Path (noun): The course or direction in which a person is moving
This year I said I wanted to move forward. Given that we are already one-third of the way through this year (seriously, how did that happen?!), now seems like a good time to take stock of the path we’ve found ourselves on.
STEP ONE: Medical
It’s taken me a long time to embrace it, but pausing to address some of the medical issues which have arisen, does make (logical) sense. If you recall, our fertility ‘journey’ has been put on hold, while the doctors are treating some abnormal pre-cancer cells they unexpectedly found in my uterus. I’ve not been too happy about this: apparently 75% of doctors don’t treat, but monitor the cells, so why have I had to be in the 25% (again! 1 in 4, urgh)? This has meant 6 months of ongoing treatment and delaying any plans to try again.
I blogged recently however about all the different potential versions of our life we could be living, and these thoughts have kept me going this year. If I didn’t treat these cells, what if this is the version of my life where I get cancer? What if it had become the version where we did go on to have a child, but I didn’t get to raise him/her? (I did tell James that he would be an awesome single parent, but he wasn’t too taken with this idea). In all seriousness, a dear friend of mine is battling with cancer (it’s her birthday, so I’m thinking of her, even more today), it’s something which we all hope never to have to face, so if we can catch and treat it early, well that’s a blessing. I’ve not always been great at having this perspective, but hopefully I’m getting there now.
STEP TWO: Financial
Earlier last month, I had another illogical(?) wobble and I had to take some of my own advice.
I had my annual pay review, but all I could think was “I don’t want this!” I should have been off on maternity leave in 2020, not still at work and thinking about career progression. It just felt so strange, reviewing the professional work I had done during the worst personal time of my life, and putting a value on that. I (crazy lady that I am?) felt like it was putting a price on my baby. It made me wonder, what if this is the version of our life where we don’t have children, but our lives are ‘enriched’ in other ways? I don’t want this!
But then I found comfort, in trying to focus on something I had said to another bereaved mother: our babies died and so we are on different paths now, but it can’t all be bad thereafter. In fact, the worst thing we could have imagined happened, so some good has to come.
STEP THREE: Nesting
It’s not the nesting I thought I would be doing, but we did manage to extend our home last year and are now finally able to enjoy the new space and rooms we have. We would not have done this work, had my pregnancy with Summer progressed. In that version of our lives, we would have had a baby and moved house. In this version, we stayed where we are (the only home our babies ever knew) and extended it. Again, if we had a choice, we would have had our daughter. But we didn’t. we have our new ‘Summer room’ instead. It has storage shelves for toys, children’s books on the shelves (i.e. ‘faith purchases’) and we already know where we’re going to hide future Christmas presents, should we have a baby. It’s bittersweet (and weird?), but it’s definitely more of a family-home now.
STEP FOUR: Mental Health
I stopped my counselling sessions this year, I’m definitely having more discernible good days, than bad. Some days I’m even positive and can write ‘happier’ blogs – a far cry from this time, last year. There was a lot of relief around Summer’s birthday and realising how so many people are comfortable with using her name and acknowledging her, not just on the ‘big’ dates, but on the mundane ones too.
I’ve also felt a lot of spiritual growth, this year. I am a lot clearer in my faith and beliefs. I find a lot of comfort in thinking of Summer. It’s not even something I have to actively do, she’s just always here. Whenever I go for a run, I say hello to her and her little friend. Whenever I read a book, I always wonder if she’ll be keeping me company in the pages.
It’s not all positive, I still struggle with a lot of things emotionally (anger, bitterness, envy), but I still think, on the whole, it’s been a step forwards this year.
STEP ONE: Weight Gain
I know it’s not just me that’s gained weight during this sedentary covid period, but I have always worked hard to have a “pre-pregnancy buffer”. The plan was always to be a few kilos trimmer, so that when I got pregnant, I would have a bit of a buffer versus the inevitable weight gain. The plan was successfully in action for all three of my pregnancies. Unfortunately, I’m now 4kg heavier. So if I do ever get pregnant again, this is not as I’d have liked. Still, this morning I did run 10km – my longest run since June last year – so I’ll just have to keep moving forward with the running, literally.
STEP TWO: Wasting Time
Does anyone else do grandchildren maths? I’m pretty sure I’m not going to live to see mine now. I know that sounds crazy, I’m not even pregnant, I’m not even allowed to try. I don’t have a baby and yet I’m thinking about having grandchildren?! But all of this waiting and all of these delays, does mean that me and my eggs, are ageing. If I do have a child by age 40 (the new 5 year plan) and that child, has a baby at 40, I’ll never be able to go to my grandchild’s wedding. I know it sounds daft, but every year that I don’t have a child, is one year less that I do get to spend with that child in their lifetime too. I know I can’t do anything about it, but one third of the way through the year and still no baby – that feels like a backwards step. It’s just not possible to have one this year.
Four steps forward. Two steps back. Not a bad start to 2021, I guess.
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