25 Comments
May 6, 2023Liked by Finn Schubert

So grateful for this Finn - as I read I could feel myself expanding to welcome my own ambivalence and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. Looking forward to future writing…

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Thank you so much. I love the way you phrased this: "expanding to welcome my own ambivalence."

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May 6, 2023Liked by Finn Schubert

This is so true, at every stage of life. Feeling “not enough” is enhanced by our culture, and I am thankful I see someone like you questioning why everything must always be “bigger and better “.

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Yes, feeling "not enough" is so culturally ingrained... as Shea in the Catskills has said, "Whenever we feel bad about ourselves, someone is making a lot of money." But even knowing that, it can be hard to move toward something else.

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May 6, 2023Liked by Finn Schubert

So glad to hear from you!

Both/and. Multivalent. Will there ever come a time when society/any culture, has the capacity to bear witness to another's life experience without pigeon-holing us? As I've said before, not only are we the ancestors of the future (Which is now), but you are forging a new archetype that is sorely needed. You are at the forefront and you are not alone (although it must assuredly feel that way at times). May you heal at your own pace and in your own time in a way that feels true for you.

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Yes, bearing witness to another's life experience -- or even, perhaps, detailed and spacious witness to our own -- can be so difficult and so important. Thank you for these kind words.

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May 6, 2023Liked by Finn Schubert

😊❤️💕

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❤️❤️❤️

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This is really lovely. "worthwhile in all its weirdness"

Thanks for including Mother Brain here.

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It's been amazing and a little weird-in-a-good-way to read Mother Brain while in the thick of it! Thanks for your important work.

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May 6, 2023Liked by Finn Schubert

So good to see you back in this space! I've been thinking a lot about "mothering" and "fathering" lately and I'm grateful for how your words help me to continue to shift what is possible ✨

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Thanks for saying this! And I think that "mothering" and "fathering" as verbs instead of nouns feel so much more expansive for exploration to me...

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Glad you're back, Finn. I just love your writing.

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Thanks so much, Jack, I'm so glad to be back in this space, writing and reading with everyone! (Btw congrats on your recent step out from anonymity -- I'm looking forward to reading more from you.)

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May 7, 2023Liked by Finn Schubert

Thank you so much for this. And for expanding the expectations v. reality beyond motherhood. I wonder if part of it is that popular culture often has the story of decides on a goal/works hard/achieves it/overcomes all obstacles in a humorous or nonchalant way. So real life challenges, in any aspect, seem unreal or daunting.

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Yes, I agree, real life challenges can be so much more complex than that simplified narrative, and then it can feel confusing when life doesn't match that "story."

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Welcome back, Finn! There is so much insight in your piece, but this struck me especially:

“It seems to me that if something ‘sticks out’ from our experience as it relates to the dominant narrative—if we’re feeling sad, ambivalent, or numb when we’re told we should be feeling happy, or vice versa—there’s probably more of a story there, and it’s probably worthwhile in all its weirdness. It’s a story we should explore on its own merits, not for the sake of fixing or adjusting it to match some other narrative.”

I’ve been trying to sort out how I feel about my ongoing infertility. After my fifth unsuccessful fertility cycle this year, I’m feeling a weird kind of acceptance creeping in, when it seems I “should” be feeling sadness or despair. I feel almost ready to stop trying, when it seems like I “should” be doubling down on my efforts. I find myself thinking a lot more about travel and adventure and what I’ll do when I’m finally unchained from the tyranny of these monthly treatments, and I’m kind of excited about it. I’m also feeling hope about the possibility of adopting an older child, of jumping right to the part where they can hike and camp with me, and skipping the sleepless nights and tantrums and endless shoelace-tying.

Yet there is also profound grief. The other day I said out loud to someone that I’m near the end of the road with my treatments, and tears started pouring out of me uncontrollably. I think I keep going with fertility procedures in order to postpone the inevitable grieving process more so than out of any belief that it will result in a baby. Someone in one of my support groups said she needed to try everything possible to conceive so she’d know it wasn’t her fault. That’s it. That’s where I am. Checking off all the boxes before I can leave that dream behind.

I know you went through something similar. Can you point me to any pieces of your writing that explore this?

Thank you for your brilliant writing. Your words are important.

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Yes, I think you are speaking very clearly to the complexity of all of this. There is a lot of grief in knowing or deciding that you have reached the end of the road, and also the freedom that comes with it to turn your attention to something else. It is very BOTH. One feeling isn't better or more real than another, even if some feelings might be more frequently discussed or affirmed culturally.

I never thought about this before, but during the period of time in my life when things were falling apart, I wrote quite a bit of semi-autobiographical fiction and it was a way for me to see stories that ended mostly happily even without a baby and to envision different ways that it could look. I thought I was just working on my writing at the time but now I see what a gift it was to write these aspects of my experience into narrative arcs that included, but didn't ultimately end with, an emphasis on loss. I don't really have public writing on this right now though.

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Thank you, Finn. I love that you wrote your own happy endings! Isn't it ironic how that very acceptance, for some people, relaxes the heart and mind in a way that makes conception possible. Or who knows. And yes, "It is very BOTH" - the grief and the freedom. Our culture doesn't do a very good job acknowledging these dualities. As you've said, there is an expected narrative.

I would love to read about your experience of coming to terms with infertility, if you ever decide to go back and revisit it, although it seems you have plenty of fodder for writing with you current life experience. I know I don't usually feel compelled to write about the past once I've moved on from it. If you do find anything you've written earlier, please share!

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This is wonderful. I am so struck by the part about sticking outside the box. The image and the resulting thoughts about it are very interesting and thought provoking to me right now.

I am with you on the "bigger and better". Why is that always the assumption/what it has to be? It bugs me like the "go big or go home" mantra. Why? What is wrong with slow or small or right-sized for one's own circumstance.

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Yes, definitely! "Slow or small or right-sized for one's own circumstance" -- may we trust ourselves to know the right size or speed for us.

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Finally catching up here Finn- SO good to hear from you! I wish when I was a new mother I’d had this wisdom, this permission to be ambivalent. Such a gift. And I love those images. They so viscerally illuminate my well cultured training to make things “fit”. Go with what sticks out is so liberating and permission to follow our heart.

Hugs to you!

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Love this! And yes, the images are so visceral and illuminating, aren't they!

Loved your recent post about Magnolias!

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Thanks for reading! I’m going to be on Substack soon!

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That's so exciting!

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