I couldn’t be happier to share Debbie’s Inspirational story with you as it demonstrates that positive things happen when we share our stories. Debbie gained her courage from how Rose felt when she shared her Inspirational Story & here she is.
I met Debbie maybe 10 years ago when we were both members of MoreToLife & she also worked through my programme when I was coaching. Since then it’s been beautiful to see her growing in confidence & showing up more & more on social media & I hope that sharing her story take her a few more steps forward with this.
Like many of us, her story is devastating & I love that she now writes that she is ‘much more at peace with myself and realising that there is a fulfilling life without children. I am in a much happier place’ therefore acknowledging that she’s made huge progress & there is more to go.
I know Debbie’s story will resonate with you, so over to her:
Where are you on your journey now?
I am 55 years old and though it has taken me several years I am now much more at peace with myself and realising that there is a fulfilling life without children. I am in a much happier place.
What’s your story?
I was married young at 22. All my friends and family were getting married and starting families. I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted children, at 25 I became pregnant, my husband and I were both happy about the pregnancy but at 12 weeks I started bleeding and was in terrible pain, it all happened so quickly and I miscarried. I was a bit naïve about it all at the time, as no one around me that I knew of had miscarried. Apart from the doctor saying it was very common nothing else talked about it. So I carried on with life just thinking it was a one off and that it shouldn’t happen again.
A year later I was pregnant again, all was going well though I must admit I was very apprehensive because of what happened before. At 12 weeks I began to spot so went to the doctor who told me to rest, by 14 weeks I was in pain and bleeding again, an ambulance was called and off I went to hospital. Again I miscarried; I had a D&C in hospital then sent home the next day. No support just carried on, no one wanted to talk about it.
By 27 I was pregnant again. I was so apprehensive from the start, I was getting quite depressed with all the worry and feeling something was not right. I passed the 12 week mark with no problems at all, but still something didn’t feel right. My sister was also pregnant at the time with child number 3; all her pregnancies had gone fine. There was no one to talk to about my concerns. The midwife said it was all in my head, but I knew something was wrong and said to my mum ‘it’s like my body is rejecting the baby’.
At 24 weeks my stomach was rock hard, the midwife came to my home but never even felt my stomach, she tested my blood pressure was high when she took it, she just said that I was working myself up and that I needed to rest. That evening I felt something run down my leg, when I went to the toilet I saw blood pouring down my leg.
An ambulance was called and I was rushed to hospital where they laid me on a bed with a monitor wrapped around my stomach which was still was so uncomfortable because my stomach was solid, as I later found out that I was bleeding internally. I asked the nurse to take the monitor off me but she said it had to stay on because they needed to listen to the babies heartbeat, I asked her to turn it down as I couldn’t listen to my babies heartbeat if he was not going to survive. Time seemed to go on forever. My blood pressure was out of control. I had also had Placental abruption which had been an added complication. In the end they did an emergency caesarean and told me that my baby would not survive.
When I came around from the operation they told me my little boy Daniel had survived and was in SCUBU, he was 24 weeks old, weighing 1llb 10 oz. Daniel survived for 6 weeks in SCUBU but died of kidney failure.
My blood pressure remained high after the pregnancy and complicated birth. After 18 months of tests they found that I had Reflux Nephropathy which is kidney damage which stems from a bladder infection that I must have in early childhood which resulted in small and scarred kidneys, a condition that would not have been able to sustain a pregnancy. My body rejected the baby because the kidneys could not cope with him in my body. It is exactly what I told the midwife weeks before. ‘I didn’t feel right it felt like the body was rejecting the pregnancy’, something that was totally ignored. The renal consultant told me at the time that more could have been done during the pregnancy if they had paid more attention.
We had to have a funeral for Daniel; his little gravestone is so small to all the large gravestones around his. It helps to have something to go to.
Looking back people didn’t talk about emotions, feelings and intuitions so much, it is so good that this is changing. Consultants are much better communicators as is the whole health care profession.
Going through another pregnancy with a 70% chance of it happening again wasn’t an option for me, mentally I was exhausted and scarred, and I just couldn’t go through it all again.
What helped you to heal/how did you deal with your grief?
At first I buried my grief, I had no one to talk to and now I was dealing with kidney disease. A friend suggested joining a tennis club with her. This helped me to do something for myself, to take out all my anger, frustration and emotions onto a little yellow ball. I made new friends which helped though I still buried a lot of my grief. I live in Cornwall and there wasn’t a lot of support groups around then. I found MoreToLife which did help knowing I wasn’t the only one. I also had counselling. Now there are so many support groups out there. Counsellors are much more educated on childlessness, much more understanding.
Previous story tellers have found working on one or more of these areas to be helpful.
Some sort of body work, such as yoga, dancing, walking, CST, Pilates etc, those tricky concepts beginning with ‘self,’ such as acceptance, love & kindness, having a writing practice or a gratitude practice. If one or more of these helped you to work through your grief, please explain how?
Pilates and Yoga have been extremely helpful. It’s mindfulness, it body mindful, it’s doing something for yourself, it’s strengthening mind, body and spirit.
What are the positives (gifts) for you of not having children?
We have been able to travel more, to set up our B&B business, to have more free time and more money to spend on our hobbies and ourselves. Follow our own interests. Help my own self development.
Is there anything missing in your life? (and what do you plan to do about it?)
I miss not being a grandmother and the relationships I would have had with my children. I miss not seeing my children develop and grow. I can watch my nephews and nieces grow though. As I have developed my own awareness and needs this does not bother me so much now and I am able to rejoice in friends and families achievements without feeling such an outsider.
How are you different now (who are you now)?
I am so much more confident than ever before I am not afraid to speak up for myself. I am much more at ease with myself and with friends and family who have children.
What advice would you give to women who are not as far down the road as you are?
To seek out as much help; support and advice as possible, counselling helps. Also having hobbies that you feel passionate about, joining clubs that interest you, talking to people who you can trust.
Do you think your story could inspire others?
I started these stories so that women who are struggling can be inspired. The purpose is:
- To show that it’s possible to have a positive life,
- To explain what’s positive about being childless and
- To explore what helped healing & how to make it happen.
So if you think your story could help other women this is how it works.
I’ll send you a list of questions, and you choose and answer a minimum of 6. I’ll post your story in your real name or any other that you chose to give me. If you have a website or blog I’d be happy to link to it so I’ll need the details and a short bio.
If you think you could inspire others please contact me.
Over to you
Has reading Debbie’s story helped you? Please add your comment below.
You can read stories of 19 other women in Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness. Once you purchase it, you can also access interviews and other extras.