Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Circumstantially Infertile July 14, 2011

Thanks to Robin for posting this link on the LWB Facebook page.

In the Huffington Post’s new “Women” section this week, Savvy Auntie, Melanie Notkin writes about the grief and lack of empathy that comes with being “circumstantially infertile.”

Melanie always wanted to have children, but just never met the right person. She talks openly about the insensitive and sometimes cruel things people have said to her. She also makes the case that, just because someone doesn’t have children, doesn’t mean they don’t like kids or aren’t maternal.

Melanie is the author of the fun book, Savvy Auntie, that I reviewed last month, and creator of I also had the pleasure of interviewing her recently. More about that soon.


10 Responses to “Circumstantially Infertile”

  1. Kate B Says:

    That’s me – except that I finally did find the right person to have kids with, but it didn’t work – on the late side for me, issues on his side. I will always wonder if he had come into my life earlier, would we be sitting at home with 2.5 kids right now?

  2. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    That’s me, too! Melanie articulates so well the experiences of “circumstantially infertile” women. And her site is great. Thank you for introducing her to us.

  3. Lori Says:

    Read this article yesterday. Love what Melanie has done to combat many of the negative stereotypes associated with child-free women.

  4. Mali Says:

    I loved this article, particularly her last paragraph, where she stressed infertility doesn’t mean her life is barren. And that you can be maternal whether or not you’re a mother.

    Someone said that to me years ago, and it helped me enormously. I nurture now, just in a different way, but it is an outlet for my maternal love.

  5. Robin D. Says:

    Thanks for reposting, Lisa. I really like the term, “circumstantially infertile.” it describes me perfectly. So much so, I plan to use it when people ask inappropriate questions about my childless status.

  6. Hi Lisa,
    I’m so glad to see you and Melanie are connected! I write for her at Savvy Auntie as her grief and loss expert columnist. I’m writing a response to the SA community in light of the firestorm her piece in Huff Po created from the perspective of a grief therapist. Some of the comments she got were outrageous and hurtful. I wish people could learn to simply say, “I’m sorry you are struggling,” when they hear someone for whatever reason is dealing with infertility–regardless of circumstance.
    Keep up the good work!

  7. IrisD Says:

    I’m glad she wrote the article and that it will hopefully give some insight to others tempted to say things like “She didn’t have kids because she is a ‘career woman’.” I’ve yet to meet someone who wanted to have kids, but didn’t because she preferred having a career over being a mother. As usual, however, I got annoyed by some of the comments left by other readers. I suppose it is inevitable.

  8. Sue Says:

    Loved the article, thank you for sharing it with us. I just need to learn to not read the comments on these articles. Grrr.

  9. lmanterfield Says:

    Yes, the beautiful thing about the internet is that we can so easily share information, but it also enables anyone who can type to post a comment, regardless of whether they engage their brains or not.

    My friend Amy once made a great observation that there are people out there who put all their dark, ugliness into fighting on the internet from the safety of their basements. I think about that whenever I read something hateful.

  10. loribeth Says:

    I have to admit that (as someone who has struggled with infertility) I dislike the term “circumstantially infertile,” for reasons I can’t entirely put my finger on. That said, I believe she is entirely entitled to her pain, and I otherwise loved the article.

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