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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

The Childless Father on Fathers Day

Mother’s Day has been and gone and for the most part I survived this year unscathed. I thought of our babies, I wondered how my morning would have been different. As I always do, but I survived. 

Father’s Day is approaching and normally it passes without celebration.  Both my husband and I didn’t have dad’s growing up. Our mothers would get the cards and the thanks for being awesome enough to be both father and mother to us. This year I’m thinking about my husbands experience, what he’s missing because I can’t give him children. 

I feel the men on this fertility journey can often be over looked. Not least because in my husbands case, he won’t talk or say anything more than he isn’t bothered either way, he would be happy just us. Recently he has started to feel that he would like a child . A boy specifically but that’s for another blog lol. 

I don’t feel like he’s so wrapped up that this day will plague him like the alternative has me in the past 12 years, but my heart aches for the moment I would see him holding our child. So I know he must have thought of what the life would look like too. 

He loves his motorbikes, specifically Harley’s. Would he take him (or her like it or not we don’t get to choose 🙄🙄) to rally’s and events. Would he spend endless hours kicking a football around with them, setting up dens in the living room, camp outs in the front garden, wrestling on my new sofa that I would no doubt scold them for doing. 

We have a day to celebrate the fathers out there, and I feel like my husband, Ben should be celebrated too. He would be a wonderful father. 

I wanted to take a moment to say I am thinking about those who may find Sunday hard. You aren’t alone. Try and let your other halfs know you need some love. There is no shame in asking for a hand to hold. 

I hope that soon we are all able celebrate these days, I hope the world gets to see what an amazing father Ben would be. 

❤❤

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Motivated by a friend – PCOS Weight loss

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Tracey Yale, my friend who motivated me to start my journey again.

I started to share my fertility story and it warmed my heart to receive so many messages of support and people going through the same thing. While I am moving through my grief and looking to the future The one thing that I have never really fully concurred is my weight. I don’t think I will ever be able to let go of the dream of having a family until I have at least tried this.

I feel my story is one so many could tell, in a way my weight has been my protector against all the pain I associate with getting pregnant. Especially after loosing our babies.

Well this week I am back at it and after my first weigh in showed I had lost 11lbs on the programme in one week! I am so excited to see what I can achieve. I am no fool – I know slow and steady wins the race. There will be hard weeks and there will be good weeks. I will share them all with you!

I also believe having success stories out there to give you motivation and see others with the same condition succeed is so important. I am luck that I have a friend Tracey Yale who is one such success story, she is a beautiful person inside and out! She has worked so hard to get to where she is now and so has motivated me to follow her, with her help.

I am going to share a few stories like this over the coming weeks so please if you have a story to share with my readers then get in touch!

Here’s Tracey’s Story:

I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 25 but pretty much knew for a few years prior that I had it as my younger sister had been diagnosed quite young and I had all the same symptoms. When I first got told about the potential fertility issues it shook me slightly but having just started dating my now husband it wasn’t relevant until the years ticked by and ‘that’ conversation came up. We decided we would deal with whatever came our way and if it wasn’t to be we’d just go on lots of holidays. We got married in October 2013 at my absolute heaviest wearing a size 24 wedding dress and not caring in the slightest.

I was marrying my best friend and was so so happy. I came off the pill almost immediately and the old niggle returned along with the lack of a period. I knew quite quickly that any initiation into fertility treatment would be met with ‘you need to lose weight’.

On 10th February 2014 I walked into my local Slimming World group with zero hope and no real motivation, the consultant was talking about how they went for a meal in summer and one near Christmas, I told myself there was no point listening to the details as I wouldn’t be attending by summer let alone Christmas. I’d tried and failed so many times to lose weight so why would it work this time?

Despite my head telling me I couldn’t do it, my heart told me different and I forced myself (yes actually forced myself, whinging for a full 2 weeks how I just wanted a take away or chippy tea) and after those initial 2 weeks noticed that I was actually doing pretty well, week on week I set myself a small, achievable target for the following Monday and made it my mission.

Before I knew it I was actually enjoying it, trying new food, being more active and losing weight. In May 2014 my periods returned, I was so overjoyed I told a restaurant full of people on my return back from the ladies room, by September 2014 I’d lost just over 6 stone and was feeling great.

The month came to a close and I’d been feeling tired, lethargic and my nipples felt like I’d got friction burn, so to try and stamp out the excitement that was rising I took a test to rule it out, I couldn’t allow myself to dream that far incase it came to nothing.

My test was positive!!

On 1st October 6st 4lb lighter I was pregnant. Suffice to say I wouldn’t believe it until a scan had proved it. The weeks ticked by and scan after scan kept confirming that my baby was growing well and healthy.

On 21st May 2015 my amazing dream baby boy Joey was born all 8lb of him. During my pregnancy I’d indulged in cake and ice lollies and put near enough all of my weight back on but now I had a new purpose so I returned back to Slimming World 2 weeks later and today have a very beautiful 2 year old and am 10 and a half stone lighter. I never dared to believe this would be possible or that I could achieve any of the above but it can happen.

Does My Infertility Make You Uncomfortable?

Over the last 12 years I have found myself repeatedly making excuses and comforting others because of how my infertility affects them.

It started after my first miscarriage when on my return to work I had to explain why my mother had called into to work for me apparently, it was unclear when my mother told them that I had lost a pregnancy and was not in any state to speak to anyone. They were confused as to why I hadn’t called in.

I witnessed the call it was clear enough to me, at that time I was curled up in my bed waiting for the pain to pass. Not particularly wanting to continue breathing much less speak to my manager.

As time went on and my friends started their own families around us, I always knew when someone was pregnant because I could feel the awkwardness in the conversation. There have been times when I have just out right asked, “Are you pregnant?”

I can honestly say, even though I did feel jealous, I was always happy for them. At first I would say “Oh don’t be silly, don’t feel bad telling me! I am fine!” Me comforting them through the experience of having to tell their defective friend they were getting their bundle of joy after only a couple of months of trying.

I never felt angry at first, I was genuinely happy for them. It was only as time moved on I started to feel a twinge of annoyance. Not at the fact they were pregnant, but at the fact I was the one that had to brush it off like it wasn’t a massive thing. To make them feel less uncomfortable with the conversation, like it was my fault.

I would hear that things being said about us like, “Well we can’t stop living our lives just because they can’t have a baby” and while this was true, we would never expect anyone to stop their lives for us. I felt like I wanted to scream out – YOU DO GET THAT WE HAVEN’T ASKED FOR THIS?? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED TO US, WE HAVE NO CONTROL?! NO ONE IS ASKING YOU TO STOP ANYTHING!

I know that it is an awkward thing to do, to tell someone that you care about you are getting the dream they are being tortured to try and achieve. If I could go back and talk to those friends now, having come out the other side of my grief. I would encourage them to talk to me as they would any other friend. The worst is having it dropped on you when you didn’t know they were trying.

I am not suggesting that anyone in my life should share their plans with me about starting a family, no. I am talking about those close friends that you normally share everything with. I feel that knowing that it’s likely to be happening lessens the blow, and in truth if I had known that I would have reacted badly to the news when it eventually came, it would have given me time to prepare.

It’s no one’s fault, but me feeling like I had to make excuses and act like it was all ok made it worse. Sometimes it isn’t OK and if your friend is a good one they will understand if you have a few tears with them, they will know that you are happy for them and that you will love their baby just as you love them. But that in that moment, just for a few minutes you might feel the need to feel a bit sad.

Everyone else in their life will no doubt be excited by the news, is it so terrible to let you react how you need to? To give you a hand to hold and be honest. Being pregnant is often a daunting and scary prospect and I wanted to be there for my friends. It was hard to do that when they were looking at you like you might have a breakdown, or even worse steal the baby!

We aren’t handed a “How to Guide”, we don’t know how to handle these situations any more than the rest of the world. I do know that I don’t feel the need to make those excuses anymore, I am not over whelmed with making sure that other people don’t feel uncomfortable because of our infertility, like it was a choice we have make.

One of the reasons I talk so openly on the subject, is that I want it to be less awkward for people. There is so much taboo surrounding fertility and miscarriage and loss. People don’t know what to say but I believe that’s largely because we don’t talk about it so how could they know?

So, if you have a close friend like me that you share your world with, please be honest with them. Let them in on the journey and if you can, let them know it’s OK to feel sad. Let them deal with the information in their own time, if there is anger don’t take it personally. Give them time to be happy for you.

I Am Sorry We Can’t Have Children. A letter to my husband.

Today is our anniversary, 8 wonderful years married and 14 years together. I am proud of those years, not because it’s a long time because there are marriages and relationships into 50, 60 years. But I am proud because we are as happy now as we were then, the years have flown it feels like only a few months. I feel like that’s an achievement, we work hard at our marriage.

Our life would be perfect, except for one cloud.

I can’t give you children.

This is the only black cloud in an otherwise blue sky. I wanted to say how sorry I am about that. You are always so wonderful about it, if it is just us two you are happy with that. But it makes me so sad to think you might never be a father.

Our own fathers left us, we share that too. We were raised by amazing women. You were taught to love and respect the women in your life and would do anything for us, I am sure of this. Just as I would do anything for you and I wish that I could do this one thing.

I know you would make an amazing dad, I am not sure you believe this. It is true. You only have to look at the children around you and how they adore spending time with you ……. and your motorbikes.

I often imagine what it would be like to watch you with our children, playing football, nurf gun fights, camp outs in the back garden, sleepy Sundays, sneaky rides out on your motorbikes without mummy knowing. I am certain s/he would be a daddy’s boy/girl. I would act like it wasn’t ok but I would love it really. My little family.

I know you worry about how it would change us, but I think we would be fine. Tired? sure. Grouchy?….. probably. But happy? I am certain of this because we make a good team. The one thing that all this time has given us is a clear idea of how we would raise our kids making sure we are on the same page. And oh, how they would be loved by both of us.

I am so sorry that I am the reason you might not get to experience fatherhood. I wish I could change what we have been through. I wish that I could change what I have and we could have had a normal progression from two to three. I can’t.

I am sorry you have had to go through losing our babies helplessly, uncertain of what to do to make it better while dealing with your own sadness. You did great, all I ever needed was your arms to hold me, to make me stronger.

If all we ever are, is two plus fur babies, I want you to know that’s ok. Because what we have is everything. I am grateful for that. I am happy to travel the world with you, have lazy mornings and late nights. Dance parties in our car to old school rap and hip-hop, acting like we are cool and failing miserably. To just stand still a while and appreciate what we do have, each other.

Happy Anniversary, can’t wait to see what the years ahead of us bring.

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. ❤❤❤

Mother’s Day without a child

Mother’s Day is approaching, with it usually comes a familiar feeling of apprehension and dread.

For weeks before this one day, little reminders pop up more and more frequently. Slowly the shelves in the supermarkets start to fill with chocolates and gifts, to the constant flow of e mails reminding you to cherish the mothers in your life and buy the products they suggest.

It’s a bitter sweet sort of day for me, of cause I want to celebrate my wonderful mother and mother in law who both deserve to be treated on this special day. At the same time, I fight the urge to take to my bed turning off all forms of social media and clutching a bottle of vodka in the hopes I will simply sleep the day away. Bit dramatic?

Sadly, with the many, many ways in which companies can contact you now, there is no escaping the day! I certainly don’t feel the day should be cancelled because mums should absolutely be celebrated. It’s up to me to find a way to get through it!

It can be a distressing day for a lot of people for many reasons, not just those of us struggling to have a family. The day is often spent trying to hold back tears, with a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball. A lump so bad I often have pain from holding it together. Feeling like the grief will consume me whole. By the end of the day I would be left feeling exhausted.

Deleting the day from my calendar and staying in bed is appealing, but it isn’t real life. I am finally at a point now that I can face these days with at least some kind of composure. Processing the grief of losing my babies and accepting that we would not have children has been a slow and heart-breaking process. To get here I have had to let go of a whole other life I thought I would have.

I started to focus on the things I did have in my life. The things we can do. It’s so easy to let the anger and bitterness take over, to have irrational thoughts about complete strangers. I was becoming someone I didn’t recognise! I tried instead to find something positive to say in my head instead of the instant judgement coming from my grief.

So the “OH my goodness, look at that woman sat on her phone ignoring her child, while her child is rolling around on the floor!”

I change that completely unfair thought to “Wow I love her handbag…her kid is currently emptying out on the floor”

In reality the poor mum has probably had no time to catch up with her friends or Facebook all day and using a rare quiet half hour to do so, normally that’s what I would be thinking but angry irrational Sharron was a BITCH….. who did a lot of tutting and eye rolling and didn’t have great control over her thoughts!

Now the rage seems to be subsiding and my judgy little melt downs are far less frequent, I am hoping that this year I will get to enjoy Mother’s Day again. I will of cause be thinking about my angel babies, I will buy myself a bunch of flowers as sad as that may seem. I will kiss and cuddle my fur babies and be grateful for what I have been blessed with.

For anyone out there struggling like I did so many times, I hope that you have support and love to get you through the day. Know that this childless mother will be sending love to you all!

A little relax and luxury….for my sanity.

I spend so much time in my own head and when you are dealing with infertility and loss, that time can be punishing.

I have never been very good at relaxing, at switching off the outside world and having a little me time. If ever I did, those bad memories and feelings surfaced and it would send me on a downward spiral.

What they don’t tell you when you are trying for children, when it doesn’t go to plan, no one ever sits you down and says how incredibility hard it will be to remain sane.

A wall started to build around me the first time I was told I had lost my baby, a barrier to keep the feelings from really going in. Then when it happened again, the barrier was reinforced to a point that sadly I began to expect it and nothing reached me, like I was looking from the outside in. After many losses I as almost immune to the pain.

The baby I lost in 2015 smashed through any protection I had and finally I lost it, after 12 years of trying for children after all the heartbreak and shattered dreams. My heart felt like it could take no more. I was broken. The ache of my empty arms almost unbearable. How would I ever recover from this, the end. No more. I had, had enough.

The loss that you feel in the days and months following loosing a baby, it isn’t just the loss of the tiny embryo growing, its all of the possibilities that little bean holds. The life you would have had with them. When I finally accepted that it was just not meant to be the hole in my heart, at first, felt like it would consume me. People often talk of heartbreak, of having a broken heart. I never realised just how physical that pain could be.

To move forward I had to look for ways to keep myself going, goals and life achievements. I made changes to my job and how I spent my time. I found ways to relax and start to enjoy life again. I did not want to look at the last 12 years as a waste, more of it shaping me to be a stronger person!

I would encourage anyone in that dark place to find something that makes them feel even a little bit of happiness. For me I focused on the things I could do, that I could enjoy without having a child.

My friend took me on my first spa day, I am going to be honest, up until that point I didn’t think I would enjoy it. Too much time to be still and in my head with those hurtful memories, not a good thing! How wrong I was, it really helped me to relax and start to heal.

Learning to relax was now a focus for me and taking a couple of spa days wasn’t the worst thing in the world! We are so lucky in the North East to have so many lovely places and I am even luckier that I live 30 mins away from one of the best I have ever experienced.

Rockliffe Hall is just outstanding!

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It is everything you would expect from a 5 star hotel and more and I was so impressed I wanted to mention it here on my blog. It isn’t often we can take time out, time is so precious. So when I do take time out to relax I want it to be the best possible time and after Saturday I left feeling amazing, and like I wanted to do it all again Sunday!! lol

Having PCOS I don’t like being touched so having facials and massages is very uncomfortable for me because I am constantly thinking of my wobbly bits and hair growth but I truly felt at ease. The staff are so friendly and really added to the experience of the day.

I had for the first time the hot stone massage, I will never go back to the usual massages! The ambience of the therapy rooms just oozes relaxation from the colours selected to the lighting and smells all contribute to a truly pleasant experience. I was so at ease with my therapist and surroundings I didn’t even think about my issues and almost fell asleep, probably would have if it wasn’t for the cold stones used in between the hot ones!!

There is no better feeling enjoying the relaxing atmosphere around you and not needing to go somewhere or to do something. Just quiet time …..wellllll almost quiet, I was with my best friend and niece so as quiet as we can be! I left in a Spa coma and a conviction that I would return very soon.

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I forgot for a while to take care of myself, I was so focused on the end result I didn’t think about how much of me was sacrificed to get there. You still have to find a way to unwind and enjoy life, even through the roughest moments. Be kinder to yourself. I punished myself for a long time feeling like I was faulty, that I couldn’t do the one thing that women should find the most natural. To conceive and carry a child.

I am not completely healed, will I ever be after so much loss? I don’t know. I do know I will keep trying to be at peace with it, if that takes a lot of spa days at Rockliffe Hall, then who am I to argue?? Maybe I will see you there!!

The PCOS DIET

I started to worry about my weight like a lot of people after seeing a photo of myself. 


I had moved away from home, traveled for a while and then settled with the love of my life. We were content and happy …. we still are….. but what happens, as does with so many people in this situation. We ate our contentment and before I knew it I was the left photo. 

The longer it was taking to get pregnant the more I ate my feelings and it became like my protection. My comfort blanket. 

I have alway been chubby, I was always the chubby plain kid at school. But the silly thing is when I look back I wasn’t that over weight. In my head I saw a massive girl, miserable desperate to be loved. 

I shared today a stat on my Facebook page to see how you guys reacted to it. It gave me so much comfort to see I’m so not alone, though it saddened me to see so many others in this struggle. 

Loosing 5% of your body weight can increase your chances of conceiving!

I’m going to get real and very honest with you guys. This stat has been my enemy. These words hurt me more than anything we have been through. Why?

Because this makes it my fault. 

Not PCOS. 

NOT my womb and bad quality eggs. 

My inability to loose weight. MY FAULT. 

The truth is that some of these elements are out of my control. Even in truth the weight loss because, for all I have bad habits like all of us, I challenge anyone out there with an eating addiction to be solid steel enough to be perfect 100% of the time to lose the weight. It’s discouraging to be so clean and to lose nothing or worse to put on. That’s what PCOS has done to me. 

To look at me and a lot of women in my position, the judgement part of the brain would think, she must over eat and be lazy. No one sees the struggle we have every single day to lose just one pound. I don’t say this to make excuses.  It can be done it’s just very hard work, but here’s the honest part ………. I HATE THAT I HAVE TO AND I AM SO RESENTFUL OF IT!!!!

I see over weight pregnant ladies all the time, beautiful with their equally beautiful bumps! Why do I have to be the one to be thin to get what I do desperarely want?!? It enrages me! 

What if I lose the weight, get to that mythical perfect weight and still do not conceive a healthy child? What then? What little hope that remains will be gone and I hate that I think like that!

The one thing that gets us through is hope, hope of what the future will hope. The image of my husband holding our child. If all hope is lost, I really do have to say goodbye to that dream. 

I’m not ready for that just yet ….. someone pass me a bloody celery stick!!! 

Xoxo

Valentine’s shout out to the other halfs!! 

I see you. 

Yes you, the guy behind the stressed out ovulating pumped full of fertility  treatment lady!! Don’t be scared….

The journey we go on as couples to have a family is a beautiful one to start with, full of promise and excitement. For those of us who have problems conceiving that can quickly devolve into a hormonal fuelled scream fest, because he didn’t put the lid back on the tooth paste ….. followed by a three hour hysterical crying fit that you often forget why you were crying the first place. AHHHH fertility hormones, you suck dude!!!

It’s important to to give a little nod to all the fellas and ladies out there who soothe the beasts within and still love us. Who have held our hands while we wait, while we cry. Who are the shoulder you need when the world seems so cruel you can not breath. That hold your heart together when it feels like it’s broken beyond repair. 

I feel the partner often gets the raw end of the deal during this process (shhh I know I know, don’t say it too loud!). When we have lost our babies all of the comfort is aimed at me. I felt like my hubby was a little over looked but each one was hard for him too. He might not show it. Watching someone he loves fall to pieces and feeling helpless to stop it is a heavy burden to bare. 

I’m so grateful for my husband. We are a team. And no matter where life takes us I always remind myself how lucky I am to have him. 14 years together and he is my best friend. Life gets busy and it gets hard sometimes but making time for our relationship is so important. This process has brought us closer together. It’s us against the world!!

As it’s Valentine’s Day I felt it was only right to send some love to my hubby, to all the hubbys, boyfriends and partners that have held our hands and kept us strong. 

You might not feel it all the time (like when cups and plates are whistling past your head because you forgot to put the bins out) but we love you. We couldn’t do it without you!  

…… and hey you never know, fertility drugs willing, there might be two women in your life next year stressing you out …. orrr maybe a little boy ally to help you hide. But if it’s just the two us …. that’s ok too. You are the only one I want to spend the zombie apocalypse with! 

😂😂😂

HAPPY VALENTINES ❤️❤️❤️ 

      

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