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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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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».

We are a team. Thank you to my husband.

When we start to look for the positives and life plan b of it all the one thing I remain so thankful for is my husband.

Sometimes I think this infertility thing is harder on him, especially the pregnancies we have lost. The physical pain is with me, so that meant people asked me how I was doing not many really did Ben. He didn’t know how to deal with the loss of our babies any more than I did but somehow I think a lot of people expected him to just get on with it.

I think feeling helpless to make things any better for me. To not know what to do and then process how he was feeling himself is a lot. He couldn’t fix any of it, but him being there was enough for me.

He’s held my hand through my very lowest moments. He has pretty much held the pieces of me together when I have completely fallen apart. We have rebuilt together, often he says nothing about his own struggle.

There’s a lot of focus on mental health now and not using such terms as “Man up!” I am so incredibly pleased these conversations happen. It’s important for people to know they aren’t alone and it’s not a weakness to need help. You wouldn’t ask someone to mend a broken leg by “smiling more!”

Perhaps the infertility issues is still a delicate one to talk about between anyone but it seems especially so for men, certainly the idea of masculinity being linked to sperm count seems ridiculers to me but I get it. I myself have questioned my womanhood being linked to giving birth to a child.

There are probably men out there not sure how to deal with this journey and perhaps thinking they are saying the wrong thing at times. Frustrated that they can’t do more.

I’ve heard conversations of “that poor girl” after a miscarriage but rarely do I hear “that poor man”.

I’m so thankful that we have a good marriage, we are a team. He’s my best friend. At times we want to kill each other but who doesn’t after 15 years together?! After every set back and heartache we dust ourselves down and get back up. We try again.

My single biggest regret from all of this isn’t that I won’t be a mother. That makes me sad of cause, but it’s that he won’t be a father. He doubts if it’s for him even now, but I know for sure he would be the best dad.

He has such a big heart, he’s so kind. He’s a hard worker, we both have worked so hard for the things we have. Mainly because we want to travel πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I wouldn’t choose a different life even if I could, if it meant doing it with out him, no thank you.

I will always look forward to a future with him, no matter what it brings. Life doesn’t always go to plan. But we are finding a way of making the plan work for us and that’s a a start right?

The Childless Mother at Christmas

One of my first blogs. Happy 2 year anniversary Childless Mother Blog ❀️

The Childless Mother

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…

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Mental health day

So it’s World Mental Health Day. I didn’t want to let it pass without acknowledging the pain I know a lot of us are in and the battle we fight that perhaps no one knows about in our “real life” and maybe we don’t even know the effects that it can have on our mental health.

Having problems getting the family we crave can take its toll. The “this is our month” can only go so far when you are repeatedly slapped down each month. Accepting there is a problem at all takes courage to then continue and find a way to keep going or worse to decide to call it a day and accept life childfree is hard when having a child has been your dream.

I tried for years to put my brave face on and keep going but it did get to the point where I couldn’t hold on to it any longer and it seeped out. Anger was the emotion of choice for me. I was raging at everything and then I crashed and was so low. What was my purpose now? How did I live the life happening around me when I dreamed and wanted a different version so badly.

I wouldn’t ever say I had suffered from depression or anxiety before. I have people close to me that do so I know how it can take over your life, but not me I thought I had it all under control. Lol.

I did not. And admitting that was difficult for me. I was always the glass half full type of person. I would be the one pulling people around me up, motivating who I could. I didn’t realise just how badly I was dealing with everything.

There is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. It might be that those people close to you in your life don’t know you are struggling, but believe me they would want to if you could find the words. Even if you can’t do that, maybe find support through your doctors. Don’t try to do it alone. The little voices that are telling us we are defective and in my case worthless. They are wrong .

I’m doing a lot better now after some drastic changes in my life. I am not saying we all need to do that but it started with me being kinder to myself. To admit that it’s a pretty shitty hand we have been dealt and it’s ok to feel angry about that. I’m not OK all the time. I still feel sad. But I no longer feel like I’m worthless. That’s got to be progress right?

Birthday Blues …. getting older and still no baby!

On the 19th of this month it’s my 38th birthday.

Well …..FUCK!!!

Birthdays after 30 have been mentally difficult for me because the world tells you your fertility decreases rapidly after this time. Now here I am nearly 40 and still no baby and honestly I just want to not give a shit anymore.

Sorry this ones a bit sweary lol. Just the way I’m feeling.

I wanted to make a big deal of this birthday to take my mind off all the ones before it I had tried to ignore. The passing of time is painful.

I was fine, but then the last couple of days I just feel that anxiety again. That feeling of being on the verge of tears constantly. I’m fighting the urge to take to my bed and not get back up. I won’t of cause. If I start to do that then it will only get worse.

I’m going to try really hard to celebrate it. As we all should. Not everyone is afforded the luxury of another year, each year you grow older is a blessing.

It may seem silly. What’s the difference one day to the next. It’s not like in reality my eggs just suddenly dry up a little more the next day another year passes. Even sillier is that mine aren’t that great in the first place so age is only one factor.

I’m so close to acceptance. No children for us. I can feel it. But then something will happen to knock me back.

A random middle of the night thought of what will my later years look like. If I’m lucky enough to reach old age, will we be lonely? Who will come to visit us at Christmas and random Sundays? My brain is a torture device I’m sure of it.

So instead of enjoying the moments and the now of it all. Here I am worrying about a future I don’t even know will happen. I frustrate myself!!

So this year. I will take the weekend. Because it’s a Friday this year so of cause you get the whole weekend to celebrate!! I’m going to hope as always the Birthday Fairy knocks me up or leaves enough money so we can keep trying πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ.

Bloody 38!!! How did that happen ?!

Am I strong?

I talk about us being warriors a lot. I believe that 100%. How else do we get through the day like it’s all ok. When some days it just isn’t.

I do however think it’s ok to admit when you can’t be strong. So many people will say that, how brave, how strong we are and I appreciate those words so much. They give me actual strength. It doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t fall apart.

That’s ok too.

In the first few days after my last miscarriage it felt like I was sitting watching the world happen. Like I was removed from everything around me. Every time I tried to grasp what was happening I would feel the ache and loose control.

People talk about broken hearts. They use it to describe break ups and hardships. I have done this. Nothing compares to that pain, it’s not a metaphorical pain. It’s a physical one.

All the cliques feel true. It is a unique pain. Loosing a child you desperately long for. Going from a lifetime of possibilities of plans, to nothing. Worse than that for me, because I have lost our babies so early there is no record of them ever existing. No one would ever know their little hearts did beat at one time. Now mine beats slightly off, it is missing the beats of our children.

To survive I have built a shell almost, so that I don’t feel the pregnancy announcements, I don’t feel the words misspoken and I don’t feel the loss of the unlived life with our children. That’s by day.

Then by night, when it’s quiet and my thoughts are my only company my shell cracks. Often in the middle of the night I can be found silent tears falling onto my pillow. The bathroom is another place my shell crumbles.

Grief is a strange experience. I have heard it described as waves. I can relate to this. One moment I can be perfectly fine and then a wave hits me and I fall apart spectacularly. I’m not ashamed of these moments. I’m human.

I absolutely believe that we are warriors, but it’s ok for us to feel the pain we need to to move forward. I don’t want to forget that I was ever pregnant and only look forward, I can’t always be looking back either of cause but I owe it to my babies to not forget them.

I don’t have them in my arms. I never will. My nursery may always be empty. My arms may never know the joy of holding our children. It then becomes about how we survive it.

It’s really simple for me. I am able to continue. I am able to keep the strength to share to help others because I may be a broken warrior, but I’m a warrior all the same. I get most of my strength from my husband, we are a team. Life may not be going how we planned but even with what we have been through, we laugh far more than we cry.

I’m always going to fight to keep going, but it’s ok to allow a little sadness out. It’s perfectly acceptable to mourn what we have lost. I don’t need to be strong all of the time. I’m ok with that too.

The DUFF, weight loss for ivf and PCOS

Loosing weight for me is so desperately frustrating. I have all these reasons I should be doing it. Mainly because we want IVF but everything just seems like it’s gone to pot since my car accident in March.

I have always felt like the DUFF in my circle of friend. I don’t say that for cry’s of “no your not!!” It’s just the facts. I have carried a lot of insecurities over the years for the way I look and I spend a lot of time judging what is wrong with my appearance. I can honestly say I have never felt beautiful, no matter how many times my mum or husband tell me I am. They have to right?

What pisses me off is that I am a strong woman. I have faced some of the worst human experiences and am still standing. I have put a brave face on and worked through loosing my pregnancies and continued to try. I have dealt with the knowledge that I would probably never be a mother even though it’s a dream I have had from being a child.

I carried on the day before Gavin my cousin died after spending a night with him, the same night he was told he was going to die. My hearts never been so broken watching him struggle with that information. I loved him so much and cancer ripped him from us. I continued to breath after he actually died even though it hurt to even do that. My grief screams silently everyday. Mostly no one would know. I continue on.

I have it in me to fight. So why do I find it so hard to fight for myself? For my self esteem. Why do we look for the faults? It’s so easy to do that. I know I need to continue with the weight loss but equally I know that I need to find acceptance no matter my size. Find a way to feel like I look good, to ooze confidence. I am beginning to realise no amount of weight loss will do that for me. I have to do that for myself from the inside.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say. So I might not have a skinny arse, tiny waist but does that mean I am less than? Why does that make us feel so bad that we don’t always make that standard of beauty around us.

I have been struggling to keep motivated since the accident. I have since changed my job I’m doing more physical work now which means my appetite is insane so it’s been easy to eat off plan.

Things are finally settling down into a routine after a couple of months setting my company up. It’s going so well, actually smashing my targets but I’m worried I’m taking my eye off the weight loss plan.

I want to do it. I need to do it. I’m getting angry at myself for giving in to bad food choices and justifying them because I’m doing so much physical activity. I run much longer ….. my joggers are still as tight. Argghhhg!!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

I need to get a grip!!

Tomorrow is a new day ….. oh my goodness wish me luck. AGAIN πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ.

Baby clothes ….a weird hope.

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, I suspect I am not but I’m going to share anyway in case there are others like me feeling the same.

After all these years I have a huge urge to shop for nursery equipment and baby clothes. There! I said it. It’s out there.

I always imagined the months and weeks leading up to a birth, the excitement and preparation of the new arrival would be so wonderful. Part of that imagined scenario is the nursery and baby clothes.

In the early days I would look around these sections when I shopped alone and imagine being able to just buy anything remotely baby related to make up for all the time yearning.

When we did get pregnant and the few occasions that bean was a strong one and made it further into the pregnancy. I even went as far as buying a couple of football related items to give to my husband. They sat in a bottom draw for years until we moved house the last time and I had to let them go for my sanity. The bottom draw became a shrine and that didn’t feel good. I was tormented by them.

It’s hard to let go of these items when you see the moment clearly. A happy moment I would have shared with my husband. Handing him a Newcastle United onesie with Phillips on it. Telling him we finally were going to be parents.

I’m often surprised by the way some things affect me and then others that I would brace myself for turn out to be not too bad. For example the other day we were doing some work on a maternity ward, a couple were signing in to give their baby as I waited to see if we could carry the work out. The ache I carry everyday burned so badly at that moment. I will never experience this. I braced myself for the whole way to the job and actually it wasn’t too bad, once the initial pain passed I was ok.

I was a little jealous looking at all those baby bumps and going into the delivery suite thinking I have no clue what it’s like to be here and I want to be here so badly. The little units with the little knitted hats waiting for a beautiful head to cover. But I left feeling a little sad, but ok.

A few hours later we went to a shopping centre to buy some new clothes for our holiday next week. We are going to Prague 😁😁. The fitting room of cause had to be in the middle of the baby clothes. There was a little tiny pair of skinny jeans. They were for 0-3 months and were the cutest thing I have ever seen. They fit in my hand.

As I waiting for my husband to try his clothes on, I watched as families browsed the clothing and selected items and I felt such a huge wave of grief. Grief for a life I am not getting to live.

It’s like that movie sliding doors, in an alternative world I didn’t loose our babies and my husband and I are going through all these normal life experiences and my heart isn’t broken. We cradled my huge bumps while our little one kicked away and grew safe and strong protected by my body, we argued over furniture and colours for the nursery we spent time creating for them, we were able to buy the beautiful clothes for our children. That version of us doesn’t feel like a fraud for even picking up those little jeans. That version on me might have bought them in the right size for our children. You would feel the overwhelming love in our home. Love of our family.

There is a lot of love anyway. In the real version of our lives I am so happily married. I’m so completely in love with my husband fifteen years on. We get to travel a lot. We have nice things. We are happy. We have a lot to be thankful for. We just have this one part that hurts every day, it’s become part of our lives. Some days it’s just like white noise irritating but I can ignore it. Some days my grief screams so loudly that my chest aches. Those are the days I wish we didn’t have to experience it. I wish I could find a way to let go and be ok with it and that small things didn’t eat away at me , like perfect little jeans for a perfect baby we might never have.

A Moment For My Husband.

I am an open book.

I share myself because it helps me and I have friends and family all over the world online that support us. My blog started as a diary to help me through the infertility journey, I didn’t expect to reach so many with it.

Some people don’t understand the enthusiasm to share, they are perhaps very private people. I respect that. I am not that person, it didn’t help me to keep it to myself.

I have always been a heart on my sleeve type person. I trust probably too easily even though I have been burnt by that, by people who would choose to use your vulnerability against you. I still won’t change. It started because I just wanted the painful thoughts to go through me and out into the world. I continue because people sharing our pain gain comfort in my words and knowing they aren’t alone. I’m proud of that. I am protective of our community.

My husband supports me no matter what, though he is someone that shares very little. His circle is small and if you are in it you are lucky. He’s incredibly kind hearted, funny, supportive and just my best friend. I know that’s a sappy over used phrase, but it’s the truth. We have been together over 15 years and he still makes my stomach flip.

Those of you on this journey will know it’s hard on your relationship. My husband wasn’t someone who wanted kids desperately, he was happy if it was us two or if we make it to a three (maybe four) well he would be happy too. So I haven’t ever felt pressured massively. I have felt guilt, of cause, because he won’t have a child because I can’t give him that and believe me when I say he would make an amazing father.

Both of us were raised by awesome women, our dads left us young. You would think that would scare him off being a father himself but it doesn’t. The close relationship with his mother moulded him into the wonderful man he is today. He would be a great dad, our kids would be so lucky. He’s kinda cool. Don’t tell him I said that lol.

The focus when couples go through this is often on the woman, perhaps because on the whole we will share how it is effecting us a little more. I found as I have written before, when I miscarried our babies everyone rallied around me I was bearing the physical pain as well as the mental but he felt it too. Maybe even worse because he could only watch helplessly. Comforting someone you love that much, falling apart in front of you is a horrible position to be in. It’s hard to know how to help. People often don’t know what to say to him, maybe they worry he won’t want to talk, maybe they would be right. He will often say “I’m fine!” When I know he’s not.

I always know how lucky I am. I remind myself everyday. We are a team. Together we can face anything. We have had some trying moments, particularly over the last two years. All of that came crashing around me the last month. I feel like he has literally picked me up and put me on his back to keep us going. I can’t ever thank him enough for that. I haven’t felt able to face to world, it feels like he’s protecting me from it, even though the big changes we are experiencing are terrifying. He probably would just like to give me a shake. He hasn’t he has just been there for me.

Infertility can take so much from you. It’s so important to acknowledge and appreciate the good things. Just be thankful for what you do have. Today I wanted show that to him, to just take a moment to say we are a team and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have. Life’s very short, I would feel sad if when I look back at this time all I could think about was the struggle and pain. There has to be more. It might not be the life we imagined but it’s ours and It’s still wonderful. ❀️❀️

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