A week of describing things that have helped me over the years of learning to live with the grief of childlessness and of celebrating the me I have become. Apologies for the gap of two days – unfortunately migraines are no respecters of blog deadlines! This set of blog posts is to coincide with Fertility Network UK’s #YouAreNotAlone Fertility Week. Visit them here to see what they’re up to. Here is a very belated day 4.
Get ‘out of your head’
No, I don’t mean getting blind drunk on tequila slammers! I mean the other kind of ‘getting out of your head’ – doing something that helps stop those painful thoughts and feelings circling in your brain like a murder of crows. You know the ones: “I’m not good enough”; “why her/him and not me?”; “I’ll never be a parent”; …I’m sure you can add your own to this list. I find these thought circles exhausting. They only stop when I do something productive with my hands.
Over the years I’ve tried many pastimes. I now realise I am not:
A paper-cutting artist
What I am is a baker. You could say it’s in my blood – one of my great, great grandfathers was a baker and I learnt the craft from my great aunt, my grandmother and mother. I love the whole process: the measuring and mixing, the silky feel of flour on my hands, hearing the oven humming, the blast of heat as I open the oven door.
Recipes are prayers. Kneading is meditation.
There is still another layer to the whole baking process for me. There is something ‘time-full’ about it. When I bake I feel the past – standing at my grandmother’s side learning how to judge the ratios of flour, butter and sugar. I smell those aromas from the oven and I’m running home from school anticipating a butterfly cake or an empire biscuit. But I feel the present too – my own individual touches I have added to old recipes, new recipes I research on the internet, the way that baking a cake takes the time it takes.
And then, the final layer – sharing the fruits of my labour. There is nothing quite like watching another human enjoying my lavender scones.
There is a completeness to the whole craft: becoming lost in the physicality of it, bringing past and present together, producing something delicious, watching it being consumed down to the last crumb.
It’s my way of nurturing.