Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gifts of Infertility Series - #19 - Courage

Rather than being the easy way out, letting go of a dream can require immense bravery.

It takes courage to say, “enough is enough,” to step off the treadmill and often, away from the support we might have there.

It takes courage to know that your decision will bring sadness and loss, to absorb that as part of you, and to continue to face the world every day.
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar - Raymond LindquistIt takes courage to say good-bye to our dreams or expectations, without knowing what will replace them.

It takes courage to face head on the emotions of grief, sadness and loss, of isolation and otherness, and to feel them fully, working through them, to come out the other side.

It takes courage to let go of the expectations and hopes of others – family and friends - to bear the burden of their sadness and disappointment as well as our own.

It takes courage to step out from the crowd and live a life that is different, and visible (even when we feel invisible).

It takes courage to tell your story, knowing that speaking (or writing) it will make it real.

It takes courage to fully live and embrace a life different to the one you had planned.

It takes courage to own the life we live, to step above the judgements of family, friends, society (including our own IF community) that might see us forever as “less than.

It takes courage to absorb so much loss and judgement, from others and ourselves, and then to let it go, to acknowledge that we are not responsible for others’ hopes and dreams for us, to accept that without guilt.

It takes courage to fully live and embrace a life different to the one you had planned.

It takes courage to be a heretic, to see and celebrate what we have, not what we have not.

That courage becomes part of us. When we use it, it grows. It has given me courage when facing other losses, other health issues, and our own old age. It has given me courage where and when I didn’t know I had any.

Monday, January 26, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Imagine if …

I often find that people with children, when they hear women who embrace their life without children (either by choice, or because we had no choice), find it necessary to comment that they couldn’t imagine life without little Jack and Jill (or whoever).

Of course, they can’t (or won't) imagine their life as it is now without their children. To do so would be to imagine them gone, to feel their absence, their loss, and to imagine and feel the grief of this loss. Of course they can’t do that. And none of us are ever suggesting they should try. Maybe I should say that in future. Because it might be nice if they tried to imagine what their lives would have been like if they had never had children. Then, they might start to understand.

Monday, January 19, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Heresy

I shared my Early Days post with some of the friends I met many years ago who have also gone on to live life without children. One of them said to me:

“And these days I find myself being glad I haven't got kids for lots of reasons. Part of me feels that is almost heresy, but it's true!” 

She isn’t the only one who feels that way. And we know it’s not really heresy (though, feeling a bit of a rebel, I do quite like the use of “heresy” in this context). It’s simply appreciating the life we have, and being grateful for it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spreading the word

As you probably know (or have guessed) I blog under a pseudonym. Mali is a Thai name (it means "jasmine") that I was given when I lived there as an exchange student. I love that I get to use it every day on my blog and commenting on other blogs. I have come out under my real name twice in the infertility sphere, on Pamela's Silent Sorority blog, and then when the Huffington Post picked that guest post up for a feature week on women who went out to live No Kidding lives. Then, I included a small photo too, along with my real name. That was a big deal for me. I'm not a fan of photos!

But I've gone and done it again. Lesley Pyne, a UK therapist who works with childless women with a focus on learning to enjoy our lives and celebrate the good in them, has profiled me as part of a series of writers & bloggers who live No Kidding lives. She's included a number of inspirational members of my small blogging community here, Pamela Tsigdinos (Silent Sorority), Lisa Manterfield (Life Without Baby), and Loribeth (Road Less Travelled). It was an honour to be asked to share my story on Lesley's website, and to think through some of the questions she asked. And when it came to choose a photo, I decided to include a shot taken of me in Petra, Jordan, on our Lemons to Limoncello trip in 2013. It's not the best photo ever taken of me, but it seemed right, simply because travelling is one of the great gifts of infertility for me and my husband.

You can find my story here, and the other inspirational women's stories here, and more about Lesley and her practice here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Gifts of Infertility - A Repeat Performance

This time almost exactly ten years ago, some of the friends I had met online( and got to know from the inside out - to quote one of them - as we grieved and healed together) converged on London to meet up with me in real life. I’ve met others since – in New Zealand (fellow kiwis, or world travellers stopping by), Geneva, and London again. One or two I have yet to meet. I’ve talked about this before, this gift of friendship and empathy we get through times of hardship. But today, remembering that evening of fellowship and hilarity ten years ago, I want to celebrate those wise, funny, caring, and slightly batty (most of them, but self-described) women who were so important to me then, and are still so important to me now, reminding me I’m not alone.

And the best thing? It’s that I’m continuing to gather up wise, funny, caring people who are becoming firm friends, though I wouldn’t presume to suggest that any of them (or any of you) are slightly batty. Or would I?