Why have I used the forget-me-not as World Childless Week's image?
After deciding to work World Childless Week around the 16th September I discovered that there were two flowers that represented the month, the aster daisy and the forget-me-not. I decided to use the forget-me-not because it represents true love and remembrance. Forget-me-nots were traditionally given or used to decorate gifts in the hope that the recipient will not forget the giver.
I have often heard the phrase “you never know true love until you have a child” thrown around by parents at every opportunity. Whilst I can understand they may feel the need to verbally express the love they have for their child, it is a hurtful comment when directed at a childless person. It implies that childless person will die without ever knowing true love. There are many forms of true love. The love you have for your parents, your siblings, your partner, your nephews, nieces and your faith. All of these relationships will create a different form of love and each one of those loves can be a true love.
People wrongly assume that you cannot grieve for someone that never existed. Our children existed in our hearts, our heads and our dreams. So we will grieve them and we will remember them. We will remember them when we hear the name we chose being used for someone else’s child. We will remember them when we make the bed up in the guest room that was meant to be their nursery. We will remember them when we move house and discover the tiny booties wrapped carefully in tissue paper hid away at the back of a drawer. We will remember them when we look at family heirlooms with no place to go but a charity shop. Our children will be remembered throughout our life.
The forget-me-not is a simple flower that has a delicate and beautiful appearance that is viewed by some as a weed rather than a flower. I assume this is because the forget-me-not is resilient to being removed. The forget-me-not fights back each and every year to reappear and not be forgotten.
At the beginning of my childless journey I felt broken, fragile and I doubted my own worth. There were times when it felt like I didn’t exist. I was ignored and overlooked at family, work and social occasions. As the years have gone by I started to gain strength from the support I have received from other childless men and women. Suddenly I found my childless voice and started to talk about being childless. It was probably a whisper at first but now you can’t stop me. If you say a comment that is ignorant I will respond. My thoughts are not always well received, but I am heard.
Just like that delicate forget-me-not people may assume that I am fragile, but I am resilient and I am telling you that I am here to stay.
So please remember our dreams were real. Our loss was real and our pain is real. Remember that we are individuals who are important in our own right. We don’t need to wear a mummy or daddy label to have a place in society. Remember that the way the childless view the world is different to the way a parent views the world. It doesn’t mean our reactions or opinions are wrong. It doesn’t mean that you can dismiss us.
We are here, we are worthy and we will not let you forget us.