How Life Led Me To My Search For Meaningful Connection
My search for meaningful connection
Although I have always felt like I’ve been on the outside since a young age, this feeling was never stronger than when I reached my forties and realised I was unlikely to fulfil my dream of becoming a parent.
When I was younger I never imagined I’d find myself in this position. It didn’t occur to me that I wouldn’t have children. It was simply a case of meeting the right man, getting married and having a family. Easy right?
Except none of this happened.
As I entered my forties, this realisation hit me like a fierce blow and was accompanied by feelings of intense pain, anger and sadness. It’s a feeling that often goes unrecognised. Because how could you be sad over something you never had in the first place?
I have spent much of the last couple of years trying to navigate and create a life that I never thought I’d be living, in a world that seems so focussed on the very thing I do not have.
There are reminders all around me of what I’m missing out on. They are everywhere. In day-to-day conversations, in magazines and newspapers, on social media updates. Especially social media updates!
The way that having children and being a parent is talked about by those around me, the intense focus on anything to do with this subject, I can’t help but feel like I have failed in life, that I will never get to experience what has happened to so many others. And that blow hits twice as hard when it comes from those close to you, as is so often the case for women in my situation. And it can happen in very subtle ways.
All of this makes me feel like I have lost a sense of belonging and purpose – that I am somehow disconnected with the world. I can’t join in the conversations and experiences that so many others are having.
Which is how this connections project started and why I am looking for alternative ways to find that meaningful connection.
This is also where the healthy barriers that is the focus of this month’s theme will be most valuable for me. Although some may see me as bitter, unsociable, even self-absorbed, all I’m trying to do is to protect myself in an environment which can often lack empathy and sensitivity towards those in my situation.
For me these barriers will involve avoiding certain social situations, hiding certain posts on social media, or even unfollowing people, perhaps on a temporary basis until I feel stronger.
And I am confident that I will. I have the support of some wonderful women who I’ve met through Gateway Women, an organisation that helps women who are childless by circumstance. I have just completed their twelve month programme designed to help women like me move on with life and this has made an enormous difference to me.
And, of course, this project is also helping me find whatever it is that will bring me that feeling of joy, purpose and connection, and I am looking forward to what I will discover. Perhaps I’ll even realise that it’s not me who is missing out, but those who choose to focus on a single area of their life and neglect to recognise all the other wonderful things life has to offer.
It may take a while but whatever it is, I know that I will find the missing piece of my puzzle.