We might sometimes think that life would be easier if we were thinner, richer, a ‘better’ version of who we are. But that’s simply not true.
Some of us may think we have to be perfect, that we aren’t enough as we are.
We are all who we are meant to be. It’s what we do with what we’ve been given that counts; how we live with it. So this is my experience…
I’ve had a stammer since I was 4 or 5. Nobody can really remember when it started and to be honest, it doesn’t matter. It is what it is – a neurological condition which makes it physically hard to speak. And what it is is not always easy, sometimes frustrating and a little stressful, always varied and occasionally a bit exhausting. I often can’t say my own name as those of us who stammer constantly word change in our heads and there are certain words we can’t change – our names for one. I would sound very weird if I said “I’m Vicky with an N”! And slightly annoying that words beginning with ST are my nemesis – if only we could call stammering something else! However, this does mean that I’m probably a walking thesaurus and am great at coming up with different words for things. Every cloud and all that!
It still takes me by surprise when I stammer on a word that I’ve never had a problem with before or when I open my mouth and nothing comes out (for which some people are very grateful at times!). I’ve lost count of the number of times that retail staff have laughed when I’m ordering or asking something, or people I don’t know have assumed that I’m anxious, nervous, that I lack intelligence, that I’ve forgotten what I’m saying, that I’m putting it on. And there is no magic cure for it. However stammering in public life is not hugely visible, as most of us try to avoid it wherever possible, probably due to societal expectations, so it’s often misunderstood.
No sympathy is needed, just acceptance. And that is the same for most things. We all have something that we have to deal with.
My stammer is very much a part of me and not something I would ever want to change. Why would I? It’s taught me so much. It’s made me who I am and I am so grateful for that.
It’s taught me compassion, empathy, an ability to see when others may not be feeling comfortable, a non-judgemental approach, understanding and acceptance of others. So I’m not trading thank you very much! As much as I occasionally need to remind myself of that fact when it’s particularly challenging…
As tempting as it is to wish for an easier life, I know that without being stretched or challenged in some way we don’t have the opportunity to learn, grow and gain insights into life and how we want to live it.
So I am going to make a promise and hold myself accountable to all of you. I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone and launching short weekly videos about what’s going on in the fertility, pregnancy and postnatal world and everything that happens within Nurture 4 Life. It’ll just be me, having a chat with all of you and keeping you informed of things that may help you. I’ve got so much to share! It may not always be amazingly fluent but I’m not holding myself back by it either. And if it helps one person, I’m happy!
Why am I telling you all this?
Because if you’re feeling inadequate in any way – “I’d be okay if I did better/looked different/lost weight/(insert your own insecurities or anxieties here), you need to know that you’re already okay. I have many conversations with people who, in a variety of ways, feel like they have to be perfect and therefore are failing when they aren’t. Perfection doesn’t exist. You aren’t failing. You are enough just as you are, no matter where you are on your journey in life. Sometimes we all just need a reminder of that.
Note that I have a stammer, not ‘I’m a ‘stammerer’ as that implies it’s the biggest thing about me and it’s so not. Just like you are more than your fertility or status in life.
As Nelson Mandela shared,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
If you’re struggling with fertility, with the prospect of parenthood, with being a parent, just remember that you’re already enough as you are. And it’s also okay to have a bit of a wobble sometimes and ask for help too. Life’s not always easy but you’re never alone in it either.