Sixth letter

Dear Unconceived Possibility,

I am an almost forty-two year old woman. I had one daughter when I was thirty, and I had a truly amazing birth. I had a water birth and it was all done and dusted within nine hours. Most sociable! My pregnancy was harder, with infections, sciatica so bad that I was on crutches and premature contractions requiring a steroid boost. And it was so utterly and completely worth it. I thought that my daughter would be the first and that you, Unconceived Possibility would be the second.

Sadly, this is not how things worked out. I split from my daughters dad, and somehow, even post-split, I didn’t feel in a place to make a whole new baby with anybody new. But I wanted you anyway. When I started to gain weight I didn’t feel unhappy that my belly was fatter and I sometimes imagined that I had a little sleeping baby, fluttering gently inside me. I understood that wasn’t a good headspace to be in, but that was what I wanted.

I imagined my daughter having the opportunity to grow up with you as a sibling. She is such a gentle and empathic little person. Even when she was around eighteen months, she would take toys to other children that were crying. She understood that there was a need to be met. She would have been the most awesome older sister that any new life sparking into existence could ever begin to hope for.

And then there was selfish me. I wanted you because I wanted to have a nice pregnancy with love and support around me, instead of stress and confusion. I wanted to feel valued and not a burden to those around me. I was so scared. I knew that my self esteem was low and I made some poor choices because of this, but I knew that the next time would be better, I would be stronger. I would have learnt.

Acknowledging that you would not become an actuality, that I would not become pregnant again, is likely one of the hardest things I have experienced as an adult. It really hurt to know that I would never have the chance to meet you, you would have been so amazing. The sense of grief as your existence continues to diminish has got easier over time. Of course I am completely grateful for the little person that I have, but sometimes, I still miss you.

There have been a few times when your possibility has become, well, a possibility. My stress levels have clearly rocketed just enough for things to be delayed and I have dared myself to hope. Just a little. And then it has transpired that you are not an actuality, and that has made me feel very sad.

I know that I am incredibly unlikely to ever meet you in my life now, you were such a beautiful possibility. But even without you, I try hard to be a really good Mum, I work to make sure that my little one has a good childhood, that her foundations are built on knowing that whatever happens, I am her rock, I am her stability.

When someone asks me if I wanted more children I still ponder on what might have been. But I know to get stuck on something is not a place that is healthy for anyone emotionally. Living in the past does not serve my present in the slightest. I have found such amazing people and opportunities in my life that I would not allow just one aspect to overshadow that. I am blessed. And wherever you are floating around in the world, wherever you choose to appear, even without ever knowing you, you have my love..xx

Map Point. What little people in your life can you help to shine?



First letter

Dearest Michael,

I miss you. This is the most antithetical statement of all. So easy to say with such impossible depths. You were such a presence in peoples, in my, life, that despite being something that happened over five years ago, it still burns.

I know we were friends from work. I know we never got to hang out outside of that, but that was never what our friendship was about. Everyone said you were a prophet, and this much I believe to be true. With just a few words you could shift someone’s whole reality, make them see whatever they needed to see from a whole new perspective, and you did this for me. I don’t remember everything you ever said, but I know that it came from a place of love and foresight.

What makes me cross, especially when I hear people talking about you, is just this. Everyone remembers you are a hero, the person who could fix people. Someone who does things for other people. And this is amazing. But this was just one part of you. And your creativity, your teaching, your sense of humour, your political conversation (like saying you wanted to go to a UKIP meeting with all your dreadlocked friends as you all believed in British jobs for British workers was utter hilarity and your most vocal stance on body hair was amazing!) – all of these things get missed.

What also gets missed is how broken you were too. The relationship you had with your brother who died, with your family, both near and far. How you spoke about your grandma. How you spoke about yourself. And then your relationship with me. I was the prophet for your words and saw perspectives that you could not. I gave you the throwaway comments that you could base new interpretations on. As you did for me; I did for you too. Reciprocal therapy, through the vehicle of kindness, in sound bites. In understanding others we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. This was such an incredible occurrence for me to encounter. And I am utterly livid that you left me.

I cried for a long time after you died. I was by myself, and that seemed to hurt more. I had no one to hold me, shush me, to tell me that everything would be okay. Then this made me realise how strong I was, how by getting through this made me so much harder. Less can now break me. And for this I thank you. Likely this has been the most amazing of all your teachings that I can take from. I can lose something so precious and dear to me, and I will be okay. I know that this is a partial misnomer, but by this, I feel empowered.

When you were getting sicker, and as you were sleeping less, clearly fearful of not having enough time, I was sleeping less too. I mirrored this. My insomnia is pain of loss. I wake up, so my anxious mind can fill the hours, can do something more, because clearly I am not doing enough. This isn’t just pain of grief, this is pain of every lost moment that I am not utilising. But I am learning. I am learning that I am enough and I am allowed to sleep and I am allowed to let you rest. I cannot hold onto so much sadness as it is exhausting. Letting you go does you no dishonour, you are always in my thoughts, but I no longer need to carry this heavy,  just your sparkly light.

I also know that this heavy is reflective of all the other things in my life that make me sad. And you are an easy box for me to load everything into. It is easier to feel the loss of one thing than the loss of everything, and so as not to break, I closed down my sense of grief before it overwhelmed me. However there had to be an outlet for this wave of enormity, so insomnia arrived. My grief comes in waves of duplication of you. If I can be who you were, then maybe you have not really gone? But I am me, and I need to see my actions with ownership and not deflect my sadness onto you.

I realise that what I knew about you was worth knowing, but I did not know you well.

I now need to unpack my sadness box. Thank you for listening Michael. I love you so much and it was a privilege to have had time in your sphere.

Lots of love and shiny


Map Point. What do I need to say to people who cannot listen?