I didn’t know it was grief when it started to hit me. Why would I? No living person I knew had recently passed away. Not being inclined to social media nor one to spend much time ‘Google-ing’ I wasn’t searching for an explanation for my feeling of unrelenting deep sadness.
But I did glance at a link on the BBC news website that somehow drew me, resonated with me. The link read simply “Childless Women. Jody Day. Gateway Women “ and the reporters name. That link was indeed my gateway. Into a hidden, sad, frightened, angry, disenfranchised Community living all over the world. Too overwhelmed, unheard, embarrassed [well, who grieves for something that has never lived? ]. Gateway Women is a private online Community where women can share and care. At least I was safe and I wasn’t going mad. Neither were hundreds of thousands of women around the country,…. the globe. Once so close to ‘drowning’, I had now managed to get myself into the ‘lifeboat’. Just!
So all that was in 2014. Has anything changed since then? Better societal awareness, increased compassion and understanding? Do we have a space in the culture? Are we as recognisable as the L.B.G.T. Community for instance?
Well, maybe not quite yet. But there are encouraging signs. Successful international Conferences in the U.K. and the U.S. are a good sign of courage and determination to highlight the issues to wider society.
Even a cursory search online will highlight how much research is being carried out into the reasons behind the huge numbers involved and the longer-term impact on the individual and society at large.
Representatives from Ageing Without Children [A.W.O.C.] have recently addressed a Parliamentary Committee. This not only raises our profile at the highest level but educates policy makers [we hope!] Conventional media are increasingly discussing our concerns on radio,[some] newspapers and magazines.
Social media has connected individuals, support groups, charities, academics and more besides. Even I! have a Twitter account for that purpose. Sharing knowledge and offering support, this Community is as diverse and compassionate as it is in size. VAST!