I’ve got a bit of a gripe.
When it comes to trying to have a baby, the message of “never give up” is everywhere. It’s standard advice. We constantly hear stories of couples who were rewarded with their dream baby because they never gave up. We are led to believe that this could happen for us too, as long as we never never ever give up.
This message of not giving up is usually packaged up as “never give up hope”. Who wants to give up on hope? Hope is good, right?
Don’t get me wrong – hope can be a beautiful thing. I love hope. And here is the but…I just don’t think that message of never give up hope, is about real hope. There needs to be another message.
Hope doesn’t work for everyone when it comes to having a baby. Hope didn’t work for me. Hope cost me almost a decade of my life and drained my spirit. Hope was a comfortable friend, and it kept me trying for way too long.
I eventually had to say goodbye to hope, and with it my dreams of being a mother. In the end, it wasn’t so much of ‘giving up hope’, as ‘letting go’.
Letting go is different from giving up. Giving up feels like failure. It’s going down with the sinking ship. Letting go feels like freedom. It’s letting go of whatever is weighing you down so you can go again.
Letting go of something that is not working for you does not mean you are a loser. It’s not your fault, you are not to blame, you did not do something wrong. We need to know that there are things out of our control, bigger things at play, and that can be a hard thing to accept.
Letting go isn’t easy. No-one teaches us how to do this – there is no road map, no rule book. No one seems to talk about it either. We don’t hear stories of heroes who ‘gave up’ and let go of their pursuit. We don’t have letting go role models.
If we did, they would tell us how letting go creates the space for something new to enter. They would tell us that it may take time, and that it will be tender for a while. They would tell you it takes courage. They would share that you will as sure as hell, need to grieve. Most of all, they’ll tell you that you’ve got this.
Letting go of my baby dream was incredibly hard, perhaps the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve never looked back. Despite what I was constantly told, I did give up hope and it gave me my life back.
You see with hope gone, I found acceptance. And with acceptance came peace. From that place, I found I had more room for joy for what was already in my life and what could now flourish. I was happier in that place of finally knowing that I would never ever have a child of my own, than during the hard, long, lonely, and futile struggle of infertility.
No-one told me that Plan B could also be good. Sure it’s different. I’ve had to change the movie in my head of how my life was supposed to be. It’s not what I imagined but I’m here now and I might as well make the most of it.
I once heard someone say (I’ve long forgotten who) that true hope was being open to surprise. It’s being open to possibility.
So, what if instead of hope we had trust? Trust that having a baby is not the only road to happiness. Trust that we are whole and complete exactly as we are. Trust that life was unfolding exactly as it should.
I want to share a different message. One of true hope, of trust, of possibility. Be open to what is unfolding…life may just surprise you.