Yesterday I attended Fertility Fest in London and participated in The Unborn Child. Tessa Broad read aloud the first chapter of her book "Dear You: A Letter to my Unborn Children" and Tina Reid talked about and then showed us her collection of "Photos I’ll Never Take". Their words and images were deeply thought provoking.
I recognized their dreams and desires. Not the big moments but the small incidental moments in time that can cement a small but precious memory. They reminded me of my own “what ifs.” What would I have taught my children, what moments in time would we have cherished, what memories would I hold in my heart and what photos would fill the frames on my wall.
I don’t have a collection of drawings on the fridge, a pair of first mittens kept safe in a memory box or photo albums full of memories. The dreams I had are still just dreams that sit in my thoughts but have never played out in reality. I cannot teach my children the party games that my grandad taught me. I cannot teach my children the songs that my grandmother sang to me. I cannot tell my children of the fun I’ve had with my mum. I cannot hand my children an ornament and tell them its story. I cannot leave my children my wedding ring in my will.
A member of the audience asked about how we can leave a legacy?
I explained that I believe we can leave a legacy through our words. During last year’s World Childless Week many people shared their stories and they were amazed to find out that their words were being read by hundreds of people and in some instants thousands of people. Their words meant something to others. Their words showed strength, validation and determination to make a difference. Their words were leaving their legacy and their words were helping others.
I also explained that Berenice Smith of Walk In Our Shoes and I were working together to encourage more people to share their stories. As everyone left they would receive a small gift; an envelope that contained a packet of Forget Me Not seeds and a postcard. The postcard was designed by Berenice and on the reverse side explained our idea.
We would love it if people would plant the seeds in a window box or garden; scatter them in a hedgerow or a place that has sentimental meaning. We hope that some of them would take a photo of where the seeds were planted or perhaps a photo next year when they flowered. We’d like them to also include their feet in the photo as this ties in line with Walk In Our Shoes.
I explained briefly that I chose the Forget Me Not to represent World Childless Week because we will not forget our children and we will not allow people to forget that we are here and we matter.
It had been an emotional week having already attended Fertility Fest earlier in the week and as I explained the importance of our stories and the Forget Me Nots I could not hold back my tears. At some point when the tears were rolling down my cheeks people in the room applauded. Today it feels dreamlike and I am not sure what I said to deserve applause, but my heart is warmed and grateful for the love they showed me.