Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Hug Costs Nothing

You know the feeling where you're head down in your own problems, turning things over in your mind, sometimes it takes something special to snap you out of that trance... today was one of those for me.

I'd decided to take a walk into the village to do some errands (pet shop, post office, dry cleaners...) when I saw a small group of ladies huddled around an A-frame. Thinking that these ladies were collecting for charity, or wanted me to sign another parish petition, I'm afraid to say I moved to cross the road (I'm an busy person with my own problems after all).

Turned out that these ladies would absolutely make my day.

Turns out the 21St January is national Hug Day, and these three ladies of later years were standing in the bitterly cold to not collect anything from us passers by, but to give: the biggest most genuine hug I think I have ever received from a stranger.

When they asked if I'd like a hug I nearly shook my head, and scuttled away. But a millisecond later, I realised that it did. A hug was exactly what I wanted - they were more than happy to oblige. Like a strange greeting line they each gave me a really big cuddle, we had a little chat and I went on my way with the biggest smile on my face.

Their only request: that I go and share the happiness.

These three ladies, in the space of a couple of minutes managed to pop me out of my head out of my own troubles and made me look at my little village with new eyes. We might all be strangers, but that doesn't mean that we each can't give a little bit of happiness to someone else.

A smile cost nothing, a few minutes chatter could mean more than you realize.

So, Henrietta, Jean and Trudy - excellent work - Hats off to you.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Pregnancy and Infant Loss - Wave of Light Remembrance: My Story

Yesterday social media filled up with photographs of candles. Whether they were tealights, pillars, or lanterns, each light shone in solidarity, remembering those little lives that burned so brightly and we're extinguished far too soon.

The pain of infant loss is hard to describe. When I started this blog I thought I was starting on the road to motherhood. As soon as that little blue line appears, your whole mindset changes. You think of a future as a mum, and you think of the baby inside you, and you see you're future in a whole new way - 'pregnant' equals 'mum'.

Who would have thought that 4 years later I'm no further forward. To the external world I am not a mum. I have no baby pictures to show, no anecdotes or funny stories. All we have are 2 scan reports that found no heart beat. That's hardly going to make it onto the Facebook page.

But to me we are parents. But it's a label that we hold close to our heart, quietly. Because loss before life isn't something the world is comfortable with.

You look at social media, and people paint their perfect worlds: smiling families, days out, nights with friends - we all share our best sides. That makes the sad things in life all the more isolating. I see friends happily announce they are expecting, or see their little ones grow, and hubby and I remember the 2 babies we've lost.  I don't look at our friends enviously (okay, maybe a bit) we are genuinely pleased with their news - it's just also a reminder of the little hands we could have held

I don't hide the fact I've had 2 miscarriages. If people ask if we have kids, I explain that things haven't been straightforward.  I've told a number of friends, I'm not ashamed, I think we should all be more vocal about these things. There is no shame or fault, or blame. It just is.

But at the same time I don't publicise it. I don't want to force my sad story on other people. That's why my scan reports stay filed away, and eccentric why I didn't document our second pregnancy, and then loss on this blog.  Maybe with my first pregnancy I was naive. I just didn't think of the possibility that things wouldn't end well.  But I also don't want to bring anyone else down. I don't want to crack that veneer of perfection that we create around ourselves online... and so I too feed the taboo around miscarriage.

So, to all those parents of lost children out there: you're not alone. I send each and everyone of you a hug, a hand on your shoulder. We shouldn't hide away, we should remember.  Life isn't perfect and we should pretend otherwise.

Love to you all.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

(Re)Starting

I've not blogged for a good long while. There's no real excuse. First work got in the way, then life got in the way, and then, to be honest I just forgot...

But some things shouldn't be forgotten. It's only when you look back that you realise how much you could be missing out on by not pausing to reflect, and capture that moment.

This blog was first started back in 2012 when a little pink line on a little white stick told me something about myself that I somehow hadn't registered: just how much I wanted to have a family.  Now, that time, as with a quarter of all pregnancies, it turned out that it wasn't meant to beand since then I've focused on carving out a name for myself in my chosen career whilst simultaneously exploring medical routes for why our quest to start a family might be being hampered.

Generally 2015 was a good one for me. I won a few industry awards professionally, I rejoined Slimming World and lost 3.5 stone, and I finally found a doctor who would listen to me...

Back in May last year I had fairly major surgery for a endometriosis. It's a horrible condition that can really limit the women who have it including menstrual pain so severe you pass out. But it's pretty misunderstood by the medical profession (it took me nearly 10 years of fighting to even get a referral to a gyne), you get told what you're feeling is normal, nothing shows up on MRIs or ultrasounds, so you can be left thinking its all in your head.

Thankfully I found a great surgeon who totally believed me. After a nearly 4 hour operation she confirmed my endometriosis diagnosis, and explained that my uterus, bowel, overies and appendix were all stuck together in a big mass of scar-like tissue.  I have a video of the surgery (not one for dinnertime viewing!) and it looks like a small army of spiders have been crawling around inside, leaving web trails behind them, gluing everything together. It was eye opening stuff. Finally it wasn't just in my head.

The surgeon explained that it was severe endometriosis, and was very extensive. She removed a lot of the 'webs' but broke the news that the damage to my fallopian tubes from being stuck and pulled and stretched was significant. Pregnancy could be an issue.

So I figured that at the start of a new year it was the right time to start refocusing, and looking this year not on career, but on family. Its not an easy road, but realistically I'm sure it never is. Now isn't the perfect time (hubby isn't working) but realistically I'm not sure there ever is. The thing is I'm ready to to take the first steps.