Day two of ‘Seven Days – Seven Ways’ where I describe seven things that have helped me over my years of being childless not by choice. I’m writing these to coincide with Fertility Network UK’s #YouAreNotAlone Week. Go over to see what they are doing here.
Do Something to Make Your Physical Self Feel Vital
It was around seventeen years ago and I had hit the lowest point in my grieving process. I hated myself – both the physical and the psychological ‘me’. On this one particular day – a Saturday – I was alone and feeling incredibly lonely and apathetic. I was leafing through a guide to our city’s annual festival and saw an entry for a beginner’s dance workshop. Something about it caught my imagination. But it was about to begin in twenty minutes. ‘I’ll never get there in time, anyway,’ I thought…closely followed by other self-defeating thoughts about how I was ashamed of my body, how I’d just make a fool of myself and how maybe dancing seemed so incongruous with grief. But the advert fired something in me.
Suddenly other thoughts came into my head: “Why not?” “What’s to lose?”
The time constraint really focused my mind and a few minutes later I was fishing a pair of suitable shoes out from the scarier depths of my wardrobe. Ten minutes later my car glided into a perfectly positioned parking space – highly unusual for this city! Fifteen minutes later, with huge trepidation I forced myself to open the door of a large dance studio. An hour later I was hooked by the combination of music and movement and by the way dance allows you to channel something beautiful in order to produce a unique and personal expression.
I believe the key was that I was using my body to do something that made me feel vital, strong and alive. Years of fertility treatment and of believing that my body was useless had made me forget how important the physical self is and how it needs renewal and revitalizing in ways that perhaps a massage, a facial or a new outfit (as lovely as those are), just can’t manage. In that dance studio mirror seventeen years ago suddenly I saw a body and a woman that took me by surprise. Thanks to a wonderful dance teacher who, with huge patience, brought out aspects of myself I never thought possible, I slowly regained confidence in my body.
Tonight, seventeen years on, I will pack my trusty dance shoes into my old dance bag and go to class. My love affair with the way dance makes me feel outside and inside has endured to this day
For me it was dance. For you it could be wild swimming or cycling or fell walking or yoga. Whatever it is, it might just help you re-establish that connection between the physical ‘you’ and the psychological ‘you’ – something that fertility issues and childlessness can destroy. If you’ve been wavering for a while, find a way to say, ‘Why not?’ Open that door. Step in. Find your inner vitality again.