I have this image in my mind of the iconic photo from July 1969 when Neil Armstrong first staked the American flag on the moon. In many ways, bloggers in the infertility community are like those astronauts, beaming back news from a distant far-off place, our words and pictures help make the efforts, risks, and adventures happening there feel closer to home, tangible, and ultimately, perhaps, a cause an entire nation can get behind and support.
Today, I plant my flag. I hereby “join the movement” by participating in RESOLVE’s campaign during National Infertility Awareness Week to declare how I make a difference in ways large and small in the lives of people with infertility.
I fly the “Living Childfree” flag. This is not a popular flag to fly.
And, for the record, it was not the flag I initially requested; absolutely NOT. I wanted the “One Round with IVF and Now I’m Pregnant” flag. Apparently, that one was on back-order.
Turns out, the “Living Childfree” flag is fantastically fun to fly. It looks pretty good waving in the wind.
Truthfully, it took me a long time to get to the place where I could say that. I spent a lot of time stumbling around in the lunar craters, grieving, railing in rage against fate, before finally coming to terms with my options. So, when I write about living childfree, I bring with me the perspective of someone who desperately wanted children, so desperately, the longing was felt deep in the marrow of my bones.
This is the contribution I make: to portray this choice for what it is – a perfectly compelling option – instead of one to fear. It is easy to fear what we don’t know, and I know I feared this option. I feared my life would feel empty. What if I would never be happy? What could possibly bring a sense of purpose into to my life? What exactly could make life feel meaningful?
It is easy in the infertility world to get caught up in conversations focused on what we don’t have: children. I am here to focus on THRIVING after infertility. I hope in some small or large way, presenting living childfree as a joyful option, can also provide healing. I’ve come to recognize that to embrace this option whole-heartedly and without reservation is to live in nearly endless possibility.
I won’t tell you living childfree is always easy and effortless. Some days, living like I do, in a small mid-western town in Wisconsin, being the only childfree woman in my book group can feel like a challenge when the conversation is dominated for 45 minutes by topics ranging from the science fair to kids’ soccer schedules. And yet….I’ve come to cherish the fact that, unlike the moms in the group, my time is all my own….it doesn’t come in bits and stolen moments…it is mine and all mine. By focusing on what I do have; meaning and purpose and joy are completely present in my life.
Today, I plant my flag. I fly the “Living Childfree” flag.
In celebration of this opportunity, here are some glimpses from our life:
We actively support the Ice Age Trail, the 1,100 mile footpath that winds its way along the edges of the un-glaciated region of Wisconsin. Our work on this trail ensures future generations of hikers a legacy long after we leave this earth.
We run a lot of miles through the woods. He runs 50 plus miles; I run 50Ks. We run for the sheer fun of it!
We take dance lessons. We have a way to go before we are as smooth and flawless as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire!
We travel. We recently biked over 800 miles in New Zealand, the South Island, with six other biking enthusiasts in our circle of friends.
We live each moment to its fullest. Now, isn’t that meaning and purpose enough? I think so too. 🙂
Here is some helpful information staight from RESOLVE you will also find helpful: