Melanie (UK): Accepting the unexpected
By Melanie, United Kingdom
I'd always just taken it for granted and presumed that 'when I grew up' I'd have two kids: a boy first (to look after his younger sister), then a girl.
Life went on; the years passed. I remember being carefree in my twenties: loving life, travelling and partying with my friends. I lived for the weekend!
I was about 28 and recall thinking I wouldn’t mind having a baby. I was in a relationship, so we agreed I'd stop taking the pill. NOTHING happened. I wasn’t too concerned as I was still young and my mum reassured me: "It’ll be OK as women have children in their forties nowadays;" so that was it, Mum said I'd be fine so I put it to the back of my mind, and if anybody asked when I was going to have kids I just replied ‘one day, not yet though’ (I should have said mind your own business looking back!).
Fast forward 10 years - still no kids. I was 38 and the biological clock was ticking. The 'when are you having kids?' question was starting to bother me. I did want a baby, and I wanted to make my mum a grandma just as much.
Then I missed a period! Yes, could this be it? I did a test - negative. I left it a week or so; no period, so I went to see the doctor.
I can still vividly remember that day, full of hope, anticipation and excitement to be told "I'm sorry Miss Drage, you're not pregnant - you are premenopausal".
WTF!!!! I was 38 not 58! How can this be? I want a baby... I switched off after that, I remember hearing 'fertility clinic' mentioned a few times but I was in shock. I went to my car and sat in there for what felt like an eternity and cried... and cried. I was overwhelmed with feelings of sadness, guilt and loneliness. I had never felt so alone in my life. How was I going to tell my family?
The next few years were a blur: depression set in, I had months off work and I split with my then-partner. I stayed on my own for a couple of years, trying my best to muddle through and make sense of this life. During this time, I had to have my fallopian tubes removed. It was there that I was advised that there was a small chance I may be able to have a baby if I went for IVF, possibly having to use an egg donor, but I needed to act NOW.
I was still single so how the hell was this going to happen!?
I had a friend who was single - no kids. I had this crazy idea we could do this together, so I called him. He agreed. Oh my God, was this really happening??!! I was so excited about the prospect of being a mum at last.
We had several appointments with the fertility clinic, all set to go. On the morning of the appointment to start the procedure something was niggling at me to call and double-check I was still eligible for funding (I was now 40). The lady on the phone put me on hold whilst she went to speak to somebody and came back to inform me that unfortunately I wasn't as I was now too old.
I was devastated. I gave up.
Life went on: I pushed down the feelings that I got every time I saw a baby or a pregnant woman, the feelings of grief.... grief for the loss of something that I would never have. It was hard. The depression returned. I felt a failure, as a woman and as a daughter.
The menopause kicked in, my moods were erratic, the sweats were debilitating and I was constantly consumed by negative thoughts. I hated myself.
It was New Year’s Eve 2013. I was in bed and remember thinking: ‘I just want to go to sleep and not wake up’. This was my lowest point.
I don't know what happened but, when I woke up the following morning, something had shifted. I knew I couldn't carry on as I had been. I also knew it was only me who could save myself, so I decided there and then to do something about it. This is where my journey of self-development began.
I enrolled on The Art of Living course, which one of my good friends recommended. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was introduced to meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises; I was so far out of my comfort zone, it was scary... but I loved it.
I felt as though I had woken up. I felt alive. My mind-set was changing; I was noticing things I had never noticed before. I was starting to feel happier.
In February 2014, I went to a workshop called Dare to Dream. This is where I met Sally Canning, who introduced me to EFT ( Emotional Freedom Techniques).
I remember at the beginning of the day her asking me what I wanted to do with my life; I had no idea. By the end of the day, I knew that I wanted to do what she was doing: inspiring women to believe in themselves and free themselves from their limiting beliefs, enabling them to grow into the best version of themselves.
That day changed my life and I will be eternally grateful to Sally for this, who is sadly no longer with us.
I went on to be mentored by Sally for six months. I then trained in EFT, as I had such powerful results with it myself. I had found my purpose.
Fast forward to January 2015, out of the blue after about two years of not having a period I had one. I went to see the doctor who rushed my through to see a specialist… To cut a long story short, I had cancerous cells and was advised to have a full hysterectomy; without hesitation I agreed. The operation came and went, and I felt fine until one of my close friends got pregnant. I hated how I felt: even though I was so happy for her, I was so sad for me. All the old emotions resurfaced that I thought I'd dealt with. NO!!!! not again.
It was awful, I distanced myself from my friend, which made me feel guilty on top of everything else. However, this time I had tools to help me through this, I refused to let the depression take me down. I stumbled across The Dovecote Community, created by Kelly Da Silva for women just like me to connect with one another. This was a blessing and definitely helped me through this part of my journey. Kelly is also an EFT practitioner, so I booked myself a session with her that helped me to process stuff I didn't even know was there!
I remember during the session that unconscious feelings of resentment arose toward my mum! This was because she'd told me I would be OK and women had children later on in life, so my subconscious mind had taken this as fact and a part of me was blaming my mum! Crazy!
I have dealt with all of that now and I don't BLAME anyone, as blaming others is just giving your personal power away.
So back to now: my friend has a beautiful one year old and I adore her. I feel I have fully come to terms and accepted 'what is'. I feel emotionally free and in a really good place mentally, in fact the best place I have ever been.
I have since gone on to help lots of women with their emotional struggles. I love the work that I do and I am continuing to learn new skills. I have also trained as a clinical hypnotherapist and recently Indian head massage, which I integrate in my therapy sessions.
I am grateful for my struggles as without them I would not have found my strengths.
I hope my story will give other women hope for the future, that there is still a life even without kids.
To contact Melanie please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or fine her on Facebook at Melanie Drage EFT & Hypnotherapy.