There are many differences in each inspirational story and many similarities. The biggest thing we have in common is grief and given that it’s perhaps the emotion we fear the most we can learn much from how our story tellers have dealt with it. For me, the key is that you might try to ignore grief, you might try to bottle it up but it cannot be ignored, the feelings have to be experienced and felt, and only then will they move on.
There are many ways of doing this and we have a new one to add to the list as this week’s inspirational story teller, Sally worked through her grief using dance.
Another question is whether we have mothering instincts and if so how do we channel them? Like me, Sally is becoming a helping professional.
There’s so much more in Sally’s story, so here it is.
1. Where are you on your journey now?
I’m now in my mid-forties and I have acknowledged that being a parent isn’t going to happen for me. I’m in a loving relationship and I’m working in job that gives me financial security whilst I build a heart-centred business of my own in my free time.
2. What’s your story?
When I was in my mid 20s I met a man through work and fell totally and utterly in love. I entered into my early thirties with him and we bought a home together, discussed marriage and having children. He would pull me across to look at engagement rings in shop windows. I imagined we’d have a little boy.
One day he went off to work and he didn’t come back.
He was missing for several months.
It transpired eventually that he’d gone off travelling with a woman on a round the world adventure. He just didn’t bother to tell me or his family, just took a passport and went. The impact this experience had on my life was only really clear to me much later. As Kierkegaard says ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.’
I went into self-destruct so that that I didn’t have to face up to my feelings. (Humiliation..Shame..Fear.. Anger)
Of course, those years spent avoiding my pain were my mid-thirties, the very time when many women are thinking about starting a family.
I would sometimes think about going it alone. I did have a fertility test and everything looked good. But for me, bringing a child into the world by myself just didn’t feel right and I had very little financial security to give a child that form of safety. I hoped of course that I’d meet a good man and things might move quickly but that didn’t happen.
3. How did you deal with your grief?
My grief bubbled up throughout my late thirties and early 40s (and still does!) I’ve had a couple of rounds of personal counselling , been through lots of soul searching and I found a great deal of support in personal development groups of one sort or another.
I also found the practice of dancing (5 rhythms) was a great place to feel all my feelings, express them and let them move. Through all the personal development workshops and events I met lots of other women without children and gradually I have built a new life where I have close relationships with other women and men who don’t have the traditional created family set up.
4. What has not having children made possible for you?
My way of coping has been to channel all the love and care that I would have offered to a child into becoming a helping professional. It is my intention to run personal development workshops in the future, these will take place at weekends and in the evenings and I imagine it’s unlikely I would have been able to do this with children.
5. What advice would you give to women who are not as far down the road?
I would recommend finding places such as workshops or support groups where it is safe to show your emotions and feel all that you feel. I found that many of my friends and work colleagues simply closed down any conversations about not being a Mum by offering their ideas for solutions – adoption, keep trying, AI, etc. It wasn’t what I needed. I needed an empathic, listening ear to acknowledge how unfair it felt to have had this curveball thrown in my path. In the end I found that personal counselling and my own spiritual practices such as meditation have been invaluable.
The other great support has been the number of blogs and forums that have sprung up to support childless women. I have found these to be really helpful. It is wonderful to know that I am not alone and to hear others’ stories.
For me another thing that has helped has been volunteering. I get a lot of comfort knowing that I can be of service and extend all the love in my heart to a big family of human beings.
6. What’s missing?
I really miss the playful aspect of having children in one’s life. I am lucky to have a wonderful niece and nephew and I enjoy seeing them as often as I can. I also try and play as much as I can. One of these days I would love to get a new kitten or a puppy and enjoy playing games with them!
How did Sally’s inspirational story resonate with you?
Have you used dance, or support groups to heal your grief? Please add your comments below to help other women (you can use another name).
Taking control of my story and really owning it changed my life. If you’d 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.’
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