Sunday, 16 August 2015

He feels it too! He just doesn't say.

It's true! Despite what they don't say- they DO feel it too! 

I was talking to my hubby yesterday, about how far I felt I'd come on this childless journey towards the destination of acceptance. I explained that I no longer hated pregnant women, and the world is not full of pregnant women as it once was. There was no longer a sharp pain through my heart.

(You know, that feeling that the one thing that you want with all your heart EVERYONE else seemed to have. It's true it does get better with time! And yes I did wish them horrible vibes on the bad days!) 

 He agreed that I had moved on,  and worked through my grief and he told me how he was proud of me. It brought a smile to my face.  He was very quiet for a few minutes and then he said "You're far further along than me. I try not to think about it- but sometimes it just gets me! And it hurts big time." It was a major admittance from him. He, who doesn't do feelings- sound familiar?  
But I thought that he was 'over it'.  Because he doesn't he doesn't talk about his feelings, I often forget that he actually feels them. Now, don't get me wrong, I knew that it affected him- we were in it together! 

But I learnt, early on, that men process their feelings very differently from women. 
As women, we need our feelings to be talked about, they need to be out-of-the-box. We need to 'feel' them. We need to 'bottom out' on the pain before we can move on upwards. 

This is not the case for men. So often they 'box up' their feelings, they never feel, them they just bury them away. 

Each to their own. As we all deal with things in our own way. But it's really important to remember that both of you 'have' these feelings, and to not try and get the other to process them in  the way. 

For MEN: 
  • Try and understand that women need to talk to process their feelings 
  • Try and allow this by just listening - being there for her not trying to solve her problems because if you could have solved them you would have
  • Allow her to feel the pain- I know its hard for you because you don't want her to feel anymore pain she has already gone through enough- but she feels better by feeling the pain- it starts the healing process
  • Understand that women need to talk about all the details, even the more painful ones, in fact, especially the more painful ones- if she does not let these feelings out as words,  they race round and round her head gathering speed and increasing in size.
  • Hug her- Hold her!
  • tell her you love her
  • And, if possible, share a few of your feelings it will help her - honest!

  • Understand that just because your other half doesn't talk about his feelings, it doesn't mean he doesn't have them- He does! (with bells on)
  • Understand that a man's prime role is to protect and solve- he doesn't like to see you hurting, and because he can't solve it, he tries to protect you from it by not asking how you feel or letting on how he feels. 
  • Remember that his avoidance of the subject has nothing to do with him not being interested in the topic- he's trying to help by not talking about it. He's not pretending it never happened- he's trying to protect you and shield you from the pain.   

Remember you love each other. Then: hug- share- hold- understand- talk- listen- allow each each to process the pain xx

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

It's been a long 8 months...

It's been a long time since I posted on here. I started a new job in January and therefore I haven't been able to post as regularly as I would have liked- My apologies!

YES- I did it! I got a new job! Something I've been working towards for a while now!

BUT, Schools out for summer so I'm back.

The last 7 months have been very tricky for me. I moved schools and became Assistant Headteacher. It should have been an exciting time but it's been quite stressful. My employers haven't been great, for a variety of reasons. However, having come through it, I've learnt that I'm made of 'tough stuff' (thanks IVF you did me some good in the end) and I'm actually really good at my job, and I do know what I'm talking about.

With me being at a new school, I have stayed in contact with friends from my last school. This has been invaluable to me. The support that I have gained has got me through the last six months.

Anyway, I'm back I'm here and to be honest the distance has enabled me to gain some perspective.

Not that long ago I was struggling to come to terms with my childlessness. Don't get me wrong I'm not fully over it but I'm feeling that I an coming to terms with it. It feels like a metaphorical scar. It's always there but it doesn't hurt as much however sometimes it aches. Sometimes I forget it's there until I catch a glimpse of it and the memories flood back into my brain. Some days it really hurts but less than it used to.

How did I get to this point?

Good question!

Time, hard work and the love of a good man. Simple, but true.

Time's true, it really helps the healing process. But I wouldn't have got here if I'd just left it to time.

HARD WORK ...What do I mean?

Working through the grief. It is a real grieving process. And I've worked myself through the different stages. Am I at the end? I don't know if I'm honest but I'm definitely moving forwards.

The older I get and the further along I move the more I realise that it's a journey not a destination.
You have to reflect and learn.

Saturday, 20 December 2014


My favourite Christmas that I remember as a child was at a very sad time in my life. In the October before, my mum and dad had split- not nicely! (There lies another story).

My father was a vicar therefore all our Christmas traditions were church based. We didn’t believe in Father Christmas as that wasn’t the true meaning of Christmas.

This year we, my younger sister and I, were bundled off to my maternal grandmother’s 150miles away from our family home. My father had left and my mother was working full time so we had to be looked after. My Nana was a practical but strict grandmother. We were kept very busy during the two weeks that we stayed with her. She knew that we were going through a rough time at home, but she was not the warm, cuddly type of Grandma. Instead of allowing us to express or work through our emotions, her aim was to distract our minds. During that holiday, we went to the church Christmas Fayre and bought presents for pennies. We went to see the Christmas lights in town. We baked cakes and mince pies. We played ‘ludo’ and ‘uno’. We went to the local shop and bought groceries on the written shopping list. We went to every carol service and Christingle service in a 5 mile radius. 
We made paper chains and other paper decorations. We decorated the Christmas tree and put up our homemade decorations.  As I said, we were kept busy.

Mum arrived on Christmas Eve, having driven the 150miles alone, only 2 months after passing her driving test. We were so pleased to see her and get a much needed hug.  We had tea together and prepared to go to Mid-night Mass. This was the exciting part of our Christmas. As vicarage kids we were expected to be ‘perfect’ and so being allowed to stay up late was very exciting. Going to mid-night was the most magical feeling for me, second only to the moment of waking up on Christmas morning and seeing some presents under the tree. I always loved the darkness of the December night and the coldness on your cheek. I loved going into Church and seeing the place lit up by hundreds of candles. It was the one time in the year where people in church seemed to be warm and friendly and display the type of love towards one another, which I understood to be the cornerstone of Christianity. (It was visibly lacking for the other 364 days of the year- I think the drop of alcohol that most of the congregation had had prior to the service may have helped that ‘Christian love towards thy neighbour’.) My sister and I sang the Christmas carols at the top of voices and people smiled instead of frowned.  I always loved mid-night mass.

Then, after the service, our family tradition was that when we got back home, we were allowed to open up one Christmas present. I would always pick a small gift that I felt was a simple present unlike my sister who would have opened all her presents if she had been allowed. For me, the delight was always in the anticipation. I liked that bit just before you opened the presents. I guess it was because it encapsulated all the hope and possibilities, whereas once you opened the presents, and ripped off the wrappers, it was there, in front of you: fact. It could no longer be changed.
This Christmas, the first with my parents in different parts of the country, was strangely the worst and best at the same time. The morning started with me being woken up by my mum. We had a limited amount of presents this year. Mum had sold her engagement ring to buy food and presents for Christmas. I had asked for a Walkman that year, but had not expected to get one as they were fairly expensive in 1982. 
However, I unwrapped the carefully wrapped present to discover a navy blue Walkman with head phones with bright orange sponge ear muffs. I couldn’t believe my eyes!! I loved it!! The present money ran on to buying just one cassette tape- Music on pan pipes. Actually, when I think about it, might have come free from a petrol station, but I didn’t know at the time, and wouldn’t have cared. It was mine; and I loved it. I played it over and over again. My aunt had given me a £5:00 WHSmith voucher and my Nan had knitted me a jumper. They were simple gifts but I loved them all. I couldn’t wait to spend my voucher on more cassettes.
Despite having been to Mid -Night mass the night before, we still had to attend church in the morning.  We went and once again sang the carols at the top of our voices.  It was then a busy family affair when we got back home to Nan’s house. I was on sprout duty and my sister was peeling carrots. We all mucked in. A Christmas lunch was enjoyed by the 4 of us. Just as the preparation was shared so was the clearing up. Before we knew it, it was time for the Queen’s speech. We sat and watched, then I was excused and I went upstairs to listen to my panpipes.

At about half past 4 I was called down from upstairs to help with the preparation for tea. We moved the furniture and covered the dining room table with a new clear Christmas table cloth. I collected chairs and stools from various parts of the house and outhouse so that we all had somewhere to sit. Then we prepared more food and covered the table with a buffet tea. My aunts, uncles and cousins were coming for a family party. I have 6 cousins and 4 lived just down the road with my uncle and aunt (mum’s brother). The other two weren’t able to join us as they were at their Dad’s house for Christmas. However, my aunt and uncle (mum’s sister) were staying in a local hotel and were coming to the party. There was a real buzz in the house. It was very different from our usual Christmases; traditionally Christmas was a time which seemed to involve mum and dad being extremely busy, and where we were expected to be ‘seen but not heard!’ This Christmas was different; there was a definite feeling of fun and laughter, and a real celebration of being together. We had a family quiz which meant we could win silly prizes. Then we played a game of pass the parcel, only it wasn’t pass the parcel it was pass the slipper. It also meant that when the music stopped, you didn’t unwrap a layer from the parcel, but took an item of clothing out of the black sack which was in the centre of the circle. Unbeknown to us, Nana had collected random items of clothing from around the house, items included: hats, gloves, skirts and even a couple of pairs of bloomers. By the time the music stopped for the last time because the black sack was empty, we looked hilarious and tears were pouring out of all our eyes due to the way we looked. There is photographic evidence of my favourite Christmas as a child. It is a photo which my sister has of all of ‘us cousins’ standing dressed up laughing and smiling, just enjoying each other’s company. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The consciousness cleanse

The gift of self awareness

Today's tasks are to look at my life as an impartial observer, something I find difficult, as I can always feel the feelings. Sometimes I just wish that I could turn them off. Empathy is all well and good but it isn't always helpful. Also, feeling emotions just isn't helpful, it just sucks you back in rather than resolving and moving on.

"Take a step back and observe from a neutral perspective what you don't like. I will ask you to view your life as though you were watching a movie looking with a bit of distance to see what you like and don't like about your life and and what turns you off and robs you of your energy."

What do I wish I had never done?
  • been too afraid to ask for help
  • try to be invisible to others
  • listened to others and drawn the wrong conclusions
  • trying to please everyone else

What do I wish I could forget?
  • the pain of feeling unloved
  • the belief that I'm not good enough
  • the pain of being left

What do I wish I could  do differently?
  • not look to others on how to act
  • make the most of opportunities i.e. try new things at school and college instead of try to be invisible and feel safe
  • listen to and believe my real self
  • not believing  that I needed others to tell me what to do or how to feel
What behaviours have I participated in that intentionally or unintentionally brought harm to others?
  • my relationship with my sister
  • relationship with P
Make a list of the things which have gone wrong in your life that you have taken too personally
  • divorce of mum and dad
  • death of  T
  • re-marriage of dad
  • not getting to be in play at school
  • relationship with S
  • not getting jobs
  • not being able to carry a child
  • relationship with my sister
  • relationship with my dad
  • relationship with my mum
How have you punished yourself? What do you do to beat yourself up?
  • repeatedly tell myself I'm not good enough
  • stop myself from doing things because I don't believe I'm good enough
  • when things go wrong, use it as evidence to prove that I wasn't good enough
  • compare myself with others
  • tell myself how others thing about me
  • become fearful in situations to prevent me from doing new things which I might like and be good at
  • tell myself that others won't feel like this and the reason is because I'm stupid and they're not
What are all the reasons you believe you hold on to them?
  • because I don't know how else to feel so this is familiar- I believe that I don't know how to act otherwise.
"Now, take another deep breathe and write down what would be available to you if you allowed all of your human behaviours, thoughts, feeling and experiences to love outside yourself- one arm's length away from you- from now on."

  • happiness
  • a clear balanced view of life
  • a quietened mind that is not racing with endless possibilities
  • the ability to see things for what they are not just how they make me feel

It says in the book that I don't need to do anything with this just trust the process, that I need to trust that the act of digging deeply and getting inner residue outside of me will have transformative power on its own.

"My darkness is an absence of light"

Sunday, 27 July 2014

School's out for summer....

Yep! I'm officially on school holidays! My watch is on my bedside table, my school bag is tidied away, my school clothes washed and put away and my recurrent alarm is switched off! Unfortunately the grey fluffy alarm that bounces on the bed hasn't been switched off yet, but I have managed to find her 'snooze button' which means I'm getting some of a lie in.

After last summer I am really looking forward to this six weeks holidays. I decided I was going to put the time into writing my book and more self development. Last summer I read Debbie Ford's book 'The dark side of the light chasers.' It was a very good read and had an amazing effect on me. I bought, at some point, I can't remember when, another book of hers 'The 21 day consciousness cleanse'. I decided that it would give me something to work through.

Each day starts with a reflection where you feel you are, how your internal 'fire' is burning then each day has a focus and some tasks that you need to complete.

Today's focus is on DESIRE and how by identifying your heart's desire you can provide yourself with the catalyst for change. Today I am supposed to brainstorm all the different 'desires' that I have and then I am to sort them into 2 groups, one group for inner desires and one group for outer desires.
I've struggled with this. I don't know what I desire. I knew what I USED to desire but that's not going to happen and so I'm at a real loss as to what I want.

I definitely feel regret for not doing more when I was younger (mid-life crisis- what me?!!) so part of me wants to recapture my youth ( whatever that means...) I wanted a new job as a deputy but part of me feels that I've had enough of school and parenting other people's children. But there is a real desire to do something worth while and achieve something...but what?! I had this notion that I would like to support girls to be strong and make the choices in life that are right for them....but what does that mean? Part of me wants to support other women like me, who thought they'd find their meaning and purpose through motherhood. Some of those women are childless like me but not all, as I have come across many women who have given up their lives for their children only for them to fly the nest and leave them wondering 'What do I do with my life?'..... So help women to find their purpose and whilst doing that find my own. I also want to gain in confidence and re-lose the gained weight.  So, I guess I know something, but don't feel sure. I want to feel different and feel like I've changed as a result of doing something.

Well, have done some contemplating....
1. Inner desire: to find my purpose in life
2. Outer desire: to write my book

The next task is to think about why these are important and what you will gain from pursuing these 'desires'.
  • to do something worth while
  • to build self confidence
  • to do something which will help others
  • to use my strengths and experiences
  • to gain recognition
  • to achieve something
  • to be in control of my life
The next task is to create visual images to accompany the desires- I've found this difficult but have made a start cutting out bits from magazines etc. But although I have very little to show for what I've been doing like many things like this it's not the end product that is the most important but rather the journey. This morning I felt miles away from being in tune with myself and my desires but now I am enjoying the time and effort I am putting in and things are gradually clearing.

Watch this space... I'll be back tomorrow!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Not sure what I want to write.... feel a bit stuck. Lost. having trouble starting things or just doing things. All my get up and go seems to have got up and gone!

I guess I'm down about not securing myself a new job for the start of the new year! It was my aim and I had an interview but didn't get it.(The Man did!- but we've done that post!)

We're not going away again this year, as things are pretty tight. Not that I'm that bothered really as we had such a wonderful last year.

I guess it's related to not having something to look forward to... and so I'm becoming inward looking again which is never a good thing. The nagging voice in my head says "start writing your book" but then the inner critic, headmaster as Jim Lawless would say "YOU?! Write a book? Now there's a laugh. "

Part of me feels that I could do it whilst the other side of me is scared to start- "What if I put in all that effort and it's not good enough?" (I should go into song writing and write this as a song as it could be the sound track of my life!!)

Where does this come from? Why do I always do this?
I think it comes from my inner perfectionist. Don't get me wrong I'm not one of these people who has to get everything right or perfect but there is definitely a voice who is forever talking about what I SHOULD DO and this puts me under pressure.

I tend to think about things as good or bad; wrong or right- bit black and white, I admit.So I think about the fact that I could only write a few 100 words so there's no point. Where as actually, if a did a bit each day, it would soon mount up.

I'm one for rules. I think that goes back to up bringing. I don't remember having hard and fast rules as a child. When I think back, it was a bit inconsistent which is probably why I impose my own rules. I know as a teacher of primary age children, they need clear boundaries and feel secure with familiar routines. So I'm guessing that's why I follow rules in a way. But my Dad was quite controlling so additional to my desire to obey rules I HATE being told what to do and will "cut my nose off to spite my face"!  

"I should have go this sorted by now!" see, there's that critic, again.

I guess I should devise my own guidelines to replace the inner critics 'shoulds'.When I took charge last summer things really changed- I need to take charge and de-clutter myself, just like I did with my house last year! I can chose! 

Something else I know I can do is to set unrealistic goals- i.e. to become an author as successful as JK Rowling. Now, there's nothing wrong with this ambition but it's hardly a goal to be worked on and measured against. I need to break it down and work towards it. JK was turned down a lot by publishers!But I'm sure she just wanted to get it down on paper at first. By setting an unrealistic goal the inner critic and Headmaster laughs out loud and I feel ashamed of wanting to do this. I'm my own worst enemy.

What did Taming tigers teach me about the Headmaster? ACTION!

Another thing I do is that I'm very reluctant to ask for help. Don't know where this comes from, but I see it in my classroom. Girls don't ask for help for fear of looking foolish! And I'm just the same. WHY? Aren't I the one who says to my pupils there's no such thing as a stupid question?
 Teacher, TEACH yourself!! 

The last  thing that I do is to compare myself with others. It's often a problem for the childless woman. To compare our lives with other women, those who have children. But I've always done it. Again it's a girl thing- why? Quite often it's like comparing yourself to the media images  of women- it's not real! Things aren't as they seem.

I seem to be attributing a lot of how I act and feel to being a girl! Maybe I need to come up with a new way of raising strong girls and try it out on myself....

Okay, having rambled a long, what have I decide to do?

  1. ACT
  2. De-clutter my rules and list of 'SHOULDS'
  3. Decide on my own set of guidelines
  4. Write a few words on my book and just get going.
  5. Contemplate how I can overcome my upbringing and develop myself into a 'strong woman'.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Making Friends With My Anxiety

Making Friends With My Anxiety

Wish that I'd found this years ago!  A brilliant post and so helpful!

Thank you Shelia Bayliss