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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.ย Someone summed it up for me yesterday; I’m angry about having my choice taken away.ย 

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.

Just had to share

This evening, following a good workout at Crossfit and while enjoying a gin and tonic in the bath, I came across this article. For anyone in the same situation as me, i.e. involuntarily childless, it’s a good read. Actually, it’s a good read for anyone. Might make you think a little. Take some time to read it.

So that’s the summer over then?

Blimey. I mean where did it go? Oh to be a child again when summer actually meant something. Time off. Hanging out with friends. Indulging in some freedom. Not the case for us. I suppose it’s our own fault for planning a big trip away at Christmas. Summer meant work. And more work. Although I did manage to squeeze in an additional triathlon ๐Ÿ˜‚

It was great actually. It was a sprint tri in Llanrwst run by a local triathlon club (who I never knew existed but do now and have joined) called GOG Triathlon Club. GOG stands for Great Orme Goats – it’s based in Llandudno, home to the Great Orme and its goats ๐Ÿ˜€

Previously I have always been put off by sprint triathlons, purely because of the word ‘sprint’, but I thought I’d give it a go. It was great fun, very friendly and I even got my fastest average speed on the bike, managing to overtake 3 people in my wave. They did, of course, take me on the run but I can live with that.

Nice bit of bling ๐Ÿ˜

It’s now just 10 days until the Sandman Triathlon, the final one of the Always Aim High adventure series. I’m feeling good and hoping to beat last year’s time but I haven’t done that much specific training. I have, at least, managed to get out in the sea swimming a couple of times which is better than this time last year! Got freaked out by the jellies last time though ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

GOGs swimming in the sea ๐Ÿ˜€

Moving back to my health and hormones and stuff, I finally managed to pluck up the courage to see the doctor. He sent me for a full whack of blood tests and they all came back normal apart from a low iron count. Went back for a chat and saw a different lady who has put me on HRT. She said it sounds like I am premenopausal. Great. I knew but I was dreading having it confirmed, which I haven’t really as it’s all speculation. I suppose I’m no better off than I was before ๐Ÿ˜• Reading the common side effects of the medication was fun. I may even be worse off…

I haven’t started taking them yet. I’m scared to. I just keep looking at them and feeling a sense of utter sadness. It kind of signifies the end for me. An end to any slight chance that I still might of had of getting pregnant. Even though, realistically, the end has already been and gone with that line in the sand.

To that end it’s been a bit of a g&t month. I’ve been tasting some different gins but my favourite is still Opihr with Fever Tree Elderflower tonic and a slice of orange. Oh yeah ๐Ÿ˜€ The hubby has been good too and bought me some beautiful flowers. It must be difficult for him. I’m terrible at just cracking on with stuff and filing away my emotions. Don’t listen to my own advice at all.

Lovely roses and lilies – my favourite โค

Time to pause, time to choose

So here we are, four months on from finding out we’re not going to have children, probably ever. I’ll be honest, I’ve actually dealt with it a lot better than I thought I would, although that may be because I haven’t actually had that much time to think about it. Still, life does go on and on it has gone. So much so that it is now only 41 hours until my second triathlon of the year. Onto that later.

The biggest hurdle I am having to face right now is the fact I am very likely starting the menopause. This is not going down well with me. I am only 43. It wasn’t that long ago that the prospect of having children was still a reality. I don’t know for sure that I’m starting the menopause but there are a few pointers: night sweats and restless nights, very heavy and irregular periods, complete lack of sex drive (which of course doesn’t just affect me). I know I need to go and see the doctor but I’m petrified of having it confirmed. Surely I’m too young? According to the NHS, the average age in the UK for women to start the menopause is 51. I suppose it would confirm why we struggled to conceive.

I found out today another friend is pregnant. Apparently she has had a tough time and has been through the IVF process to get this far. I’m super happy for her. For them both. It’s hard not to feel jealous though. And a bit angry. Not at them, just at life in general. “It’s not fair” is all that is going round my head right now. And that’s true. Life’s not fair. It’s what I tell the young people I work with all the time. But I have a choice. I have a choice to accept it and move on, or not. And I choose moving on, even if sometimes it’s super hard and heart breaking.

Now I’m writing this I can’t stop crying. Ridiculous really as I had a stand-off with a young person the other day who was crying and crying. It started off real and then became purely for attention. I told her that crying was a voluntary process and that she had a choice, a choice to stop crying and get on with the activity or a choice to carry on and get herself into a state. She stopped. I’ve stopped. I digress.

Just looking back at what I’ve written I realise I’ve written a lot about choice. I’m a bit of a follower of William Glasser’s Choice Theoryย which I read about when I was working as a youth worker. I firmly believe that we set the path of our lives according to the choices we make. For example, I can choose to get angry about the tourists driving around Snowdonia at 40mph or I can choose to not get stressed and leave a little longer for my journey into work in the morning. Likewise, I can choose to get really defeated about the amount of litter around or I can make a positive difference and pick it up. These are smaller choices, granted, but it applies to the big things too. I can choose to wallow in self-pity, wondering ‘why me, why me?’ when it comes to not having children, or I can focus my thoughts on the other things in life that give me joy. Beautiful landscapes, sunsets, rainbows, cuddling up to my husband on the sofa, swimming in the rain, feeling like flying when I’m descending a long hill on my bike, getting to the top of a mountain after a hard slog, gin, watching the waves on the beach, sunrise, running with my dog, cake, the complete exhaustion after a good workout, the sound of the river in full flow, morning cuddles with the cat… I could go on. In the words of Trainspotting, I choose life.

I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s not. I’m not saying I won’t ever have times where it gets me down. Today has just proved that not to be the case. But I will cope. I will survive. I will achieve. I will be the best I can be.

Anyway, I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post that it was 41 hours to my next triathlon. It’s now 40 1/2 hours ๐Ÿ™‚ I am quite nervous about this one. The weather forecast is looking a bit pants.

weather
Looking lovely for Sunday, not ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The swim will be manageable as the lake is shallow and warm. In fact, I’m hoping wetsuits won’t be compulsory so I don’t have to try and get out of it in transition (I’m rubbish!!). British Triathlon rules state that the water must be over 14 degrees for wetsuits to become optional. I reckon the lake is warmer than that, the problem is the amount of rain we have had over the last few days as it might have cooled.

The bike ride is 70km around Snowdonia. with 1,132m of ascent. I don’t mind hills so much on the bike (although I’m better at going down than up) but if it’s wet and windy this is going to be horrendous. And then, to top it all off, the 9km run is an ascent and descent of Moel Siabod (featured image on this post) with 696m of ascent ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

So why do I do these things? I’m not really sure is the answer to that. I enjoy being pushed physically. I enjoy a challenge. I like the sense of achievement for finishing. I want to improve and get stronger and fitter and healthier. I enjoy being part of something. I’m competitive. It’s outside. There’s lots of reasons although today, looking out of the window, I’m not so sure… ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Sunday I took part in the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon. I didn’t run the marathon, I ran the 10k. Elton was in the marathon but unfortunately he tore his hamstring at about 7km into the race and had to quit. This was really hard for him. His blog about it is here. I went into the race thinking that I would just treat it as a training run for this weekend. I didn’t want to kill myself the week before the triathlon. It was a super hilly route! I was actually really pleased to complete it in 1:18:33. Not bad when I definitely could have run it faster ๐Ÿ™‚

20170723_094347
All ready to go on the Snowdonia Trail Marathon 10k race ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also got a new addiction. I’ve started Crossfit. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this video. I’m right at the beginning of my Crossfit journey but it’s great. There’s definitely a real sense of community, no preening and looking in the mirror, just people of all shapes and sizes, working out, getting strong and challenging themselves. It’s fab!! I go to the Crossfit Place on Anglesey.

Sorry for the disjointed blog post and for leaving it so long in between posts. Some of you may be thinking that I’m trying to throw myself into too much fitness ‘stuff’ in order to stop falling down the rabbit hole of post-IVF-fail depression. Maybe I am. But it’s working ๐Ÿ˜€

39 hours to go…