One day when I get to travel more I will get to meet all my fellow warriors around the world, and Lesley is definitely on that list. She has been so supportive of my work and an incredible advocate for childless women. I am so happy to share her story with you today as we gear up for National Infertility Awareness Week next week with my #MoreThan1in8 project. Make sure to check out her site here.
I’ve been aware of Justine’s #MoreThan1in8 initiative for a few weeks now and every time I see the phrase I start singing lyrics from a 1980’s song called ‘One in Ten.’ Yes I know it’s not 1 in 8 but when you read the words you’ll realise why they’re so relevant.
‘I am the one in ten
A number on a list
I am the one in ten
Even though I don`t exist
Nobody Knows me
But I’m always there
A statistic, a reminder
Of a world that doesn`t care’
Ouch! A perfect description of what it’s like to be childless don’t you think?
The words that jump out at me are ‘Nobody Knows me’ because this is how I felt for ten years. In fact I’ll go further and say that I didn’t know myself either.
We started to try for children when I was 35 and after a year were referred for IVF. Three years and six unsuccessful rounds later we were thrown off the end of the roller coaster without any support. We felt as if we were the only people in the world who couldn’t have children.
Our parents knew but none of our friends. On the outside I was projecting the Lesley who was ambivalent about children, the Lesley that was tough and strong; but inside I was falling apart. I know now that I was grieving, but I didn’t know then. I just assumed I felt sad.
I felt completely alone; I didn’t know who I was or my place in the world.
I built a shell round me, like a caterpillar stuck in her cocoon because she doesn’t know what sort of butterfly she is to be and has forgotten the instructions.
I stayed in my cocoon for ten years, stuck in the dark, hiding from the world. It was lonely, not where I was meant to be and certainly not where I wanted to be. And the more I hid, the more lost I became and the fewer people knew the real me.
I thought that time on its own would heal my grief and transform me into the butterfly I wanted to be.
But it didn’t.
It took work and asking for help.
Training as a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner replaced my grief, sadness and other negative emotions with self-confidence, self-acceptance, inner peace and happiness. Then working with a coach who believed in me, and the difference I wanted to make in the world helped me to develop the inner strength I needed to be open about my life and to set up my business supporting childless women.
It has been a challenging journey but very rewarding.
And now the phrase ‘Nobody Knows me’ doesn’t apply to me. I’m comfortable talking about my childlessness in public and I’ve learned that the more I talk about my life the more I give others permission to do so.
I’ve become stronger and comfortable and confident with who I am. I know myself better than ever and I’m excited about the future.
And for the first time in my life, I’m authentically me and it’s wonderful.
I know that I have beautiful wings which are different from the norm but that’s what makes me special.
It took me ten years for people to know me and even longer to get to know myself. And now, I want to show other women that they don’t have to wait that long. I want to show them that they don’t have to hide, and if they take action to find support they can become the beautiful butterfly that’s inside them.
And that’s why I’m happy to stand with Justine because it’s only by standing together that the world will know us.
Lesley Pyne supports childless women to heal and to create a life they love. She uses her first-hand experience in coming to terms a life without children and her professional skills in NLP and time line techniques to help other childless women.
She publishes stories of other childless women who are willing to be known on http://www.lesleypyne.co.uk/category/inspirational-stories/
Her website is www.LesleyPyne.co.uk