Have you ever spent hours poured over a thousand piece jigsaw, only to find that there’s a missing piece? Imagine the frustration when you discover that it’s not just fallen on the floor; it’s not just hiding under the box; it’s just not there. The jigsaw remains incomplete and the joy it brought you dissipates.
“It’s so nice to be able to get the whole family together again!” they say. Except we’re still reeling at that missing piece. While everyone else can revel in the delight of being allowed to meet again, laughter flowing and carefree, leaving the weight of multiple lockdowns behind them, Simon and I are putting on a brave face.
Wading through the grief of living childless not by choice was far easier behind closed doors in the midst of the pandemic. Now, in a world where even the most mundane thing, or the most innocently meant comment, can be a trigger, it’s often harder to find joy in the little things.
When watching Simon play with our nieces and nephews makes my heart ache. When a trip to the coast watching families play on the beach has us longing for that to be us too. When going for drinks with friends descends to ‘parent talk’ that we can’t truly join in with. That’s when the grief really starts to sting. Our experiences are tinged with a silent sadness, just supported by the hold of a hand, touch of a shoulder, grip of a knee. Of course, we don our British stiff upper lip, plaster a smile on and get on with it.
But I’ve come to realise that everything we experience shouldn’t be like this. I don’t want our infertility journey to be at the forefront of every memory we make. I don’t want to look back at these years to only have negative memories.
So, here I am, trying to find as much joy as possible in my childless life. I won’t lie – at times I really do have to search for it and be intentional. But it’s so important to me now, to spin the positives and enjoy our time together as a family of two.
Whether that’s enjoying a spontaneous meal out, a trip to the cinema, soaking up the atmosphere in a pub while enjoying watching England progress in the Euros, or just having a lie in at home on a Sunday morning. The beauty of these moments deserves not to be forgotten.
That jigsaw piece is still missing – but there are 999 others to enjoy right now.