Facing infertility together
By Rachel and David Mitchell
Early hopes and dreams
David and I went on an Engaged Encounter weekend early in 1987, just before our wedding. One of the things we discussed during the weekend was our feelings about having children. We both shared a desire to have 2 or 3 children after a few years of marriage. As a children’s nanny, I took a real delight in the children in my care. Between the hard work and tediousness of routine chores, the children and I had hours of fun together and I enjoyed the challenge of amusing and stimulating 3 young children. So I looked forward to the time when I would be able to share an even more special relationship with children of my own. David had little experience of children, but was looking forward to having them. He wanted to be able to pass on knowledge and skills, and share his interests. He was also interested in watching his own children develop and grow up.
We left the weekend full of ideas, thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams, confident in our love for each other and grateful for the work of Engaged Encounter. One of the things at the forefront of my mind throughout the following weeks was the truth that “feelings are neither right nor wrong” and so the correctness of my own feelings cannot be judged and neither can I condemn anyone else for feeling the way they do. These were new valuable lessons for me as I learned to accept my feelings and realise that they come from deep within me, so I was able to be more honest with myself and David about my true feelings. I was free to be me and to express my negative feelings as well as my positive feelings.
Ten weeks after our Engaged Encounter weekend we moved into a new phase in our lives and relationship when we got married and moved into our first home together. David continued in his job as a civil engineer and I found part-time work as a nanny which I loved. So we settled into married life, often remembering things we’d learned on our weekend and grateful for the ways in which it had taught us to be open and honest with each other.