Wednesday, July 28, 2021

New rooms: A guest blog post from Lilly from Germany

 New rooms

written by:  Lilly from Germany

If you look at it from the outside nothing has changed from the Before. We are still here.  We are still two. Everyone around us became many.

I somehow assumed that it was kind of natural that at some point, we would be three or four or even five. But the past has thought me that nothing can be taken for granted. Now it is us, trying to feel home in the new Two.

For quite a while I assumed I could just keep going and life would still be and feel the same. Like it was during the Before. During my time in ICIS treatment, I answered once to one of my doc’s questions, why I seem to go through this so rationally and clear, that one reason could be, that I am familiar with being just two. Many people say that they “cannot imagine being just two”. Well, I can, because that’s the only thing I know, the only constellation I am familiar with. Being just two.

Over the time I realized, that being two in the After isn’t exactly the same. I know being two in the Before and the In-between with the perspective of becoming three. But to be honest, I don’t have a clue how it is to remain as two.

We are not the same either. We have changed, I have changed, my perspectives on life, my feelings, suddenly new rooms open up, rooms I don’t know yet, empty ones. It feels like moving into a new house without even owing any furniture for it. Everything is new, different, there are even rooms without a name yet.  Now it is up to us to decide how we want to “furnish” ourselves.

There is the new room Friday night for example. In the time of the Before a Friday evening was predestined to going out for dinner, meeting with friends, going out at night, and probably sleeping the next day. Or having tons of things to do.

During the In-Between Friday night meant for me going to bed early, taking a breath, trying to get through everything somehow, to recharge my batteries for what would be coming up the next week. Sadness, hope, worrying, again sadness. I kind of dived into standby mode every Friday night.

And now?

Being in the After?

I'm not as exhausted as I was for weeks, months, almost years in the middle of it all. I don't need that many rest breaks anymore, because the greatest of all efforts, the hamster wheel has been over for some time, and I slide into what is the After.

But the After is not like the Before.

I ask myself, what do other people do Friday night? Bring the kids to bed, think through the upcoming weekend? The older one needs to go to soccer training, the little one wants to meet a friend, the next children’s birthday will come up soon and the grandparents also want to be visited. One is busy.

I could keep myself busy, the bathroom needs to be cleaned again, I need to get groceries, but besides that?  The perspective of going out to eat with friends hardly exists, because our friends are almost without exception busy with the fact that the little one doesn't feel like brushing her teeth and the older one wants to hear a bedtime story.

It feels so empty. That new Friday night room.

The Friday nights from the Before fell so shallow, so little colored. Do I really just want to go out to eat, drink wine, party? And if I wanted to, who would join?

I try to think about little things on Friday night. I feel that I regained my ability to concentrate on just one thing again. During the In Between that wasn’t possible.  I discovered books again. I enjoy going for a long walk at the river, riding my bike through town or sitting outside on balcony in the sun so much more than I did during the Before.

Most important of all, I feel how wonderful and precious the time is, I spend with my husband. The two of us, having dinner together on Friday night, telling us about our week, how we feel, what makes us happy. We have this new thing now, every night and especially on Friday nights, we tell each other at least one thing that was good that day and made us smile.

I try to consciously feel the moment, the free time I am having with the luxury that I do not have to fill that time with organizing family members or others. I have the freedom to do nothing. Or anything.

I can just try to be. In the moment.

In the Now.

What luxury.

Well, by saying this over and over again, it might actually feel like real luxury someday. 

With the little things, the big ones might follow. The Friday night room is getting some colors.

I will just keep going.



  1. Dear Lilly,

    What a beautiful guest post <3!

    Thank you for sharing it on Klara's blog. And thank you, Klara, for publishing it!

    I can relate to the lack of events or change in life while everybody else's seems to move on to a different chapter. As you say, the After (treatments) is not like the Before, even if it may look like it from the outside. We don't stay the same. Grief and loss do that to you.

    Yes, there were all kinds of empty rooms for me as well, both physically and figuratively speaking. For me, it was the "guest room" that should have become the kid's room in the physical sense that was the most painful. At the same time, I needed to imagine how I would fill the empty rooms of my life that lay ahead of me. Friday evening is a perfect example for all the little things that we have to re-imagine and make our own. It is lovely to hear about your new Friday night tradition and exchange with your husband.

    "What luxury. Well, by saying this over and over again, it might actually feel like real luxury someday." This made me smile. I think you it will deeply feel it and be able to appreciate it at some point. It all takes time.

    Dear Lilly, it was wonderful to read your thoughts. All the best to you! And if you ever wish to write a guest post in German, don't hesitate ;-)!

    Much love from Switzerland,

    1. Dear Elaine,

      Thank you for your comment. It really means so much to me since I have been reading your blog for about a year now. Through your blog found Klara’s blog and both blogs carried me through my hardest days. And thank you for your kind offer to write something for your blog, too. I will think about it ;)

      And thanks a million Klara for publishing my text and supporting me the way you do! It means so much tome!

      Yes, rationally I know that at some point I will (hopefully) appreciate the freedom I gained by staying two. I will have to be patient with myself.


  2. Lilly, this a wonderful post! There is so much wisdom in it. It explains perfectly the difference between Before and After. So often people think they know what our lives are like because they were childless in their 20s. But you've explained it beautifully. They don't!

    And I too have found that in dealing with the little things, in appreciating them and accepting them, the big things do follow.

    I'm sorry you have had to join us, Lilly, but glad that we got an insight into your life. Thank you Klara for sharing Lilly's thoughts and wise words with us all.

    1. Thank you Mali!
      Being reassured that it is obviously quite normal, that life is different now and that it takes some time to deal with the After, helps.

      Thank you for welcoming me. Even though I did not choose it at the first place, I am greatefull that I found you all!!

  3. I'm reading this on a Friday night. So there's that, haha! I like to spend my Friday nights relaxing at home and doing what I want, including reading blogs. :)

    You captured it so well. There really is the Before, the In-Between, and the After. That made perfect and immediate sense to me.

    Sit in your new space. Enjoy your space to just be. Enjoy the emptiness. Don't rush to fill all the rooms. You are right. We are no longer who we were in the Before.

    Welcome Lilly! Thank you for writing. And thank you, Klara, for sharing. Awesome post!!

    1. Dear Infertile Phoenix,
      that is a very wise advice not to hurry to fill that new space. Thank you for that and as I think about it, it isn't the worst thing to be sitting and enjoying a new, calm and friendly emptiness!:)
      Thank you for welcoming me, too!

  4. Liebe Lilly,

    Danke für den schönen Beitrag. Es freut mich zu lesen, dass man irgendwann mal "Frieden" schließen kann mit seinem Schicksal als kinderlose Frau. Man muss wohl auf die positiven Dinge oder Vorteile schauen und vielleicht auch auf das, WAS man hat und nicht auf das, was einem fehlt.
    Hast du auch ein Blog auf deutsch?
    Mit vielen lieben Grüßen aus Süddeutschland


    1. Liebe Selma,
      ich bin auch noch auf dem Weg "Frieden" zu schließen. Ich denke genau wie du, dass es darauf ankommt, das zu sehen, was man hat, und nicht nur das in den Fokus zu stellen, was fehlt und ich versuche meinen Blick jeden Tag aktiv auf die guten Dinge zu lenken. An manchen Tagen gelingt es schlechter, aber die vielen Tagen schon viel besser :)
      Viele Grüße

  5. Your writing, dear Lilly, took my breath away. So poignant and illuminating I will have to sit with it for a while, but I wanted to acknowledge your beautiful insights and let you know that you will find a way forward and that life as a family of two can be fortifying and fulfilling. You also reminded me of my earlier days as I knocked about trying to sort out where I fit best and how to organize my time and space.

    I found this post from many years ago (2007j — it comes from my first blog Coming2Terms, where I met lovely Klara

    1. Dear Pamela,
      thank you for your comment!
      Your post from 2007 is so true and as I read it, I can sense the guilt you are describing and that maybe letting go that guilt, too, is a major step into a full and joyfull life. I am on my way! :)

      Thank you so much for your warm words!

  6. I echo the other comments here -- this was a great post, Lilly! And thanks, Klara for posting it and introducing us all to each other! :)

    1. Dear Loribeth,
      Thank you! And yes, I really appreciate that through Klara,I get to know all of you! :)

  7. Dear Lilly,
    thank you for your beautiful guest post. It moved me a lot. "Everyone around us became many": how true! Sometimes, it makes you feel different, isolated.
    But we are not all alone. We have our partners, and also the blogosphere with wonderful women from all over the world.
    I hope that you will progressively be able to enjoy your "empty rooms". Your post is full of wisdom and peace and I'm sure you will be.
    I'm also glad to see that you started your own blog: writing is a very powerful medicine :)
    With love from Germany too!

  8. Lilly,
    What gorgeous writing in your post! You capture so well what it feels like to make that transition from Before to After, at that moment where you're not entirely sure what After looks like. I loved this: "Now it is up to us to decide how we want to “furnish” ourselves." I agree with Phoenix -- take some time to sit in where you are. I think we took a year to weigh a bunch of options and figure out what we wanted to do, with our space, with our life, with our new existence. We made a LOT of lists. It was really helpful, and I like going back and seeing how things look now vs 4 years ago when we were at this pivot point, where you are no longer exhausted by the hamster wheel, but kind of dizzy and wondering what's next. Sending you a big hug and a big welcome!

    Thank you, Klara, for introducing us to Lilly!