My own personal grief
Right before lockdown in the UK started I was looking into therapy. I was trying to find someone that could help me deal with navigating the circumstances of being unable to have children.
You see, it was Mother’s Day here in the UK in March and I was bombarded constantly with reminders of what I couldn’t and would never have. It’s the same feeling that had been eating at me since October and the anniversary of my hysterectomy. There were a number of realisations of how my life will never be the same between October and March and they all just built up inside me.
I couldn’t cope.
Then we went into quarantine.
I could have still found a therapist, but suddenly it seemed very inconsequential in relation to a pandemic, being told we could only go outside once a day, and being furloughed. I suddenly had so many other emotional things to deal with!
So what did I do instead?
I attended a virtual panel on Mother’s Day hosted by Jody Day. It was the first time I’d watched one of these types of events and the ways the speakers had of coping with Mother’s Day when they are not mothers… it was so comforting.
This past weekend the InfertileAF Summit was hosted online and I got to watch these talks about finding ways through each moment and coming to terms with not having the life you thought you were going to have.
I’m reading It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine. The second I started reading I agreed with every single point Megan makes in her book. I highly recommend it if you need something to help.
In between these incredible events I’ve been mostly living day to day. I journal some days. I’m trying to make a habit of it but it hasn’t stuck yet. The Happiness Planner’s Resilience Journal has given me a new perspective on my ability to overcome obstacles in my life. I also have the Gratitude Journal to work through.
Rounding a corner
I can’t say when exactly, but at some point during the last three months there was a shift.
In May it’s Mother’s Day in the US and I get bombared again with messages online, advertising, etc. But they didn’t bother me as much now.
I was overjoyed at finding out a friend is pregnant on social media. There was no jealousy, no feeling of being stabbed in the heart by someone getting to have a baby and not me, just happiness for my friend!
Someone else has told me this week they are pregnant, and again, I’m okay and I’m happy for her.
I know it won’t always be like that, but it is so refreshing to know I can still feel pure joy about this specific thing.
Still working on it
I still have so much work to do and therapy is absolutely not off the table if I still feel I need it. My grief about not having children waxes and wanes, as all feelings of grief do. Thanks to Megan Devine’s book I understand I won’t get over it, it’s now a part of me and not something to be avoided and hidden, but tended and looked after.
Knowing what my triggers are, giving myself space when I need, taking the time to look after myself in a way that isn’t chastising, and finding other individuals who understand this particular heartache have all been part of this work.
I still have a stack of books to read through when I have capacity for meeting my childlessness head on. I’m still advocating for cancer awareness and mental health. Standing up against the inane belief society seems to have about women having children to have worth – it’s getting better but it’s still not where it should be. I won’t stay silent when I know sharing my experience does help others.
Don’t do it alone
I am thankful to have so much support around me to help me when I can’t handle everything on my own. Not everyone has the same support system I do, so please seek help if you need it.
Sometimes just knowing someone else understands helps and my inbox is always open.