I was honoured to be asked by Civilla Morgan to contribute to her episode on coping with Mother’s Day. It’s so great to have the opportunity to collaborate with other childless not by choice women to share our experiences of how we manage on mother’s day and to provide support where it’s needed. I hope you love listening to this moving recording.
I took advantage of escaping to Cheddar Gorge this weekend. For those of you who are not familiar with the place, Cheddar Gorge is a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar, Somerset, England. The gorge is the site of the Cheddar show caves, where Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, estimated to be 9,000 years old, was found in 1903 (complements of Wikipedia).
We started our journey at the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder and ascended the 274 steps to the Cheddar Gorge Cliff Top Walk and when we reached the top it was truly breath taking. The scenery is stunning and it felt so wonderful to take some time out, to sit and be still taking in the atmosphere. It was so peaceful!!!
As we were descending the cliff top, we came across some rather treacherous terrain which meant that we spent most of the decent looking down, planning where to place our feet and being careful not to slip and fall. As we were tentatively working our way down my friend said that “you can spend so much time looking down that you can forget to look up” and miss the beautiful views. It dawned on me how true this is. We can go through like looking down, focusing on the problem(s) in front of us, looking at what we haven’t got or the difficulties starting us int he face that we can miss what we do have, what we have accomplished, the beautiful things/ people and gifts in our lives. By looking at ‘how far we have to go we can miss how far we have come’ [The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse; by Charlie Mackesy].
Yes, we do need to look down, once in a while, to make sure that we are on the right path, not stepping into holes, to make sure that we are on safe ground and I urge you to remember to also take the time to stop look up, because when you look up you will see how far you’ve come, how much you’ve accomplished and you will see the beautiful views ahead that may just help you to see where you want to head for next.
I went out on a bike ride this morning and after planning the route I headed out believing that I knew where I was going. At some point, after taking a few unsure turns, I realised that I was in unfamiliar territory, I had no idea where I was and hoped that if I continued on this route, I would end up in a place that I recognised – besides the weather was great and I wasn’t on a timed schedule so I decided to see where the road would lead me.
As I cycled down this fairly steep hill I noticed that I was holding on to my handle bars rather tightly whist pressing on my breaks to slow myself down. Now I usually enjoy riding downhill, feeling exhilarated as my bike picks up speed propelling me to the bottom. I remember when I first started cycling I was warned that I’d wear out my brake pads if I didn’t learn to let go but it took me ages to feel safe enough to do this, once I did, OMG it felt amazing, I felt free!!! So, what had me clutching onto my brakes as I descended this hill?
On reflection I realised that I was unsure I as navigated this new territory, the road was uneven with many twists and turns, I felt unsafe because I didn’t know what was around the corner, it dawned on me that I was fearful of the unknown because I didn’t know what this now meant for me, I didn’t want to fall off my bike and get hurt.
I wonder how many things we have stopped ourselves from doing because we are fearful of what might happen, of being hurt, or of where it may lead us?
I am reminded of a coaching session I once had where my coach (at the time) told me that fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real – I was reminded of this when I reached the bottom of the hill and realised that the reality of reaching the bottom (of the hill) was different from what my mind told me as I was travelling down this road. There is nothing wrong with the feeling afraid, as with all feelings it’s our body giving us the message to put the things in place that we need to remain safe on this journey. On my ride the message was to slow down, by using my breaks more than usual, so that I could navigate the tricky terrain and arrive at the bottom safely.
So my take home message here is…You may never enjoy the journey if you let fear dictate your path.
I’d like to introduce the newest addition to my #BlackNomoRoleModels gallery. Edmonia Lewis was an African-American sculptor, who was the first African-American sculptor to achieve national and then international prominence. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to Black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture.
You can learn more about her here
As well as other jobs I had planned for this weekend I needed to repair the pipe attached to the gutter at the back of my house. When we had the last downpour of rain, I noticed the rain falling on my conservatory sounded unusually loud. On inspection I realised that the overflow pipe had come away from the guttering. My initial though was “crap who am I going to call to get that fixed” – actually my initially thought can’t be shared here so we’ll go with this one 🙂
I took a moment and considered my options. I looked out the window again to inspect the pipe and it looked like it had just come out of the bracket away from the wall. All I needed to do was climb up there and push the pipe back into the bracket so I spoke to my neighbour to ask if I could borrow his ladder. During the conversation it came to light that the bracket was probably broken because, as I found out, wall brackets tend to be a solid half circle. Crap this job seems to be more complicated than I initially thought. No problem all I need to do is go to B&Q and buy a bracket.
A few days later, screwdriver, new bracket and ladder in hand I was ready. My dad, who has been up and down the same wall to sort out other things with my gutter, teased me saying that I, as a woman, shouldn’t be climbing up the ladder as it was too dangerous. Well, that fuelled me on for sure.
So, with my friend holding the ladder for me and my neighbour on the other side of the fence offering some guidance I was ready to take on this task. My friend admitted that he was scared of heights so there was no way he was going to offer take my place with this one but that was ok I was prepared. We took a number of attempts at placing the ladder in the right position, I look up, gulped, placed my foot on the first step and started to climb. I decided to initially climb up and inspect what I needed to do. I slowly lifted one foot and placed in on the next step before brining my other foot to meet it. I paused, took a breath and repeated this action. Each time I had both feet on a step I paused. With encouragement from below I slowly made my way to the top. When I got there, I stopped and took a moment to feel what it was like. Yes, it was high but I didn’t feel like I thought I would. I thought that I’d be scared and would be clutching the ladder until my knuckles turned white, but No. I stood tall, looked around and realised how safe I felt. I was going to be ok. I then knew that I could do this – all I needed to do was unscrew the old bracket, remove it, put the new one in place and screw it back to the wall. Simple!
I descended the ladder, collected the screwdriver, confidently climbed back up and removed the broken bracket. Then went back down to collect the new bracket, up I went to screw it into the wall. It then became apparent that the new bracket was wider than the one being replaced so I would need to drill a hole to be able to screw it into the wall. Crap. It was one thing climbing up this high with a screwdriver, which I secured in my pocket, but quite another navigating the ladder with a drill in my hand, let alone having to use it when at the top. This was getting tricky.
With some further encouragement from the other side of the fence I collected the drill, confidently climbed back up the ladder, positioned myself, drilled the hole in the wall, placed the wall plug into the hole, dropped of the drill and re-climbed the ladder to secure the bracket in place. I looked up with a smile that was quickly replaced with disappointment as I realised that the pipe didn’t reach the guttering. “You’ll have to pull the pipe up to meet the guttering,” shouted my neighbour. The ladder was leaning against the pip so that wasn’t going to work. I descended the ladder, looked up and wondered what to do next. I suggested moving the ladder to the side of the house so that my friend could push the pipe up whilst I guided it into the guttering. We tried this out as before, I climbed the ladder and once I felt safe we were able to reconnect the pipe into the gutter.
I felt such pride when I finally completed the task and descended back down the ladder for the last time. When my feet touched the ground, I truly felt like a bad ass. My friend, who admitted that he was nervous for me, was so happy when the job was completed. We even laughed at the thought of him placing me on his shoulder like a queen, as I was descending the ladder – I almost wished he had tried but the thought of him buckling under my weight ruined that image.
As I thought about what I had accomplished I wondered what the take home message was here….
- When a new problem presented itself, I didn’t know what to do
- I stopped and thought about it and considered my options
- I talked to others who had been here before and they offered me the necessary advice
- I was able to review the situation and obtain the required tools for the job
- When I had the ladder against the wall I looked up and worried about what could happen when I got to the top
- So I slowly climbed the ladder, one step at a time, reassessing my position as I went along, asking myself what I needed to help me take the next step
- When I got to the top I stopped to check in with my feelings
- I realised that I had what I needed in place to help me (friend holding the ladder, neighbour offering encouraging guidance) which in turn helped me to feel safe ensuring that I was able to move forward and do what I needed to do
In our grief it can be hard to see past our sadness not knowing which way to turn, not knowing how we will get past what we see in front of us. If we take our time to slowly move forward, stopping from time to time to reassess our steps and asking for help in the right places we can find the support and guidance that can help us to move forward overcoming those bumps and unexpected turns along the way.
This morning I went for a walk, in an area that I am not that familiar with, and the directions I was given were not that great, and didn’t pan out as expected. Essentially I didn’t know where I was going and without a map was unsure I would be able to get to the place I was trying to find. As I thought about my situation I was reminded about a post I saw during one of the talks at Katy Seppi’s Childless summit where someone mentioned that it can be difficult to navigate the route of childlessness without a map.
I really wanted to go on this walk as I had heard great things about the area. So I gave myself permission to try and find where I wanted to get to. I embodied my adventurous spirit and allowed myself to (possible) get lost in the hope that I would find where I had planned to end up. So as I walked down the road, hoping I was going in the right direction, I discovered a path. Now this path was quite inconspicuous and could have easily been missed and me being my adventurous self, yep you guessed it, I headed off road to see where this path would lead – I must say here that it’s a good thing I don’t watch too many horror films! After about 10 minutes of walking I ended up in this beautiful field, I ended up right where I wanted to be in this peaceful field where I could view the great landscape, roam around and listen to the birds singing whilst feeling the wind on my face – it was so tranquil. Without a map (and pretty crap directions) I ended up right where I needed to be. The absence of a map allowed me to experience the freedom of life the way I wanted to experience it, which may not have happened if I walked the route that others had mapped out for me, sound familiar???
So I challenge you to throw away the map (burn it if you must), look up and be free to experience life on your terms and HAVE FUN being your authentic self.
I’m speaking at the Childless Collective Summit today! YES TODAY! My presentation is going live today at 8pm GMT where I’m talking all about the women of colour’s experience around infertility in my talk titled ‘Black Girls Do Cry’!
In my talk I will be talking about:
- Why black and Asian women do not talk about their fertility issues.
- The disparities in treatment that women of colour face by our medical professionals and
- My journey through my giref as a black childless woman.
If you haven’t grabbed your ticket to the summit yet, you can grab one here via this link. My presentation will be live for 24 hours and there are a lot of other amazing ones for you to check out.
Hope to see you there!
p.s. If you’re seeing this too late, you can grab an Extended Access Pass to get a full year of access to all the presentations!
#childlesscollectivesummit #nokids #kidfree #childless #childlessnotbychoice #familyoftwo #notamom #nonmom #childlessness #childlessbycircumstance #childfreeafterinfertility #childlesssupport #womenshealth #ttc #infertility #ttccommunity #infertilitysucks #babyloss #infertilitysupport #reproductivehealth #miscarriage #thisisinfertility #ivffail #failedivf #pcos #endometriosis #endo #fibroids #hysterectomy #hystersister
The Childless Collective Summit starts on Thursday! Will you be there?
If you haven’t already heard, the Childless Collective Summit starts on Thursday 18th March presenting 28 amazing speakers over 4 days. Each presentation is free to watch for 24 hrs & you can register here. If you join us live there’s also the opportunity to ask the speakers questions during their presentation.
It’s not too late to RSVP and join. Click the link here to get your FREE ticket.
Yes you heard me, this a totally free event with speakers who are ready to share their expertise, wisdom and experience with you. These speakers are coming together from all over the world to assure you that, while your life may not look the way you’d planned, it can still be filled with joy, love, meaning, and fulfillment.
As well as hearing from me you’ll also hear from some of my friends, including:
- Jody Day – Gateway Women
- Michelle Marie McGrath – Scared Self
- Kate Kufmann
- Kezia Ashley Okafor – The Infertility Counsellor
- Stephanie Phillips – World Childless Week
And a whole lot more!
Each presentation will be available to you free for 24 hours however if 24hrs isn’t long enough, or you’d like to take your time, you can also get a full year of access (along with other amazing bonuses) by grabbing an Extended Access Pass.
I really hope you’ll join me on Thursday 18th at 4pm (EST), 8pm (UK) talking about the black and Asian woman’s experience around infertility in my talk titled ‘Black Girls Do Cry’.
There are two options available for the Extended Access Pass.:
The Basic Access Pass that gives you access to audio and video recordings of the presentations for a full year, and access to Katy from Chasing Creation’s new workshop “Responding to Intrusive Questions and Unsolicited Advice”; or
The All-Access Pass that includes all of the above, plus transcripts of the presentations, tons of speaker-contributed bonuses and goodies, and exclusive episodes from some of your favorite podcasters!
If you have any questions at all about the summit or the Extended Access Passes, drop a comment or message me.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Yesterday I was a panelist on the Gateway Women masterclass webinar about coping with Mothers day with Jody Day, Karin Enfield, Melanie Dagg and Sarah Lawrence.
We had a great conversation around what we do to manage the triggers that mother’s day can bring up for us from coming away from social media for the day to spending the day caring for ourselves. In the past I have sent cards to the childless women in my life who have been like a mum be me as I have wanted to honour and say thank you to what they have brought into my life. This year I decided to celebrate and honour the mother within. There are many ways to be a mum and the one way that we’ve missed is the way we look after and nurture of inner selves, our inner child. So with this in mind I ordered flowers to be delivered to me, with a card – you can’t receive flowers without a card. It was so wonderful to hear the door bell ring, to be handed the box and open it up to see a beautiful bunch of flowers just for me. They truly are beautiful and I get to celebrate me looking after me, my inner child is so happy right now.
So whatever you are doing today give yourself permission to put yourself first, come off social media, go for a walk, give yourself a massage, eat chocolates – basically do whatever makes you smile and celebrate your mother within
Happy Others Day to us all!!!