It is always incredible to me how one small decision can have such a huge impact on your life….
Finding World Childless Week…
As I was scrolling through Facebook at the beginning of September, I noticed a post requesting participation in a thunderclap for World Childless Week 2017. Pausing, I thought about moving on, but something told me that I should participate in this promotion. So, I clicked the button and said “yes” to promoting WCW events.
Within a few moments, I had a message from Stephanie Phillips, the founder of WCW, asking if I would like to write a guest blog to be posted during World Childless Week 2017. I eagerly accepted her offer and spent the next few days writing several blogs for WCW.
As day 1 of World Childless Week 2017 approached, I was filled with excitement. I couldn’t wait to see what the week would bring…. Monday’s “Childless in…” was an incredible start. Seeing “Childless in….” photos from around the world gave me such a sense of connection. I was finding a tribe of people like me and receiving affirmation that I was not alone in this childless journey.
The Facts & Figures…
Day 2’s theme was “facts and figures.” This day was surprising because I expected more data, scientific jargon, and less personal stories. Boy, was I wrong! The articles about endometriosis, medical menopause, and other illnesses brought a human element to the medical side of infertility and childlessness. I recalled everything I had gone through during our infertility battle and my heart ached for those sharing their stories.
The Honest Emotions…
On day 3, Stephanie invited us to write “Dear Infertility” letters and allow our raw, honest emotions to show. I cried as I read letters addressed to endometriosis, PCOS, and unexplained infertility. The letter that caused me the most heartache, however, was addressed to “my abusive ex-husband.” The strength that this woman showed, her willingness to not have the children she so desperately wanted to save them from this man, was inspiring. My own struggles paled in comparison….
The Words that Hurt…
By day 4, the excitement and anticipation of WCW had been replaced with the reality of the struggles of childlessness not by choice. As I began to read posts talking about the innocent words that hurt, I was once again taken back to our battle. Reliving those painful moments is difficult. As I tried to comment, even my words were misunderstood, and I hurt someone’s feelings…. I didn’t mean to. I just said that I was at the point of accepting my childlessness. But I could hear the hurt in her words as I read, “It is difficult to accept because it is always there.” This made me realize how very sensitive we are when going through our darkest days, and I thought about those who had tried to help me when I simply wasn’t ready to receive their kind words….
Discovering Our Worth…
By this point in WCW, I was exhausted. On Friday morning (day 5), I turned off my alarm and slept an extra hour because I simply couldn’t face the day quite yet….
As I finally got myself ready, I wondered what today would bring. I knew day 5 was about the fact that we are worthy, but I hadn’t been able to write a blog for this day. I just didn’t know what to say. While starting a load of laundry, the words came, and I sat down to write my “Am I worthy?” blog before logging on the WCW page to see what others had to say.
As I began reading, my spirits lifted as other childless women & men told me that I have a great capacity to love, an ability to understand grief better than others, and that I am worthy simply because I am me. It was on day 5 that I discovered my favorite quote from World Childless Week….
“If you apply enough pressure to a lump of coal, it will become a diamond. Childless, and everything that goes along with it, has made us all diamonds!”
Knowing Our Limits…
I went into the weekend with a renewed spirit. On Saturday (day 6), as I read others’ posts about pregnancy announcements, baby showers, and kids’ parties, I realized that I am not alone in my feelings—these occasions are often difficult for the childless not by choice. And once again, I was grateful to have found a tribe of people like me. I didn’t have to feel like an outcast. They understood.
Accepting Our Childless Lives…
At last, it was time for the final day of the first ever World Childless Week. Sunday was a day for moving forward, accepting what is, and pursuing Plan B (or C or D—whatever the case may be). Another “Dear Infertility” letter showed up, but it was different from those earlier in the week. This one thanked infertility for being a blessing and for teaching that “our life’s goal extends far beyond giving life; it’s LIVING LIFE!” What an amazing outlook….
The Journey: From Start to Start…
As I think about this week in its entirety, I realize that it mimics the infertility journey.
You start out with such hope, anticipation, excitement. You can’t wait to see what the treatments will bring. You do all the research, you learn about your conditions, you explore the possibilities.
A bit into your journey, you really start hating your infertility, your endometriosis, your “old” eggs and you yell and cry and wonder. No one can say anything to help. You feel so alone, with emotions that are so raw, the slightest touch ignites them. You are exhausted. And you are losing your hope.
If you’re not careful, you can get stuck here. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to continue moving forward on this uncertain path….
But if you will put one foot in front of the other and be brave, you can find yourself again. You can find your joy, your peace, your life. It will not look like you had expected. You are on a path you never dreamed you would take. But this path can be incredible, if only you will keep looking forward. Do not go back. Remember how far you have come and leave the old dreams behind. They weren’t meant for you. And that’s okay. A different dream is yours. Embrace it. Love it. And most importantly, LIVE IT fully and with your whole heart!
Mark your calendar! The 2nd Annual World Childless Week will be Sept 10-16, 2018!
World Childless Week – Sept 11-17, 2017
Recently, an announcement for World Childless Week came across my newsfeed. Being an infertile woman, I want to connect with other people who understand what it feels like to be childless. Because WCW’s goal is to increase awareness and understanding about childless not by choice, I liked their page in order to become a part of the WCW community. When Stephanie Phillips, the woman who started the WCW movement, asked me to write a guest blog for World Childless Week, I eagerly accepted. My hope with Not So Mommy…™ is to inspire others to be their authentic selves by telling my infertility story. WCW has a similar goal and I am so excited to be a part of this group! Please, check out their Facebook page at World Childless Week and join the childless not by choice conversation!
Featured Photo Credit: Andrew Small on StockSnap.io