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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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Christmas fertility

Christmas And Still A Childless Mother

It’s been a year since I wrote “The Childless Mother at Christmas”, a blog that poured out the frustration I was feeling at that time. I have connected with so many wonderful people over the last year. I feel less alone in this journey.

As the last of days of summer are coming to a close, I can start to feel the knot in my stomach. It starts because of my birthday because when it arrives, I know there is another year passing without a baby. This time of year seems worse than others as the focus is on Children.

Halloween, social media fills with adorable and some slightly disturbing images of children ready to tackle trick or treating. I still buy the sweets, we never seem to get any and let me tell you mixing that feeling of loss for not having a child to take part in the events happening around us and that big bag of chocolates never ends well. Usually it ends with me face down in a mountain of empty Cadburys wrappers promising to do better next year.

When the last cobweb is swept away on we go to the sparking lights and bangs of bonfire night, events all around me take place with chunky little faces, red noses from the cold and wrapped up like the marshmallow man, excited to see the displays with their families, meanwhile I am at home trying to convince my 14 year old neurotic Labrador that the world isn’t ending, it’s just fireworks and she can come out from under the quilt!

As the shimmering sparkles disappear then the dread really does eat away at me, the windows around my town start to shimmer with twinkle lights and the children in my life are at defcon one of excitement as the big man’s arrival is imminent, Christmas is coming. Christmas as a childless couple in our mid-thirties is not what I was expecting to be dealing with. I thought for sure by now we would have a family.

You see every year around this time even if I wouldn’t ever say it out loud, I made a little Christmas wish, I wanted Santa to bring us just one thing. A baby. At first I was optimistic it felt very possible that we would get our baby someday …. Just be patient.

As the years rolled by and we stood among our friends on New Year’s Eve watching Big Ben ring in the New Year. I would think ….. please be next year. Please don’t let me have to go through another year of this. Just one success, just one baby.

This period of time is hard. There is an urge to shut yourself in at home and wait for it to pass. To stop looking at the nativity pictures wondering what our child would have been. To not feel like we are missing out on the Christmas fun at Santa’s grottos and Polar Express steam train rides, after all if a childless couple turn up to sit on Santa’s lap alone….. Question’s get asked!!

The sad fact is we are big kids, we love Christmas. Imagining what Christmas morning would be like us sat around our living room, excited cries of thank you for the latest in technology, for them to then play with the box it came in!

Enough is so enough!

For the first time this year we are being a little selfish, we are locking ourselves away at home just the two of us, for many reasons but mainly the best of all is that we like so many other people out there run around all festive season and don’t get to really enjoy the bits we want to. We want to have a little alone time just the two of us. Is that so bad?

I refuse to let us not being able to have children define what we are for the rest of our lives, we have to find a way to move forward. I am so luck that my marriage is a good one, we still have so much fun together even after 15 years, he’s my best friend. This year we are going to spend the day at home, maybe in our PJs who knows. We might not even have a Christmas lunch. Maybe we will just eat chocolate. Because we can!

It’s time to start to try and embrace the cards we have been dealt, to find the things that are good and meaningful in our lives. As hard as this journey can be, there has to be a way of healing and finding a positive in it. We have to find a new version of the life we imagined, a one without children.

Maybe I will put my doggies into a nativity this year, who knows!

I hope this holiday season isn’t too difficult for you, I hope that you can find joy in what you do have and that next year does bring you your dreams. Until as always I am here to lend a hand to hold xx

Thank You for Making it OK for me to Talk About Infertility! 

When I started to share our story on my original blog “City Gurl Gone Country” I did it from a place of grief and a little bit of anger. 

I started by sharing a meme on Instagram, venting in truth about the pain I was in. I could tell it made some people in my life uncomfortable and that made me so furious! 

Why did I want the world to know about my miscarriages? Was it for attention?! 

It made me realise just how much the subject is taboo. Something that people often feel should be dealt with quietly and privately. But at that point in my life, after losing 8 pregnancies I could not take the silence anymore! Why should I??

 I felt I wanted to scream out from the rooftops how much it hurt and how desperate I was, to make people understand that I couldn’t just give up!! That I was battling my own body to become a mother at any cost. 

My response to those asking why I was talking about it was simple. They were my babies, it is my grief and it is my god damn choice to talk about it. I’m blowing the blinking doors of the “behind closed doors” approach. I wanted the world to know about my babies and for others to know I feel your pain!!

The response from other couples having gone through the same thing was overwhelming. It was in that moment I knew I had done the right thing, that after all those years of feeling alone deciding to scream out about our pain – this was the right thing for ME to do. I was being selfish for once. 

At Christmas this year I wrote a blog called the Childless Mother and again the response was positive and I received message after message thanking me for talking about it. I knew I wanted to share more, to help more to not let the last 12 years of heartache be for nothing. 

The Childless Mother blog started. Within three months we have reached over 3k followers. Small change by some online standards but to me it means everything. To offer a hand to hold through such a stressful time is so amazing and if I help one person to feel just a little better that day for finding me. I am pleased I shared our story. 

I wanted to just take a moment to thank you all for following the blog and the social media pages. Please continue to share the page with your friends, you never know who might need the support. 

I know it isn’t easy for everyone to talk as openly as I do, but being able to see others that you can relate to I hope this helps. I hope I can find the right words, to bring you comfort when you need it and perhaps to encourage those around you to understand how you may be feeling. 

Sending so much love to you all. My life hasn’t taken me in the direction I thought it would but it’s a miracle anyway. 

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for us all. ❤❤❤

Two week wait, symptom madness!!! 

There is a wonderful world of possibilities that opens up when we first start trying for children. The exciting and mildly terrifying visions of what the future will bring are amazing. We start with such hope and optimism, we dare to dream of what the child will be like, start discussing things like names and what characteristics s/he may have. Pray that they get the best of both of you. 

You start conversations about the future with “If we have a baby by then ….”

My husband and I were ready to extend our little love bubble. I imagined how he would be with the baby, how he would teach s/he all about Newcastle football and motorbikes. How he would pass on to them what it means to be a good person. All the things he learned from his own mother.  

I am confident of very little in this world, but that we would be good parents was something I was convinced. I held onto this dream for 12 years. 
I built our family in my dream …….But still I had my doubts even from the very early days. 

In the early stages, I had always had a little voice that told me that I would struggle to have kids. From a young age I had read somewhere that 1 in 3 women would struggle with infertility and it stuck with me. My two friends already had kids …… that left me. It was such a simple and largely silly thought but it stuck with me. 

As the weeks turned to months and then into years. As Mother Nature gifted my body with our beans then cruelly snatched them away from us, my hope faded and the “crazies” set in. 

The “crazies” are what I call how my brain reacted during the two week wait. During my darkest moments I truly believe that my brain wasn’t working properly. I was so very desperate to get a positive pregnancy test I watched symptoms every moment of the day looking for something that indicated I might be pregnant or worse frequent bathroom trips to check to see if my period had arrived killing my hope for another month. 

I would troll the internet on the popular baby sites looking for anything that matched what I was feeling and even worse when I was late ….. thanks PCOS! I had spent so much energy on symptom watching, that I am convinced that I would go to the little girls room a lot just to say I was peeing more frequently. I was too scared to take a pregnancy test, they had become my enemy. Even now I avoid that aisle at the supermarket!!

I googled “most common early pregnancy symptoms” over and over. Some of them I did have because PCOS is a cruel bitch, others I convinced myself I had. I spent untold amounts of time working out due dates “if it was this month”. Still most months it ended the same, with me crying in a bathroom either a negative pregnancy test in my hand or my period had arrived.  

The total disappointment in that moment is hard to describe. It’s crippling. What follows just adds salt to the wound, terrible pain, sickness and sometimes I would even pass out! This cruel twist on an already crappy situation, it effects every day life. My social plans are ruled by my cycle calendar. Worst of all, every month I am reminded of how I am failing at being a woman. 

The fact is if I had successfully conceived it would be very obvious in time. Mother Nature makes sure the body tells you when she bestows a beautiful bean with you. The fact is that symptoms are all the same as pre period symptoms for someone with PCOS and other fertility problems is a brutal joke. So we must wait to know the truth and your sanity can be tested while we do. 

We wait…….Waiting for cycles to start tracking, waiting for monthlys to arrive, waiting for appointments, waiting for results, waiting to be seen, waiting for symptoms to show, waiting to start treatments, waiting to get the treamtment in the first place, waiting for the right cycle days …..waiting for your heart to heal, waiting for our arms to not feel so empty.

We WAIT
AND

WAIT

AND WAIT!!!

I wish I had a magic wand to stop anyone from going through this pain. Sadly I think it’s something we must endure to get our dream. For most of you it will result in a beautiful baby all the more precious because you had to fight for them. For others, such as myself, I feel like every month has been a chink in my armour, a tigress gaining her stripes. A fucking warrior to still be standing after it all!!

I don’t know what the future holds for me, I do know that I have finally found a way to move past the “crazies”. Will I ever have a month where I don’t secretly hope? Who knows. But I do know I can get through anything now and I no longer need to track everything. I’m leaving the rest to fate, for now! 

Until next time, I wish you lots of baby dust xxxx

NYE WISH 🌟⭐️🌟

As the last chime of midnight on Big Ben rings, as we welcome in another year. I stand in the middle of shouts of “Auld Langs Syne” and never to the right lyrics I might add.

 There’s a moment every year where I stand in my husbands arms whispering “Happy New Year” when everything slows down and it’s like we are alone and the rest of the world disappears, it’s just us two. 

The world slips away and I close my eyes and wish, just one wish. 

“PLEASE LET THIS YEAR BE OUR YEAR, let me be standing with a baby when the next New Year rings in!!” 

I would wish it with all my heart and then return to the customary hugs and kisses of the New Year and act like I was all good. 

What a wonderful event New Year is, saying good bye to the last year, washing away all the previous year struggles and starting a new clean slate. 

Something’s sadly can never be washed away with that chime of midnight and 2016 is one of those years for my family, with exception of the birth of my beautiful niece the rest of the year has been the worst I have ever experienced. 

We will have to move forward but the scars will remain long after the songs and merriment have finished. The one big difference for me this NYE is that I won’t be starting the year with that wish. 

This year, instead of desperately wishing for something I can not have. I am going to be thankful for what I do have. The same person in my arms for the chime of midnight that I have for the last NYE’s, Fantastic friends who have been there for me no matter what. My mother who has felt the pain of every loss with me. For you lovely readers who have shown me so much support through my City gurl page and now here. 

To those of you still on that journey. Perhaps this IS your year. Maybe you embark on IVF or similar treatments, maybe you will get your bundle of joy. You keep making that wish! For as many of the times I wished for a baby and it failed, the years have brought me so many other joys and I don’t regret any of the time spent wishing. I hope you will get your dream come true in 2017.  

This year my hopes may be for different things but I will never forget my angel babies. It’s just time for me to move on to the next chapter. 2017 holds a fantastic holiday to New York and Dominican Rep. I am hoping and praying for a smaller waist 🙈🙈 by then!!! 

What ever your plans are for this NYE I hope you have a fantastic evening, enjoy the possibilities that 2017 may bring …. and as we ain’t pregnant maybe a glass or ten of bubbly!! Xoxo 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS, MAY 2017 BE A GOOD ONE WHEREVER YOUR JOURNEY TAKES YOU! 

The parade of the Brave faces. 

The big day has come and gone, our bellies are a bit fatter and you can not help but feel a little sad it’s all done for another year. 

This years been a tough one, after losing my cousin, who was more of a little brother to me. He passed away in Jan from a rare form of cancer. He was 27. We are totally broken without him. 

I was dreading sitting around the table feeling the empty space where he should be. He made the event so much fun as he was crazy. Even the Christmas’s I was with my husbands family he would FaceTime or text me. His absence was heavy on the day. 

We managed to get through it and it’s amazing how much my “brave face” has gotten me through over the years, all that practice came in useful. Yesterday was the first day I noticed what my families “brave face” looked like. It’s also the first time mine wouldn’t stay in place and I couldn’t help the tears that fell. 

We smiled, we even laughed, we shared memories but we mainly missed him. We did the best we could and sometimes that’s the best that can be expected. My aunt and uncle showed amazing strength as did the rest of our family.  The urge to stay in bed and not bother was overwhelming so I feel so proud of us that we did IT. 

When you are going through fertility treatment or having difficulty conceiving. Your brave face becomes more of a perminant fixture at these difficult times of the year. As people fuss the children in your family, perhaps cooing over the new arrivals that ache from your empty arms seems unbearable and a perfect smile stays put while you play the part of a happy person. If anyone were to look closely they would see the pain lurking behind that smile. 

This year I noticed the brave faces of my family because I was looking for them, I wondered how many other years I had missed them. I recognised the pain filled eyes behind the smiles and laughter. You never know what’s going on in other people’s life’s. How many other moments were they struggling and I had missed it? Just as they had missed mine. Sometimes it’s those closest to you that don’t have the strength to find the right words to tell you they are in pain.

Many people I have spoken to since writing about our journey, their family and friends do not know they are even trying for children. Often plagued by chants of “when are you two doing to become three??” Or “You’re not getting any younger!” Would be a like a punch to the stomach of someone who just wants to scream.  

WE ARE TRYING!!!!!!!!! WE ARE!!!!!!

I don’t expect you to offer tea and sympathy to all the childless members of your family or indeed those of childbearng age who may be trying for another child unsuccessfully, just in case. But to consider that perhaps if asking the questions are appropriate. Consider –  is it your business? Such a simple question can seem harmless to you but in reality to someone unable to have a family it cuts like a knife. 

Often much of what has been said to me over years has come from a good place, it still hasn’t stopped me imagining drop kicking them, while a perfect smile and well rehearsed answers falls out of my mouth. BRAVE FACE. 

Yes brave faces are useful. But if you can recognise one, offer a friendly ear or hug. That extra hug or kind word may be the thing they need to get through a difficult day.  Rather than quizzing someone on their family plans perhaps find other more interesting topics of conversation. I always like to talk holidays ….. holidays are the ultimate distraction from all things baby for me!

It’s the support of my friends and family but most of all my husband that got me through. Find someone you CAN talk to, to let that face slip. It’s exhausting pretending to be ok all the time, it’s ok to admit you’re not sometimes. 

I hope your Christmas went well and you found strength in those around you. 

The Childless Mother at Christmas

I am mother, I am simply a mother without a child. I have all the Mumma bear instincts and skills, I am ready to go, to create a home, to love and protect my family above anything else.

From a very young age I knew I wanted a big family, I loved my dolls, carefully wrapping them in woolen blankets and kissing their little heads goodnight, I imagined what my children would look like. That’s how long I have been preparing to be a mother.

It simply was not meant to be. Sometimes, there are things that no amount of love and hope can cure.

Every year, when the nights draw in and the twinkle lights start to appear in homes like happy little dancing fairies, my thoughts often turn somber and the little ache that has been present over the year, just seems to sting a little more at Christmas Time.

For the 12 years that we have been on this journey I felt so alone at this time of year, while families celebrated with nativity plays and sharing their children’s excited faces, naughty elf’s, Santa visits etc. I watched with envy, but felt completely and utterly alone even when I was surrounded with love.

While this year has been hard for other reasons, I have found a sort of peace on this subject. Having experienced the rawest grief this year for losing my cousin, I now understand that the process of infertility and losing my babies is also a form of grief. Not in the same way as losing an actual person, more that I am grieving for the what could have been, my imagined baby and what he or she would have grown to be. Its allowed me to let go a little, to move on.

I spent a good deal of time online reading success stories and looking for help with our situation, anything that might help us to get pregnant. The longer it took, the losses we experienced I started to look for other stories, for those ones that didn’t get their dream. If we couldn’t do it, how was I ever meant to put myself back together? How had anyone done this and moved on with their lives? There were not many of these stories and that made me feel worse. Why was I the only one taking so long to get pregnant?

For this reason, now I have been through it and pretty much come out of the other end. I wanted to share this blog for a while, because with the big day approaching and all the wonderful family time we have ahead of us, I want anyone in my position to know you are not alone. You will get through it! You are strong enough to do it!

I adore spending time with my nieces and nephew, however there was a time where I found it so hard that I would be exhausted from the show I had delivered, we all have that “I’m fine and happy” face. I felt terrible guilt for this. The desperate ache of wanting a child mixed with guilt would be hard to process and I never spoke of it.

Of cause, it’s not your family and friends fault, but it isn’t yours either. No one would wish infertility on themselves, we didn’t ask for it and you may find yourself making excuses a lot of the time to hide how hard it is on you. No one can truly know how you are feeling so it’s up to you to take care of yourself because it’s hard for some to understand how broken you feel.

Sadly, our story hasn’t ended with a bundle of joy, and while I don’t think I will ever not want a child, I have learned to deal with the devastating ache and feeling so terribly broken. I can see a happy future without children in it, I am so lucky to have my husband who is my rock and soul mate.

For many of you still on the “trying to conceive journey”, hopefully most of you will end up with your miracle. The journey is a tough one but you will get through it. I hope that you get something positive out of it, or like me, that it makes you appreciate what you have. Be as forgiving as you can, many will say the wrong thing. I have found that there is no right thing to say so that’s no one’s fault and that’s OK too.

I might not have ended up where I thought I would be, but I have a good life. Our babies have the most wonderful angel with them now, taken far too soon from us but I know he will be looking out for us and them. Life is far too short, it’s said so often but it is so very true. I wish you all the luck in the world and truly hope there are Christmas Miracles for everyone this year!!

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