This week’s inspirational story is by Claire; one of the first people I met when I joined MTL and we’ve become good friends with her and her partner.
She’s being very modest in her story because I know how much she’s helped other members by holding support groups. In fact a meeting at her house was the second MTL event we attended and the first time we’d spoken openly about our situation to others.
There are positives to being childless and Claire gives back by doing voluntary work. She and her partner have also taken advantage of flexibility in their life and have recently moved out of London.
What’s your story?
Looking back, I left it rather late to try to have a child – aged 38. I think it had taken me a while for feel “ready”. Until then in my life I had succeeded in most things I had tried. I naively thought that a pregnancy would happen sooner or later especially as my medical history was fine.
Two years later, after trying various investigations and low key infertility treatments (plus some alternative ones), we were told we should try IVF. By this time I felt desperate and was finding it difficult at work to see lots of others have babies with apparent ease.
We agreed to try IVF … and then I achieved a natural pregnancy. We were over the moon at the thought of a “miracle” baby. Sadly, a few weeks later I had an early miscarriage and this was the most painful and distressing part of my story.
A year later, and after two attempts at IVF, we decided to “give up”. Physically I felt ok but I could not face further emotional turmoil as well as the financial costs. I remember crying as I told the Consultant this, and did not find it helpful when he said he would be happy to give us one more treatment!
Counselling was one service which was free, and tremendously healing. Bruce and I had the opportunity to hear how we each felt and time to explore which path to go down. We remained fairly sure that stopping treatment was the right decision. I was unsure about adoption and did not have the energy to persuade Bruce to go down that route. All this was about 15 years ago now and life is definitely good!
What helped you to heal/how did you deal with your grief?
Counselling was extremely helpful because we were able to talk about our feelings with an excellent listener and facilitator. Joining MTL gave us a support network – we met regularly with people who understood our situation and have many fun social meetings. Overall with the passage of time, I have felt more at peace and my grief has decreased.
What are the positives (gifts) for you of not having children?
I’ve had more time to spend with my elderly mother (now aged 91 and doing well!) and have been able to help her to maintain her independence. I’ve had more time to “nurture” other people by doing voluntary visits to elderly people and voluntary work with stroke survivors. We’ve ‘adopted’ two rescue cats has and have had a lot of pleasure seeing them thrive. I’ve developed new hobbies (eg dancing, photography club) and continued others such as a reading group and swimming.
How are you different now (who are you now)?
Hopefully more in tune with the “losses” that others experience. More at peace.
What advice would you give to women who are not as far down the road as you are?
Keep talking – especially to your partner if you have one. Consider support groups and /or counselling. Tell close family/friends if you feel able to do so.
What brings you joy/what’s your passion?
I am passionate about walking by the sea – and swimming in it! After spending most of my working life working with children, I feel joyful that I have taken early “retirement” and can do voluntary work with adults.
What did you think?
How did this story resonate with you? Please share your comments below to help other women.
Taking control of my story and really owning it changed my life. If you’d like to do that but it’s too much of a challenge right now, check out the Let Go and Move On Programme and see how it can help you.
If you would like to take control of your life and your story and inspire others I’d love to feature you. You can use your real name or any other that you chose to give me, and I’ll happily promote your website or blog. Some of the feedback I’ve had from the writers includes ‘I’m so pleased to have told my story now’, I’ve been astonished by the amount of messages I have received …. all grateful for me sharing this part of my story’, and ‘… seeing the response has been utterly humbling and beautiful. I’m so grateful to you.’ So if you think you could inspire others please contact me.