I read a lot of childfree after infertility blogs; some because they’ve become off-blog friends and I’m reading their space just to keep up with their life, and others because they’re interesting. But in almost all the cases, I started reading because I think childfree after infertility blogs provide something unique that often gets lost on a difficult family building journey: That we have an entire life.
Meaning that as much as certain aspects of life take over our mental space for certain periods of time, all people are so much more than one aspect of their life. That we all have hobbies we enjoy or ideas we’re contributing to the world.
The kids are a big part of my life, but they’re not the only thing. There are books to be written and a husband to connect with and video games to be played and comic books to be read. A whole life.
Sometimes we forget that. It’s easy to forget that. Infertility is huge. It blots out everything else in the landscape. It takes over your schedule and forces itself to be reckoned with on a daily basis, either through monitoring with treatments or waiting for an agency phone call or navigating a baby-filled world. Loss is huge. It makes you feel like you’re drowning. There is no protocol for grief, no set of steps you can follow to clear up grief like an ear infection.
Each childfree after infertility blogger is at a different stage in their journey, and beyond time as a factor, view the world in different ways. But I really appreciate the bloggers who write about the world beyond family building. They point out that, yes, there is grief from time to time — of course there is — but there is also travel and books and relationships and mentoring and craft projects and cooking and… a life.
Their words force the reader to take a look at their own life and check in on whether they’ve let one aspect of life grow too large and overwhelm the rest. We all need to do this; it’s not unique to family building or parenting or non-parenting. We all need to look at our life with a critical eye and ask ourselves,
- Am I doing things that make me happy?
- Am I spending time with people who make me happy?
- Am I living the life I want to be living vs. the one I think looks good to the outside world?
- Have I followed my bliss, or am I living someone else’s expectations?
And if not, why. Why am I waiting?
Really, why am I waiting? Because this is it. This is the only life I’m going to get, and I can either live it apologizing for my likes and dislikes, my interests and wants, my grief and upsets, or I can take the whole of it, even if it’s messy and hard to hold, and throw myself into the things that spark my interest.
So, thank you, childfree after infertility bloggers, for being the voice that reminds us that a life consists of many different interests and important people. Each life valid and unique. And rather than try to put someone else’s life down, we should spend our energy nodding at each other’s lives and saying, “Your life looks awesome. Check out mine, too. And then once we’re done reading, let’s each go back to enjoying these lives we’ve built.”