|4- Grieving The Loss.|
1- Perceptible by touch.
2-Real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary.
1-Oxford English Dictionary
How do you grieve the loss of something that isn't tangible? It's a strange concept and not one that I'd had any experience with prior to discovering I was infertile. I have lost loved ones over the years, my first real encounter with death was the passing of my Grandad when I was ten years of age. I was only six months old when he came to live with my family and we had a special and unique relationship. He was of a generation that treated boys like men, who silently commanded your respect. Being a girl, the first on his side of the family for 81 years, i somehow managed to penetrate that tough exterior of his.
Birth and death are the only guarantees in life, everything in between is an ocean, a constant ebb and flow. Sometimes we find ourselves struggling against the current fighting to keep our heads above the water, or we drift along peacefully until it's time to ride the waves as they rise and inevitably fall again. The death of something that isn't tangible was unchartered territory for me and I wasn't sure exactly how to process it. In one fleeting moment I lost so much and felt like I was drowning. I lost a choice that I once had, a dream of seeing myself reflected in a little person, an ideal of how I thought my life would be, the opportunity to bear a child and have that beautiful shared experience with my mother. I read another woman's account of this in a book and she articulated it simply as grieving the loss of her dream baby. Those words stayed with me and are why I've chosen to include this blog at this particular time.
Each year the 9th-15th of October is Baby Loss Awareness Week where people all over the world honour the lives that have been lost, be it during pregnancy, at, during or after birth. I cannot even begin to imagine that kind of grief, that all consuming pain and my thoughts go out to those women and families everywhere whose precious little ones have passed. I discovered just the other day that October is also World Menopause Month. There isn't any specific date to mark the loss of a dream child though, that would seem ridiculous to many I'm sure. It's interesting that just a few months ago when I was having what I can only term as a mini-breakdown (see blog 2- 'Fast Forward') my best friend Claire suggested to me that I choose a date that can be an anniversary of my diagnosis. A date when I can honour what has happened to me, to remember it with love and kindness and let myself feel whatever I choose to feel at that time. This seems like such a positive thing to do as brushing it under the carpet or trying not to think about it really doesn't serve me in a positive way. It can be a time to do whatever I want, be on my own or be with friends and family. A day to celebrate the life I am blessed with, toasting whatever the future may hold and yes, to grieve all over again if need be.
I imagine it must be hard for close friends and family of those affected by P.O.F to understand this kind of loss and the period of mourning that follows it, whether or not it is visible to them. Of course there are other options available as far as having a child but the mere suggestion of these is not an automatic escape route from the hole a prematurely menopausal woman may find herself in. During the first year, and even now, four and a half years since my diagnosis, the suggestion of adoption or egg donation is of little comfort to me. That must sound confusing to some but for me, the reality of my infertility is about so much more than just the inability to conceive. If I could offer any advice that may help if you're reading this and are suffering, it would be to be patient, be gentle with yourself. You don't have to put a time frame on the process of grieving, as I wrote in my second blog, 'There is no quick fix for dealing with the diagnosis of Premature Menopause and I feel it is valuable for others to know that healing and true acceptance will come to fruition in their own time'. The most important thing for me is to truly be at peace with myself.....only then will I feel ready to embrace other possibilities.
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