All This shall give you experience

These last few weeks have been pretty uneventful and although I have a renewed motivation to write on my blog, there isn’t much to write about.  A lot of people have reached out to me lately and made sure I was okay when they heard news of the divorce.  Chris and I kept it pretty quite (on purpose) while it was still going through the courts.  We didn’t want to deal with the gossip or the questions that we weren’t quite ready to address either.  I started letting a few friends and family know last summer but we never officially announced it anywhere so when I put a picture on Facebook and mentioned the divorce, it elicited some kind and loving reactions that helped to heal my heart – thank you.

Ha!  Look at me saying “we”!  Funny, that’s one of the hardest things to change.  After being  a “we” for so long and now I’m just me.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity (see I called it an opportunity) to play the piano at a lovely friends wedding.  She’s a member of the ward.  I don’t know her as well as I know her dad and brother who have been my Home Teachers and supported me through the last few years.  I was more than happy to help his family after the help they’ve given me. 

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Me and my very British fascinator!

I got the music and I was scared, like run and hide scared.  I guess I should be flattered that they thought that I could play such complicated pieces.  With a lot, A LOT of editing and missing out notes I managed to get some arrangements I felt okay with.  I always get so nervous when I play piano for anything except Sacrament Meeting and Primary.  My hands turn ice cold and the shake uncontrollably.  This doesn’t help with the mistakes while playing.  That day I said a prayer that one of my favourite people, My Grandma – who gave me my first piano and ignited the love of playing, would help me be calm and make up for my many musical shortcomings.  And she sure did!  I managed to get through the songs with few (noticeable) mistakes and felt semi-calm while doing it.  What a blessing!

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A congratulatory note to myself at the end of the hardest song.

 

What I didn’t plan for was the wedding itself.  The ceremony.  The love.  The excitement for the future.  And to be honest I was caught completely off guard.  It really hurt my heart.  I was so happy for the couple getting married they were so happy and joyful.  But, I couldn’t help but look back at my wedding and feel a sense of loss.  My cynical side was constantly chiming in… (Speaker) “This is just the start of your eternal family. (Cynical Jamie) “Yeah, maybe… give it a few years.” And so on and so on…. And then I stopped (because the last thing I want to be is cynical about love) and listened, and I’ll be honest I shed a few tears (hidden behind the piano – the front of the chapel was hardly the place to have a breakdown!). 

I’ve learned that grieving a divorce, for me, is similar to the process of grieving childlessness.  It doesn’t happen all at once.  Sometimes there are unexpected tears and the emotions just come up out of nowhere and I don’t know what to do with them.  But I’m slowly learning that I have to give myself time.

In those nights that I cried and cried to my Heavenly Father and asked why he wouldn’t bless me with a child I never dreamed that that experience would be for my good.  That, that experience would help me be more gentle with myself through this experience.  Now, after 10 years and a divorce I am so thankful that he knows better than me.  Divorce is hard but, I would imagine, divorce with children is even harder. I am relying on that experience to know that this experience “shall be for my good” as well. 

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So I made it through the wedding.  I managed to control my emotions so I could see the music to play.  I thought of my Sharing Time lesson to keep my mind off of some of the ceremony.  Then I got in my car to drive home and an amazing thing happened.  I wasn’t sad anymore.  For that moment the sadness had passed.  I recognized it, I felt it, and I let it go.  I know it will come back, sometimes unexpectedly, but I just have to trust that the Lord knows better than I do and remember one day this too, “shall be for me good”.

 

Find out more about what I believe here.

More To Life?

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).

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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!