My Musings

Hipster W@nker

Hipster (noun): A person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream

I really enjoyed my late 20’s, slipping into my 30’s. I used to be someone quite unrecognisable from this recurrent baby loss version of me.

Rewind to 2015: I used to run along the Thames twice a week, with a colleague, at lunchtime. We shared (admittedly sparse!) recipes for the 5:2 diet we were doing together and we bought each other cute bottles to ensure we were drinking our 2 litres of water a day. To balance it out, we went around London trying to source the “best” margherita (even though I don’t really like pizza, so that really was a challenge) and sampling all the newly-trending burger joints and pretty-overpriced cake shops. Once, I brought us back some cupcakes from a business trip to Washington DC. She repaid the favour on her return from NYC.

Yep, I totally realise how this all sounds and the point is, we did at the time too: complete hipster-w@nkers. That’s what we used to call ourselves. Every time we did or tried something that legitimised an eye roll, we’d add the hashtag #HW. We joked that we’d get canvas bags with #HW printed on them.

Instant messages frequently read:

I’m thinking about becoming pescatarian… but only salmon, oh and beef! #HW 😉

Champagne on the rooftop tonight? We owe it to our #HW selves!

We knew we were being pretentious, but we kinda loved that too. I guess it was our way of trying to win at life, whilst simultaneously realising how ridiculous we were getting, poking fun at ourselves, whilst still being adequately smug. We knew there was nothing hipster about what we were doing, hence the suffix; we were essentially just being w@nkers.

And therein lies the problem.

That was what life was like. But I was in my 20’s / early 30’s, carefree and kid-free, that was fairly acceptable. I wasn’t even thinking about children, just enjoying my childfree years.

But what now? Now that my childless years are turning out to be much longer than I’d expected. How do I fill them now?

At first, I spent them better preparing myself for having children (saving, learning to drive, progressing at work, extending our home) but now? Now I feel I’m just a complete hipster w@nker again. Filling my time, yet not respecting how I’m doing that. Fancy restaurants, weekend getaways, pilates and expensive home accessories – this cannot be what it’s all about. It’s all starting to feel a bit hollow again.

I went on a yoga retreat last year, to try to digitally detox and recentre myself after baby loss. It was all rather vegan and zen, but then again, it was filled with rich 20-somethings throwing around the word “trauma” as if they knew what it meant – no darling, not knowing where you and your boyfriend want to live, is NOT considered traumatic, it’s privileged. You and I are crying during the meditation sessions, for VERY different reasons.

Jokes and mean tit-for-tat aside, I have to admit that I’m rather privileged myself. And yet, it’s all just a gap-fill, and I’m not even fooling myself anymore. I seriously don’t know what life is supposed to be or feel like anymore. It’s such a dull, unimaginative cliché, but all I now want, is to get pregnant.

I knew this was going to be a waffly blog, because it’s something I’ve been struggling to articulate for a while. So I’m not surprised about the length or shallowness of this. Bear with me, I’m on the cusp of something. Hopefully something with a bit more depth.

What am I supposed to be doing, if I’m not doing, what I was supposed to be doing?

Enjoying life? Just living it as if we’ll never have children? Treating ourselves to the next big thing, the latest must-do or must-see or must-stay? I am losing respect for myself here, just a total hipster w@nker. Though as always, there’s nothing hipster about it. This doesn’t feel like a “fun, fill your boots while you can!” gap-fill, this feels like forever. A lifetime of being someone I have no interest in being or becoming. I don’t know what the rest of my life looks like without children, I have zero appetite for it. The world is my oyster, you say? Stuff it. Stuff it with garlic butter and eat it yourself – oysters as an aphrodisiac are so not working!

I was supposed to have a child (or three) and my life doesn’t feel anywhere near complete without them.

Do not get me wrong. I am sure there are lots of people, couples, childless families out there, totally winning at life. Doing what makes them happy. But I don’t know where my childless contentedness lies. Yes I can do nice THINGS and buy nice STUFF, but I don’t think that’s the secret to my happiness. That’s not how I want to spend the rest of my life. I don’t want to be hipster or alternative, I want to be mainstream. To be the best version of me, as a mum. Not a privileged prat.

It has been a while since I’ve so thoroughly struggled with a blog, but there we are. A wholly insufficient conclusion and no workable solution. All I can hope, is that the rest of my life, isn’t just THIS. Because all this is doing, is feeding the worst and wasting the best parts of me.

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(4) Comments

  1. Karen Palmer says:

    It might feel like a “wholly insufficient conclusion” but I think it’s wonderfully honest ( #wh) and pretty profound xx

  2. Rashmi xx says:

    I don’t know if ‘loving’ this blog will come across right, but I really loved this. I think how raw you’ve conveyed your discontent, and search for meaning, resonates with so many, perhaps not for all at the deepest level of grief, but still, resonates. Feels like if anything, you Do indeed answer your own question, being a mother and your innate maternal instincts is what brings meaning to Your existence, that’s quite beautiful, to love, to share all that you have and have built, to nurture. That says a lot about who you are, and as sickening as it is that you went through all this grief, when you get your time, there is no doubt that you will love unconditionally, while-heartedly and full of zest, bringing into fruition what ’means’ the most to you, love you Anj 🙏

  3. Monique Reid says:

    Wow this is sooo powerful , the way that you articulate your words really hits home for me. I am feeling the exact same way you do mama 💕

  4. Rhi says:

    This one really hit me in the gut Anj, I remember the feeling of being adrift after the twins died, and yet I was lucky enough to go on to have F and then E pretty quickly, so I didn’t get to this stage of reflection on what my life was meant to be, hold, involve.

    The introspection here is so telling, of a woman who needs to know her place in the world and what she can offer. You’ve so much to offer a child (or many children) and it is completely sh1t that you haven’t been able to bring your babies home and watch them grow, teach them the important things in life aren’t things at all, and pour all your love and wisdom into them, and although I don’t really pray, I do pray that you get the family you yearn for. In the meantime though, I can appreciate the hard reality of not knowing your place in the world – but please remember how MUCH good you do.

    You are a kind person, thoughtful and sweet and loving. You have raised a rather frightening amount of money for charity over the years. You contributed to the pandemic efforts, you have corralled people into donating blood in Summer’s memory – how many lives have you been involved in saving through this? There are SO MANY ways in which you enrich the lives of those around you, and while it isn’t the way you had imagined it to be and isn’t the particular role you had hoped for, you should remember these things and be proud of them. Your babies, wherever they may be, will be proud of their wonderful mum and what an awesome person she is, and whatever lies in the future for you and James, you have so much more that you will do/change/help just by being the person you are. xxx

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