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.
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.
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