This year World Childless Week runs from 13th to 19th September & I’m very proud to continue to be an Ambassador. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating our community & working together to ensure that no-one feels alone. In addition to the daily topics where you can submit a contribution, there’s a range of webinars & talks in the planning stage.
If you’re not familiar with WCW, each day focuses on a different topic & this year there are a couple of new subjects which I’m sure will stimulate a range of different articles & debate.
And WCW only works if as many of you as possible submit a contribution (which can be anonymous) so I’d really encourage you to take time considering the topics & whether you feel that you can contribute. You can find out more & how to submit an article here.
I invite you to explore your creativity & see where it leads
If you follow my blog you’ll know how much I believe in the support which creativity provides in our healing process. And to quote ‘WCW welcomes submissions of all descriptions: written word, poem, song, dance, painting, sculpture, photography etc.’
So I’d really like to encourage you to pick one or more of the daily topics & explore your creativity in whatever way calls to you. Perhaps you’ll submit your results to WCW & perhaps you won’t, but either way you’ll learn something & as Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic; ‘the merits of that creative adventure will be yours to keep forever’
If you feel that it’s not for you this year, that’s Ok too & be sure to mark the dates in your diary so you can read the day’s articles & perhaps join those talks/webinars which interest you.
I’ve listed the topics below, together with a copy of the explanation from the World Childless Week website & I’ve added my own thoughts. In past years I’ve written on the topic of Moving Forwards but this year I’m considering the subject of Leaving A Legacy. If you have any thoughts on my musings I’d love to hear them, either via comment below or email.
Mon 13th September – Our Stories
‘No matter what anyone has said to you (including your own inner critic) your story is important. The dreams you had to become a parent: the struggles of trying to conceive, the sadness of not meeting a partner, the life choices and circumstances that restricted or denied your opportunities. The harsh reality of knowing you’d never be a parent; the anger, anguish, confusion and grief. These are the stories we need to share and yours are the words that need to be heard.’
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I firmly believe in the importance of story, both the story you tell yourself & the one you tell the world (which may be different).
And I know from both personal experience & that of those wonderful women who’ve shared their story here, how much changes when you share your story with the world. So I’d like to ask you, could you submit your story?
Tues 14th September – Childlessness & Sexual Intimacy
‘Do you feel like your body has failed you or have you been able to forgive, accept and love your body again? Has your relationship suffered and fallen apart, or have you found strength in each other? Does the aspect of being childless for any reason play on your mind in connection to new relationships and physical intimacy? Self-love and self-hate embrace all parts of our identity and it’s time to explore them.’
In the early days I felt that my body had failed me hugely (I mean it couldn’t do what ‘every other’ women in the world could do) & it was just the thing which carried my head around. That’s changed as I’ve explored it through my yoga practice & as I’ve worked on those knotty words starting with self, including self- love. Intimacy is not an area I’ve explored in my blog so I’ll be interested to read more.
Wed 15th September – Leaving a Legacy
‘Legacy feels connected to blood; the bloodline that we can’t or won’t continue. Do you feel sad or guilty that: your family name, traditions and collectibles ends with you? Why does the pain of not being able to pass something on hurt so much? Perhaps you’ve found a way to lessen the pain or create a legacy in a new way; through teaching, sponsorship, art and creativity, innovation, gardening, charitable work or donations etc?’
As an only child & being the end of my mother’s bloodline this is a topic which really interests me. Of course, I’ve thought about it, & maybe it was one of the reasons for writing my book. But if I’m honest I’ve also partly put it to one side because I suspect digging deeper may bring up some things I’d rather keep buried.
There are many aspects to legacy, as Steph writes above it includes things that have been gathered by previous generations so maybe it’s time to consider what will happen to my parent’s wedding photos, our wedding photos, the cardigan & teddy I had as a baby.
Obviously it’s far broader than physical objects & the question on the image is at the heart of it. Why does it hurt?
It seems that I’ve talked myself into exploring the range of issues regarding legacy, including my feelings & the practicalities. In some ways I know it will be helpful & others I’m not looking forward to it.
If you have any thoughts & suggestions & also encouragement I’d love to hear what they are please. Maybe legacy doesn’t matter to you or perhaps you’ve resolved it.
Thurs 16th September – Men Matter Too
‘What is your childless story? Are there aspects you have hidden because that is supposedly “what men do”? Have you buried your emotions, to support your partner, or dismissed them as unimportant? We need to change the narrative and ensure every male voice is just as loud as every female. Today you can express your thoughts on any aspect of your childless life: your story, a painful moment in time or something that has helped you move forwards.’
Very few men speak out & if you have a man in your life who would be willing to contribute, it would be lovely if he could do so.
Friday 17th September – Have you Considered Adoption?
‘So many of us (too many of us) have had this comment thrown in our face without any consideration of our feelings. How did it make you feel and how did you respond? Did you tell the truth or laugh it off, because sometimes that is the easiest response? Did you try to adopt and face unexpected hurdles, criticism and heart-breaking endings? Was adoption a conversation that split your relationship? It’s time to tell the truth about why this comment hurts so much.’
As Steph writes above, it’s time to open up this subject & make others aware why this question hurts so much. Personally, & for our own reasons, we decided that adoption wasn’t something we wanted to pursue & I’m tired of others trying to make me feel guilty for deciding that our family of 2 was perfect.
What’s your experience of this? Is it an area you feel that you can contribute?
Saturday 18th September – We are Worthy
‘Do you feel worthy, or has society and the increase of pronatalism made you feel unworthy? Do we need to change our own narrative before we can rediscover the worth we hold as unique individuals, independent of our circumstances? What makes us worthy as a human being, the ability to give birth or a heart that is supportive, encouraging, open-minded, loving and caring? It’s time to explore and celebrate our worth’.
If you pause & say ‘I am worthy’ what comes up for you? Do you feel unworthy or are you in a place where you are ready to celebrate yourself? Either way, it would be lovely to understand how this phrase resonate with you.
Sunday 19th September – Moving Forwards
‘When did you know you’d started to move forwards? Did you wake up one morning and decide today was the day to makes changes or did you reflect over the last year and see subtle differences? Perhaps you accepted an invite to an event that you would have previously declined attending? What has changed in your life and how does it make you feel?’
If you follow my blog, you’ll have noticed that I’m keen on reflecting on how I’ve changed & my source material is my journals. Reading what I wrote a year, 2 or 3 years ago enables me to see both how much I’ve changed & also the areas where I have more work to do.
Especially in the early days I found it really helpful to read about others who were further ahead than I was. How did you know that you’d started to move forwards? And how do you think that your words can support others?
What do you think?
You can read more about World Childless Week & sign up to the newsletter here
If you have any comments (especially on legacy) I’d love to read them & you can also email me at info(at)LesleyPyne(dot)co(dot)uk
You can download Chapter One of Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness when you sign up to my email list.