I want to start out by saying that I got permission to share the following email sent to me on March 21st. This past client was responding to an email I sent to her about my upcoming spring workshop. (Interestingly, she responded on the first day of spring).
Thanks for thinking of me and letting me know about your upcoming workshop! I'll be out of town that weekend, so wouldn't be able to make it. That is wonderful that you are offering it to your clients.
I’ve been doing well, we are in the midst of preparing for classes and paperwork with an adoption agency. Lately it seems it's been extra hard and isolating living in the suburbs without a family, so we've decided that since we still have a year or two to go with adoption, we will move back to the city.
Just today I was told by a friend that I couldn't join the local Moms Group on Facebook because the organizers have been selective about who can join (mainly I wanted to join to access all the great advise that moms seem to know about local resources, network with neighbors, make connections, etc)...it just hit me in the gut like so many other things have in that I'm being constantly reminded that I am an 'other' out here. What about women who are trying to be moms? Can't they benefit from the network of resources and women connections available in the Moms Facebook group? It's just interesting...and sad. Women need to support each other around motherhood, not shut each other out. Someday I hope to do some advocacy work around this. Today, I need to self-preserve. And so I thank you for all you do for your clients, it's of true value. :)
I responded to Angela, the next day, about how angry I felt for her and that at some point we needed to write a blog piece about it, at the very least. She emailed me this summer that she was ready to collaborate with me on writing a post. After I read that initial email my blood was boiling. For one, I take on my clients like they are my sisters. I think about them all of the time… I chant and pray for them, I advocate, I call them when they’re in the midst of a crisis. I even did a yoga class fund raiser for one of my clients in need. I care deeply about the women I work with. I have a small caseload, not only because I work part-time hours, but because I really take each of my clients under my wing and we muddle through this crazy journey together. For another reason, I have been “the other” most of my life…my parent’s divorced before it was so trendy to do so, I met my husband later in life and started parenting even later. Being “the other” can be lonely and frustrating especially when you desperately want to be a mother.
When we get past the anger, sadness and frustration, at feeling left out, it’s helpful to explore what story is underneath it. Although it’s unique to every one of us, for many it is the grief of infertility. It’s the loss of not being able to; control our body, time the building of our families, how we build our families, or if we can even build them.
Sure Angela could join a Facebook group for women who were struggling to build their families, or better yet, with prospective adoptive parents. But Angela was forward thinking, she was preparing for her future in motherhood and she was trying to fit in to and participate in her family-centric community. I think it was a smart and bold move. She was acting as if she was already a mom, something I suggest my clients practice to help bring in the energy of mothering.
I imagine the moms who made the decision, to not allow women who were trying to conceive or adopt, weren’t trying to be mean or to hurt anyone. I know that the stay-at-home-dads aren’t allowed in this group either. I realize that you have to draw a line somewhere. But this line really hurts. It feels like you’re not allowed to join this private country club or you’re back in junior high with all the cliques. I feel like Angela’s perspective and participation could only deepen the experience that others are having. It is their loss not to have such a thoughtful and loving mother-to-be in the group. The moms, in turn, could help support Angela towards her dream and offer ideas to her questions and concerns.
What ideas do you have around this topic? Email me your reactions as I’d love to hear your thoughts.