On Being Childless: A Very Unexpected Wobble . . .

by Brandi Lytle
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SENSITIVE POST WITH POSSIBLE TRIGGERS…

At the end of September, I visited my family in Oklahoma.  Because of Covid19, I had not seen them in nine months.  That is the longest I have ever been away.  And despite some trepidation, I decided that I felt comfortable enough to travel—while wearing my mask, wiping down my seat, and using an entire bottle of hand sanitizer in just a few short days.  But this post isn’t about Coronavirus or traveling or masks.  This post is about a very unexpected wobble I had while visiting with my nieces…

A former teacher, I always ask the kiddos in my life how school is going.  And I always inquire about their grades, too.  My oldest niece proudly told me that she is doing quite well in school this year.  She went on to tell me about the classes she is taking.  I wasn’t sure what one of them involved, so I asked her to elaborate.  And that is when she told me…

TRIGGER WARNING:  This conversation with my niece caused a very unexpected wobble (including some tears).  “P” and the “p” belly will be discussed.  Please, do not read if you are feeling vulnerable today.

In one of her classes, she will wear something that simulates a pregnant belly.  She described this contraption to me in some detail.  I listened.  I talked to her about it.  Though I didn’t cry, I was a bit shocked, as I had never heard about such a project in a high school class.  And I taught high school for 17 years…

The next morning…

The next morning, I woke up early.  Dane was still sleeping.  Maddie was back in South Carolina.  As I lie there in the dark, I thought about the conversation I had with my niece the night before.  And I began to cry.

I cried for myself.

I cried for the teenage girls who would participate in this project, believing that one day they would experience this for real.  But for some of them, that one day will never come.

And then, I thought of you, fabulous ones.  And I cried for you, too.  I realized that I no longer feel alone.  I know there are others who struggle with infertility, others who were never able to conceive.  And that thought made me cry even more.

I allowed myself to cry for some time.  And then, I drug myself out of bed because we were supposed to have brunch with our nieces and I wanted to have a good day with them.  I knew that I had to find joy despite…  That I had to find the bright sides.  I had to enjoy this time with them, as I would be going home soon and wouldn’t see them for months…

Here we go again…

On the way to brunch, the girls started telling Uncle Dane about school.  And once again, our oldest niece began to explain the “p” belly project.  And I began to get anxious.  I tried to change the subject.  It didn’t work.

After she had finished, I just couldn’t remain silent anymore.  So, I said, “But they don’t teach you all about the fact that some of you won’t be able to experience this.  Some of you won’t be able to get pregnant.”

Our niece assured me that they are, in fact, going to learn about infertility.  This surprised me.  Actually, it shocked me.  Because I have never heard of a high school class teaching about infertility.  (Then again, I’ve never heard about this “p” belly project, either.)  I told my niece that I’d be interested to know what they teach them about infertility…

Trying to keep my balance…

By this point, we were at the restaurant and the subject quickly changed to what we were going to eat.  We enjoyed a scrumptious brunch, and the rest of the day was lovely.  Though an endo flare did start that afternoon…  (Perhaps brought on by the stress of trying to manage unexpected emotions caused by an unexpected wobble…)

I truly hope the “p” belly isn’t a permanent trigger for me.  If so, I know there will be more bumps and wobbles as my nieces get older…  Or at least I hope so.  Because I pray that they don’t have to struggle through what I have struggled through…

But I suppose I’ll deal with wobbles as they arise.  For now, I’ll find my balance again, keep looking for the bright sides, keep finding joy despite…

And be eternally grateful that I can share my heart with you, fabulous ones…  Eternally grateful that an unexpected wobble no longer has to be fought alone.

 

If anything I wrote about this unexpected wobble resonates with you, fabulous one, please tell us about it in the comments.  (You can simply use an initial as your name, if you wish to remain anonymous.)
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6 comments

Mali October 5, 2020 - 8:46 pm

Unexpected wobbles are the worst, precisely because they are unexpected. I had one recently too – a real “ouch” moment. But it’s pretty much gone now. So I’m sending you hugs. Pregnancies don’t worry me too much now – hysterectomy and menopause have helped with that. But I have other triggers. Don’t we all?

Actually, I’m a bit horrified by the wearing of the “p” belly, perhaps for different reasons. Girls who don’t want to be defined by their biology, girls who have been sexually assaulted, girls with health issues, transgender girls, girls who are feminists could all be traumatised by this. I get the general idea – but I’m not sure I like it! LOL

Though I am pleased that they might talk about infertility too. I wonder if they will talk about STDs and infertility, etc?

Reply
Brandi Lytle October 6, 2020 - 10:04 am

I’m sorry you had a wobble recently, Mali. I’m glad that you have worked through it. Sending hugs back, as I think we can all use hugs daily!

Thank you for giving your perspective about the “p” belly project. You mentioned things I hadn’t considered and wonder if the person who developed the curriculum considered these… I know being a high school teacher is an extremely difficult job. (As I said in the blog, I taught for 17 years.) As part of the CNBC community, however, we realize that getting “p” is so much more complicated…

I’m sure our niece will tell me more about this class, so it will be interesting to learn how they approach infertility and if they talk about STDs, etc.

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K October 5, 2020 - 7:29 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this story. It’s exactly what I needed to read today, as I just experienced a wobble of my own this morning❤️

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Brandi Lytle October 6, 2020 - 10:06 am

I’m so sorry you had a wobble, K. I hope it doesn’t last too long and am grateful that this blog post reached you at the right time. Sending you loads of hugs…

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Sherry October 5, 2020 - 7:11 pm

So glad to be in your tribe and hear this story. Also thankful you let yourself be sad and cry it out. It explains your endo flareup and exhaustion. Remember grief is like glitter…..it shows up even after you think its all cleaned up. I love you.❤💚💜

Reply
Brandi Lytle October 6, 2020 - 10:07 am

Yes, the grief is always there… But thinking of it like glitter–as something pretty (though annoying)–does make me grin a bit. Love you back…

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