never married, over forty, a little bitter

public airing

This is a really wonderful panel discussion on the topic of “letting go of having genetic offspring.” I’m looking forward to Melanie Notkin’s new book!

Around the twenty-six minute mark, there is mention of the fact that the loss of having children stirs up all previous losses, grief, and trauma. I was so relieved to hear that, as that has certainly been the case for me, and it is nice to know that those feelings are simply a normal reaction, and that my fears that I was somehow doomed from birth are unfounded.

There is also a very interesting discussion at thirty-four minutes of how our concept of genetic offspring is, in actuality, more limiting than necessary.

I was just getting into the discussion at thirty-six minutes about the feelings of “developmental retardation” one can experience as a childless woman when the video pooped out on me. Will try again later, but hopefully you can catch the whole thing.


On the other hand, what else could Amy do but shift gears and merge into a standard Phase 2 of contemporary American experience? After you’re burnt out down to the socket trying to be a tireless, ruthless, profit-generating American achiever—that’s Phase 1— you attempt to recover by doing yoga, meditation, good works and vague spirituality. Amy already gave the other obvious alternative a shot—drinking, drugging, and having degrading sex while her marriage was falling apart (call that Phase 1.5 because it so often overlaps with Phase 1).

So what else should she do at this crisis point of her life? What does anybody do but grab the life preserver that‘s in front of them? And if you’re a woman living in California anywhere near the coast—Amy’s trapped in Riverside, CA, a sun-parched, flatland Inland Empire city an hour east of Los Angeles—the life preserver is deep breathing in lotus position, and dreams of a meaningful job, helping people and saving the environment. All excellent things, but when you’re in debt and have to work for a living, it’s amazing how sharply curtailed your soulful ambitions can be.