Walk in Our Shoes is at Fertility Fest 2018, There’s More To Life Than Having Children

Fertility Fest is for anyone and everyone. It’s for people with and without children. It’s for people in treatment and beyond it. It’s for fertility professionals and also for the general public who are interested in how the human race is (and isn’t) being made today. We promise that whoever you are it will be engaging, entertaining and exceptionally enlightening and whilst you’re there, you’ll feel part of a very special Fertility Fest Family.

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We Are Worthy summit

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Worth as a mass noun that is ‘The level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.’Many times in my life I have felt less valued or rated because I lacked the experience of being a parent. I am, according to one forum of professionals, unable to appreciate ‘how lucky I am to have the freedom to do what I want’ because I don’t have children. 

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Booted or bare? Mental health and childlessness

I was very moved to receive a post from a mental health practitioner who writes about her experiences of childlessness and how it impacts on our mental wellbeing. It's an inspiring piece that I felt was very powerful in her observation of herself against her demanding work. It also moved me because it gives so much useful advice that we can apply to how we manage too.

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Clem's Garden

I met Vicky through the Walking Forward Inspiration Network and I was moved to find out more about the project she has created called Clem's Garden. Here she explains the story behind the garden.

"It's an obvious question and one we get asked a lot. Clem is the Christmas baby me and Dunc never got to meet. (S)he took a wrong turning and grew outside the womb... the flower that just rooted in the wrong place.

1 in 5 people over the age of 50 are childless - what a huge pool of care, creativity and experience that represents.  More often than not, people find themselves without families of their own because of the lotteries of life and biology rather than because of any active decision they made not to have kids. 

Everybody's story is different - people lose their children, families become estranged, or the opportunity to become a mum or dad just doesn't come along.

Childlessness is one of those subjects that just doesn't get talked about - it's personal, it's hard to know what to say, it's easier to gloss over.  And life moves on.....but we know through our own experiences that when the world is full of families, there are times when not having a family of your own isn’t easy; and it can be lonely, however strong and resourceful you are.

So we decided to create something.

We’re creating an alternative place for all that care, knowledge and talent to go to really good use. 

An alternative place to find a role and be part of a team. 

A place to share skills and experience.

A place to help shape our community with kindness.

Clem's Garden stretches to about an acre and sits in the grounds of a beautiful Arts and Crafts building called Briarcourt in Lindley.

Kirklees Council used to own the site and landscaped the garden so that it could be used by people with different levels of physical ability who attended their day centre.  There's a car park, outdoor loos, and two great polytunnels, as well as step-free access throughout.

When we 'adopted' Briarcourt after losing Clem, the garden had been left to go completely wild for a number of years, but the potential for it to be put to a shared use again was obvious.

With the help of many wonderful individuals and businesses who support our vision for Clem's Garden, we've been working to tame and transform the site into a proper commercial flower-growing plot.

As well as clearing loads of brambles and sedge, we've re-skinned the tattered polytunnels, built composting boxes, and are currently constructing raised beds, which are being filled with 200 tonnes of topsoil and compost!  One day, we hope to build a really fabulous potting shed too."

To get involved please follow Clem's Garden online or, if you're in the area, pop in and lend a hand.