Brandi’s Story of Finding Joy Despite a Wobble . . .

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of hands holding a bright ball of light on Brandi's Story: Finding Joy Despite a Wobble . . . , on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog
Written by me, a fellow survivor


We often talk about big things here at Not So Mommy…  Infertility, miscarriage, infant loss, involuntary childlessness, gut-wrenching pain, disenfranchised grief… 

Many who reach out want to know how to free themselves of the heartbreak, how to “get over it” and move on, how to find joy despite…

I’ve mentioned that my hubby and I have been on a health journey for nearly a decade.  And you know how it started?  Dane’s doctor asked him to lose 10 pounds.  Now, Dane really needed to lose about 100.  And he did.  But he started with 10—an attainable goal.

So, today, instead of talking about how to heal from childlessness, I want to discuss something a bit smaller.  Today, I want to talk about one moment, one trigger.  A seemingly insignificant, little encounter.  I want to talk about finding joy despite a wobble . . .

The Story of Brandi:  Finding Joy Despite a Wobble . . .

Trigger Warning: Detailed description of an encounter that has the potential to cause every childless I know to wobble—the dreaded “p” belly…
Why had you lost your joy?  What struggle and/or difficulty were (or are) you struggling with?

It was a Sunday evening.  And honestly, I was having a really good day.  Church, a lunch date with my hubby, a bit of afternoon shopping, enjoying glorious weather…  And now, I was at the grocery store with Dane, gathering everything we needed to cook every meal at home this week.  (As you can tell, this happened before Covid-19 social distancing…)

Trigger Warning.  Get ready…  Or skip to the last section, “What would you like to say to others who are struggling…”  Or stop reading if you are feeling particularly vulnerable today.  Remember–there is strength in knowing your limits.

We were talking about the fact that we needed eggs when I saw a grown man jumping up and down, stomping his feet, exclaiming, “But I don’t like that kind!”  Catching his eye, I’m sure I had a perplexed expression on my face.  He began to grin and said, “We have to get some practice.”  Looking over to his wife, my eyes landed firmly on her round belly popping out from a snuggly sweater.

Oh my gosh!  Don’t cry!  Get me out of here!

My extroverted hubby began chatting with the gentleman.  I spoke with the mom-to-be, giving the obligatory chuckle.  But I kept walking and avoided further eye-contact.  It was a strange encounter, as I am quite certain this young couple had no idea that Dane and I are childless.  To them, we are a middle-aged couple at the store by ourselves because we have teenagers who are old enough to be home alone.  Or maybe the kids were with friends.  Or perhaps they are away at college.  But I could tell that we were “bonding” over something that wasn’t really a part of Dane and my reality.  (Now, I could tell you about some tantrums my nieces threw, but they weren’t thinking nieces and nephews…)

Anyway, I headed on, Dane caught up, we got half-and-half and finished our shopping.  I was fine…

How did you find (or are you finding) joy despite this struggle?

But I wasn’t really fine.

When we got home, I felt myself getting more and more anxious.  More and more agitated.  I wasn’t really mad.  But I could tell that I was heading towards anger.  Fumbling, dropping things, spilling water…  In exasperation, I huffed, “I’m really struggling here!”

More possible triggers…

Dane walked up behind me, put his arms around me, and asked what was wrong.  And I felt my defenses lowering…

The overwhelming pain that I was trying to keep at bay overtook my heart, and I once again felt that deep, deep ache in my chest.  Tears sprang to my eyes and began rolling down my cheeks as I spoke…

“I know it seems silly because I really do love our life, but I still have a very hard time with pregnant women,” I confessed.

And he said, “That’s okay.”

He turned me into him and gave me a hug and didn’t let go until I did.  (Remembering this moment, I am crying again…)

As is so often the case when I have a wobble, I literally shook my head to “shake it off.”  I busied myself again, putting away the rest of the groceries and getting dinner put together for us.  And we ended up having a lovely evening together.  My pain had passed.  I was back on solid ground once again.

What would you like to say to others who are going through the same struggle that you have overcome (or are in the process of overcoming)?

Why am I reliving this wobble?  Feeling the pain again?  Sharing this with you, knowing it would cause me to cry once more?

Because I want you to know that “getting over” childlessness, moving forward, accepting, embracing, redefining…  That does not mean that you will never feel sadness again.  It does not mean that triggers won’t catch us off-guard, knocking us off-balance big time, causing wobbles we don’t want to suffer through…

But you know how I “got over” this wobble, how I am finding joy despite a wobble . . .

I talked about it.

I talked about it with Dane.  And now, I’m talking about it with you.

And I felt the pain.

Instead of getting angry (which I often do because I’d rather be mad than sad), I allowed the hurt to wash over me.  I allowed myself to cry.  I allowed (and am continuing to allow) myself to be vulnerable.

So many times, fabulous ones reach out and tell me that sharing my story has helped them.  I receive their praise humbly, honored to be a part of their journey.  Your words of encouragement and support, fabulous ones…  They make my heart happy…

But you know what?  Sharing my story helps me, too.  Talking about the pain and the grief and the wobbles…  Well, it’s how I process, how I let go, how I move on…

Preparing for Possible Triggers in May…

As May approaches, you may feel yourself getting agitated and anxious and perhaps even angry.  You may be anticipating the wobbles, just wondering when they will attack.  Please know that you do not have to face your pain alone.  Our childless not by choice community is so loving and supportive and encouraging.  We are ready to wrap you in a virtual hug and let you cry it out with us.  We are ready to tell you, “It’s okay.”  So, please, share your struggles.  Do not wobble alone. 

If you need a listening ear, please contact me. 

Love you, fabulous one.  So many hugs…

If anything I wrote resonates with you, please tell us about it in the comments.
Want to inspire others and share your “Finding Joy Despite…” Story?  Click here to find out how…  Whether it’s finding joy despite a wobble or some other of life’s difficulties, your story matters.

More Resources to help you find joy despite…

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Makenzie Zuercher June 15, 2020 - 2:14 pm

Thanks for this post. It’s encouraging to know I’m not alone in this.

Brandi Lytle June 15, 2020 - 2:42 pm

I’m grateful this post resonated and helped you feel less alone. Sending you hugs…

Louise Hall April 27, 2020 - 11:43 pm

Thank you for sharing this Brandi. I really struggle with bumps and pregnancy announcements too. I struggle most with family, friends and colleagues and I find it very hard to feel any joy whatsoever for them, as I am so overwhelmed with sadness and anger. I know my thoughts of , “It’s not fair! ” and, “Why them not me? ” are so unhelpful but I can’t stop my mind from going there. I am learning to not beat myself for the way I react and accept that this is grief. A cuddle from my husband at those times makes a huge difference to me too. Sending Love, Louise x

Brandi Lytle April 28, 2020 - 11:53 am

Louise, thank you for bravely sharing your truth and your heart. I am grateful that you realize your initial reaction to “p” announcements is grief and to not be too hard on yourself. The farther I get on this journey, the more I believe that there are some things that will always trigger. Allowing ourselves to feel that pain, accept it as love for the life we dreamed of, grieve that loss, and continue moving forward bravely in the what is… Well, that is why I say we are “childless warriors.” So many hugs…

Emily April 27, 2020 - 2:16 pm

Oh my gosh Brandi! I wish we could meet in person! You pretty much described how I’m feeling at this moment. Thank you for being brave and sharing your struggle.

Brandi Lytle April 28, 2020 - 11:49 am

Emily, I am so grateful that this post resonated. It always amazes me that just the right words reach the right people at the right time. I call it a “God Thing.” And as for meeting in person… Perhaps someday, our fabulous CNBC tribe will be able to come together live and in person! 🙂 Hugs…


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