Let me guess, you’re feeling pressure from many different directions and here are two.
On the one hand you want to try for children and on the other you know that if you take time off it will put your career on hold.
This is a big dilemma faced by many women today.
Every time you turn on the TV, open a magazine or look at social media, there are images of ‘happy families’; perhaps many of your friends have children and maybe your own family is also putting pressure on you. This is also what your body wants; deep down inside you feel that you won’t be whole as a woman unless you have children.
You’ve also worked incredibly hard to get where you are, if you take time off now, you’re concerned that all those long hours, well everything you’ve done until now, will be wasted.
Apologies, but, as a woman time is not on your side; by 35 your fertility is already falling and you can’t assume IVF will bring the miracle you want because the average failure rate is around 75 per cent.
We waited until I was 35 before we started trying for children and we stopped when I reached 40 after six unsuccessful rounds of IVF.
Only our parents knew, talking to friends seemed impossible and as for work colleagues; opening up about this, absolutely not. The only thing I could do was to keep it inside, armour up and pretend to be someone I wasn’t. For years I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon that didn’t know what sort of butterfly it was going to become. I know now that I was grieving, but I didn’t know then. I just assumed I was sad. On the outside I projected the Lesley who was ambivalent about children, the Lesley who was tough and strong. But inside I was falling apart.
It was incredibly hard; maybe you know how exhausting it is to spend every moment of the day doing everything you can to hold a big secret inside.
And I thought it meant life-long unhappiness
And throughout all of this, deep inside I wondered, does childlessness have to mean life-long unhappiness?
On my website I started collecting what I call Inspirational Stories, stories of real childless women who are now showing up happily in their life. After a while I realised there were some similarities in what many of these women did and decided to explore these topics in a book.
I always promise readers that I’ll never ask them to go anywhere I haven’t been myself so when I tell you that some of the subjects were grief, letting go, self-acceptance, connecting to my body, writing and gratitude, you’ll understand why writing the book worked its magic on me and why I’ve come out the other side a different person. Well maybe not completely different, I am now, eventually the true, authentic Lesley. I am finally comfortable in my own skin and confident when I say that ‘I absolutely love my life, the adventures I’m having and I’m excited about what will happen next.’
And now I know it doesn’t
In the process I answered my own question; you can absolutely be happy and childless.
I am comfortable talking about my life anytime and I know that I am whole just as I am.
It makes me so sad when I hear childless women say they will never be happy. I want them to know that it’s not true. In Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness; Inspiring Stories to Guide You to a Fulfilling Life I want to show readers that it is possible to have a fulfilling life, and, using myself and nineteen other story tellers as examples, how to make it happen.
Coming to terms with a childless life changes you. The storytellers and I have made the most of these changes to become the most beautiful we can be. If that’s you too, I hope you take the opportunity to do this too.
About the author
Lesley Pyne believes that it is possible to have a fulfilling life as a childless woman.
In her book ‘Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness: Inspiring Stories To Guide You To A Fulfilling Life’ she uses her own life experience as a childless woman, those of 19 others, and her skills as a coach and NLP Master Practitioner to guide readers gently through the pain they’re feeling and out the other side to finding their joy again.
Lesley spent the first 50plus years of her life putting everything she didn’t want to feel in a box, including her grief following multiple failed fertility treatments and the loss of both parents. In the process of writing this book she dug deeply into the subjects she writes about including, grief, letting go, connecting you your body, self- acceptance and writing.