Love life and strive for happiness is Liz’ six word memoir and, having read her inspirational story it describes her perfectly. Discovering, at 24 that she’d already gone through the menopause must have been, as she says ‘devastating’ and with the support of a loving husband, family and friends she is now generally happy with her life.
Her loving life and striving for happiness includes having her own business and being a significant adult to many children. Neither of which she believes would have happened, had she become a mother.
Community is also important to Liz, and, having met her a couple of times through MtL I agree that she is as happy as she says she is.
Over to Liz,
1. Where are you on your journey now?
I am 48 and live with my husband in our lovely home in a gorgeous village in Yorkshire. It is almost 8 years since our last IVF attempt and the start of the long process of coming to terms with the fact that we would never be parents. I think I can safely say that I am now in a more positive place, both physically and mentally, and generally feel happy with my life.
2. What’s your story?
As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a mum and always told people that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was devastated when, at 24, I was told that I had gone through the menopause following years of uncertainty and tests. It completely changed my life and for many years I struggled with relationships and coming to terms with my diagnosis. As a children’s nurse, I spent a lot of time with children and, in retrospect, this helped me but equally reminded me of what I couldn’t have.
Over the years, I have become an Auntie, a Godmother and a significant adult to many children, for which I’m very grateful. It has been a hard journey, and one which I could not have made without the love and support of my wonderful parents, family and friends who have all helped and listened to me over the years.
When Steve and I decided to get married, during our year travelling through Central and South America, we also decided that we would try to have a baby through IVF and egg donation. On our return to England, another journey started, which seemed to take over. Sadly, it wasn’t successful.
However, a few years on, I’m delighted to say that Steve and I are very happy and enjoy ourselves, despite being childless, and we have discovered many things to fill our lives. We have also made some amazing friends through More To Life.
3. What helped you to heal/how did you deal with your grief?
Family and friends and my lovely husband. I don’t know what I would have done without the support and love I received following my diagnosis and later throughout my life and relationship and treatment with Steve. The discovery of INUK/More to Life helped me considerably and I don’t know what I would have done without the charity’s help and support.
4. What are the positives (gifts) for you of not having children?
I have more time to spend with the children in my life and I truly believe that I am a significant adult to many. I don’t think I would have had the time or the energy to give to my nieces, nephews, God children, friends’ children and the children who come to me for Spanish lessons if I had children of my own. I love being ‘Auntie Lizzie’ to more than just my nieces and nephews!
Travelling and visiting friends and family are important aspects of our lives and we do this regularly. I don’t think it would be as easy to do so if we had a family.
5. What has not having children made possible for you?
I often think that, if I’d have had children, I wouldn’t have started to teach Spanish and, subsequently, set up my own small business. Of course, having children doesn’t stop you doing things, but it does make things harder sometimes, and I don’t think I would have had the time, or the inclination, if I’d have become a mother.
When I decided to go to university to study Spanish as a mature student, I never thought that one day I would be teaching it! Becoming a private tutor happened quite by accident when some friends of mine asked me if I would consider teaching Spanish to their children. I had recently left my stressful, full time job in clinical research, to give our IVF treatment the best possible chance of success, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to give it a go.
My first class consisted of four girls and I remember it well! We live in a town house so we had a room on the ground floor which was perfect to change into a dedicated learning environment. It was great fun and I loved it! Things grew from there, and word of mouth and local advertising helped. My lovely husband, Steve, who has been a real support throughout, designed my website which has proved invaluable. I’m now officially self-employed and teach all ages from two to adults. I also do a session in a local nursery which is fun and proving to be hugely successful and popular.
6. Is there anything missing in your life? (and what do you plan to do about it?)
I don’t think so. I do consider myself to be an incredibly lucky person and I try and remind myself of this whenever I can.
7. How are you different now (who are you now)?
I think I have learnt a lot from my experiences and I have gained strength and compassion. Life is hard, and we don’t always get what we want, but we have to make the most of what we do have and focus on the positives. I do try and focus on what I have and not on what I don’t have. Having said that, I do believe that it is important to acknowledge our sadness about the life we hoped for and not be afraid to talk about it.
8. What advice would you give to women who are not as far down the road as you are?
My advice for anyone on this path is to find someone to talk to who understands and who can empathize. Sadly, not everyone does understand so taking the time to find that person is extremely important.
9. What brings you joy/what’s your passion?
My family and friends. Other people’s children! Spanish and everything Spanish. Travel and seeing the world. Nature and walking and my garden! Ladybirds! Food, wine and champagne! Music! The list goes on!!
10. What’s your 6 word memoir?
Love life and strive for happiness.
If you live near Sheffield and are interested in Spanish lessons, here is Liz’ website.
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