It started pretty early.
Sometime around early March the memes, the tweets, and the thirty second soundbites began.
“I’m so jealous of my friends without kids.”
“Life in pandemic must be so much easier for y’all who don’t have kids at home.”
“I wish I could spend pandemic baking bread and binging Netflix.”
“I mean you really don’t have anything to complain about.”
The lines had been drawn, and the implications were clear. The only experiences that mattered were those of parents with young children at home. The rest of us needed to suck it up, because how bad could this really be?
I want to stop here to say this clearly and without exception. Parents, y’all are warriors. I am in awe of you. You have weathered these months with courage, grace, care, humor, compassion, and more. You have made impossible choices about school, and more. You have loved your babies, and each other. You have built support networks, pods, improv childcare, and more, and more. You are amazing! The fissures and faults in the system are not a reflection of your parenting. You’re doing a good job at a hard thing.
And, this story isn’t that one. It belongs to those of us with aching infertility that is amplified by pandemic. It belongs to those of us desperately wishing for our own kids while watching you all talk about your accidental quarantine babies (when “accidental” pregnancy isn’t possible for us). It belongs to those of us childfree by choice who have created pods with parents of young kiddos to lend extra hands while being told “it must be nice to have so much time to yourself.” It belongs to those who cannot have children, whose adoption processes were completely halted by COVID, and on, and on.
It is about the assumption that those of us without our own children don’t know anything about kids. Except so many of us have spent our lives professionally and otherwise caring for other people’s babies (in some cases including yours). It is about how we see you, but it is is really hard sometimes to feel like y’all see us.
Three years ago I started down the road of fertility treatments. I was 34, the clock was ticking, and my eggs were getting stale (at least according to the…