21 November, 2012

Saying Good-bye

Today, I ended my involvement with an ectopic pregnancy charity I have supported, and for which I have volunteered, for over six years.  It was a place that was tremendously important to me when I went through my two ectopic pregnancies, and when I tried to get pregnant subsequently.  It was a place where I met friends who will, I am sure, remain my friends for the rest of my life.  It was a place where I learned so much about myself and others, where I started to come to terms with living without kids.  It was the place where I tested out the initial thoughts of so much of what I write here today.  It was the place where I learned I could help people, and where I learned that I liked helping people. 

And so I feel enormously sad.  But it is right to leave.  The team I worked with disintegrated this year.  Yes, change has to occur wherever you work (volunteer), but sometimes that change seems so pointless, so counter-productive, so destructive of everything you have worked for.  And so the happy team that I once belonged to dispersed quite rapidly in the face of this change.  I tried to stay - I felt a responsibility to the users.  But I was giving so much, and began to feel so exploited, that it had to end.  And that makes me very sad.  It makes me sad that my departure is not a timely, confident one, where I know I'm leaving a happy and competent team in my place.  I am not.  But I can't make the commitment and continuing effort until such a team is in place. It makes me sad that what once was such a safe and comforting place is no longer that for me.  And it makes me sad that I am ending an involvement with an organisation that I once seriously expected to recognise in my Will.

But I don't want to think about that sadness.  I want to think about the fun I had there, in the midst of tears over loss, and infertility, and fear.  I want to think about the wonderful friends I made.  I want to remember the function at the House of Commons, drinking in the pub with Izzie and Ruth and Mary, and as far back as 2005, a raucous night out with a whole bunch of women I met that day, but who I knew (and who knew me) from - as Sarahg said - the inside out.  I want to think about the person I am now, in large part due to those women I met at the EPT.  I want to acknowledge how important that place was to me, and how much I appreciated it. And I want to feel thankful that it, that the women who made that place so special, were there when I needed them most.


  1. In sorry that you have to leave this place but I'm so glad you had it in your life. It sounds like it brought immeasurable support and comfort to you at a time when you really needed it. That is a great gift indeed.

  2. I love your attitude.
    That you do not focus on the sadness that it is over.
    But that you cheerish all wonderful friends you got there & great moments.

  3. Every ending heralds a new beginning and I hope that whatever next presents itself, fulfils you as this charity did. As for friendships I am confident they endure.

  4. Sorry to hear that the ending was like that, but I couldn't help smiling reading about all the good memories you've had and the friendships you've forged with lots of people there. :-)

  5. I could have written that post about a year ago (& in fact I wrote something very similar here):


    (For the record, we didn't go, and we haven't been to a group event since I wrote that last year.) It's sad when something that once meant so much to us becomes the source of conflict & pain. (I too thought I would make a bequest to the group in my will -- and dh & I both said that, if we ever won the lottery, we would set up an endowment fund in our daughter's name that would keep the group operating into perpetuity.)

    But, like you, I made so many great friends & have so many good memories of the 10+ years we were involved (and know that we managed to make a difference for at least a few people). That is something to celebrate!

  6. sorry to hear about the team disintegrating... its a familiar thing, but rarely have I heard people talk about it like this. There truly is a time where you just have to walk away. But I see so many of us trying to fix things that are really broken or blame ourselves. Thanks for writing about it. It really helped me reshape my last work experience where i finally had to walk away. Just today I got a great email from one of the crew. Nice when the friendships stay, long after the share teamwork is gone.

    And i am glad you had some great times with your group!!!

  7. Thank you for your bravery and honesty in posting here and on the EPT forum.
    I just missed out on the opportunity to meet some of those you mentioned in person (purely a timing thing - I volunteered only comparatively recently after suffering an ectopic pregnancy in 2011).
    I may not have met Izzie and co in person, but I did speak on the phone and felt I knew her, and I was genuinely very sorry when she left so suddenly. I was even more sorry that her departure seems to have been swept under the carpet (for reasons that I can only guess at, but I think your post confirms some of my suspicions). You are so right, there are many, many women who owe a debt of gratitude to Izzie and others (yourself included). You ladies deserve to be appreciated and acknowledged.
    I am truly sorry to hear that has not been the case.
    So on behalf of myself, personally..... thank you.

  8. So sorry you've experienced this loss of what sounds like once a great group. But glad you have so many lovely memories from it :)