About 13 years ago, Sarah, a wise friend with an amazing spirit, gave me a hard-to-hear message during my second ectopic pregnancy. “Unfortunately,” she said, “you don’t get a Get Out of Jail Free card just because you’ve done this once, and you will have to go through it all over again.” When Sarah said those words to me, I didn’t realise that I’d have to go through it all a third time (as in fact she also had done), when I would have to grieve and accept a life without children.
I remember also being frustrated the only time I saw a counsellor, and realised (in horror!) that there were no tools or techniques that would help me cope with loss or childlessness, there were no short-cuts, no easy or painless steps towards healing that would magically turn my life around.
The truth is that we can do everything we think we need to do to be happy in our new life – we can stop (or choose not to start) treatments/adoption proceedings, pursue new interests, move away, try to bring children or nurturing into our lives, quit our jobs or change our professions, travel, volunteer, etcetera – but if we haven’t done the emotional work of grieving and acceptance (of our situations and be ourselves), no changes in lifestyle or profession or relationships will really help us.
Even if I had known then what I know now, understanding what helped me and what held me back, I still needed to go through it all to come out the other side. I’m glad though. Though the long way round is very hard, I have met wonderful people along the way, learned important lessons, and grown in ways I would never have imagined.