Watch the recording of the webinar with Kate Kaufmann. She is an award-winning international author who advocates for a better understanding of the childless/childfree demographic. She has an MFA in creative writing and professional background in human resources and consulting. A popular speaker and conversation-starter, her work has been featured in person, on air, and online.
Yes, and that hits me right in the heart. You think that some things are old but it’s just all there. I can’t even say that there was a point of accepting that we wouldn’t be having children. It was more hitting, and this was mine, hitting capacity. I struggled with the whole experience and the whole process of going through infertility treatments.
The drugs made me a little wacky, maybe a lot wacky. I mentioned I was the eldest of four girls and all three of my sisters have children. It was more reaching a saturation point and I was probably in my early 40s, maybe it was mid-40s when I thought “okay, this is not meant to be and there’s another life to lead.” I struggled greatly with it. My then-husband was very supportive but he didn’t have the same emotional involvement with having or not having children as I did. He was looking forward to it but he was not as emotional. He was not wired the same as I emotionally. Did it affect our relationship? It did.
I mentioned just in passing that he and I are no longer together. We split relatively recently, probably 4-5 years ago and it was amicable. When we were talking about it, we went back to those years of going through infertility that planted some seeds that we didn’t tend to as well as we could have been. We went through a fair bit of counseling and therapy but that created some stresses and strains in our marriage that. For those of you who are going through this, put all the care that you possibly can into the relationship. It’s a big challenge. It really is. I don’t want to sugarcoat any of that.
That means the world to me because one of the things that I’ve taken away from this whole experience of not having kids is that when you have your own child it’s like a laser beam and you have the opportunity to invest in that child or children. So you go deep with those individuals and there is something I’ve realized. I did a lot of work helping little kids learn how to read and I know that those kids are never going to remember that it was me who helped them learn how to make particular sounds. But I know that I had an impact on their lives and I know tenfold that this work has an impact on women’s lives. I have people in my life now, I am just so thrilled to create these relationships that are based on our common experience of being different than mainstream and it’s beautiful. I’ve never had a mission in my life until this book came out and my mission is to open doors to understanding between parents and non-parents because we really are all part of the same thing, we really are. So thank you. I appreciate that.
Thank you as well because this work moves us and referring back to those small group gatherings, what we’ve tried to do in two hours and everyone left saying that they had never had a conversation like that before and so this is just a tiny little example and I’m glad that that has come across. Because that’s what the work is. It just opens doors to understanding. I have a book group that I’ve been part of for 20-some odd years and I made them read my book which was like an act of courage after I did that. There’s a woman who was in the book group and so she and I were the only ones who didn’t have kids and the rest of the other eight people there did. We learned things about each other that we had never learned before. I had people apologizing to me for behaviors with their children. No, nurse your kid in front of me, that’s fine. It didn’t bother me at all. There’s so much to be talked through and to be included. It’s inclusive. There’s no better word for it. It’s inclusive of all the different ways of being in the world. So I’m really touched and thank you.
That is true and that is why I talk about guides. I think about my time and the decision I tried to second-guess myself, what a dopey decision moving to a rural area when you don’t have kids and you’re struggling with that. But what that did was created the conditions for me to be immersed in what was going on. So I had to go out and find people to talk to and to guide me. The comment is exactly another reason why we have to do that because we need to have some other conversations and you can put grand in front of the who mostly have kids grandkids and grandchildren. It happens again. Now I’m fortified for those conversations because I have other people I can go to. I have a much more balanced friendship circle. I have a family of friends now that I didn’t have before.