Andy Harrod : Another Place
I created another place over seven years ago, it was during our third year of trying for children. We hadn’t tried IVF yet, something I associated with toxic hope earlier today, but that is another story. Back on that beach among Antony Gormley’s iron figures, I was alone, yet with my wife and with a friend. I was already starting to wonder would it happen for us, two years and no baby. I was feeling left behind, I was feeling my life stalling, and I was struggling to say this hurts, it hurts so very much. The years passed, I began forgetting myself, our lives overwhelmed with trying for children and the grief for our losses, our miscarriages, our dreams, our hopes. Grief I struggled to process, to express, as I tried to be as strong as Antony Gormley’s figures, weathering time, until the sun shone again. But I am not made of iron, I am flesh and a beating cracked and bruised heart. It was only when I held my battered heart, did I realise I had forgotten myself, that I didn’t need distance and that life was much more than hanging on. It was from there, that I reached out not only to others, but also to myself. That I took my own hand and listened to my own heartache and experiences, and worked with my grief. I am still in process, I always will be, but now I am connecting, I am making friends, I am part of a community of childless people who understand and want to help one another.
Over time I am aiming to fill in the gaps in my story and will be sharing them here. I offer you this place too, for you to share your experiences, for you not to be alone. For accepting being childless not by choice is difficult, being with the pain, the sadness, the grief, the tears, the anger, is tough, but I have found, it helps to be with others, that it eases the hurt and supports the untangling of emotions and thoughts. I have also found myself smiling, laughing, and making friends. Friends, who see me, hear me and don’t forget me. That all helps me not to forget myself, to live.