Expectations and why grief isn't the flu.

Anyone who has seen me on social media (Instagram, Twitter or Facebook) will know that we went away again this Christmas. Before I went I away, I wondered what to say to those who might have expected me to be around. After all it’s been 6 years since we ended up IVF journey.

I had wanted to do a video post, to explain a little more about it and found that someone had already. The very amazing Jody Day talks about her Christmas in this video on Facebook and talking about her work and lots of advice for anyone seeking advice, men and women. I also think it’s a great one for your friends and family if they can be persuaded to learn more about what it’s like to be childless.

In truth, I find Christmas dull and miserable. As a child, I had great times with family and dogs. I’m glad it’s now over and I can carry on with life. Going away to the seaside means we make the most of the time. We are not on call to visit, to have to muddle around with dog care or worse, taking Molly to places we’d rather not take her too. Or that I have to go along without either my husband or Molly. Ad Jody says in this video, ‘grief isn’t the flu.’

Each year, before the festive season starts, I think about where I want to be physically and if the kick reaction I get each January when I mutter about having a tree at home (we don't tend to bother) and how I miss home, is about FOMO (fear of missing out) or driven by self care. If I had any sense that the weight in my tummy wasn't grief and was FOMO, I’d stay at home and be a diligent friend and relative but that’s yet to happen and probably never will because… grief isn't the flu!

Thing is, trusting others with your feeling isn’t easy. Trusting someone who hasn’t been through childlessness is even more difficult, for you and them. Nobody wants to be grieving at the table at Christmas or plaster on the smile and then go home in floods of tears. I have done both many times and I know I am not alone in this.

How I don’t celebrate Christmas and New Year is entirely my choice, with Kenny’s blessing of course. I’ve become distant and lost friends but the lesson I have learned is the one that Jody also explains here. ‘Don’t go to the hardware store to buy milk.’ In words, understand that not everyone understands. I paraphrase that a lot but the explanation that Jody offers is much better. I found this wonderful advice - do you?

So this Christmas when I had a text from a uncle with a photo of his newly born grandchild, two pregnancy announcements and a card with photos of a baby celebrating their first Christmas, I found the response to my despair with my community who understood why it was hurting, who remembered that two years ago I almost left this life, as my mental health was so shattered. Jody talks more about this on her video and about finding value in those relationships and how to deal with them if you do not. I hope you find it as useful as I did. Do tell me in the comments if you did or catch up with Jody to tell her.

What else I’ve been up to

I’ve spoken to a diversity committee about getting childlessness into the workplace

Delivered a Facebook live for World Childless Week on new traditions at Christmas

Contacted Fabriosa Daily by private message to ask them to stop sharing memes about the value of love if you’re a mum… you know sort of thing I mean. I threw lots of stats at them and doubt I’ll get a reply but I feel good doing it.

I also shared Edward’s story here

The Walking Forward Inspirational Network continues to share good content and support for childless people who want to share their plan B, C.. or Z to inspire others in a pronatal free zone.

I met up with Kelly Molson from Rubber Cheese who talked about the loss of her twins to Drive The Network which was very empowering and has led to me being more open about my story outside Walk In Our Shoes in business circles.

I am also preparing my talk for More To Life’s webinar in February.

Share your childlessness story

The Walk In Our Shoes gallery has featured unique stories about dealing with families, best friends, new directions, being childless in later life. And I would love you to be part of this unique site.

You can write on any theme you wish.  You might want to share your mental health advice, articulate the struggles of loss, explain about you coped or if you didn’t, share your feelings, thank a friend or your significant other for their support, or bust a myth. I recommend a maximum of 500 words but it’s not a rule, it can be more or less, as much as you want to share. What matters is that you are comfortable with the words. Write what comes to your heart and in your mind and don't worry about the grammar. It's not a problem if you're not a blogger, in fact that's why Walk In Our Shoes was set up, because not everyone wants to blog about this and you may wish to have a private space to share your feelings or your story without having to give your name. 

Your details remain private and confidential and you can have comments on or off, share your blog site or not. It’s up to you. Here’s the form if you’re feeling inspired.

I’m looking forward to sharing a new story with you next week as we take our gallery to over 50 and onto 100 feet selfies and words.

With love and hugs