A month or so ago, I found out that a charity for infertility here in England was going to have an event for those living with involuntary childlessness – without thinking of any of the details I booked and paid for my space.
This last Saturday was the day. Chris and I got got train tickets to London and planned on me going to the seminar and Chris finding something else to do while I was there (read: traveling around London on the Tube).
Before it started Chris and I went to the British Museum so I could have an up close and personal look at the Benin Bronzes – the subject of my latest 1500 word essay for University. I was not disappointed! It was quite amazing to see something like that in person (although I’ve been to the museum several times before, this was the first time I had STUDIED something there).
But the most important thing that happened that day was the More to Life seminar. I am not very open on this blog about my struggles with infertility – not because I am embarrassed or ashamed, but because it is deeply personal and still extremely painful.
The whole seminar was about living your best, happiest life without children *gasp* is that possible!?!?
I must admit I was a bit hesitant and when I walked into the building and was greeted by several very kind women, I sat there on my own shocked by the realization that – I was there, I was at a seminar about living life without children, me, someone who everyone thought would have the most children, the nanny, I was there. I looked around and saw women of all ages and races and had the thought, how lovely each of these women know exactly how I feel.
You see, I have a husband and family and friends who are incredibly supportive of me – but none of them REALLY know how I feel.
They don’t know the dread every time I hear a pregnancy announcement, they don’t know how it feels to love nieces and nephews but sometimes cant be around them because it is too hard. They don’t know how I feel less of a woman because I cant give my husband the title father and my parents the title grandparents. But these women did!!! The speakers knew all of these things, and by them acknowledging them made me feel more human and sane – because sometimes the thoughts that enter my head when it comes to my lack of children, make me feel like I am slightly crazy or excessive in my anger or sadness – but I’m not – I AM NORMAL!!!
Then the breakthrough of the day happened when I was given permission to find GOOD things about not having children, permission to change my thinking, permission to feel sad that I cant have children but also feel happy that I don’t have to pay for them and loose sleep for them. THIS WAS AMAZING!!! All these years (and especially the last one) I was walking around thinking of all the things I didn’t have because I didn’t have children, but after Saturday I am slowly beginning to think of all the things I do have or CAN have because I DONT.
Does this mean my desire for having a child is gone? NO, absolutely not – but it does mean that I can heal, that I can eventually find happiness in my childlessness.
After the seminar I met up with Chris and we went to his old stomping ground in London and went for Chinese. As we were sitting there waiting for our food, I saw a cute little family walk in – and I thought, “awwwww I wish I had kids.” Then as I watched them struggle with the kids and have to take turns taking them to the toilet, my next thought was, “wow, that looks like hard work, I am glad it is just me and Chris.” Guess what? I didn’t feel bad about thinking that either – and I think that is progress!
Thanks to More To Life, I have a different outlook on my childlessness and it is refreshing and surprising and hopeful!