Image description: A blue forget-me-not with a yellow and white centre – the World Childless Week logo.
We recently presented a free webinar on writing for wellbeing for World Childless Week. World Childless Week was founded by Stephanie Phillips in 2017 to raise awareness of the childless-not-by-choice community. It also helps members of the childless-not-by-choice community find the right support networks, that can both understand their grief and help them forwards to acceptance when the time is right. We are both supporters of World Childless Week (workshop leader Meriel Whale is a World Childless Week champion, and co-workshop leader / founder Annie Kirby has written for World Childless Week in previous years) so we were thrilled when Stephanie invited us to present a webinar.
We decided to select some of our favourite writing activities from the other webinars and online workshops we have run in 2020, but to adapt them with some of World Childless Week’s daily themes in mind, particularly ‘Our Stories’ and ‘Moving Forwards.’ We were aiming to be positive, upbeat and affirming, with no writing experience needed, so we were over the moon when over 70 people from all over the world joined us on the night. Everyone seemed to enjoy the writing activities and the chat box was abuzz with people sharing their very special words throughout the webinar.
Some amazing writing was done during the webinar and afterwards. We always say, the object is not to write something beautiful or artistic, but only to write what you feel, or where the pen takes you. The aim is to write therapeutically, not creatively. But, so often, this approach results in beautiful, powerful pieces of writing. We would like to thank and honour everyone who took part in the webinar, whether they shared their writing in the chat box, sent it to us afterwards or, equally, whether they chose to write privately.
The following incredible pieces were written by participants in the workshop and are shared here with their permission. The final piece was written by one of our workshop leaders a few minutes before the webinar as an example of how the activities can empower us to write.
Another day is coming filled with grace.
Ending the silence is now.
NB: Grace was the name we had chosen for our baby.
by Daniela Pfaltz
Surviving is what I do
Truths ruminating my mind through
Allowing myself to grieve the loss
Calling out to those who understand
Yearning for a purpose to show its hand
How did I get here?
One day and then the next
Purpose unfolding all around me
Emotions coming to a rest
I will live life fully
Image description: A baobab tree, which has a very tall trunk and a small crown of green leaves, against a bluy sky and clouds.
Image credit: Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3646805
Every part is filled with joy.
Understanding, friendship and love
by Anastasia MacDonald
Image description: Purple writing on white paper of poems, other pieces & instructions written during the Writing for Wellbeing webinar.
Image credit: Anastasia MacDonald
Special Object – Bingley’s Chili Pepper Toy
Smells like good old house smell.
It looked loved but not destroyed – still has life to it.
His first toy – that he still played with at the end.
Did he really know the word ‘chilipepper’?
Bury it? Keep it as memento.
by Anastasia MacDonald
Image description: Black writing on cream paper of Hayley’s acrostic poem based on the letters of her name.
Image credit: Hayley
My name is HAYLEY &
Helping others is my….
Ambition & purpose, keeping me….
Young-at-heart & ….
Loving life, approaching it with
Energy, giving myself & others a feeling of total
In the beginning.
Wanting, waiting to be a mum. I never thought it would be so hard. I carried on waiting, hoping. I was patient. And then, not safe, I made the biggest sacrifice of my life. I gave up my chance to be a mum. I didn’t know it would be my only chance. Then I met S and I had hope again. Infertility was like a bomb, blowing us apart. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, slipping down into darkness, when hope becomes toxic.
Yuki and Kiko. Their smiling faces. Their unconditional love. They needed me. New friends, a community of others like me and I wasn’t so alone. I started to write, to write, to write. I kept writing, the words poured out of me.
Hope. The non-toxic kind, hope that lives in the moment.
by Annie K