I have First Blog Post Anxiety. It’s a thing these days, so I am taking the liberty of capitalising it. I just went and consulted at least five of my favourite blogs to see how they began theirs, hoping for thematic structural guidance. Nada. I don’t want to introduce myself and what this blog is about, because that’s what the ‘About this blog’ section is for and I have already spent
over two hours a period of time writing THAT. Plus, this post will quickly slide down the webpage as my thought bubbles spill over into brilliantly constructed prose and will only ever be viewed again by the aspiring blogger with First Blog Post Anxiety. So there’s that.
So maybe I’ll write about how I got here.
I have been writing a blog on a private forum for around 18 months. I have thought numerous times about bringing it out into the daylight, but fear and anxiety has shot that down (more on that later). That blog was also mainly about ‘getting pregnant’, versus ‘getting to become a parent’ – a distinction that I have discovered and am running with – and I could never resolve what I would do with the blog if I did become pregnant, knowing I would be a 12 week rule person and thus not wanting to discuss the pregnancy, which is somewhat counterintuitive given the blog topic. There would just be an awkward silence and we could all do with less of those, even in cyber space.
I have always wanted to talk openly about choosing solo motherhood though and I
often occasionally imagined I could be the preeminent Australian voice on the topic. Maybe write a book. Go on a book signing tour. I could do readings and get choked up on cue. Me and my awesome cutting edge life choices – ON TOUR.
Goal setting in this way though has made the whole humble blog writing process seem a little intimidating, believe it or not. I do feel more of a need to go public now than I did before, because if I thought there was a dearth of Australian public discourse on choosing solo parenthood (especially choosing it under the age of 30) there is a veritable wasteland when it comes to adopting from foster care, full stop, let alone as a single woman. And since adopting from foster care is the only form of adoption allowed for single women (and gay people) it’s probably useful for someone to be chatting about it on the interwebz. I suspect the significant state-based differences also play into the void, and unfortunately many of the things I will talk about will only be relevant to Victoria. However, there is much information to be shared that can cut across jurisdictions. I want to talk about what I learn along the way and I subscribe to this school of thought:
“The courage to speak your own truth always frees someone else”.
That’s an Oprah quote, which I can smugly say I did not hear from the horse’s mouth, rather from this blog. However, I clearly can’t go into this writing project thinking solely about the outcome of my ability to reach the
throngs handful of single women signing up to adopt from foster care. Obviously, if it results in anything less than a book tour, I will be gutted.
A New Year’s resolution to write more – I can’t write without a potential audience, as sick as that is – and my new war with/on/about/around vulnerability is what pushed me here in the end. Without wanting to get all ‘pop psychology’ here (I already rewrote a section where I discussed my friends, Inadequacy and Intimidation. I wish I were joking), I recently watched this amazing video of a TED talk delivered by social researcher, Brene Brown, on vulnerability. Watch it. If anything, it is a bit of a laugh. I cried a lot too, but hopefully you’re whole hearted and it’ll just be all about the laughing.
I spent a week or two after watching the video crippled by thoughts about the financial implications of (re)discovering some pretty big emotional blockers. I pondered just how much therapy I would need to purchase to really unpack, let alone enact, Brown’s anti-numbing sentiment, which is roughly this (in case you don’t watch the video. Which you totally should) – when we numb yuck emotions, we also numb the good ones. This is bad.
Then I watched a mediocre Jennifer Aniston movie
last night recently – stick with me here – about donor conception (it’s practically a requirement these days), and there was this part where Jason Bateman applauds the bravery of Aniston’s character for carving out her path and pursuing her dream of motherhood. Now in the ‘solo mum by choice’ community, we think being called brave is not very interesting. Most would never use the word ‘brave’ to characterise their choice to parent alone. I personally think it’s braver to parent with someone else, and I‘m not the only one, but I’ll leave that for another post.
So while I didn’t respond directly to the brave call from Bateman on Aniston’s character, it did trigger thinking about the pocket of time where I was trying to conceive, just last year, and how incredibly vulnerable I was. After feeling beaten by Brown’s work, I could suddenly see vulnerability in my activities. Sure, I hated trying to conceive and subsequently ran to the hills – no doubt in part due to the amount of vulnerability involved – but for two months I sat out on a ledge and took those hits. I then thought about the time, less than two years ago, when I told my best friend of five years that I was in love with him, knowing he wasn’t going to say it back. That is vulnerability with a capital V. I thought about the time that I took a huge career risk and stood up against a university, and some family and friends, and ditched the postgrad and the scholarship that went with it, following an inspirational mentor into a barely there business with a lot of heart. Vulnerability.
And then I thought about the fear that my writing isn’t up to scratch and ‘good enough’ and Brown’s words about shame and imperfection and numbing, not to mention pondering the mindblowing reality that a Jennifer Aniston movie had triggered these deep reflections, so I decided to exercise my vulnerability again and start this. Who knows, maybe it’ll help keep the therapy costs down. I won’t think about that too much though – that would be overly ambitious goal setting, and we know where that can land.
So, I got here because I was driven to share information, practice my writing and exercise my vulnerability. Got that? Hopefully it will also be an account of the bit where I become a mother and the space and time in between.