Finding Joy

I was delighted when I was asked last year if I would be happy to contribute to a book about childlessness that was being written by Lesley Pyne. Lesley’s website was the first place I ever released a piece of my own writing into the wild – when I felt compelled to tell my own story – one of the hardest, but most important things I’ve ever done.

I found Lesley’s site when I was at a dreadful low. But, having read some of the challenging yet inspiring stories she was inviting others to share – I knew that the only way forward for me was to let some of that grief out myself. And so that is what I did – under the pseudonym August (August being a very important month to me).

A year later (and having already taking the giant step of saying out loud in actual words how bloody hard that journey had been), a blog was born, and here were are.

Lesley’s book is published on Monday, and it is a very powerful and potent book indeed. A deeply honest, moving and challenging look at what it is like to try to have children, by every means possible and then, when that long fought for dream is extinguished for the final time, have to try and find a way to keep breathing through the heartache, and somehow create a new life, one that isn’t like the life you’d hoped and planned for at all.

If you, or anyone you know is touched by this, I cannot recommend Lesley’s book enough. It doesn’t pull any punches, I tells it like it is, because eventually, however hard that may be, it is the only way to take that step forward, into whatever the hell is next. Thankfully, Lesley, along with the other wonderful women who have contributed – have a good idea of what could be next, and better still, how you too might get there.

With a wealth of inspiration, some genuine pain, some absolute triumph, and a plethora of fantastic exercises and ideas to help create … yes maybe a different … but nevertheless every inch fantastic life beyond childlessness – this may just be the book required for you to find your own joy – beyond your wildest imagination.

Here is the lovely Lesley, along with a little of her own story ….


Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness

What do you think when you read the title of the book? You wouldn’t normally expect to read the words joy and childlessness in the same sentence.

My guess is you’re throwing your hands up in horror and a voice inside you is saying loudly, ‘oh no, I can’t do that.’

Some reassurance
And to assure you that I’m not living in some sort of fantasy world, let me tell you three things;

  • I’ve stood where you’re standing now, telling myself that I’ll never be happy;
  • Despite 6 unsuccessful rounds of IVF and losing both parents, I can truly say that I am at peace with my past; I know who I am and I’m living a life I absolutely love;
  • It’s not just me saying this, others have walked this path, and they are also showing up in the world as themselves and living a fulfilling life without the children they desperately wanted.

When we finished IVF there were far fewer resources than there are now. I’m not a big fan of forums, meeting face to face is what helps me best. I met some wonderful women through More To Life; however we were all at a similar stage in our healing journey so there was no one to look to as a mentor or guide. Sometimes we would play the ‘name the childless woman’ game and our answers would include women like Helen Mirren, Dolly Parton and the like. It was all very well to see famous women, but really, what do I have in common with them?

If you can see it, you can do it
I know from experience that achieving something in life is easier if you can follow a path laid down by someone else. So I started collecting what I call Inspirational Stories, stories of real childless women who have stood where you’re standing now, hiding themselves, but are now showing up happily in their life.

I’ve used these stories as a basis to write Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness; Inspiring Stories to Guide You to a Fulfilling Life. In the process of writing I’ve dug deep into those things the story tellers had in common; subjects such as grief, letting go, self-acceptance, connecting to my body, writing and gratitude.

I want to show readers that it is possible to have a fulfilling life, and, using these women as examples, how to make it happen. So I use my life experience, the experiences of other 19 childless women (including August), and my skills as a coach and NLP Master Practitioner to gently guide readers through their pain, using practical advice and exercises and help them to reach the other side and find their joy.

And only you can do it
I’ve come out the other side a completely different person; I am now closer to being the true, authentic Lesley. I am finally comfortable in my own skin and confident when I say that ‘I absolutely love my life, the adventures I’m having and I’m excited about what will happen next.’

It makes me so sad when I hear childless women say that they will never be happy.

I want you to know that it’s not true.

Coming to terms with a childless life changes you. The storytellers and I have made the most of these changes to become the most beautiful we can be. I hope you take the opportunity to do this too.


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After


As You Be What You Will Be. As You Go Where You Will Go.

I sat, and as I breathed, I looked around inside my head. And in there, there were dark masses. Masses I had created, formed, sculpted, thought into life. Some of them were jagged, some of them too hot to touch, some of them now smoothed through the tossing in my mind’s waves but heavy nevertheless. I looked at these dark masses and I said …

“It is time”

I said to the accumulation of anger, formed from the frustrating exchanges. That cooling lava of irritation, of injustice and unexpressed indignation. With steam still rising from its surface … 

“It is time”

I said to that boulder of sadness, about that sad thing, the thing that will always be sad but is taking up space I now need back …

“It is time”

I said to the shame, those stinging leaves of derision, those thorns of remorse, that I cultivated and watered with bitter tears …

“It is time”Read More »

Hoodlums & Heroes

And so I suddenly stopped, in the middle of the street, and in that instant I saw it all. The illusion that we all occupy. That busy street, full of people and puddles and pictures we believe into reality. Who are all these humans? Who are these actors, these holograms? Who are the hoodlums, and who the heroes? Who amongst them will have drama, who trauma, who triumph?

And I wish for a moment I could step off set, consult the script, see it all from behind the lens. Pause the action and place myself at some other moment, perhaps in some other street, where would that illusion lead me?Read More »


It is a spiritual colour he says

The colour of the Crown Chakra 

The height of your self knowledge


Connection to a higher power

And that I can appreciate

But to me it is more

To me it is the colour of youth

Of freedom

Of ‘Me’dom

Of seeking and speaking your truth

It is the colour of magical skies

Of eyes, those eyes, oh those eyes!

It is the colour of my heart

That terminally conditioned part

The part that fell apart

It is the colour of pain

And a certain sort of rain

And a broken heart again

It is the colour of April snow

And I will not let it go


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After

This Is Not My Pot

This week I found myself having to justify the dichotomy between what I do to feed my bank account and the things I do outside of work which feed my soul. And this was with a person who has already had to work hard to make the thing they are passionate about their job.  So they really should know better than to assume that what someone does in their day to day to make money automatically defines who they are as a human being.

But I guess we are all guilty of this on occasion. We probably all have asked a new acquaintance “So what do you do?”, and then we layer all sorts of assumptions on them as a person, based entirely on their response – when really “What matters to you?” would be a far more revealing and insightful question. If the person in question is incredibly lucky or has always had a laser-beam focus on achieving their dream career, the answers to those two questions may align. But more often than not they won’t.Read More »

Conversation With A Tortoise – Part II

T & Me – On Faith And Freedom

Me: It is my last morning. And I have been having the most miserable time. Here I am, sitting on this seat for the final time, crying my heart out. Then I hear some rustling and I think to myself …

“That can’t be another tortoise can it?
On my last morning –
As I saw one on the first.
That would be quite something.”

So, I wander over to the fence where I had seen you before and, after a quick scour on my side of the fence, I spot you. On the other side of the fence! Sitting in the sunshine, looking calm and content. Read More »