Monday, March 14, 2016

A story shared.

Nobody ever came close (in biology, sex education, church marriage preparation or conversation of any kind) to warning me ahead of time that one in six couples in the UK struggle to conceive and one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage.

I used to be cross about this, thinking that a person has a duty to be honest and speak out their sad stories. I remain convinced that it's a good thing to do, if you can. But I realise now that it's wrong to demand or expect personal and painful storytelling from an Other. Such vulnerability is risky and can only be received as a gift

And there are good reasons for the silence, including grief and a desire to protect. I mean, it's hard even to write a blog post about it, aware as I am of many family and friends living with the struggle.

A less risky way of sharing your story is to soak in a founding myth, pouring into its depths your own personal exerience and grief.

I remember finding new delight in the bible as we hoped to conceive. Not in some pious or assinine 'Just. Have. Faith' way but because I suddenly saw how vivid was its preoccupation with barren women like me. Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, Rachel, Michal and so on. I saw that my story, however it was going to end, was one with eternal echoes and significance and I felt I was sharing it with ancient others.

Today, re-reading fairy tales, I again discover these sadnesses everywhere. In Rapunzel's despairing mother and the witch who steals her, in the macabre Gingerbread Man, in stories of children who appear unconventionally, like Thumbelina, in many versions of Sleeping Beauty. This stuff matters and it's everywhere.

So, to all those sad for the loss and lack of children, I wish a healing story fit to receive your own.


AnnaP said...

And this was a version of our story

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