It first dawned on me that I would probably remain childless at age 43, although I still harboured a secret wish that it would happen. I didn’t meet the right life partner to settle down with and have children. What seemed to come so easily to others eluded me. Realising it would be too late to meet someone and have children, I attempted fertility treatment on my own, scheduling it around a busy work life, and ultimately it was unsuccessful. My future, which I had always imagined to be the colour pink, was now grey to me. My thoughts were around surviving rather than thriving. New Year, which in the past had always been a favourite time of year for me, full of new possibilities and hope, was full of sadness and nostalgia for a life I never lived.
Realising that I did not want to carry on feeling that way, and that I did not want to face another New Year like the one I had just experienced, I enrolled on Gateway Women’s group mentorship program for involuntary childless women, led by Jody Day. It comprised monthly face-to-face meetings with 12 other brave souls. During this year I slowly grew stronger, aided by the support and camaraderie amongst the group, I looked forward to those Saturdays where we could talk freely about our feelings and the issues that we faced in life related to childlessness.
I undertook an exercise that some of the group members had already done, which was to create a 'Wanted' poster for my missing Mojo. It involved me finding a picture that represented a time when I still had my “mojo”, and to write those qualities around it that would be recognisable as my mojo if spotted! I found a picture of me as a 32-year-old in New York, I had obtained a secondment at work in the United States and I was full of hope and optimism for what the future would bring. I proceeded to write my mojo qualities around it. It brought home to me that over the course of the past couple of years I had completely lost joy for all of the things that I had enjoyed previously, I no longer held dreams for an exciting future ahead.
During the mentorship program I reached the stage where I felt strong enough to want to start making some changes in my life and sought coaching to help me. This further helped me to rediscover past joys, including those that I had totally forgotten about, I was surprised at my own ability to blank out my interests. My whole world had revolved around not having a family.
A passion for learning and coaching were two of the loves that I rediscovered, so I combined these and enrolled on a Masters in Coaching and Mentoring, and this year I have been researching the experience of coaching in childless women for my dissertation. It’s been hard work coupled with my full-time job, but I have very much enjoyed it.
In addition, I rediscovered my love of practising and teaching yoga, and ran annual retreats for childless women. I started art classes and can now get lost in the process of creation. I don’t know what the future may bring, and I still feel lonely with pangs of sadness from time-to-time. But I am also able to appreciate my own unique experience, and the life that I have lived, that I would not have done if things had worked out differently.
I think my mojo may be returning home.