The Childless Challenge: Letting Go Or Letting In?
I know you tried with all your heart and body to be a mother; however, holding on to any tiny dream you still have of it coming true is keeping you stuck. Your heart knows this. You're not yet sure what life is waiting for you, but trust me, you must first let go of the dream of motherhood and everything that goes with it, before you can move on to a new life.
Make space to let more in.
I understand how tough this is, I’m asking you to let go of the dream that kept you going for many years. But what if, instead of thinking about letting go, you viewed this as making space to let in more dreams?
Yes I know, when I first heard this I wasn’t sure either. I discussed it with my yoga teacher Emma Peel. Here’s a summary of our conversation.
Letting go allows us to make room for more possibilities. When we let go of a particular version of how we think life should be we free ourselves to be open to new experiences and different ways of thinking. It’s not a question of letting go of the dream; it's about opening yourself up to more dreams.
Think of a tree; it's not hanging on to its leaves for dear life. Instead it lets them fall as part of a process. The leaves fall; they go back into the earth to fertilise it and prepare it for new growth. It is the process.
There is a fear that if we let go we can potentially lose a part of ourselves. But it is the opposite, because as we let go, we learn more about who we are and we also let more in that will enrich us.
I love this reframe to a far more positive concept of opening up and letting in, and it has absolutely been true for me.
Trust me, there is something special waiting for you but it can't manifest because there's no room for it. As Emma said, the tree has to let go of its leaves before new ones can grow. It is the same for us. That life you wanted is keeping you from living fully, right now. If you want to move forward in your life you have to make room for new possibilities. Your past dreams and desires are taking up too much room and the new can't come in until you make space for it.
Marking The Ending
A really helpful way to let go is to have a ceremony. Rituals and ceremonies mark transitions and rites of passage but there’s no funeral for the loss of a dream. In Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness several storytellers describe different ceremonies which draw a line in the sand so that when they stepped over it, they were are different.
My ceremony happened by accident on a river trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. We climbed to the top of a peak early one morning, it was a monumental effort and on the walk down, I felt different.
Karen Malone Wright went to a retreat for ‘pregnancy loss’. She said…
I went into it broken. I was in a bad, sad place. Everyone was told to bring an item that represented their lost baby. You hit a large gong and announced the baby's name, then you walked alone into an outdoor labyrinth. You left the item at the centre. When you walked out of the labyrinth, you had, in so many ways left that baby behind and said goodbye. Then you hit the gong again, and said your own name.
I don't know that I felt anything at that moment but when I got home, my husband took one look at me and said, ‘I don't know what it did but it changed you. You look lighter.
Each of the storytellers felt different after the ceremony. And they were all different, so we can see that the event in itself isn’t as important as the spirit in which it’s carried out.
What about you?
How does this resonate with you? Do you understand how holding on to even a tiny bit of your dream could be holding you back and that by letting go you could start to let in so much more?
Do you also understand that holding a ceremony could help you?
This post is an edited excerpt from Lesley Pyne’s new book Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness; Inspiring Stories to Guide You to a Fulfilling Life which will be published on 18th June 2018. The NotMom was pleased to feature Lesley as a speaker at our inaugural NotMom Summit in 2015.
In her book, Lesley uses her life experience as a childless woman, the experiences of other childless women from all over the world (including The NotMom's Karen Malone Wright), and her skills as a coach and NLP Master Practitioner to gently guide readers through their pain, using practical advice and exercises, to help them reach the other side to find their joy.
Lesley is childless and has lost both parents. She is, now is able to say confidently, "I absolutely love my life, the adventures I’m having, and I’m excited about what will happen next."