The below blog post was written by Words That Heart workshop designer & facilitator Meriel Whale and originally published on her website. Meriel is a counsellor specialising in supporting people who are childless-not-by-choice and has written many excellent pieces of particular relevance to the childless-not-by-choice community, so we strongly recommend taking a peek at her excellent blog.
If you fancy having a go at some writing yourself, check out our Workshop Dates and Registrations page for all the latest information about our writing for wellbeing workshops exclusively for childless-not-by-choice people, or explore our website for more information about writing for wellbeing and how it can help you.
The Healing Power of Writing
by Meriel Whale
A keen childhood writer, for many years, I didn’t write a word. My creative energies went in other directions and writing felt like something from my past. But then I heard that a local publisher was calling for people to submit true tales, lightly fictionalised autobiographical writing, powerful memories connected with the area where we lived and in about ten minutes I dashed something down and sent it off immediately. I asked for it to be published anonymously if it was chosen. And it was, and it made it into the book and became the start of something new, exciting and life giving for me.
I started to write again
Within a month, I formed a local writers group and joined an evening class, and then, in 2018, started a two year Creative Writing course. Rapidly, I began writing one novel, and then another. I am more than half way through one of them and have nearly finished a first draft of the other.
I am coming alive
There are a million and one ways to be creative, and writing seems to be mine.
I am sharing the writing love as much as I can, running a Creative Writing Club, setting up a Queer Writers Group and preparing to co-lead some therapeutic writing workshops in 2020 for people who are childless not by choice.
Writing works in so many different ways. It is escapism, an opportunity to create a new world. It is exciting, to think where our words could go. It can help make sense of the seemingly incomprehensible and it can bring an end to loneliness when someone says, ‘you too? I thought I was the only one’. Sharing my story brings it down to a more manageable size and gives me the chance to experience it anew, but in a safer way, with a perspective afforded by the act of writing it down.
Being creative is healing me slowly, one word at a time
(c) Meriel Whale, 2019 (originally published on www.merielwhalecounselling.co.uk)
She, by Meriel Whale
She’s walking on a narrow pavement by the chemist when she sees a woman with a double buggy coming towards her. Automatically, she steps into the road to let the woman pass. A car zips by her, it’s a little too close. The woman passes her, and carries on round the corner towards the station. She doesn’t say a word. She doesn’t say thank you, or make eye contact, or smile, or anything. Just carries on as if no-one was there, no-one stepped into a busy road so she could pass with her double buggy. It’s not as if she needs recognition for every kind act she does, and she doesn’t do the right thing so she can be noticed and thanked but she wonders how the woman with the buggy saw her, if she saw her at all.
She finds she’s noticing these things more frequently now since she found out she was unlikely to have her own children. She’s noticing all the children, and all the parents, and there seem to be more of them all the time, although she knows that’s just because of the situation she finds herself in. It’s painful when she sees them. Time is ticking away too, and even with IVF, her chances are very low now. She spends each day worrying about what to do for the best. The days seem very long. Her friends with children are always busy, always stressed, always rushing from one place to another, but sometimes she stands in the middle of the living room and doesn’t know what to do with herself. Her life seems pointless without kids or even the promise of them.
Her town offers lots to kids and families, that must be why so many of them are here. There’s good schools, lots of parks and gardens, lots of other families, and plenty of stuff to do. She wishes she could be a part of all that. As she carries on towards the town centre, she passes a poster on a lamp post for kids’ drama classes. She always said to her partner that she wouldn’t be a stage mum, that rugby would be as good as drama, but actually she’d love to see a child of hers in a school play or nativity. She’s stood there while her friends show pictures of their little one as a sheep, or an angel or a wise man with the obligatory teatowel on their head. They talk about their kids so much, do they notice that she can’t join in?
Maybe they should move to Brighton, to Kemp Town where it’s all naked men and posters of drag queens rather than cute kids and parent and baby yoga classes. But she’s always lived here, and thought she always would, start a dynasty with her four kids. No chance of that now. Maybe they should get a dog instead. Something cute to love.
Not the same though.
She’s in the pedestrian area now, and there’s a solitary child chasing pigeons and laughing like a banshee. His Mum stands watching, and so does she, for a while.
Then she carries on.
(c) Meriel Whale, 2019