09 March, 2020

No Kidding 2020 Project: Day 7 - Honour

I can well remember the guilt I felt when I began recovering in those early days after loss and after knowing my journey to have children was over. I was, at times, overwhelmed with it – the guilt seemed to be determined to stop any healing, any happiness. The guilt asked nasty questions, misled me, and told me lies. Maybe I didn’t want children enough if I could begin to feel joy. Maybe, if I could begin to feel joy now, it meant that I didn’t deserve to have children. Were my fleeting moments of pleasure, or laughter, a betrayal of the babies I had lost, or those I would never have? Were they a betrayal of my journey, and the pain I’ve been through? Etc etc.

I am sure many of you know the drill, as I’ve heard this from so many women (and a few men), over almost 20 years of involvement in loss and infertility fields. We’re so good at beating ourselves up, and that insidious guilt seems to come naturally. And we’re often so used to the pain, that we don’t know who we will be if we let it go.

But that guilt is dishonest (as I’ve written before here and here), and pointless. It manifests in a refusal to be happy, a denial that it is even possible. It sees us continuing to feel that pain, even welcoming in the grief of loss because it feels like we should. It feels as if pain and grief honours our journeys and our losses.

But I think that is wrong. Feeling joy, learning to be happy again, and embracing our lives without children is not a betrayal of our loss. Quite the contrary. I believe that it is a far better way to honour our journeys, our pain, the babies we lost or never had, the parents we would have been. When I’ve been able to help others who have experienced loss, or have followed me into a No Kidding life, I feel it has made some small sense of my loss. I remember the children I didn’t have, the babies I lost to ectopic pregnancy, and feel that I’m honouring them by sharing the lessons they taught me. And after all, what point is there in the losses of their lives and (if I’m stuck in grief and can’t move forward) mine?

Living well, growing and becoming better and happier people is the best way to remember who we are, and how we have pulled through. It honours our losses. It reminds us that we are valuable, and worthy, no matter what we’ve been through. It gives us purpose.

Honour yourself, honour your partner (if you have one), and honour those you have lost.
Honour them all by living well. 

Honour. It’s so much more productive than guilt.

Note: Apologies to all the North Americans who spell "honour" differently.  Thanks for your understanding!


  1. Love this. I would not have thought of honor and guilt as opposing forces, but you make me see how they are. Such Truth in your words.

    1. Thank you. I had to think for quite a while about guilt, and what its countering force would be.