Beyond the Barren Years…

Spread the love

timefliesWell alllllrighty … I’ve learned a thing or two from skimming Beyond the Mommy Years.  First and foremost, apparently I’ve been looking at this post-infertility treatment stage of life all wrong!

How could I have been so silly!? To illuminate further, our Beyond the Mommy Years author points to postmommyhood exhibit “A,” Jasmine, who explains that “it’s only now after her children are gone that she has awakened from her Mother Dream, fully energized and eager to get on with the rest of her life.”

Hmmm, let me see if I follow. Now that I’m no longer under the illusion that one day I’ll miraculously conceive, I just need to wake up and shake off my Infertility dr… well in my case it was no “dream,” it was a NIGHTMARE!

Yeah, see, this doesn’t quite apply. I think it’s a tad easier to move out of the postmommyhood dream state with a nice non-fat latte and a new outfit — what better time to ditch those Mom Jeans?

Nightmares, on the other hand, well, they have a way of leaving in their wake a little unfinished business … it’s going to take more than a new outfit to get “energized.” Now, what else does the author propose?

Savor the remaining moments? You’re kidding, right? There’s very little about the years in the conception failure loop that I want to savor. Maybe the Valium that I got to take on my embryo transfer day, yeah that was pretty good stuff, but outside of that no, not much to savor I’m afraid.

You see while age-wise those in the Beyond the Mommy Years species will one day join me in living child-free I’m guessing there will always be a gulf between us given our defining years as ‘fertiles’ and ‘infertiles.’ How can there not be when the stuff of bonding is made up of reminiscing about shared moments — like what it felt like to meet your first RE team, or the first time you tried to give yourself an injection consisting of the urine of post-menopausal women, or…

What? You mean, you don’t DIDN’T shoot up Pergonal?  You have no idea what RE refers to? Well, okay how about those minor nervous breakdowns when Aunt Flo arrived? You mean you LIKED it when Aunt Flo arrived?

Hmmm, again. I kind of wondered if we two different species of women would ever find a way back to each other when we stopped cycling once and for all, but I gotta say fertiles will need to do some work first, and it involves getting outside of their cozy little bubble to fully appreciate the infertile’s mindset — the equivalent would be wrapping their head around the notion of Beyond the Barren Years…

We ‘infertiles’ have already done our homework. We’re painfully aware of the “fertile’s” lifestyle and the related empty nest syndrome — how can we not be when just about every sitcom, drama and news show is made up of parenting tales? So until there’s some measure of understanding about what it means to live the barren years,  I’m guessing bonding tomorrow with the post-mommyhood crowd — just like today’s mommy crowd — is gonna be a bit of a challenge.

13 comments

  • you are so right, as usual. very well said. so when is some wise publisher going to buck up and publish YOUR book already? I can’t wait.

    oh, and I was prescribed urine from pregnant horses too (post-surgery recovery). nice, huh?
    ~luna

  • At least gals like us will still have our figures into our 50s (knock on wood).

    It is a completely different experience, I agree.

  • Funny you should post this as I was thinking along similar lines just this morning. It occurred to me that this whole fertiles / infertiles dichotomy will continue even after deciding to step off the TTC bandwagon and live childfree. Because you’ll still have to hear about Other People’s Children: first steps, first teeth, school, graduating, etc. I’m not looking forward to it.

    I guess the bright side might be that a woman who’s childfree may be able to retire sooner than her counterparts. That’s good, right?

  • May

    Absolutely. The fertile world needs to be educated! And I’m sure your book would be a great start. (Wishing you some more luck with that, BTW).

    I was listening to two women on the bus the other day, telling each other all about their children’s marvellous careers and the expected grandchildren. Oh dear God, what am I going to be talking about when I’m sixty?

  • Mel

    Within sarcasm, you hit on a very real truth–there needs to be a book that is beyond the barren years.

    And I love the analogy of dream to nightmare. I wake up from nightmares and I have a film over me, bothering me, for the rest of the day. Hardly energized.

  • Alacrity

    Yup, we definitely need our own book!

    I am very conscious of the fact that I will have to deal with this all over again when everyone my age is having grandchildren. Of course, they will still be working and I will be retired and traveling. ha ha ha

    The gift that keeps on giving…

  • May is right… perhaps the kiddie talk will die down for awhile as leave the family nest for college & jobs, etc…. but eventually, the grandchildren are going to start arriving, & then we’ll have THAT to listen to. 🙁

  • Ann

    Just to add a little devil’s advocate viewpoint here: Remember that this book was written specifically for women who had had children, not for all women of that age bracket. I don’t know why you haven’t yet found a publisher; it may be a numbers game. As in, it’s a fact that there are more over-40 women who had children then there are who didn’t. And while I know your goal is to have all women read a book about “the barren years” to gain a greater understanding of their sisters, the sad fact is that most women read about others who are like them. That’s just the way it is. On the flip side, not many women in your situation would have had the courage to pick up that particular book. Publishers just want to sell books to as many people as possible.

    That said, I think society paints a much rosier picture of empty-nester life than is the reality. Have you ever read or seen “In Her Shoes?” In that book, the grandmother felt isolated in her retirement village because she didn’t have grandchild stories to share with everyone else–because she was estranged from them, not because she didn’t have them. I think there are far more empty-nesters struggling to maintain a rosy exterior in order to hide the pain they feel at being “abandoned” by their children. If only they are able to let go of the way they feel things “should” be, you might find more of a kinship with them than you had figured.

  • Yes, the book is needed. And maybe a dictionary for friends and family of infertile couples.

  • There is a HUGE difference between the pain of the ‘never been filled’ empty nest and the pain of nest that’s empty because you raised them to be independent and go out into the world.

    How can those situations even compare?

    If my current adult ed class is any indication (they are all 55+) the kid centered talk never ends. Women my age speak of their kids, women of the empty nest age speak of their grandkids (or how they soon expect to have some). Either way, the childless woman is still on the fringes.

    Maybe that’s just my current & negative viewpoint.

  • Bea

    Not impossible to forge an understanding, hopefully. But yes, bridges to cross, as some previous commenters have pointed out nicely.

    Bea

  • Rachel Inbar

    Without having read the book at all, I’ll risk saying that perhaps the book deals with the sadness that arises from (or that women think will arise from) the fact that their children have left home. It is a completely different type of loss, but a loss nonetheless. My guess is that the book was intended for women who raised children and not for those who wanted to yet were not fortunate enough to.

    • Yes. I’m fully aware that this book was written with a different audience in mind. My post was aimed at illustrating that there is a very large hole and a significant loss associated with a different type of empty nest syndrome (e.g. infertility) that doesn’t get the same recognition or awareness. It’s maddening that society focuses so much attention on one type of loss while completely ignoring another…