I was recently asked ‘how long does it take to ‘get over’ the grief of being childless?’
And my answer: ‘how long do you want it to be?’
I say this because grief is the emotion we least want to feel so we avoid it at all costs. But what happens then is that it stays with us, popping out to ‘play’ when we least expect it or when we’re triggered for example by a surprise pregnancy announcement.
It’s human nature not to want to fall apart, falling apart has all sorts of negative associations, not least that it’s weak.
What if it is a transformation and an opportunity to ‘fall into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful’?
Having held myself together for so long, I now wholeheartedly believe that grief work can be transformational. Here’s my story.
After finishing our 6th and final round of IVF we were offered no support or help of any kind and felt as if we were the only people in the world who were childless I didn’t know I was grieving, I knew I felt sad, and in the way that I’d learned from my family, I pulled myself together and carried on.
Four years later Mum died and then I knew I was grieving. I cried, I took time off work, but I held back, because that’s what I’d learned. I remember walking down the road starting to feel emotional and putting those emotions into a box, thinking that I’d get them out later when it was more ‘appropriate’.
And there they stayed. Somehow it was never ‘appropriate.’