Guest post by 40AndEverythingAfter
I finally gave up on having a family 8 years ago. We had been trying for a baby for 5 years and, after 3 failed IVF treatments, I was finally succumbing to the depression I had been fending off for some time, unaware of its lurking until my walls gave way entirely.
In many ways it was a blessing that they did. It led me to finally seek help. I went to the doctor who proceeded to prescribe me with anti-depressant medication and signed me up for a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Unsurprisingly (to everyone but me apparently), I was struggling with my ‘Oh so carefully planned life’ not coming to fruition. I honestly thought I was fine – that I had come to terms with it. I believed (incredibly naively) that this was now safely put away in a box marked “Done Deal”.
Of course this was not the case.
My therapist sign-posted me to the online community of other childless women. It hadn’t even occurred to me that such a thing existed. As an introvert (and the product of a family who valued keeping all family matters private) it wouldn’t have entered my head to look for likeminded people or share my own story. And yet, here were all these people, with experiences of a similar kind, talking about it openly. Imagine that?!
It took a while for me to build up the courage to take a peek. I was scared, I was hurting, and was worried that venturing there might hurt me more.
Eventually I took the plunge.
And this is how I found Lesley’s site. Of all the sites I visited, Lesley’s’ was and remains my favourite. I found her non-gimmicky, very down to earth approach a very reassuring place to be. No grandstanding or whooping or overbearing self-empowerment going on here. Just normal people, having experienced abnormal sadness and pain. And they were sharing this for the benefit of others. I suddenly felt that the sadness and anger, isolation and emotional outbursts might perhaps be valid after all. Perhaps I wasn’t completely barmy. I was grieving, and it was normal, and other people understood.
Over time, and having read many of the inspiring stories people shared, I felt a bubbling up in my own stomach that perhaps I wanted to say out loud what I had been through. I had loved writing from an early age, but I had never (God forbid!) shared any of this writing with the outside world. It was just for me. Not good enough for others to consume, but a firm friend to me when I needed it most.
I decided I would write my story, but was not at all certain I would ever submit it. However, it did occur to me that it might be cathartic to acknowledge out loud, (even just to myself) that I had experienced something big, something powerful and painful, and that I was justified in finding it difficult to deal with. [Read more…]