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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

Introduction

For many years I have found writing to be a therapeutic tool. When I tried to process some of the most dark moments of my life putting pen to paper seemed to help in the way a pensieve does in the Harry Potter books. Carefully pulling the threads of dark thoughts and heart break out of my busy head and keeping them safe between the pages of my diaries. Blogging seemed like a natural progression from diary to internet.

I am by no means a professional writer and in truth a lot of what I have done was for me, that was until I started to share the story of our losing our babies. So many other women have since reached out to me that I finally feel like the last 12 years of heart break may have some meaning. I decided to separate my blogs and create one for our journey to become parents.

I hope you will find some comfort from our stories, I will share with you various stages of our journey as well as ways in which I have dealt with those awkward family moments.

To start this site I will give you a summary of who I am. I am 36 and I have been with my husband for nearly 14 years. I have PCOS and we have suffered multiple losses at very early stages of pregnancy. My life over the last 12 years has been consumed with baby making, I have felt broken and useless and totally alone. I have only recently started to pull myself together and acknowledge a future without children.

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Featured post

From desk to dirty. Ladies in construction.

I’m starting this by saying it’s not related to our fertility journey, but as I have built my following online the fact we haven’t been able to have children has massively effected this decision, so I’m going to share it here. It feels right.

A year ago I had a fairly bad car accident, this followed a couple of the worst years of my life. It almost bookended it. I lost our baby in the summer of 2015 and at the same time we were loosing my cousin, more like my little brother to leukaemia. He passed away in Jan 2016 and I thought I grieved at the time. Looking back I realise I did not. In fact I was a on a downward slide. Little by little.

The accident made me face the very worst of myself that I had hidden in the back of my mind for so long. When I stood still for too long it felt like everything came tumbling down. I know now things had been sliding for a while, but at the time I just thought I was fine. Just get on with it. You are still breathing so be thankful. Oh how silly I was!

Before the accident I had worked in media sales for 15 years. Up until the last couple of years, I LOVED it and I was damn good at it!! The most important thing to me was that my clients got the response they needed for their business and I went over and above to make sure it happened. It was a shock to me that actually I wasn’t happy at all those last couple of years, the stress, the targets, the chasing down sales all of it was too much. I knew I needed a change. I had to find a plan B.

The fact that we aren’t able to have children contributed to my decision. The feeling of

– “ok so what IS plan b?”

This was a massive motivator in my making the decision. Life was taking a different turn and I didn’t want to plod on with “what ifs” any more, “If we have kids by next year” just didn’t cut it, so many wasted years behind me waiting for that dream to come true. It hasn’t.

So plan B it is!!

My husband has worked in the blind industry for many years. He worked his way from warehouse person up to contracts manager and then started out on his own five years ago fitting, mainly commercial installations.

I would often go to sites to help on the jobs that didn’t require Cscs cards (health and safety stuff) and I enjoyed it. As I was recovering from my accident I realised the need for this big life change, my injuries would make it difficult to sit at a desk, we discussed the possibility of me working with him.

I had three concerns;

1) I am a very girly, girl. I got my nails and hair done regularly, I wore makeup, I had expensive dresses and had Mulberry handbags for the office. I had never even held a hand tool in my life, never set foot on an actual building site …… Could I work as a labourer??

2) ……….would I murder my husband spending that much time with him. Be honest how many of you guys could work with your other half’s and not be plotting where the concretes being poured in to hide the body???

And 3) ….. I absolutely did not want a pink hi vis and pink hard hat!!! I didn’t need to stick out any more than I already would!!

We decided to try to see. On the 1st of June 2018 I went self employed and we started to build up my diary with commercial work as well as SP Blinds and Curtains for the domestic market.

My husband was a patient trainer (most of the time). He’s my best friend so actually working together has been great, don’t get me wrong we have our moments but we laugh more than we argue so I’m taking that as a win!!

I did my CSCS card test and then the full days site safe training, it was at this point the full gravity of being a female in a male dominated environment started to dawn on me. I was the only woman on the course. I passed my course and test and my first site job was for Jacobs up in Glasgow the following week. I was nervous and excited. But I’d been an entertainer in Magaluf in my twenties, these trades men didn’t scare me!! Much! Lol.

A year in I have worked on a lot of sites so it’s so amusing to look back on that time and how nervous I was, it’s just normal to me now.

I answered my first concern pretty quickly, I CAN do this! I absolutely can do this!!

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been plain sailing on every site, I often get stared at like I have three heads, especially when I am carrying the tools and big bundles of blinds around. On the whole however I have been welcomed on sites just like anyone else. A few moments of people assuming I’m either a cleaner or someone of importance πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ. That’s it!

If anything I would say I have a better relationship with some trades people as I do stand out people tend to remember me more, so it means people will talk to me a lot when I go back for return visits to the same sites. They strike up conversation more easily with me than my husband…… maybe that’s just because I’m a talker πŸ˜‚!!

Any doubts about my ability came from me. It was my own voice making me nervous, because up until this year I very much believed in “blue jobs” and “pink jobs”. My inner voice would say,

“You can’t pick that up, it’s far to heavy for you get Ben to do it!!”

I had to work really hard and shutting it up. Especially working at heights on scaffolding because I’m terrified at times, but I keep telling myself I CAN DO THIS. And I do!

I feel like this year has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. There are so many interesting jobs in the construction industry and I wonder how many women would love it like I do, but rule it out as an option because they don’t feel they can! And make no mistake I LOVE IT!!

I like the domestic and interior design aspects of private homes but there is nothing like the feeling of a job well done when you have lugged hundreds of blinds up 9 floors of stairs, working as a team, getting the job done well with a happy client. I love the projects we do that start from us surveying and working with the site team to seeing it through to hand over. It’s a similar buzz to completing a big sale. It feels amazing.

On the sites we have been to I have seen three other trades women. Two decorators and one labourer and I heard about one electrician. There are a few in the offices and I have met one female site manager which was great to see.

In 2019 it shouldn’t matter if someone is male or female only that they can do the job. It’s about knowing your own strengths and weaknesses to ensure you are safe when doing the job, but I honestly haven’t seen a job performed onsite that I didn’t think I wouldn’t have a go at.

It’s hard work. They work in crappy weather conditions sometimes especially in winter, the people working outside I really feel for but it’s rewarding all the same! There’s an atmosphere of working together to get a job done that I just love and I’m so pleased that I decided to give it a go!

I hope that as time moves on more and more ladies give it a try. To not believe the “blue jobs”/”pink jobs” line. You honestly don’t know what you can achieve until you try it. I was scared at first but I am always made to feel so welcome that it’s very comfortable for me now. I never feel nervous going onto site!

I see some of the building companies trying to encourage women into construction. Posters up around the sites and info on their websites and social media. It’s so encouraging. It’s opened a world of opportunities for me, I hope I continue to grow my skill set. You never know if you are in the industry, you just might see me on a site near you! I won’t be the one in pink. πŸ˜‚πŸ‘πŸ».

The loss of my fur baby.

It’s been a while since I wrote an actual blog, we have had a lot going on so it’s been hard to find something I could write about without spewing anger everywhere.

My goal for so long has been to get pregnant, to have our baby. It’s been intense for so long that I don’t know how I let it go. But I want to, very badly.

A month ago, just over. We sat with our fur baby as she took her last breaths.

I remember thinking when we lost my cousin a couple of years ago, as we stood around the room as he was taking his last breaths …. nothing can hurt as much as this. It felt like I couldn’t breath from the grief. I was wrong.

We had poured so much love into Tara, she had been there through all our losses. Sat with me as I cried and cried over them. Licked my tears, cuddled me, was there and loyal and beautiful all those 16 years. To make the decision to let her go was a awful one. Even though I knew it was the right one. To hold her beautiful perfect head in my hands as she went to sleep was crushing.

It feels like now I’m reliving all of the grief. All of it. My cousin. My miscarriages. Only this time I don’t have my beautiful old girl here to offer comfort. I do have my crazy collie, but even he’s suffering he misses his big sister. My husbands heart broken. We are struggling.

I know some people can’t understand the loss. I’m sure there have been many conversations of her being a dog and having a long life. It’s true she did. But I poured so much of my mothering instincts that I couldn’t use on children, I poured them into my old girl. She was the centre of our world for all that time. We loved her completely and she loved us more than that probably. And I feel my already broken hearts just smashed.

It’s made me release that I have to let go. I keep saying it. I keep saying that I want to move on, but really my heart just won’t let me. Even when I look at the good we have in our lives, so much good. Even when I know the financial nightmare it would be now having just started my own business. Knowing all of that it’s still hard.

I don’t want to still be feeling like this in another ten years, or worse that when my friends start having grand children that I relive this all again.

Enough already.

ENOUGH!!

I feel change coming, in small ways but I visualise almost waking from this nightmare anew, like a butterfly πŸ¦‹. Leaving all the hurt an negativity in that cocoon that’s held me so tight for all these years. Breaking free of the grief. Feeling content. I just don’t want to feel incomplete any more.

I know its strange to say having just wrote the above, but I do feel happiness. Even with this background of grief, it’s like you learn to live with it. It creeps out regularly but I can feel happy in between. My husband and I just celebrated 10 years married and 16 years together and we still happy. I’m grateful for that. That’s what I’m most proud of because I wouldn’t change that for the world. I don’t know what I would do with out him.

I know it takes time. Although hearing that doesn’t help. I can only get up each day and put my game face on like and old costume piece and get on with it and hope that one day I won’t have to act brave, one day I will actually just be OK.

How wonderful would that be?

Stop asking THE question.

Ok so maybe this isn’t something that people who have had their families quite easily think about as a problem. But it is for some of us who can’t have kids.

If there is one thing other than just making couples feel less alone I want to achieve out of this blog, it’s to stop this question.

“So, when are you going to have kids?”

Especially when it’s followed with,

“You’re not getting any younger you know!”

The possibility of this question is what adds the anxiety of family and friends social events, especially if there is a new baby or pregnant woman attending. That regularly would lead to this question to anyone married or in a long relationship and still child free.

Some people decide not to have children. That’s ok. If that’s the choice then no one has the right to challenge that or tell them they are “missing out”. Or selfish. What you choose for your own life isn’t what someone else might want, even if you don’t understand it. You don’t have to. It’s no one else’s business.

Some people can’t have children and they don’t want to talk about it. They want this painful journey to be private. By asking the question you are putting them in a position where they have to lie or hide their hurt.

Some of us are ok talking about it but perhaps don’t want to go into a lot of detail of invasive and upsetting treatments in a room full of people.

Some people can’t have kids because of horrific events that have scared their bodies. They no more want to talk about the events that caused the problems than they do want to explain why they do not have children yet!

The solution is a simple one. If someone is trying for kids or pregnant you will know soon enough. They will perhaps want to share that news with you, or you would know by the small human that will appear in time. It’s an easy fix to prevent so much upset, hurt and frankly awkward conversations by just minding your own business.

I understand completely no one ever asks this question with malice in their hearts, in fact I would suspect for many it’s from a place of love They don’t know it’s a cause of pain for someone if they don’t know the story, but here’s the thing. We don’t need to know every detail about everyone’s life if they don’t want to share it.

I am an open book. I always have been. I have shared our story because I know it has helped those people who can’t find the words to express the depth of their grief and pain. Words have never been a problem for me and it actually helps me to share. But I hope by me sharing what can be upsetting, it can just prevent those awkward moments and save some people from hurt.

I know people will say “you can’t do anything nowadays without offending or hurting someone’s feelings” and that may appear to be true! I don’t know about you but I constantly try to work on myself. I’m not perfect. I’m sure I have said or done things to offend someone so if I knew I had, I would work hard to not do that again. If you know something is upsetting why would you continue to do it?

Also sometimes I do think there is an element of auto conversation. Someone following the lines of small talk, without realising what a loaded and hurtful question that can be.

That person that’s looking you in the eyes and smiling, telling you that “no we don’t want kids just yet, we are too busy travelling, too selfish, loving the lay ins too much, happy being just the two of us” but inside they are already planning how soon they can politely leave and the ache in their throats is so bad they struggle to get those words out. They will most likely find a quiet place after and cry. They will sob for the injustice of having to answer these questions again and again when they are trying so hard. They will wonder for the millionth time “why me, what did I do wrong”

Imagine the slap in the face it would be to then hear “you’re being selfish!” This happens to people regularly. It’s cruel and unnecessary!!

You won’t know anything about this because S/he has become a pro at hiding their pain.

The question I have for you is …. should they have to? Wouldn’t it just be easier if you didn’t ask THAT question of a couple, if you don’t know what their plans are or what they have been through. There are many, many questions you can ask that keep conversation going.

“When are you having kids?” Or “are you trying for kids?” doesn’t need to be one of them.

Reintroduction

As we are approaching the 10k followed mark on the Facebook and blog, I thought I would do another little introduction for those who have just arrived.

πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹

Hello. Welcome. Pleased you found my little page.

I started to write a journal some years ago, it vented my inner most fears and frustrations in the early stages of us trying for children. I never shared much online because it seemed like it would be wrong, like it was a dirty secret.

As the years passed I was slowly feeling like I was being left behind. As more and more of our friends and family had children, I started to worry this may never happen for us. I don’t think I had ever thought about it to seriously until that time. Then the scary question that all couples struggling to have kids are too scared to out loud. What if this never happens for us. What if we can’t have a baby.

I started to change. Small little withdrawals I think at first and now some 15 and half years in, now I feel like there is a gaping wide hole between me and the rest of the world. I got angry. The break came when we lost a pregnancy at the same time my cousin, who was like my little brother was battling and ultimately died of cancer. My world completely fell apart and what little of the old me I clung on to completely crumbled. I got white hot mad. I was sick of feeling like it was a dirty thing to be discussing, I started by sharing a blog on another one of my projects. I wrote from a place of pure pain and grief and the amount of reaction and support I got was overwhelming. Suddenly I knew what good could come from all this heart ache. The Childless Mother was born.

It proved that while it might be an uncomfortable subject for some to read, the people who need to feel supported are the reason I do this. The ones like me who are the only ones in their “circle” that are childless and feel completely alone. If I make one person feel a little better and less lonely I’m happy.

I have PCOS, my husband is fine. He could have children but he chooses me. He’s never been bothered too much one way or another. In some ways that’s good, but I still feel guilt as I know he would be an amazing dad. It’s so sad.

Well, in summary that’s me. I’m late 30’s now and our only chance is IVF. We are loosing weight and it’s going well but slowly.

I hope this page helps a little. Even if it’s just a place to find others that can truly appreciate the pain.

The old familiar ache

The longer I have gone without successfully getting the children I so desperately want, the more familiar I am with the pain that goes with that longing.

It’s not that I ever have gotten over it, more like I just have found a way to deal with it. Having the pain just becomes part of who I am. There are however still moments. Today was one of them.

As you may remember I changed my job last year I am working with my husband now and part of the services we offer is to hospitals. We install cubicle tracks etc.

Today we did a large job, at the maternity ward. YAY.

It was a tough job so most of my attention was on what we were doing, but the longer I was there seeing the pregnant bellies come in for their scans, hearing the heart beats from the scanning room. Oh my. My heart just ached.

Being in the rooms , the little baby cribs set up for their next patient. Hearing some of those little ones crying.

At one point I was pretty obsessed with maternity and baby programmes. I would watch them enviously wishing that one day I would be going through this, excitedly cradling my big belly, probably terrified of what was to come but equally excited to meet my baby. Today as I was wheeling one of the little cribs out of our way I suddenly thought;

“I’m never going to experience this”

That thought was like a kick to my stomach. And the ache that’s been dormant for at least a little while is back.

I was looking at the thank you cards pinned proudly to the wall, wondering what I would have done. If we had managed it, I would probably be sending most of the thank you cards online.

Such simple things that anyone that’s not struggled to have children perhaps would never understand.

I have to go back tomorrow. And I will do it because we often have to do things that hurt us. Seems like we have to just accept that as part of a childfree life. A pain I don’t think will ever go.

Just wonderful. Sigh.

Januaryish

Yea so. ……Meh!!

January for so many is a little blue. It’s after all the hype and festivities have past and it makes me feel a little low.

Since we lost my cousin a couple of years ago to Leukaemia in January it’s even worse. Timed with the due date of the baby we lost that same year.

Now this year I am loosing my fur baby. She’s nearly 16 and old she’s had a good life with us, but she’s my baby and I’m devastated. I don’t know how I’m going to make the decision to put her to sleep because she just keep looking at me with those big brown eyes and wags her tail. I know I have to be there with her when it happens but I’m sick with worry thinking about it. I wish she could talk to us. To tell us if it’s time. I kills me to let her go but I don’t want to be selfish.

I hate January.

I started the New Year all this is my year. Watch me go. Blah blah.

It’s all gone now. I’m flat af.

It’s my poor husbands birthday in January and I feel so bad for him because it’s awful for him too. Feel like we need to move his birthday πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ.

Anyway I just wanted a quick post to tell you I’m still here but I may be a little quiet for the next couple of weeks. I hope you can bare with me.

❀️❀️

Well it’s nearly another New Year.

As Christmas disappears for another year, my thoughts turn to the new shinny year ahead. So much promise and unknown adventures. But I am hesitant.

I’m not one to make resolutions. I’ve never really understood needing to wait to do something at the start of a new year. I think if changes can be made, there is no time like the present, not waiting for Jan 1st.

It’s not always been the case of cause. I pinned so many of my hopes on “this will be our year!” To only be left bitterly disappointed as another year ended childless. I suppose in a way I’m tainted.

As I imagine the new year, I don’t imagine me cradling our new baby, not like I once did. I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling of the promise of the year ahead. I get a feeling of almost desperate certainty that 2019 will not end with our baby finally arriving, but instead another year of trying to find a way to accept this.

I have had a lot of big changes to my life this year, leaving a career of 15 years and starting my own business, trying to fight to get to the IVF weight I just never seem to be able to reach. With this year being added to a number of difficult ones, loosing my cousin and loosing another baby, I do sometimes wonder how I can find a smile.

It’s true to say I’m not the same Sharron that I was four years ago. Like my family, I’m broken. I’m broken from the grief of loosing Gavin, something I never believed would happen until it did. I hate cancer for that. I’m broken from the missing heart beats from the pregnancies that couldn’t survive in my body. I’m broken the loss of the dream, of being a family with children. The effort of trying. The complete and utter despair that comes from trying for all these years. I could be lost in this grief and never smile again, but somehow we do.

Here’s the thing, it’s a cheesy meme waiting to be posted that we don’t know how strong we have to be until that’s all that’s left. Focusing on the good in our lives. My wonderful husband, my mum, our families. Our nieces and nephew. All reasons to smile. Some days it takes tremendous strength to be “OK” but I think that’s sometimes what makes us warriors. I do often feel like I’m at war, with my body mainly. My anger, my sorrow, my fear are of cause all part of what we deal with, but my love, my sense of fun, my need to find my smile in the worst moments is bigger. It wins.

Is it fake? Sometimes. Show me anyone on this journey that hasn’t had to fake a smile here or there. Not just on this journey but in general. But a lot of the time it’s not. I’m fighting every day to find the positive in this. Not just New Years. Every day, Every bloody day!!

Dear Santa….

Another year has passed. I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life so there’s not much I can ask you for. Material things seem unimportant as long as I have warmth, shelter and food. So many don’t have these things so anything above this feels greedy. I do have something above this however that I am so incredibly desperate for.

A baby.

It may seem repetitive as I have asked for this for so long and in truth I almost didn’t ask at all this year but who knows how many more years I have that it’s even a possibility? I’m getting old in baby making years so they say. I don’t feel it. My brain still thinks I am 18 πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ.

As each year passes I’m resigned more and more to a life without a child. I try hard to focus on the good things in my life but the ache just won’t leave me. I watch with jealous eyes as families make plans for your big day, the activities and adventures they have, the pantos and nativities, theplans and parties. I watch some what displaced and out of reach. We just don’t fit in.

Each year I have wondered what the next will bring, the optimism that this will be our last as Childless, next year will be our year. As time moves on the optimism has died, so this year as I reflect on the ones before it I will actually change my Christmas list.

This year if you can’t bring us a baby, please bring me peace and acceptance. Make the pain I feel from the chips and breaks my heart from every child we have lost feel less. As we wake on Christmas morning I no longer want to mourn the loss and wonder what the day would have been with excited cries of “Santa’s been”. Let me be truly content with journey we have had to take.

I look forward to another day with my beautiful husband and hope that one day the above will happen.

Thank you, Merry Christmas β€οΈπŸŽ…πŸ»

Childless at Christmas ….. I’m broken.

I try really hard to carry on and don’t let the scars show but sometimes it’s hard.

I always find Christmas difficult although I absolutely love this time of year it’s bitter sweet. The reality of dealing with infertility has meant for me that I have built and armour around my heart. I tell myself I’m ok and to not think too much about the what ifs.

I do well at this normally.

Just now I’m failing miserably.

As my husband and I sat in our cosy little living room the other night, he was watching the tea time game shows he loves so much and shouting the answers (mainly right) at the TV like the contestant might hear him and I sat doing a 5D diamond art, I felt an over whelming sense of grief and loss. I don’t know what sparked it or why it flooded me with sadness but it did.

My mind wandered to what we may be doing as a family with children, certainly not what we were actually doing. Perhaps we would be doing homework or bath time and stories. Perhaps we would be colouring in with them or praying for a moments peace to be doing exactly what we were actually were doing having “me time” while they ran rampaged around the house. Maybe we would be watching a christmas movie together as we hung the decorations. ……. I can’t even continue to finish this line of thought in blog form. It hurts too much.

I bury those thoughts so deep that when they escape and I let my self wonder, I feel the crack in my amour and I cling on so tight to the tears that threaten. Not just the silent tears I have so often cried but the body wracking sobs that I hold in. I hold them so tight my head and throat ache from them.

It was made worse by reading a news article of a little baby around a month old murdered by his mother and step father while they were high. I’m completely broken by that little boy. The life he could have had if he was only born to someone like us that would have protected him, kept him safe, loved him. I don’t understand how the world is so cruel.

People often say that they can’t imagine how it feels to be going though what we and others like us have. I think the feeling is a simple one. To step back just for a few moments of your busy life, to look at your beautiful children doing what they are doing good and maybe the tear your hair out moments too. Now imagine what your life would be if they were never there.

I know some may glamourise our life, that we don’t know tired. We don’t know worry. We can just do what we want when we want but the fact is I would do anything to have my life turned upside down. No ones life is perfect. I know if we had kids we wouldn’t find it easy. It’s bloody hard. But nothing worth having is easy. I want so badly to know.

To hold a child that’s a little of me and my crazy family and part my husband and his family. It’s so sad that we may never know.

I know I’ll be ok. I will find a way of pulling my amour back into place and continue, after so long it becomes the norm for me. Still, every now and then, I do wonder just how it would feel to be complete. To have this hole in my heart repaired. I think that would be a relief.

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