After we realised that we weren’t going to be having children I was in a very downward spiral. I couldn’t see past the emptiness of the rooms in our house, nothing was right, and the only thing I wanted was the one thing I couldn’t have – our child. My life seemed to be a great big nothing.
But, somewhere way down in my depths a little spark of light ignited and slowly I began to warm up to the idea of a life where I didn’t have my own children. It started to look interesting, and even appealing, and eventually I couldn’t wait to get started on all the things I was going to do.
I was going to travel, I was going to learn about anything that caught my interest, I was going to get into volunteer work in conservation and/or human rights, I was going to be the healthiest I could be so that I could enjoy life for as long as possible, I was going to be a writer, and I was going to be on a life quest in regards to my spirituality.
So, that excitement rose about two years ago – just after our nephew was born. I did nothing with it, and it went away again.
The excitement didn’t exactly fall into oblivion, but it somehow got muddled up in life and I forgot about it. I forgot about all the things I was going to do and experience – the things that, while not making up for not having a child, would help to make my life meaningful.
About two weeks ago I wrote a letter to myself (how crazy does that sound??!!) and it was the best thing I could have done. I gave myself the wakeup call that I needed. I was hard on myself, I cut through all of the excuses not to do things that were squirming their way around my brain, and I gave myself plans to get on with the life that I know I want.
Looking back now I can see why I didn’t pick up on those threads of excitement, hang on tight and ride all the way through to adventure. I didn’t have the confidence. I think that much of this had to do with the fact that I can’t have a baby.
Being a mother is something I always thought was inevitable for me. It was something I was going to be good at (at least for the most part), and carrying a baby in my body was something I longed to do. Pregnancy, in particular, was something I saw as so fundamental to being a woman that I never doubted that it would happen for me. When I was unable to conceive and create a child I felt like a failure as a woman, and then a failure as a person.
This sense of failure, without my realising it, began to taint my self-confidence. I failed as a woman, so therefore I would fail at pretty much anything else I tried too. Whenever I thought about doing something different or new my inner-self would go on about how I would never succeed, that I was just going to fail again, that people would judge me for even trying, that I should just lay low until it was all over. All over?
I didn’t want it to be all over with me still sitting, hiding under a rug in the corner. The letter from me to myself told me that I didn’t want that.
The letter I wrote was personal, but this is a section of it that I want to share:
I think it’s time to acknowledge that you have not being making the steps toward that life. You are still stuck. Your identity is grey and murky and somewhere out on the ocean in the fog, but you are not picking up the oars to row to where you might find yourself. It is disappointing. Life keeps on moving and the years pass. Do you want to be stuck in the fog forever? How will you feel at the end of your life? Tired, wasted, unhappy? What will you have missed that you will never get back?
I am not at a point yet where I have rowed out of the fog. My inner-self still has that part that tells me to stop and hide somewhere – to lay low in the boat.
But there’s something else in me as well – something that seems to be getting stronger – something that is saying “Get up, pick up those oars, and row for your life.”