My Legacy

I listened to a training exercise by Jody Day recently where she talked about the difficulties that childless women face when it comes to finding meaning in our lives as we do not have children to share our wisdom with or pass down our belongs to. I know that for me, one of the desires of becoming a mum was to have a daughter (yes I was going to have a girl) that I could teach the importance of loving herself and to pass on my bracelet handed down to me by my aunty and a crucifix that my dad had given to me when I was a little girl.

Dreaming of a Life Unlived

Not having children that I can leave my most prized possessions to is a part of my grief that is probably easier for others to comprehend but until now I never really considered what that legacy truly meant. During Jody’s message she mentioned that our legacy is;

  1. for others to decide and
  2. is the difference we make to people while we are here.

I have never considered the fact that my presence in the world may have made it an easier for someone else, on any particular day, could be seen as my legacy, but on reflection I realise what a beautiful gift that kind word, that helping hand, that unexpected hug when it was most needed, the laughs we share, can mean in someone else’s life. Reflecting on this reminded me of the day I was returning to work after my lunch break. An elderly lady caught my attention and asked if I was going to my car. She mentioned that she was looking for a lift to the bus stop so that she could get home. I retrieved my car keys from my office and walked her to my car. During the conversation I realised that she lived close to where I work and so offered to drive her home. To me this was a small gesture to her it meant the world. Thinking back on this it is lovely to realise that I will be remembered by that lady as that kind girl that helped her out that day. And my dear friend, Anita, reminds me of the wisdom, love and laughter that we share with each other and receiving gifts from her shows me that I am an important part of her life.

My legac

my legacy

Dawn, who I meet a few weeks ago, messaged me yesterday saying “You are a gift to anyone that knows you”.  Remembering these moments has evoked such an emotion in me that I am crying as I write this blog.

Prior to today I had been saddened by the prospect of not being able to leave something behind to be remembered by my children but now I have the joy of knowing that I give the gift of me to everyone I come across and am able to share a special moment with them (no matter how small). What a beautiful legacy to leave behind!!!

Yx

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“Please do not give up on hope…”

As you know I take every opportunity to share my experience of dealing with the grief of being childless. Recently I shared the difficulties that I have experienced as a manager, at a digital story telling event hosted by NHS England. After my presentation a lady approached me to express her sadness at hearing my story. Her sadness was as a result of her having a number of children and me having none. Taking my hands in hers she looked me in the eyes, asked me my age (46 I replied) and gently encouraged me to not give up hope. I just sighed!!!

saying goodbye

I smiled and reassured her that I do have hope, she smiled back feeling (I imagine) that she had done a great job in offering me this gift (of wisdom) that no-one else has offered me before nor could I have offered this to myself (not sure why people believe this to be true???). I do find it amusing that others think that I have lost hope because I am telling my story but what about the hope that I will be ok, what about the hope that I can hold a newborn baby without breaking down in tears, what about the hope that I will not lose my friends and what about the hope that I will find a fulfilling life without children??? In this moment it finally didn’t matter that she left believing (in her mind) that she had passed on this advice, it mattered that I was no longer left feeling angry (as I have felt in the past) at hearing those word ‘Please do not give up hope’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hope is defined as ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen’ so I will end this post by saying that I have left go of the hope of getting pregnant and having a child of my own and I have replaced it with the the hope that something crazy big will happen as a result of me no longer remaining silent about my grief.

Hope

A close friend told me that ‘there are many ways of being a mother’ and my hope of being a mum is taking me on a journey to this becoming my reality!!!

Have you heard my news???

So I am sitting in a room (with a small group of people) when one of the ladies excitedly asks me “if I have heard her news?”. I barely had a chance to reply when she quickly announced that ‘she is going to be a grandmother’. I blinked as she continued to fill me in on how excited she is along with all that this new status will entail. Now I am not one to begrudge anyone anything but COME ON!!! (can you imagine my pained expression?) We barely speak as it is so I could not fathom why she would think that I would be interested in hearing her news in all its glory??? It was all too much to bear and I had to excuse myself and leave the room.

It is hard enough to be around your loved ones whilst trying to express some sort of joy for their news when on that particular day you don’t really to. To be honest its not always that hard but there are times I could happily hide away and avoid the feelings that my grief can bring. So I try and protect myself from those situations, especially with regards to people who I am not that close to, where I actually do not have to be a a part of their joy when they have not taken the time to consider my pain.

finding my plan B

My Authors Podcast

A few weeks ago I bumped into an old acquaintance. We did the usual ‘hello’s’, ‘how are you?’, ‘what’s new?’ questions where I almost said ‘ummmm nothing’ as I couldn’t image her being interested in my journey dealing with my childlessness grief. “Yea I’ve been really sad and dealing with the grief of not becoming a mum” felt a bit too heavy in that moment… Awkward!!! Anyway I took a deep breath and proudly announced that I had written a book which peeked her interest. When I told her what my book is about she excitedly asked me to forward the details as she knew some women who would be interested in knowing about my book.

Well to cut a long story short a day after she posted information about my book via her social networks 2 ladies contacted me for interviews, one of which was Lisa Newton from The Authors Podcast. What an honour!!! The interview was fun and such a great experience, one of the many that I will cherish since publishing Dreaming of a Life Unlived.

The Authors PodcastYou can listen to the podcast at https://authors.podbean.com/e/authors-podcast-episode-12-yvonne-john/

 

Our Warnscale Walk

 

I didn’t get a chance to share this when I went on this walk with some fellow GWs so 1 year one I thought that I’d share this with you now…

Our Journey on Warnscale like the childless journey.

A difficult, stony path full of others taking the space so we have to start backwards, behind others, late, too late, all the spaces are taken, no room for childless women, you’ll have to go elsewhere, get to the back, others come first. Parents and mothers always come first.

You’re on the the difficult path, on the stony path and the wind is so strong it pulls and pushes, I can hardly move, we are fighting just to walk thru the air. I can hardly move forward but I push myself onwards, so hard to hear each other speak, my ears hurt, stumble, trip, slip, we move, like snails so slow, walking into the bloody wind, give us a break wind I want to shout! It’s so hard being childless and you just make the journey harder.

We cross the bridge, it gets steeper, the rocks get bigger, we stumble on over rocks and into wind. I don’t think we can make it further? I don’t think we can make our spot, hit the mark, make the grade. I know this feeling of aiming and failing. I know it. I want to travel further than I can. I am reminded of limitations. I am disappointed and sad. It’s too dangerous to go on. My body too weak. I can’t.

We struggle off the path and collapse under a hawthorn tree. Tree for the heart. Hearts ease. A pause. The view! Wow. Think about glaciers, great blocks of ice. I have never seen a glacier. I would like to see one. To stand on millions on tons of ice, cold and white. We have a rest, take shelter from the wind. Too tired to climb higher. Too dangerous. We decide to stop. To just stop the journey. I know this point, I know it well. The decision, the turning point.

And so we descend. The wind whips us like a punishment, we cling to hats and to each other. How are you? Are you ok? It’s tough going up but it’s also tough coming back. I know this too. It’s so tough to come back from the wilderness of being childless. You can either sit out on the mountain of motherhood and die of exposure or you have to retrace your steps. And that hurts. Our eyes water, our knees buckle, we sigh into the wind.

We cross back over the bridge. We are at the edge of Buttermere and we meander now at the lake edge. Can we find our way back if we just follow this path? We walk on, talking about our Plan Bs. We see amazing trees, rowan berries, chatty people, people in blankets, people joking with us, dogs, couples with cameras. We walk through a tunnel cut in the rock. I love it! Like a spooky adventure, a rebirth from dark rock. I imagine skeletons lurking. I laugh into the darkness. I have my friends with me now.

We finish at a tearoom full of men eating ice cream. We are getting attention I notice. We have journeyed together from women who had no room this morning to women who take our space. Who turn danger and disappointment, sadness and loss into new space. Our space. Our lives. As rich and as beautiful as any other.  The tearoom welcomes us. The ice cream eaters smile at us. I smile at us and I’m grateful for my life.