Search

The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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!

rockliffe-hall-exterior-old-hall-in-summer

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.

bj_rockliffe_garden_spa_v2_676master

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 ❤️❤️❤️ 

      

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

It’s just another day…. but still 

I try not to hang on to dates that cause me pain. Having been through as many losses as we have I could effectively spend all year near a date I lost a baby or a due date or a bad hospital appointment. 

I make an effort to forget and I feel guilt for this. 

It doesn’t mean I loved my babies any less. Just that I could allow myself to be swallowed by the grief and never be able to move on or I can choose to let out my tears at the time, feel the losses at the time then pack them into a memory box and put those thoughts to the back of my head.

I have chosen the latter. Mainly. I refuse to let infertility take from me more than it already has!! I get mad, sometimes my anger is all I have had to give me the strength to just get out of bed. 

To look at me no one would know, I hide it well. No one knows the times I have hidden in the toilets at work while a colleague came in with their new baby, or have seen the many sleepless nights from the discomfort of a procedure or general side effects from the PCOS or the times I have sat in the bathroom with a pregnancy test saying “NOT PREGNANT” silent tears falling into my lap. No one knows these things because I choose to dry my tears, reapply my make up and smile and I act like I am totally fine. 

It’s harder sometimes, and for some reason the baby I lost in 2015 seems to be the worst, I think because we weren’t trying it was a total surprise. I know the due date of this baby, and I know s/he would be almost one by now. The more it approaches the more that I wonder how to let it go. 

When we grieve a baby, some I am sure would say that it wasn’t ever here so perhaps the grief isn’t as real as loosing an actual person. I want those people to know, that’s not true. When you are trying for children or find out you’re pregnant. You instantly start to form hopes and dreams for your child.  

You imagine the birth, the nursery, how your husband and family will love the baby, who they will grow to be, first days of school and so on. I have imagined every moment of my life with our child, how s/he would look, even how they would laugh! To have hope and then have that hope ripped from your body. It leaves an emptiness that no words can explain. 

The ache is unbearable. Your heart feels like it’s smashed to pieces. I didn’t really comprehend “heartache” until I lost our babies. It’s a real physical pain and while time helps you process it, for me the pain has never really gone. 

I read something recently following the story line in Coronation Street ( a soap in the UK) one of the characters lost their baby mid way through their pregnancy I think around 23 weeks and received no birth certificate. She said “Who will know that he ever existed once I am gone” 

I cried uncontrollably while alone again in my house. This is it, this is why it hurts so much. No one will ever know about our babies, or how hard we tried. We will simply be a childless couple. 

I think that’s why I find writing so therapeutic. It’s proof of what we have been through and helps me to process. I may not make a big deal out of those important dates, it’s how I can survive, but I will never ever forget how much I wanted them. They were so loved and very much wanted. That’s all that matters to me. 

So no it’s not the date that matters, but the fact they exsisted for however brief the moment was. They exsisted and they were ours. 

Xoxo

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes. 

I dream a lot and vividly. My subconscious screams at me sometimes and it can have a massive impact on the day ahead. 

The brain can be cruel. It shows images of my deepest desires and then rips them away when I wake. Sometimes the echos haunt me for the rest of that day. 

I have dreamt so many times about our babies. Some good dreams, some bad. 

I have dreamt that I have been tied to a table while someone is ripping our baby from inside me, screaming and crying trying to curl myself into the smallest ball to try to keep our baby safe. 

I have dreamt that I was nursing our baby and go to change the nappy on our bed and I loose the baby in the bedding. Searching frantically for her tangled in the sheets. 

I have dreamt of having a baby growing outside of me, so tiny that I was using a dropper to feed her tiny little mouth. 

And like last night. I dreamt that someone had put our baby into the boot of my car, in a car seat but I was frantically trying to find a safe place to pull over to put her safely in the back seat. Normally this dream I would pull over go to the boot and she would be gone. This time she was still there so tiny in this big car seat, so perfect. I felt like I stared at her for hours. Perfect little face, little fingers. Wrapped in a white baby grow with little pink flowers on it. Yes it really was that detailed. 

Then I woke up. 

And for a split second my confused brain wonders if there is a baby in the room. Just for a very brief moment. Then I know that no babies live here. The weight of this feels like lead in my stomach and the ache is back. 

I have moved to a point where I am happy. I am not as desperate as I once was but I wonder when these dreams will stop taunting me. My heart has spent so many years yearning for a child that perhaps she’s not ready to give up just yet. 

Or maybe it is our little girl reminding me she’s still waiting to be born. 

Dreams can hurt more than reality sometimes. It really is a desperate wish. 

Either that or I am finally loosing my mind 😩😩😩!!

Xoxo

The Bump Infestation.

One the most difficult things for me to deal with while we were in the thick of trying for a baby  was the bumps – BABY BUMPS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE!!

Before we were trying to get pregnant I never saw them often, after we started and especially when I knew it wasn’t happening bumps everywhere…..even the men!

One day I sat in the vets waiting for my fur babies appointment and in waddles a heavily pregnant dog, with owners proud proclamation that she has large litters……..

“REALLY?? how lovely” I reply….. and under my breathe ….”No one likes a show off Fido!” I may have stuck my tongue out in my head!! At least I think it was in my head =/. I have never had a very good brain to mouth filter!

Now the sensible adult me knows that it isn’t that there are more, simply that it appears to be that way because I am sensitive to it. Didn’t matter it felt like bumps were the new fashion statement.

That being said there is something about a mum cradling her big belly that you do just have to smile, admittedly for me it was sometimes followed by tears!

I sat in a waiting room once waiting for a scan, they had lost my notes so I watched a number of couples and singles come and go. One young girl sat alone and she was waiting as long as I was.

I was having problems following a miscarriage and watching those pregnant bellies was an ice pick to my heart. I sat silent tears falling onto my lap. My husband was away at the time and I was there alone, which I have over the years come to prefer. I can lose my shit if I need to without feeling bad.

Silent tears I have perfected. When I have sobbed out every bit of energy and there is nothing left in my tank, tears can still find away down my cheek quietly “plink, plink, plinking” onto the fabric of my trousers. Just wishing it was all over and I was back home not having to look at another blooming bump.

The young girl came to sit with me and held my hand, she offered me a tissue. We didn’t speak, she didn’t ask me why I was crying. She just held my hand. Some time passed and she had a few tears herself, I truly believe women are a wonderful breed, the empathy we can feel for someone else even if we don’t understand it is amazing.

I was called soon after this, I gave her a watery smile and nodded at her and went inside for my appointment. She was gone by the time I got out. I never found my voice to thank her. That one act of kindness that day made it a little easier.

I never really felt the same about bumps after this. Sure I felt jealousy at times, but it occurred to me that I don’t know what is going on behind the bump. When I started to imagine all the wonderful stories that might be told in the making of the bumps they became less hurtful. Who knows if they had struggled to conceive, maybe even lost a child. Perhaps it was unplanned and the bump terrified them as much as it upset me.

Seeing the real women behind the bumps made me feel a bit better. If its one thing we do well its support. Friends, family and in this case a stranger consoling a broken women who was devastated at losing her child. I think we are pretty wonderful, don’t you agree?

XOXO

 

 

 

 

PCOS and weight loss guilt. 

As the last chimes of Big Ben were heard around the country, the stampede has started to the many gym’s and supermarkets to stock up on “healthy foods” and fitness plans, the question is this year will I be one of them?

Well …… we are four days in and it’s not looking good guys!

Every year, all through the year I say to myself …… “Come on woman get a grip” and I pull my jogging pants on and take my sizable arse to the gym! Here’s the thing – I actually like to eat fresh vegetables, fruits and lean meats. Whole foods are my friend, I eat the vegetable and fruit rainbow! I actually like to run, which believe me as a chunky monkey is no easy feat. So why, you ask am I still curve-a-licious?? Well for one I love takeaway food…. especially a good kebab and it’s like my own crack addiction, they call to me while I try to be good and after resisting for a while, I can often be found hiding behind my sofa eating a kebab crying while pouring more garlic sauce onto my chips!

The second reason is something I have zero control over, I have PCOS. So when my will power is like steel and I am at the gym and try really hard, I step onto those scales gutted that I have maintained or even put on. I am so frustrated after a few weeks of determination followed by disappointment that, you guessed it, I am back behind my sofa, crying and cramming a kebab and chips in my mouth between the sobs.

It’s not the right way to handle it but it’s mine, food has been my comfort blanket as well as a pleasure to me for so long it’s hard to let it go.

This year my lovely husband got me a Fit-bit, not as a “you’re fat, get fit” sort of present, I did in fact ask for it. So basically now have an annoying little friend that buzzes me and tells me to move more – she’s rather bossy! Added incentive this year is that we are going on holiday in April! SO the motivation is there and long may it continue! NYC wont know what has hit it!! lol.

I don’t make excuses for my size, I got here from bad food choices and lack of movement. I did this before I knew anything about PCOS and while it seems crazy as the information is so readily available now, at the time I had very limited information and I never dreamed just how much damage I was doing by eating. I wish more than anything that I could go back and have that conversation with myself but I don’t have a DeLorean!

All these years I have day dreamed that if I was just a little thinner, just a little prettier, a little taller, have working ovaries….. I would be happier. The truth I am becoming to realise is that I will never be happy and confident until I find a way to believe it on the inside.

The voice telling me that I will never be thin or beautiful, never be good enough to have kids, never be healthy enough that it’s all my fault! Until I find a way to shut that voice up I don’t think I will ever be happy with then no matter what I do I will never feel like I am there.

There is so much negativity out there on body image, for all shapes and sizes. So many people willing to judge someone’s lifestyle because of how they look. I used to find this upsetting, like I had to tell people that I had PCOS to explain why it was so hard for me to lose weight. The likely hood is those spewing harsh words and judgement are probably struggling with their own issues and I feel sorry for them.

Be proud of who you are, yes I am not perfect but I am working on my goals at a pace that is right for me. Equally those who work for their figures and health don’t deserve the negativity thrown at them for being successful at it – they work constantly HARD for it. Sadly, the simple fact is that no matter what you look like there will always be someone that is willing to be judgemental – you can not change what these people say or think, you only have control over your own thoughts, words and actions.

I am over weight and it does affect my fertility, I have spent years resentful at how hard it is with PCOS to lose the weight, but part of it I think is that my weight offers me protection. If I lose the rest of the weight and I still don’t get our baby – then what? What hope will there be left? If hope is gone how do I face the fact it’s truly over. I know this is nuts but it’s how I feel. Damn that inner voice!

So another New Year has started and I am sure that I am not alone kick starting my healthy habits. I have climbed back on that diet horse more times than I would like to admit, but I will always keep trying! Rather than saying my resolution is to lose weight, I am going work on shutting that voice up to believe that I can do it I just have to give it time……and I am most definitely going to try and cut down on the garlic sauce fueled melt downs…..yeah I am really going to try to stop those bad boys from happening…..

Good luck to any of my PCOS sisters out there and to anyone else trying to get healthy! XOXO

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑