After a gap in publishing Inspirational Stories, out of the blue Eleanor’s story arrived in my inbox.
I first met Eleanor Sharpe when we attended our first More To Life meet up, 15 years ago. I remember her as welcoming, bubbly and positive and, despite everything she’s been through in the interim, she never lost her sparkle.
In those years she’s been through a lot of grief and her positive attitude also lead her to happiness. I’m honoured to call Eleanor a friend.
Over to Eleanor
I married at the tender age of 22, very young and a bit wet behind the ears! My husband at the time, was around 3 years older than me. We struggled to get enough of a deposit together to buy a one bedroom flat but over the years and with house prices flattening out, we decided to embrace being a young couple and had a good social life and travelled a fair bit – quite brave in the days of no internet or mobile contact!
Finally, we succeeded in selling the flat around 9 years later, just before my 30th birthday. We secured a lovely 3 bedroom house in a good area and thought it time to try for a family. Two miscarriages followed in succession. The second was after an ultra-scan and when I had seen a heartbeat. I will never forget the feeling of the baby ‘dying’ inside me and the physical and mental pain that followed. The child would have been born on 27 January and to this day, I still feel sad at that time each year.
Following this, we were recommended for fertility treatment. Apparently I had poor egg quality whilst my husband had poor sperm count – bingo! Fertility drugs (chlomid) were administered along with a few artificial insemination attempts – one of which was in a maternity ward! Nothing resulted in a pregnancy and this was then followed by 3 rounds of unsuccessful IVF, the final round, being an unmitigated disaster as my ovaries became over stimulated and I, dangerously ill. Following a spell in hospital, I was ‘advised’ to stop trying for a child.
Feeling utterly hopeless, we considered adoption, but by then, I was too drained emotionally and physically to really put my heart into it. I did however, seek counselling. In fact, I saw the same counsellor for about 5 years off and on and she inspired me endlessly with a life that I could pursue beyond having a family.
Just as I began to gain strength, my mother passed away unexpectedly. At first this set me back but then I began to realise that my marriage was no longer working (not owing to childlessness) but another problem out of our control. My mother’s death gave me the inspiration to start again.
In October 2010, I finally got divorced, moved house and started a new life. I had never lived alone before and I was terrified and excited! I’d divorced, moved house and furthermore had been made redundant in the space of 6 months.
However, I soon realised that reaching out to others would win me new friends and in time I joined a variety of social groups. Money was very tight, so I offered to run various events so that I could attend for free, which eventually led to me meeting my second husband.
Since we married 3.5 years ago we have faced the difficulty of the loss of both his parents. However, we are firm friends and soul mates. I have also come to realise I no longer need a career. I had held many challenging positions during my fertility treatment and beyond, thinking this would lead to fulfilment.
I now realise that working hard is not what I need. Instead, a calm, happy and healthy life if far more appealing. I now leave work on time, attend my weekly choir session, practice mindfulness and Pilates.
So where does this story leave you feeling inspired? I will say this, I would dearly loved to have been a mother but I believe I have carved out the very best possible life for myself. I have taken control when I felt I needed to – taking responsibility for my own happiness. We made the brave decision to sell our house and move into the house occupied by my husband’s parents as it will provide us with a more comfortable home and the financial freedom to make other decisions in time.
I will end on this note; being able to be a mother is one of life’s most basic needs but there are so many other ways in which to find fulfilment. I recently took a 3 month sabbatical from work where I supported some of the elderly community on my area – a life line for a lot of older people.
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.
So if you think you could inspire others please contact me.
Over to you
Has reading Eleanor’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.