Lessons in Loss 8: Grief is Just Love with No Place to Go

Caption "Lessons in Loss" above clouds low in the sky at sunset

I think about loss from time to time, as you probably know if you’re a regular reader over here. I’ve discussed recovery from loss of a baby and other people’s reactions. But, we don’t only struggle or grieve over the loss of a person – whether they were fully-formed or not. Sometimes loss is part of growing into the person we have become, sometimes it leaves us feeling like something’s fundamentally missing, sometimes we can’t remember what it was like before we lost whatever it was. In this series of posts, I’ve asked some of my favourite blogging colleagues to write about a loss that they’ve experienced and how it affected them. You can find the full list here.

Today’s post comes from wonderful Rachel from Jasperden Health. Do take some time to visit her blog, its a wealth of information on healthy foods and their benefits, personal experiences, and lovely recipes.

Grief is Just Love with No Place to Go

Thank you, Smell for inviting me to write a post about loss.

I feel that I’ve been in mourning for about 3 years for something that I lost and for something that I’ve never had.

My Loss

At the end of 2017 and in the beginning of 2018, I realised that I’d had no periods for 3 months.

I was excited. My partner and I had been trying for a baby so I hoped I was pregnant. However, a home pregnancy test showed negative.

I decided to go to the doctors because it was unusual for me to even miss one period, never mind 3. However, he suspected what I already guessed that it could be. The perimenopause. A subsequent blood test confirmed this. (I have written a post about it, if you’re interested).

After seeing him, I went home and sobbed. I was overwhelmed with grief and tormented myself with guilt; we’d left it too late to try for a baby.

The Past

I never used to consider myself the maternal type. I had no interest in babies when I was in my 20s. Well, I experienced failed relationships and still lived at home with my parents then. However, I assumed that one day, I would be a mum. I even remember having a vivid dream about a little boy who was mine. I thought it was a sign that one day, I’d be a mother.

The years progressed and I eventually met my partner. We’ve now been together for 19 years.

Through job losses and financial difficulties, we decided that trying for a baby during that time would be a mistake. A decision that I now regret.

When our situation improved, we decided to try for a baby and I genuinely thought, even though I hit my 40s, we still had a chance. In fact, I knew women of my age, at the time, who had perfectly healthy babies. Even then, I didn’t realise how much I underestimated my need for having a child. I remember saying to my partner then it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we didn’t have one. We would still have each other….

I was devastated when I started my perimenopause at the age of 43.

Since my blood test, I’ve grieved. I wondered if it was my fault. Did I over-exercise, for example?

I also experienced rage. The choice of having children was cruelly taken away from me. I wanted to violently express my rage; hit walls, throw things etc. And it didn’t help with experiencing symptoms of hot flushes, period pains when I wasn’t having periods, tiredness, mood swings; it was like my own body was mocking me. This lasted for over 2 years.

The Present, What’ I’ve Learnt

I don’t want pity. I’ve accepted being childless. I realised that I had to channel my maternal love and energy. I had to give my grief a place to go to.

Bless him, my partner bought me a kitten a few months after the start of my perimenopause, so he’s a recipient of my maternal love, along with a stray cat who claimed squatters rights last year!

Also, I’ve directed this energy into my blog. It helps.

There are still times when I experience knots of grief when I see a pregnant woman or a baby in a pram. Also, I dread it when people ask me if I have children.

I want to say to parents that I’m full of admiration for what you do to raise children. I remember my Dad once said that it was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do bringing up children. He did a great job, incidentally, along with my Mum and are both fantastic parents.

I’ll never experience pregnancy, childbirth, holding my baby, caring for one, guiding him or her, watching them reach their milestones and seeing them grow up.

So, parents, please cherish your children. They are precious gifts to you. You’re blessed.

Quote in the title from Jamie Anderson

20 thoughts on “Lessons in Loss 8: Grief is Just Love with No Place to Go

  1. You are so incredible for sharing this, this post had me on the edge of my seat and on the brink of tears! I know that this post will land in the lap of someone who really needs it. I know that this series will be a guiding light to them!

    Rosie

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing this. Hearing her story broke my heart, but it’s amazing to see her courage and how she dealt with her loss.

    All the best, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Rachel thanks for sharing your story. Women are program to get married and have kids. And most if us wants to be a a mom. But there are circumstances that we couldn’t. It’s not easy but in strength we find reasons to live and divert maternal energy just like you did. Take care!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I want to cry right now because I am 40 and pregnant and this hits a place in me because I knew time was against me. Thank you for sharing this experience, it cannot have been easy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This was beautiful and heartfelt, Rachel.

    Life is strange. We all make decisions and put things off until “the right time” but you never know what life has in store for you.

    I was blessed to have two kids in my late 30s and I realize how lucky I was to be able to do that.

    You’re right that we need to cherish our children, even when they make us crazy. When my girls were young, I remember hearing other parents complain about their kids and how they couldn’t wait for them to be grown up and moved out. I never understood that. Like your dad said, being a parent is hard but, even on the worst day, I would never wish them away. Now that they’re older and more independent, I realize how much I’ll miss them when the day comes that they have both moved out. My older daughter is already away at college and I miss her.

    Anyway…now I’m rambling. LOL Thanks again for sharing your experience, Rachel.

    Liked by 2 people

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