19 September, 2022

World Childless Week 2022: Some further thoughts

So much good writing last week for World Childless Week. It's been great to see people appreciating that their voices are being heard, their situations are being represented. I have a lot to catch up on, and it may take me weeks. If you missed my pieces on WCW week, they are here and here, and I reproduced them on this blog here and here

I found the process of writing these pieces very interesting. My Letter to my Younger Self was full of things I wish I had known when I was in my 20s and 30s. Some people are born with self-confidence and the ability to brush off insults and guilt, but I wasn't one of them. I was painfully shy as a child, although in the company of people I knew I was happy and chatty. So my mother sent me off to Girl Guides, and filled my life with activities (piano, dance, sport, Guides etc) to get me used to being confident and active in public. It stood me well. The advice though to love myself took till my 40s to sink in, as well as learning to challenge negative thoughts rather than drown in guilt. If only I had known these things younger, if only I had felt them from within as I do now (largely), my early career years, as exciting as many of them were, would have been less fraught. Even if you didn't participate in the WCW topics, what advice would you give yourself now? I'd love to be able to write a follow-up post with all your wise advice.

Likewise, writing about "God's Plan" comments or as I chose to phrase it, "It wasn't meant to be" brought in a couple of great comments (and other great posts, like Sarah's here) I wanted to reproduce in this post. Lori LL said, '"god's will" comes from people who don't want to feel big (and negative) feelings, who won't "go there" with me in my pain.' She's so right! That's the thing we need - people who are prepared to sit with us in our pain, who are not afraid of it and don't try to dismiss it. It's not easy. Sitting with someone else's pain is really hard, and I won't say I'm great at it. But I'm so conscious now of not trying to dismiss it. I LOVED Infertile Phoenix's comment that she is now prepared to reply by saying, "does that make you feel better?" I really want to remember that, though like her, I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to say it. Still, forewarned is forearmed. Not just to make myself feel better, but hopefully to get the person who says these platitudes to actually think about them, and think about why they want to say that and believe it. Maybe by turning it back on them, they'll be kinder to the next person who needs them to sit with them in their grief.

WCW wasn't just writing of course. There were webinars and videos and podcasts. I struggle to keep up with them all, but I'd love to know if there was anything that stood out for you. What have you enjoyed this World Childless Week?

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