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 ….

Lesley-109

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

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The Gold In The Gaps

So we’ve seen some breakage
There are cracks in these jars
We have inflicted some on each other
Water seeped from those scars
We watched solemnly as it ebbed away
Fearing it may never again flow
But that water, it was stagnant
And we had to let it go

We are now filling those gaps with gold
Where would we have fitted it before?
If we hadn’t given in to those holes
We had choices to make in those chinks
We might have crumbled to dust
We almost did
But instead we chose to let the sun light through
And now we are capturing gold from the dew

Yes, there may still be drafts we cannot resolve
But that air brings with it oxygen
And we had to learn to breath again
These bowls have seen much harm
Dropped from sad and weary arms
Those shards we once watched fall
Let us take them up and gild them
And with those same arms now rebuild them

What porcelain person was ever not made more whole
When they finally acknowledge there are flaws in their bowl
They are fragile and imperfect and require careful carriage
We now witness new strength in this clay and gold marriage
As integrity returns to this broken vessel’s form
We can clear up the debris from the retreating storm
And this crazing in our glazing marks our journeys’ map
As we honour the strength of this gold in our gaps

 


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After

 

So, How Do You Waste Your Time?

This question was asked of me at my meditation group this week. It made me think about what we consider to be wasted time in our lives, and if, in fact, such a thing exists.

The gentleman leading our meditation on that day had expected quite bland responses I think – such as watching TV, or sleeping in, or things such as those. He did not get what he expected from his question. People thought about their responses far more than he had envisaged or was prepared for. It was an interesting question for sure, and one I gave a lot of thought to as it came toward my turn to answer.

In the end I challenged the premise.Read More »

The Mother Club

This week has seen the invention of another new word in our household …

Haribwoe –
noun: The guilt and self-loathing one feels having eaten too many sweets, resulting from no children having knocked on your door at Halloween, necessitating a frantic consumption of said sweets to do away with the evidence that you ever bought them in the first place.

I can imagine the conversation amongst the neighbouring parents as they took their little people up and down the street “Oh no, they don’t have children, we’ll leave them in peace”. Imagining that this is the sentiment (unless we have other issues with our neighbours that we are unaware of) I can appreciate their consideration. However, it is just one of many little reminders throughout the year that we are on the outside of a club. The biggest, most natural club in the world.Read More »

Contemplating Cobwebs & The Doorstep Of Destiny

A desire for sausages, and a distracted exit from the house last weekend, resulted in an unplanned detour, and the contemplation of a new world-view, both literally and figuratively.

My parents had just left our house in their car – having finished tea and biscuits, and a reading of the Saturday papers. My husband and I now needed to buy some food for the day ahead, and were debating what we might like for our evening meal. I had a hankering for sausages. Our local butcher makes really good sausages. So, with my husband leaving the house ahead of me, I grabbed a shopping bag and headed outside, pulling the door behind me, and striding for the gate.

My husband hesitated, and then he swore. And then he peered back into the house through the living room window …Read More »

A New Word, A Storm & A Headache

Today I have a paint headache. I did yesterday too. I have been painting all kinds of stuff in my house over the last few days and have now been forced to leave, as I was starting to feel pretty sick with the fumes.

The reason for this intense activity is simple. My house is a scruffy mess. Walls and doors are shabby and shameful. Furniture scratched and unfit for any nice thing or person to sit upon. The last two days of warp-speed activity was long overdue and – because I am me – and I have tried to fix a million things all in one go rather than take a planned and steady approach (like a normal human being might), this has caused some considerable upheaval throughout our home. The living room that I am currently hiding from, is this very minute strewn with newspapers covered by various bulky items of furniture gently emitting their evil post-updo fumes (hence the headache).

Sitting with my husband at the weekend (prior to me having thrown the house up in the air and trying to catch it all with my trusty paint roller) we were listening to somebody else discussing some upheaval or other in their lives. My husband noted …

“You never hear much about ‘Downheaval’ do you?”

Hmmm, interesting – Is that even a thing? I quietly pondered this for a little while and realised, well of course it is a thing! Not only that, but one I have some experience with.Read More »

Lessons Learned Log: My mind is not a sausage machine

Some of the best advice I was ever given was by a friend of mine who knew I was wrestling with a particular problem, and making myself sick trying to force the answer to emerge. She bought me a greeting card and gave it to me, a few days before I took myself off on my first ever silent retreat, to try and figure out what on earth I was going to do next with my life.

The card shared the following words from Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves”

These words (taken from a letter written by Rilke in 1903) continued ….Read More »