I’ve recently re-written My Story and I realise how much I’ve changed since I last wrote it two years ago.
Previously I wrote that we had’ too many’ rounds of IVF because being honest felt too vulnerable. I was ashamed to say six because I thought it was too many and I would be judged for not stopping sooner. So I only told part of my story.
I’m much stronger now, not only do I write that we had 6 rounds of IVF but also that ‘Childlessness has proved to be my biggest gift because without it I wouldn’t be who I am now and be enjoying the wonderful life that I have.’
Now before you panic, I know that viewing childlessness as a gift is a BIG THING and I only say it after a lot of thought. You can breathe a sigh of relief as I promise you that you don’t ever have to say it, imagine it, or even want it.
So now we’ve got that out of the way, I ask that you read what I did with an open mind and then decide for yourself whether you might want to do some or all of it. I know you’ll do that because you wouldn’t have read so far if you weren’t curious and open to the possibility of learning and change.
What’s helped me.
Owning and telling my story.
Let’s be honest, having a website with your name on it and stating openly that you’re childless is a BIG STEP and it felt okay to do that, well it felt more than okay, it was a relief to stop hiding who I was and what I’d been through. And… at the same time that felt enough to write.
Over the intervening two years my boundaries have changed because I’ve been sharing my story. And the more I own it, the more confident I become, and I control it instead of letting people make assumptions.
I’ve been asked whether there was any occasion when I wouldn’t be prepared to say that I was childless. My answer? That I feel sufficiently confident in myself to be open at all times. I may chose not to speak sometimes, and it will be my choice.
I’ve been working with a story telling coach and she’s helped me to reframe what happened, and to understand and deepen the meaning I’ve gained from what I’ve been through.
Someone recently said that I’ve walked through fire, and yes I got burned and I tell my story from the scars not the wounds.
In the early days this wasn’t always easy, and pretending or ‘acting as if’ I was confident helped to convince me that I was and now I am comfortable and confident when I talk about my life.
Doing the inner work
When you read My Story you’ll see that learning NLP and working with a coach who believed in me were fundamental in being able to take the first step. This was just the start and I’ve continued to learn and grow so that I can help clients in new ways.
What have I learned? Well I know a lot more about grief and how to work through it (both the theory and practice following the death of my dad), I’ve learned about self-compassion, how to develop shame resilience, and the importance of reclaiming creativity.
Finding cheerleaders and role models
When I started in business I didn’t know what to expect from other business owners and it took a while to find a community where I could be authentic and feel that I belonged. And once I did, wow! the friendship, support and love has been amazing. A big thank you to my coaches, Business Club colleagues and Mastermind ladies who provide unwavering support and cheerleading.
Childlessness was like this too and joining MTL helped us so much and now I am blessed to be part of a fabulous group who believe in each other and the difference we want to make in the world.
Seeing those who are further down the road both in business and in life has also been pivotal because I can tell myself that if they can do it (whatever ‘it’ is), so can I. That’s why my Inspirational Stories are so helpful.
I understand how childlessness has changed me, how I’m stronger now, and can now understand the meaning of what I’ve been through.
I was recently asked whether, if I could go back to my 35yr old self would I advise her not to go through IVF?
No. I firmly believe that it was the fire that made me who I am now and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Where are you in my story?
I’d love to hear in the comments below how this resonated with you, and where you see yourself in my story. (you don’t have to use your own name).
Maybe you want to be able to say that childlessness is a gift for you, or perhaps that’s out of the question for now. And whatever you feel, it’s okay. A few years ago I would never imagined that I could say this too.