It’s not often that I get emails from women asking to share their inspirational story so I was was very pleased when Samantha chose my site as a place the share hers.
As always, there’s much to learn from her story, from the importance of ‘personal therapy and changing some of my friendship groups’ to focusing on what you have not what you don’t have. These & other things helped Samantha to get to where she is today – a place of deep acceptance.
Over to Samantha,
1. Where are you on your journey now?
At peace. As I approach my 50th birthday I am in a place of deep acceptance and have lots of self-compassion. Right now, I am in a beautiful position of supporting women who are childless either by circumstances or by choice. I am showing up more in 2020 to dispel the taboo of childless women.
2. What’s your story?
I am Black British and my parents migrated to the United Kingdom in the late 1960’s. I am a female, in my late forties and I live with my partner of sixteen years. Growing up I remember a cousin of mine having an underage baby, when I was 11 years old and it was the biggest taboo to have rocked our cultural community. So much fear was created during that time. I kept hearing my mothers’ message about never having kids, let alone having unwanted pregnancies. Over the years, I made huge efforts, meticulously taking my pill, however I never fell pregnant even after I had stopped taking it in my 30s, which informed me that something wasn’t right. I lost my mother at 29 and married in haste and ended the relationship within a year due to domestic violence. I had no plans to have this man’s child.
At 43, I found out I had fibroids and it was in that moment I knew the odds were stacked against me. My partner didn’t grasp what this meant and would follow my lead around the umming and ahhing of having a baby. One fibroid had to be removed, because it was getting in the way and effecting my bladder. I was reluctant to remove it and but decided after 4 months it had to go. The option of a hysterectomy was discussed but I wanted to keep my womb intact. I now realise I held onto that fibroid for dear life. After the op I was told it was the size of a 6 month foetus.
My partner and I spoke about children in the beginning but on reflection my desire wasn’t as strong as i thought it was. I could never imagine raising a child without my mother here. I can relate to all the pressures from others and the biggest one came from my dad last year saying to me “I wish you had had a child”. This triggered me, however through my years of therapy which I started at 40, I was able to say…”dad it wasn’t my journey”. I have now gone onto find different purposes and I know not being a mother doesn’t define who I am. It’s been tough because the subject of childlessness is rarely addressed in black communities.
3. What helped you to heal/how did you deal with your grief?
Personal therapy and changing some of my friendship groups to suit me. Some friends kept banging on about it. I started to take the pressure off myself when I realised I was putting on a mask in certain groups to fit in. The more authentic I was with myself the more the mask slipped and I no longer hid from my pain. I began to find a language for my despair and this helped me to regain some of those lost friendships. My compassion for myself was mirrored to others who no longer pitied me but empathised with my hurt.
4. Previous story tellers have found working on one or more of these areas to be helpful. If one or more of these helped you to work through your grief, please explain how?
- some sort of body work, such as yoga, dancing, walking, CST, pilates etc – I run 3 times a week, clears the mind and keeps me more in the present.
- Those tricky concepts beginning with ‘self,’ such as acceptance, love & kindness
- A gratitude practice
- Having a writing practice –
I used to wake up with this weird sense of unease about not being a mother and it seemed to come from nowhere in particular, until I began journaling. Journaling has been a daily practice. I have journals upstairs and downstairs and just pick them up whenever I can. It’s good to be able to express myself onto paper.
5. What are the positives (gifts) for you of not having children?
6. What has not having children made possible for you?
Changed career from investment banking to private psychotherapy.
7. Is there anything missing in your life? (and what do you plan to do about it?).
I don’t focus on the things I don’t have but what I do have. Losing mum at 29 suddenly was a reminder to me how life is a gift and it can be taken away. I can’t miss what I have never experienced and I definitely don’t miss the unconscious pull to be a mother that I supressed and experienced in my 30s.
8. What advice would you give to women who are not as far down the road as you are?
Seek help and support. What supported me was identifying the reason and understanding the circumstances why I did not have children. I believe once this was identified I could begin to make peace with it. Permission is needed to grieve, to breathe and to settle into a deep acceptance of who you are and what you stand for.
I believe, there are many ways women can bring mothering energy into their lives and experience deep fulfilment by how available they are to themselves.
One of the main things women can do in the midst of the pain created by childlessness, is to remember the importance of self-care. Focusing on our needs, even the basic ones, many can start to create a healthier relationship with themselves and begin to give themselves the love and nurturing that they are so willing to give to others.
Having a circle of friends who aren’t mothers, alongside friends who are, can give balance. It can allow individuals to feel comfortable on either side as it’s not about running from feelings of disappointment but working with them in ways that enable them to feel respected, valued and fulfilled.
9. What brings you joy/what makes you happy?
My role as a psychotherapist, working for myself brings me lots of joy. I am my own boss. When I feel fabulous, I am okay with myself, accepting of myself and I am able to forgive myself for past choices. There is a whole world of possibility knocking at my door and I will answer it each time. Since working as a psychotherapist, I can see and believe that many blessings often come wrapped in disguises and this is what I am wanting for my clients.
10. What’s your 6 word memoir?
From Smith Magazine’s Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure. http://www.sixwordmemoirs.com/
I am grateful for every day
You can read more about Samantha & her work here.
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 Samantha’s inspirational 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.