One of the reasons why I was able
to move to acceptance was knowing I was not alone. But that’s not always easy.
At the very time we move into a No Kidding life, our peers are often all either
pregnant or busy with their children. Couple that with the frequency illusion
that has us suddenly seeing pregnancy and parenthood in every context, we
feel very much alone. We might not know anyone else without children. Or maybe
we don’t know anyone else without children who, we know, wanted them. So we
feel alone. We feel different. We And at the same time, we’re probably not
being very kind to ourselves either – unforgiving of our bodies, blaming
ourselves for not wanting “it” enough or trying hard enough, or for waiting to
try for whatever reason, thinking that we didn’t deserve it. This can all be
very isolating. We don’t know where we fit.
So one of the best things we can do
is try to find our tribe. But how can we do this? Initially, for many, this is online.
It might be through social media groups, or forums on a website, by reading
blogs, lurking silently, or tentatively asking questions. Maybe you’ve started
a blog or Instagram account yourself, hoping to find like-minded people, or
just to provide an outlet for your thoughts and feelings. If you’ve found your
way here, then you probably know there are lots of blogs and other resources
available. You can start by using the links I’ve provided under Other No
Kidding Bloggers, and explore from there. You
are not alone. The No Kidding world has changed greatly in the last ten or
15 years – we’re everywhere!
Making online connections is a good
way to start. There are real advantages to these:
The first is that we can do it
anonymously. If you’re still in that phase where you are still figuring out how
you feel about your situation, and about yourself, anonymity online can allow
you to start feeling your way through the resources, and introduce yourself to
the community, without feeling exposed. For me, it saved me, as I really didn’t
know who I was, and I certainly didn’t want to “go public” because I didn’t
know how I felt about that.
The second is that it gives you time
to think. You don’t have to have instant responses to questions, or to worry
that someone can see the tears streaming down your face as you react to
something – positive or negative. You can read something, go away, and then
respond later. You might find, like me, that by writing things out, you find
you’re solving some of your own issues.
The third is that you can make real
connections online. Sure, they’re rarely “in real life.” We may not be able
to link up online with someone we can meet for a coffee (in the No Kidding
community at least) and a chat and an understanding hug, but the connections we
make are, nonetheless, real and comforting. Knowing that there are others out
there who are experiencing the same things that we are helps us feel less
alone. And having others who can talk to us, and understand what we are going
through, can relieve our everyday relationships from the tension that sometimes
arises when they don’t quite understand. I found the depth of the relationships
quite astounding. We didn’t know what each other looked like, sounded like, or
how we voted. But we often knew their innermost thoughts, and they knew ours. As
a dear friend of mine said once, “we get to know each other from the inside
out.” I’m still in touch with friends I made back in 2003 after an ectopic
pregnancy. I expect to be in touch with them in another 20 years too.
Many of these connections are global
connections. There are advantages to this. There’s no danger that you’re going
to run into the person down the road (or the odds are really low) when you
start talking online. (That may not be a fear of yours, but it was – initially –
a fear of mine.) The other advantage is that if you’re having trouble sleeping –
which often happens when we are going through trauma – there is always someone
awake. That was of great comfort to me.
Not all connections will be online,
of course. Maybe, through online groups, you will manage to find groups or
friends locally who can provide friendship and support. Maybe you already know
people who can help. Regardless of where you meet people, in person or online, the important thing is to make connections. Connections
help us feel normal, help us know we are not alone, and teach us that there is
life after infertility. They’re a really important part of finding our way out
of grief, and moving into our new No Kidding life.