Acceptance

I realise it’s been a while since I’ve talked about the whole childless thing, even though that’s what this blog was all about initially. Well, it wasn’t about childlessness, it was about going through IVF but ultimately that amounted to the same thing. Yesterday I ended up in a thread within a Facebook group I’m a member of, discussing the prospects of perimenopause. This then got me thinking about everything that has gone before and how I currently feel about things.

I know I’ve entitled this post ‘acceptance’ but that might imply that I’m in a happy place over my childless situation. I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in a bad place either, I have just come to accept my fate and now have to get on with the rest of my life. I see a therapist and that’s probably why I haven’t really blogged about it – blogging was my therapy for a while 😉

Sometimes I’m quite happy that I don’t have children but sometimes (it’s happening less often) I get completely floored by it. My emotions run riot, I’m all over the shop and I have the deepest and unfathomable sense of loss. Maybe it has been conditioned into me, the need for a child. Maybe I’ve always been searching for some sort of completeness that I thought would come with a child. Maybe it never would have made a difference. I suppose the thing that gets me the most is that I will never know. Someone summed it up for me yesterday; I’m angry about having my choice taken away. 

I’m also really angry that I still have my periods. It’s like a sucker punch every month (or every 23 days in my case). If I’m not producing eggs anymore then why does my body have to keep reminding me of what could have been? Nature’s way of rubbing your nose in it? Harsh really. And then there was last month. 33 days and still no period. I knew I wasn’t pregnant but I had no symptoms of a period either. I ended up doing a pregnancy test. Why on earth would I do that to myself? Of course it was negative and of course my period came the next day. Like I said, harsh.

So, back to the perimenopause. Lately I’ve been struggling with fitness motivation. I’ve been tired. I’ve been having night sweats for a few years now but they’re increasing. I get headaches. I’ve been eating badly. I get strange nerve pains through my body. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I can’t actually be bothered to go to the doctor about it because it doesn’t affect me that much. I just need to give myself a good kick up the arse and get back on programme. I’ll start tomorrow…

The other thing that gets my goat is people with children. I have lots of friends with children. I love my friends, I love my friends’ children. But I don’t need to hear about them all the time. I’m sorry, but actually what I do is zone out of the conversation. Or walk away. Or start talking about my dogs (well, they’re children to me!). It’s really people I don’t know with children that I’m talking about. Or maybe they don’t even have children, they’re just rude. When you first meet someone, is it appropriate to ask them if they have children? I hadn’t really thought about it until I couldn’t have children. It’s not. I usually just reply ‘no’. Generally that means the conversation moves on. But occasionally people are really rude. ‘So do you not want children?’ WHAT THE FUCK HAS IT GOT TO DO WITH YOU??? Saying ‘I can’t have children’ usually shuts them up but seriously, WTF?

I have lots of friends who are childless out of choice. Their choice. Sometimes they like to bracket me in with them but that’s a little like putting a square peg in a round hole. I’m not childless out of choice. However, the above applies on their behalf too. And I don’t hold anything against people who choose not to have children. I do, on the other hand, hold something against people who have children but then choose not to love them or care for them or keep them safe. Those people are monsters.

Anyway, I think I might have gone off track (no change there, the rambler returns…) and have moved away from this concept of acceptance. It’s time to move on. I’m nearly 46 and I have to start thinking about a different course for me. I’m not going to have a family in the traditional sense but I have ‘my family’. I have my husband, my two dogs, my cat, my mum and dad, my friends. I also have my other half a family: my half sisters, my birth father. I’m doing ok. I have a home, my health and my fitness (generally) and I do a job that I enjoy. There are lots of people in the world far worse off than me and maybe, just maybe, in this age of climate change, political instability, unfairness, poverty and overcrowding, not bringing one more mouth to feed into this world is a positive step.

Now is important

Today I’ve been to a funeral. Not that uncommon I’m sure you are thinking, after all, people die all the time. But this feels different. This was a friend. I don’t feel old enough to be losing friends. I’m only mid forties, half way through in my mind. It’s too early to be losing friends. Cancer is a cunt. Sorry if that offends you but it’s true 💔

Earlier this year I made a promise to myself. I need to reach out to people that I have lost (physical) contact with. Facebook and the like are great but there’s no intimacy in liking someone’s post or vicariously living life through other’s photos. I made a promise to either ring someone far away or meet someone closer to home every week. I started off well but in the last month I’ve neglected my duties. This friend was on the list. I wasn’t quick enough. All the time in the world became no time and too late. I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I feel so sorry. But all of these feelings are selfish. They allow me to wallow in self pity.

I need to change my mindset. Stop feeling sorry. Instead embrace the original promise. Life is too short. This tragedy has really opened my eyes to this fact. If you want something you need to go out and get it. Friends have always been family to me. Those of you on the fringes, watch out, I’m coming for you ❤️

Ups and downs

Following on from my last post about living with someone who has depression, I wanted to make something clear that perhaps I didn’t before. Although I question myself about why I didn’t walk away right at the start, I’m always glad I didn’t. I love my husband and he loves me, I think more than I will ever be able to reciprocate. We make a good team.

We don’t have an easy marriage, that’s for sure. Although we are very similar in some ways: we both love the outdoors and we both do a lot of exercise; we are also very different. I have always been a social animal. I love spending my time with my friends and family, I like going out, I like doing exercise with others (I run with friends, I cycle with a club, I go to Crossfit and enjoy being part of that community). My other half, on the other hand, likes to be solitary. He always exercises alone. He doesn’t look forward to group gatherings. He particularly dislikes large group events (weddings, etc.). He likes to spend time with me but otherwise he is much happier by himself. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have friends, he does, but I wouldn’t call them close friends.

I love my dog, Bailey. My husband is not really an animal person. This has an affect on us as he gets jealous of the dog. I think that’s crazy but for him it’s very real. Bailey has been with me since he was 8 weeks old. I can’t have children but I can have a dog. To me he is like a child and people who aren’t dog lovers just don’t get this.

We bicker. We bicker about silly things. We’re a bit like my mum and dad in that respect and they have been together over 50 years so maybe that’s not a bad thing 😉 We struggle financially. I don’t know why as we both work hard but we’re just both inherently bad with money. We have no security, no savings, nothing in place for the future. We have debt. We live from hand to mouth and I’m sure this doesn’t help with the stresses of things. Still, we have a roof over our heads, we have food on the table and we get by. Of this we should be extremely grateful as there are others out there a lot less fortunate than us.

Living with someone with depression is really hard. The good times are great but the bad times can be really bad. And they can be unexpected. There doesn’t have to be a reason, a trigger. It can just happen. And I’m not always ready for it. This time I really wasn’t ready for it. He’s doing better. He’s upped his meds and he’s setting out strategies for himself. We even talked about the affect it has on me. He bought me flowers. They are beautiful flowers and the same colours as our wedding flowers ❤ He knows that his illness is selfish. He knows how much it impacts me and he is eternally grateful for my support. In fact you can read all about it from his perspective here.

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I went to see a friend on Friday afternoon. A good friend who only lives 20 minutes away and who I don’t see nearly enough. She is struggling too. We both need to be there for each other. Friends are so important. Having someone to talk to is so important. I am setting myself some additional goals for this year and that is to spend more time with friends. To be there for my friends and for them to be there for me. A problem shared and all that… I’m also going to stop comparing my marriage to other people’s. It doesn’t work like that. We are all different. We all have our crosses to bear, some just more than others.

🙂

 

Let the adventures begin :)

Wow, roll back 10 months and things were a little different. There we were, balanced on the edge with our heads above the parapet, waiting for science to gift us with a child, or not. It seems like a really long time ago, and yet, it also feels like yesterday. I always said that I would find my way of dealing with it and I did. I do. Sometimes. I suppose what happens is you become settled in the life that is rather than dwelling too much upon the life that could have been. Well, most of the time anyway.

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Things have definitely moved on. I completed all those triathlons. My plan B. I got a new tattoo!! Other things have changed – my job for instance has become more permanent, albeit more part-time, but that’s good. It works for me. It gives me the freedom to do other things. Next year is going to be more about other things. Other work too. But mainly other things. Visiting friends. Spending time with my family. Getting out and living life to the fullest. This is the stuff that is important. This is what keeps me happy, keeps me on an even keel.

I’ve managed to spend some time with friends and their young child recently. I thought I might struggle but actually it was great. Obviously there were times that I felt a little choked up, but all in all I think I handled it pretty well. I need to be able to visit those friends of mine that have been lucky to have children. And deal with it. As well as improving my relationship with my step-daughter. This stuff is important too. Very important.

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November has been a funny month. I had a shoulder niggle that, if I’m honest, had probably been going on since the summer. Turns out I should have had it looked at a long time ago. And it’s not a shoulder injury, it’s bicep tendinopathy. So that put a stop to any lifting of weights and riding my bike or swimming (not that I was doing a lot of that anyway). Running it was then. My running partner had run every day in October and was planning on keeping going, so I joined her. Today I completed day 34 of running every day and I plan to keep going until Saturday when we head off to India and Nepal. I never really enjoyed running before. It’s always been something that I’ve done as a means to an end. Oh, and it comes at the end of a triathlon. But I have to say, I’ve rather come to enjoy it. I don’t think I’m one of those people that gets the ‘runner’s high’ just yet, but it’s been a good month. And I keep beating my time at Parkrun so I must be doing ok 😀

I also seem to drunk a great deal of gin in November . I haven’t been on the lash permanently but somehow I seem to have gone through rather a lot. Oh well, I have enjoyed it, especially finally getting to sample the new Blue Slate Gin from Dinorwig Distillery, the gin that I was part of the tasting crew for (see previous blog post).

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The sad news is that my grandmother died. That was a complicated relationship as I am adopted. She was the mother of my biological father who I have known since I was 19. She was a fantastic lady, always welcomed me into the family with open arms. She was a Scot, and a proud one. I feel honoured to have met her and to have had her in my life. Unfortunately she had been horrendously depressed since the death of my grandfather two years ago. I think, in reality, she died of a broken heart 😦

The happy news is that my little sister (half sister on my biological father’s side) got married. It was a really beautiful day, down in Gloucestershire, at Berkley Castle. They both looked amazing and I am so happy for them 🙂

Anyway, enough of my rambling (I’m not even sure what this blog post is about anymore…) six more days and we’re off. Off on our big adventure. I’m getting super excited now. Plans have changed as they inevitably would but they’ve changed for the better. We’ve had our flights booked to Delhi for ages now but having finally decided on what trek we would like to do we are now flying out of India two days after we arrive and heading straight for Nepal. Two days in Kathmandu and then we’re flying into one of the scariest airports in the world – Lukla – the starting point for treks up Everest and other mountains in the Khumbu. How exciting is that??!!

We’re not going to Everest, or even to base camp. We’re heading to the quieter valley to the west. The Gokyo Valley. We will be hopefully summiting a mountain called Gokyo Ri which is 5357m high and offers superb views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu. I’ve never been above 5000m before and Elton has never been above 3000m so it’s super exciting for us both.

From there we should, all going well, have a couple of weeks to then travel around Northern India and take in some sights. When we booked this, five weeks sounded like such a long time, now it seems like nothing at all. But I mustn’t complain. We are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. And we’re going to make the most of it, blog post to follow I’m sure 😀

It’s been a while

I’ve been wanting to write another blog post for a while. After all, it’s been a month since my last one. Problem is I’m not sure where to start, how the middle is going to work out and I’m definitely unsure of the ending. There’s an advert on TV at the moment, I can’t remember what for – internet or mobile phones or something – anyway, there’s a moment when a woman turns on a blender and the top isn’t on it and her smoothie goes all over her face. It always makes me giggle. Problem is, I’ve been worried that this blog post is going to end up a bit like that. A kind of uncapped explosion from my brain that ends up in a big mess all over my face. But without the comedy. Hmmm 😮

I’ve been sat staring at the screen for a while now since writing that first paragraph. I hoped that once I got started it would just flow. I was wrong. It’s not even that I’m feeling low or having a particularly bad time, I just have a whole heap of stuff in my head that I feel like I need to get out. But now I’ve come to get it out, I can’t quite verbalise any of it. Very frustrating 😦

Well, I’ve got to start with something so I’ll start with babies. I’ve now managed to get up close and personal with a baby. In fact, it was the same baby that I deliberately avoided during a friend’s hen weekend (see a previous blog post). That friend has since got married and, at the wedding, I managed baby cuddles. The first since IVF fail. It was fine. Well it was mainly fine. It was fine until someone said to my husband ‘watch out, you’ll be next’. That wasn’t fine. Still, I wonder how many times I have said something to someone without really thinking about whether or not it could stab through their heart like a knife. Do we really know anyone? Do we really know what could be a trigger? Of course not. It’s just one of those things. I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

I’ve also managed good friends of mine having a baby. I haven’t met said baby yet, but I am super happy for them. Genuinely. I can’t think of two more wonderful people to bring a child into this world. That does bring me onto a slightly different topic however (see, it’s flowing now). Friends. I feel like I’m slipping away from my friends. Not all of them obviously, but certainly those that are far away from where I live. Those that I have considered my closest friends for the last 12 years or so I just don’t see anymore. I feel like we have less and less in common although in reality there is just the one thing. Children. Wow. I didn’t realise how upset that is making me. Just writing that down is making me cry. Ok, time to move on to another topic.

My garden. I am completely and utterly in love with my new garden. Sorry, our new garden (it’s mine really, it came out of my head!) 😀 I love sitting in it, I love eating breakfast in it, I love doing yoga (badly) in it, I love watering the plants, I love watching the cat roll around on the paving and I love the dog curling up on the small section of luscious grass. Did I mention that I love our garden. It has become my solace. When I look out of the window at it, I smile. When I get back from work and walk down through it, I smile. It’s the tiniest of gardens but it’s ours and it’s beautiful.

Work. I’m currently covering someone’s maternity leave. Ironic? Maybe. Anyway, I love my job and I love where I work and the people I work with. I’m super lucky. I was working there for a year and a bit on supply before I got the maternity contract. I don’t want to go back to supply. I like being permanent. It’s nearly July. That leaves me with around 4 months of stability before things suddenly get out of control again. I’m worried. I’ve got used to having a stable income coming in. As much as I love working freelance, I also quite like the security of permanent. Part-time permanent would be my ideal situation but then I can’t choose. My husband is self-employed. Winter is never good for us work-wise. I feel like my future is a bit out of my hands at the moment which is just another thing rolling around my head.

Training. I’m back training. Ridiculously I have got myself into exactly the same situation. I now have only 6 weeks until my next triathlon. Training had to go on hold for two weeks as I slipped at work in the mine and gashed my shin really badly on a slate boulder. My leg then got infected and I was on antibiotics for a week and a half, unable to run and cycle and not allowed to get my leg wet (not great for swimming). Thankfully I have kick-started although my body is aching right now. Run on Tuesday morning (where I managed a couple of PBs no less), open water swim on Tuesday evening, yoga on Wednesday morning (this is where the aching has come from), a cycle to work and back yesterday (back nearly killed me as the wind was so strong) and a pool swim this morning. I’m feeling quite good but nowhere near ready yet.

Things are going to slip a little next week as well as I’m away working in Austria. I might be able to get a couple of runs in (I’m definitely packing my running shoes) but everything else might have to go on hold. Problem is the next triathlon, the Snowman, another classic from Always Aim High Events, is a real toughie. 1km swim in the lake, 70km bike ride around Snowdonia and 10k run up and down Moel Siabod (that’s a mountain for those of you that don’t know the area). It’s a beast.

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The Snowman Run (I think it might be a walk up, roll down for me…)

Right, that’s enough head mess for now. I’m knackered just talking about it all. Hopefully that means I’ll sleep like a brick. Luckily, I usually do 😉