Breast Cancer Awareness – Childlessness

I’ve written and posted about this before but thought it worthy of being shared again. I have have been sharing some posts this month on the subject of breast cancer and awareness of the subject. Some of which is the side to breast cancer that noone sees or maybe aware of. Today is my childlessness.

My invisible loss and the deep pain and grief that is now very much part of my makeup. The concept of grief fascinates me. I’ve read a lot about it over recent years and so I now have a more well-rounded appreciation of the depth and many different layers that it encompasses. The most important thing I have read over and over is that grief is not just about death. It’s about loss too. We all go through some form of grief. That tortuous, dark, gut wrenching feeling of pain. It’s so much more varied and not just about dealing with death and the bereavement process. Grief is an absolute arse but we must all deal with it in our own way.

One of the things that came out of my diagnosis and subsequent treatment mixed with my age was the concept of childlessness. I will elaborate on this now. Childlessness is my invisible loss. You can’t see my loss. I haven’t lost something that was there and living or in existence. I am grieving for something that has never been. It’s such a weird feeling to have. That feeling of grieving for a life and future lost rather than something that was here. The grief of having such a profound natural entity taken away from you can be agonising. Every morning I wake up with this feeling going through my mind. Unimaginable sadness of what my life could have been.

There’s no rules to how to deal with grief. There’s not a one size fits all approach. There’s no time constraints or cut-off dates that must be met before you’ve had your quota. I know because I grieve a lot. About different things. Some days it hurts so bad I feel I can’t move. Some days it is too much and the anger and disappointment is raw. However, some days where grief is there its like a butterfly flying past. Making its presence known but in a fleeting fashion. A momentary thought process.

Again, there are no rules to my grief. Sometimes the exact same event can have totally different effects on me from one year to the next. There are days when the pain and the battering on my energy can be unprecedented because other things come into play too. Life and the craziness that this brings, means that sometimes grief can’t be put up on a pedestal. It can’t take centre stage. It needs to be controlled. Which means sometimes it is suppressed. Which I don’t believe is healthy. But needs must. I like the days when I can just be. If I need to cry I will. If I want to be quiet I can be. If I need to be alone I can be.

There will always be times throughout the year which make dealing with an invisible loss and grief in general hard. But luckily for me I know how to look after myself. I know the warning signs. I know that grief can visit but it doesn’t define me. It’s taken time to get to this point. I can be happy but sad at the same time. I allow myself to cry silently when a trigger appears in front of me. I allow myself to feel regret and sorrow for not having children when I was younger. I allow myself to wallow in self-pity if need be.

If grief is getting the better of me I try to seek solace in something that will make me laugh, smile or be happy. I go to adventure, activity and doing things in order to cope. I go to serene and peaceful places, to be at one with nature. I put it into context and allow it to be. I focus on what I do have in my life especially my step-daughter and doggies. I am very lucky but the grief can still be so painful.

Allowing me to be as I am means I am strong and powerful as a result. I try to find the balance so that grief of my invisible loss can have a place in my world. And it is just there as part of me.


There are lots of wonderful support resources out there for this area. Here’s a few:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/coping-with-bereavement/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/bereavement/about-bereavement/

https://welldoing.org/article/grief-unwanted-childlessness

https://gateway-women.com/

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