming a parent.  I’ve thought about what that life could be like.  I’ve thought about how best to make the most of the worst case scenario and whether I could leave a legacy.  I’ve gone through the things I “thought” could leave a legacy.  Rather than dream which has just led to disappointment the last two and a half years, I was realistic.

The reality is it will be near impossible to ever leave a legacy without becoming a parent.  Sure I’m a Big Brother volunteer but it’s doubtful my little will remember me as he gets older.  And asking him to do so is unfair to him.  That’s not the reason I volunteered in the first place.  I don’t come from a big family and who knows whether my brother will get married and whether he would have kids.  It’s also doubtful even if he had kids that they would care about their weird Uncle with no kids.  Beyond this there really aren’t any opportunities nor will there be unless something drastically changes in my life without being a parent that will leave a legacy.

Rather than get my hopes hope and work hard for something that is near impossible I’m giving up on the idea that I can or would leave a legacy behind.  I’ve gotten my hopes up too many times over the last two and a half years that things would change and worked hard only to be disappointed.  I don’t want the rest of my life to be full of wasted hard work.  I need to set the bar lower and have lower expectations for what I’m able to do with my life.

Last Sunday I turned 35 and reflecting back on my life where I’m at right now and what’s likely ahead of me I am trying to accept that my best days are behind me.  My life peaked at 30 and it’s going to continue to go downhill or at best stay level.  In not having kids I have accepted and given up on the idea of leaving behind a legacy.  My bloodline will end with me, my impact on society and others will stay with just me and not passed down.  It’s really hard to accept and to give up.  I don’t give up or quit easily but if infertility has fought me anything is that hard work will never overcome the impossible or near impossible.

  

2015 Resolution: I Choose to be Challenged

Well it’s that time of year…..it’s the beginning of a new year thus it’s time for people to come up with resolutions on how they can better themselves. A lot of people go with the traditional weight loss resolution. Others choose other ways to improve their lives. For me my 2015 resolution is to challenge myself.

After all that’s gone on recently in the infertility and childless/childfree community and people either choosing to engage or walk away from difficult conversations it’s got me thinking about the idea of protecting oneself and going to safe places. I am going to make it a point to not protect myself or go to safe places. I am choosing to challenge myself to not block or unfollow someone who is pregnant or has kids. I am choosing not to walk away from difficult discussions that open up old wounds. I am choosing to expose myself to difficult situations that I can learn from. I am choosing to be honest with myself and others.

For those of you who follow this blog or follow me on Twitter I ask that you challenge me as well. Be honest with me, don’t worry about being nice. If you disagree with me or come from a different perspective challenge me to recognize your perspective. If you think there is something I am not considering challenge me to consider it.

My plan is to tackle some difficult topics this year but to also have some fun with it so it’s not all doom and gloom. General male infertility topics I’m going to post to Infertile Men. Everything else from a personal standpoint I’m going to post here.

I wish you all the best in 2015 on your journeys. Oh and if you’re looking for ideas on New Years Resolutions, I highly recommend reading this piece via “The Unpregnant Chick“.

Is there a place for the Childless/Childfree in the Infertility Community?

Ok, so originally this post was going to be about me walking away from the infertility community but since I never give up easily on anything that I have a passion for I’m going to stick around. I’m going to address something that I know is an extremely sensitive topic in the infertility community. I’m taking a risk that some people on both sides may take offense to some things discussed in this post but I think it’s worth it if it engages a useful dialogue.

From time to time there will be members of the infertility community who will get pregnant leaving others to feel isolated. If you are someone still trying to have children it hurts but if you’re someone who has moved on it can open the wounds left by infertility. It’s an unfortunate situation of people being hurt not necessarily because of others but because of things out of everyone’s control.

Recently a good friend of mine became unexpectantly pregnant. She is an outspoken advocate for all in the infertility community and has an amazing heart. If anyone deserves something like this it’s her, her husband and their son. I am extremely happy for her and her family. However, though I was happy for her and her family there was a part of me that was hurt. It’s not that I was hurt by her or her announcement. It was that I knew that what they were able to achieve is something that K and I will never be able to. That isn’t her fault or her husband’s fault nor is it mine.

Though I didn’t lash out at her there were others who are childless/childfree who were. They felt that the timing of it being announced around the holidays and how it was announced was done w/out regard for how others would feel. That couldn’t be further from the truth because I know she would do everything in her power to take away their pain. Sitting back and watching the dialogue on Twitter was awful. I felt awful for my friend and felt awful for others who were obviously hurting. They weren’t bitter like some people accused them of being they were flat out hurting. It was a shitty situation all around. But I’m not sure if it’s something that can ever be avoided.

The people who do go on to get pregnant and have their happy ending fall into three groups when it comes to their views on those who end up childless/childfree. There are those people who are empathetic who understand (my friend falls into this category). There are those who don’t quite get it but try their best to understand. I love these people because they are open minded ask questions and truly want to help. They have amazing hearts and are amazing people. They’ll always be your friend and there to support others. Then there are those who will never get it who are closed minded who just see the childless/Childfree as bitter people who need to suck it up and that they gave up. Yes, we are bitter at times but the reason for it is not because “they have what we want” (as some woman put it on Twitter recently) it’s because it triggers our most painful wounds from infertility that will NEVER fully heal. I’ve had people in this group unfollow me on Twitter in some cases it’s because I lashed out out them unfairly in other cases it’s because they wanted to distance themselves from something they don’t want to go back to or frankly I don’t think they care about now that they have their happy ending.

This all has me wondering whether there is a place for those who are childless/childfree in the infertility community. While I do think all voices are important with the majority of people in the infertility community moving onto become parents of kids they conceived there are always going to be pregnancies that trigger bad memories for those who move onto become childless/childfree. Some say that the answer is that those who are triggered should just mute or unfollow those who are pregnant or have kids. Others say that those people who are pregnant or use hash tags should watch how they say things. But are these solutions or just band aids to a issue that cannot ever be resolved? What good is a community where people have to be muted or watch their language? Is that a community that is inclusive of all voices?

I lean towards the solution that those who have moved onto living childless/childfree don’t belong in the infertility community. That’s not anyone’s fault I just think it’s what’s best. People who go onto have their happy endings shouldn’t have to walk on egg shells. On the other hand people who have moved onto living childless/childfree deserve a safe place where there are no fears of seeing surprise pregnancies and have the Happy Ending they were never able to achieve. I don’t think it’s possible for these two groups to exist in the same community w/out there being people who are vulnerable get hurt.

People who get pregnant or become parents after infertility need support and so do those who move onto childless/childfree lives. Because of the nature of what infertility does to us by bringing out the worst in us (topic for another blog piece) I don’t think it’s possible for both groups to support one another fully the way they need to be. But maybe things can never be perfect and this is just the best it’s going to be. Maybe the childless/childfree walking away doesn’t do anyone any good. Maybe we all just need to hear things that make us feel uncomfortable on both sides.

I’m interested to hear/read everyone’s feedback no matter if you’re pregnant, a parent, going through treatments or childless/childfree. All opinions, thoughts and ideas are welcome.