World Childless Week 2019
Finding Acceptance and Moving Forward
In time our grief will lessen and we will find new dreams and acceptance. It doesn't mean that we will forget our desire to have been a parent, but it does mean our life can have new perspectives.
We can reflect on how we have moved forward since last year’s World Childless Week. What changes we have made in our life and hear from those who have found acceptance and embraced their Plan B.
World Childless Week Wine/d Down!
We were really keen to hold an ‘end of event’ discussion, after a really long chat between Steph and the Champions, we’ve decided to postpone this event. We absolutely appreciate all that everyone has done for World Childless Week. Every word, every video, every comment, share, retweet and read. We all want to thank you for being part of World Childless Week.
But we know that it’s not a wine/d Down without Steph. She’s now at home and recovering slowly. When she’s feeling better, we shall reschedule this webinar so that we’re all fit and well and we shall return together.
With love from all the Champions and Steph xx
P.S. Listen to our Champions with Steph on the Full Stop podcast. The recording was made before World Childless Week when the team shared their hopes and words of inspiration with presenters Sarah Lawrence, Michael Hughes and Berenice Smith
Your stories on Finding Acceptance and Moving Forwards
Professor Cristina Archetti is an author and about to publish a book ‘Childlessness in the Age of Communication: Deconstructing Silence’ (Routledge, 2020).
Rise up and make a mindful plan B.
I am guest speaker at a “Childless Day” event organized by a Swedish association for the involuntarily childless in Stockholm. I have been asked to talk about my experience. ‘But what shall I say?’ I remember asking, incredulous at the invitation I had just received. ‘Just tell your story,’ said Linda Malm with her eternally smiling voice.
And there is so much silence, the silence is deafening and makes me feel claustrophobic.
While talking with my colleague the topic of grief came up. She mentioned how a mutual acquaintance once said something to the effect of, “one grief story is one grief story.” In other words, no two are alike. I agree, but it also highlights the loneliness of grief. No one, anywhere, can understand exactly what I’m going through. Grief is a lonely road.
My sisters had a bond and I didn’t fit in. I was told a few times “You don’t know, you’re not a mom”.
Making the choice to begin to accept being childless not by choice is no easy task, but it IS within our power to make that choice.
There was a time when asked if I had children I would get flustered and it wouldn’t matter who was asking the question I’d feel obligated to give them an explanation. Because like so many women I am childless through circumstance.
The last time I wrote to you it felt like a betrayal. I told you I loved you. That I would never stop loving you. But I needed to stop carrying you with me.
I’m going to start with an apology. Last year in the blog I wrote for WCW I gave the impression that, having worked through my grief, my life was perfect.
Well I wasn’t quite telling the truth.
I had my third and last failed IVF treatment at the age of 39. It was hell. I gave everyone at work the impression that I was fine (because I am the one who looks after everyone else), but inside I was falling apart. The first round of IVF had led to hope then miscarriage; the second and third totally unresponsive. I was infertile.
My 35 years has included some intense joys, and some intense heartaches. Two years ago, I began to grieve for the child I wanted and never had, and this year, I am also grieving the loss of my husband, who died 5 months ago. Even as hurt as I feel, I believe with all my heart that in the future, I will be laughing and enjoying my life again. I was thinking, what if my future happy self could write an encouraging letter to my current grieving self? I love to write, so I figured I might as well let the words flow out.
I am at a point in my life where I am looking ahead to a life without a 'future family' of my own. I have no choice but to accept this; and like those who face unavoidable and inescapable challenges in life, I'm finding my way toward establishing an alternative sense of purpose and belonging.
When I was a kid, it seemed that I had to wait forever to be tall enough to go on the rollercoaster ride at our local amusement park.
I think I have an answer to what’s behind the dearth of understanding about those of us who are not parents. It often comes down to semantics and lack of imagination.
I grew up in a big family where having kids was a given. My dad is the youngest of eleven; I am the second of five girls. Yes, the assumption was that having kids was part of life.