By Lisa Manterfield
At this point in my life, I can truly say I at peace with not having children. But for a long time there were days when the darkness came over me. Do you know what I mean?
Ordinarily, the darkness was a tiny ball that I carried it around with me wherever I went. It was safely tucked away and I didn’t even notice it. Then something would happen to flip the lid and suddenly the darkness crept into every open space within me.
I got tired of carrying the darkness around and finally I was ready to let it go. I didn’t want to feel bitter or sad about not having children, because honestly, I was okay. But I couldn’t remember who I was any more. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see me. I saw a woman who looked tired and overweight, and very, very serious about life. She didn’t laugh easily or live with abandon, like the real me used to. She was cautious and unwilling to let herself go. She felt like a square peg in a world full of round holes and it was lonely to live that way.
Our experiences make us who we are, but what happens to who we were? In a universe where energy remains constant, I knew that the old me — the laughing, carefree joyous me — must still have been around. I’d catch glimpses of her sometimes, and like a huntress, I’d follow her into the woods. And yet, so often, she managed to evade me.
But I was patient. I kept an eye on her and kept moving towards her. I kept hunting her, until I caught up with her again. And finally, she I were able to stand together again and let the darkness go.
Are you missing the old you? Where might you go to find her again?
Finding “you” and finding “joy” are topics covered in Life Without Baby: Surviving and Thriving When Motherhood Doesn’t Happen. You can win a signed copy of the book on Goodreads. The giveaway ends tomorrow.