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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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miscarraige

Birthday Blues – Infertility miles stones.

As the outside world starts to turn cold again, if it ever really was warm in the first place. The leaves start to turn their various beautiful shades of orange. Autumn is here and I reflect on how this used to be my favourite time of year.

These few months before Christmas always felt so magical to me. I loved them!

My birthday is this month. On the 19th. This year I will be 39.

I mean…. really!!? 39!!! How did this happen!?

I remember turning 30 and feeling like the world was ending because I didn’t have a child by then 30 was the big bad age! I look back on those times which were filled with the hope I still felt with a mixture of sadness and happiness.

On the one hand I am lucky to have an amazing husband and we have had so many wonderful adventures together. On the other hand, as I now nearly turn 40, all hope seems lost and I long to have it back. When Hope is gone, in its place is just emptiness.

I try to remind myself of all of the good things to be thankful for but it’s hard to do this when inside I feel like I failed. At being wife. At being a woman. At doing one of the things that should come naturally. I even feel like I failed our imaginary baby.

The passing of time often brings with it melancholy. Be it for the loss of youth and freedom, the loss of beauty as its perceived, for me a loss of a dream of being a mother.

Every day I work on being OK with this. I try to keep focused on the positives and there are many around me. It’s just hard to see through the grief sometimes.

So, Happy Birthday to me. There will be no children bouncing on my bed singing happy birthday with hand made cards. There will be love however, my husband, mum and friends and their children will see to that. I will try to be grateful for that. I will try to let go of the future not being lived.

I will keep trying to make the smile I wear everyday a real one.

Infertile and more honest than ever!

As we set out on our journey to become parents. Fresh faced and still having sex just for fun ….. imagine!! Ahh those were the days. I was ever the optimist.

I believed that the world had something to teach me out of every mistake or struggle….. like for example, when I was 16 and drank cans of special brew before a party and wore stupidly high heels, I promptly fell flat on my face trying to dance and injured my best mate (sorry Manda!) still the scratch can be seen today 😬😬, I knew the world was teaching me that I was not a drinker. That and the huge hang over contributed to me being almost T total ever since. I was the sensible one. No more drunken falls for me……. ummm well almost none 😬😬. See positive from the negative!

While I had the niggle for years that something may be wrong. I don’t know why. I just always thought I might struggle to have children, despite my monthly showing up aged 10 and being regular as clockwork AND a doctor telling me not to share even a tooth brush if I didn’t want to get pregnant. Yeah that was an accurate diagnosis 🙄🙄.

As time progressed and it was becoming obviously there really was a problem I was showered with the usual, well meaning words of comfort. I would nod and smile and thank them or accept the suggestions of treatments and anecdotes of friends or family members that tried x and y and finally bamb. Pregnant!! Miracle.

I would hide my hurt from people. I always knew they meant well however wrong they got it. I would make excuses telling them not to feel bad that I was ok. The overriding thought being , it’s not their fault I can’t have kids. Why should they watch what they say to me.

For years that continued. I would smile and then cry silent tears when I was alone or with my husband. Why us. Why do I have to put a brave face on it.

As time moved on the anger started to seep out. I realised something.

I blamed myself for this. I felt I deserved it. I felt bad for making them feel uncomfortable at having to tell their Barron friend or family member about their pregnancy. Poor them I would think, poor them for being made to feel so bad for something so wonderful.

With my last miscarriage came a rage, a moment of FUCK THIS SHIT. (Sorry mam). I wrote about it publicly, you all know this that’s how my blog was born. But I started to think about all those other women and men out there making excuses and glossing over their pain. And then the realisation hit me.

ITS NOT OUR FAULT EITHER!!!!!!

It’s not my fault that my body is rejecting our babies. It’s not my husbands fault he fell in love with a woman that can’t have children. For my own sanity I had to STOP making it ok for people to say things that hurt us. To be honest.

Some people will never understand, perhaps they got their family easy and they don’t remember the yearning or haven’t experienced it. Perhaps they see our lives and think wow you have so much to be thankful for don’t wallow in what you can’t have. Perhaps they are ok with not having kids themselves and haven’t felt the pure desperation, of the anticipation of that one pregnancy test that will change everything. That will make us feel complete. Perhaps they have never sat through a scan while a nurse desperately tries to find the heartbeat that will never come. Perhaps they haven’t seen their friend or family member crumpled on their bathroom floor, broken and sobbing as their baby leaves their body. Another baby lost to heaven. Another imagined life never lived.

So you see. Were many would read my posts and our comments and perhaps judge us as bitter, I would tell you to look deeper to imagine that pain. Damn right it’s made me bitter at times. I am not a bad person. I’m surviving this the best I can, we all are. And in the very small space where we can all meet and not be judged we can be honest. We can draw strength from each other to push back to tell people. I’m not ok. I don’t need to fake it anymore and I can be happy for you but sad for me.

No one has the right to tell us how we should be dealing with this. Sometimes I want to scream and break plates against the wall I’m so angry. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed. Sometimes I feel so completely alone that the only Ray of light I can find is in my husbands arms and with you beautiful people on here. Some days I feel happy again. Some days my smile is real.

It’s ok to feel anger. It’s messy and ugly this journey. We can’t all feel the higher purpose and move on so easy. I’m incredibly proud and happy for anyone that’s there it gives me hope that one day I will feel the optimist I used to be.

Some people may never understand it and get angry in return when you can’t share their joy completely. We may get called selfish and unreasonable. Told that it’s not their fault. But remember it’s not yours either. I think some people forget this. They think we are in control of how we feel and can just “adopt” or “move on” these are the people that can’t understand and you will waste too much energy on trying to change their minds.

The best thing I can take from this journey is that I’m ok with people disliking me now. I no longer have the need to not upset people. If other people’s happiness comes at the expense of my sanity it’s not worth it. There has to be a happy medium.

The anger gets less and less as time goes on. Thankfully. I don’t feel the urge to hide away so much but I think part of this is because I do feel confident to say now,

“NO I don’t want to do that. I am in too much pain to pretend anymore. ”

You hope that people understand. Most people do. If they don’t then that’s ok too. As much as it’s my choice not to fake it any more. They have the right to be upset if they feel that way too. You can only be responsible for your own happiness. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but once I accepted this. Things have become a lot more simple for me. I’m a frickin’ infertile unicorn.

Reintroduction

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

👋👋

Hello. Welcome. Pleased you found my little page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 😂😂. 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?

Am I a Real Woman?

I read an article today about women who are childless or childfree whatever your preferred term. Some by choice, some like me that can’t have children.

A repeated theme through the article was that they were made to feel like they were defective, less than, not as important even selfish.

Some of the comments on the news feed directed to those who are childless by choice seemed to be as harsh. It really upset me.

Being a mother, while a wonderful thing to be, it does not define you as a woman. I would like to think that if we had children I would still keep my identity, keep some of myself that I would share with my offspring.

It feels like some of the people on the feed suggested that those couples are selfish. REALLY? Why does having a solid belief that you are not meant to be a parent make you selfish? Surely having a child you don’t want, just to fit in with what others think you should be doing is more crazy?!

Others stated that they “felt sorry” for those people missing out on that sort of love, like our lives are so empty without it. Don’t get me wrong. I feel emptiness from the losses of our babies and I can imagine the happy feeling of holding our child but is my life empty? No it’s not.

When you have time to mull over the choice for starting a family you do question why do I want this? Why did I want a baby so badly so young?

You all know from previous blogs I wanted this from a young age. I can’t ever remember not wanting to be a mum. I wanted it so badly. But I look back now and I do wonder how much of that is by suggestion. It’s what people did. They get married. They have kids. That’s just what you do, it’s the plan most follow.

I would have done it young too if I had been able to. Then I reflect on the things we have done over the last 15 years that we would perhaps not been able to do with children and I wonder if that would have been the right choice. I don’t think it would have been. Now as I look back, I am so pleased that we have had time together to build our team and while the heartbreak of the losses I wouldn’t ever want to relive that, I do feel grateful that we didn’t get pregnant within the first two years of our relationship at 23. I feel like now that would have been the wrong choice for us. I wasn’t mentally old enough for that. I would have done it and managed like so many do but I wouldn’t have done it as well as other do.

Like my best friend in the world for example, she has four Beauties and her first when she was 20. She was instantly a wonderful mum, like a switch flipped. She wanted her babies they were planned. Her life has been wonderful in different ways to mine, and I’m blessed that I share with her some of the moments with her kids. I don’t think I would have been as good as her. I love those kids though and my other nieces from my husbands brother very much. They are all perfect.

This journey has a nasty and surprising side effect. Bitterness. It eats at you and I have to work really hard to not let it take over my heart. I can imagine it would if I let it. Resentful of anyone that announces a pregnancy. I feel jealousy of cause, I let myself feel that but I try to recount the blessings to keep the bitterness out.

My husband. Our marriage. Our team. Team Phillips. Our travels. Our love.

The worlds full of beautiful different family units now. There is no one size fits all. I don’t need to have carried a child to affirm my womanhood. We aren’t less than. Our opinions matter, we don’t have to have given birth to know right from wrong or to understand parenting. One of the most hurtful things you can say to me would be “you don’t know because you haven’t had kids”

It’s not rocket science. I know myself well enough to know what sort of parent I would be. Do I know how hard it is? Not fully no, how could I? But I’m not clueless. Like many childless couples we probably think we know more than we do until we actually had children and it all goes out the window. But I see all around me how people are with their kids. My opinions still matter.

We feel sometimes out of place, like we don’t quite fit in any box anymore. We are the last couple of our friends that don’t have children. I think sometimes that people can push couples like us away because we don’t fit in anymore. I have come to terms with this over the years of trying to fake the parties and events with kids and other parents, the awkward silence or uncomfortable comments when you say at 38 you don’t have kids.

Sometimes you have to be a little selfish. I hold my hands up to that. But you know what, when you have experienced the losses we have and felt the pain we have, I think you would understand we deserve to be that sometimes. We have often comforted others through our infertility making them feel bad, I don’t do that anymore. That’s not our responsibility just as it isn’t theirs either. It is what it is. People either understand or they don’t.

Fifteen years in and I know for sure. I’m just as much of a woman as any mother, I’m not defective. This is something I’m learning to live with. It’s not what we planned but it’s not all doom and gloom!

I hate you pregnancy test!!!

I would think that over the last 15 years I am at this point keeping these pregnancy and OPK test companies in business.

It starts with the excited buy in the early stages of trying. The optimist in me would buy the expensive brands and in bulk. They would sit proudly on my bathroom cabinets like a promise of the future we wanted. I couldn’t wait to test.

With each passing month the affection for these tests and that promised future, they started to take on a cruel light. As the fertility testing starts and the scheduled sex, the waiting to take the next test is torturous.

Then you get within a few days of aunt flows arrival and try it early because you never know and I can’t wait any longer …..

Flashing ….. flashing…… flashing…….

Listening to my heartbeat in my ears from anticipation.

Waiting….. waiting……. waiting…….

Hands and feet cold with fear. And then…..

Negative. Negative. NOT PREGNANT.

Feeling nothing for a few moments, almost a resigned “I knew it would be negative” followed by overwhelming sadness. Another month gone and no baby. Sitting cradling the cruel test, hoping the answer would change. Maybe it was too early??

The following few days until aunt flow arrives a small glimmer of hope remains symptom watching and googling “early signs of pregnancy” like a crazy person. Convincing my cray-cray brain that I am indeed peeing more (I Wasnt) or that my boobs did indeed hurt (they did but they do every month) that those cramps must be implanting cramps (they were not. They were period cramps.) That usually ends with me in a bathroom somewhere silently crying after another failed month.

It takes strength to pull yourself up and dust yourself down and go in for another round. Hopes a cruel bitch.

At this point it feels like the only option is IVF for us. In recent years I haven’t bought any tests. One, because I hate them and two because if I get pregnant then I will know at some point! What’s the point of the repeated torture.

In some ways I am probably delaying the last little bit of weight I have to loose because if we do the IVF then there is a chance I have to look at another negative pregnancy test. I know most people won’t understand that but anyone in our shoes will.

It may seem slightly kooky but I would like a ceremonial burning of everyone I have ever had to take along with the OPKs.

I imagine how it would have been to have simply gotten pregnant and not needing all these tests.

To not know what the anxiety of the two week wait feels like.

To have not experienced the crushing disappointment of each passing month, or worst of all those rare tests that were in fact positive but then ended in bitter loss all the same.

Can you imagine that. All those years waiting. To finally see that PREGNANT only to feel that life leave you. That dream leave. My heart to just break.

So yep. I hate those damn tests. I will avoid that aisle at the supermarket, but if one day on the news you hear of a woman smashing up the pregnancy test alley at a North East supermarket. You can bet your arse it’s me. Harley Quinning the shit out of those smug blue boxes.

I’m not bitter of cause. Not at all 😂😂😂. Lol.

Waking from grief.

If I think too hard back over the last ten years I get an ache in my throat. Tears often threaten. Life’s a wonderful gift, but sometimes it’s an evil bitch.

I have had some of the best moments, marrying my husband, my best friend. Cheesy but very true. New travels, new experiences. But it’s also brought with it some terrible lows. Especially the last three years.

Every miscarriage I have experienced has layered more and more sadness on my heart. It’s chipped away at it’s normally very optimistic exterior. After all, how could I not be optimistic, I found Ben.

When my cousin fell ill and then sadly died I felt a bit of me go with him. Again cliche to say that, but it’s the best way to describe how I felt. I just am not the same person I was before. We dealt with what had to be done at the time as a family then we disappeared back into our own worlds to try and process the loss.

It felt like every day I was screaming in pain silently. My exterior often smiled but then in the quiet places when I was alone, my tears fell freely. It felt like dealing with the loss of my babies and Gavin all together. It twisted and wrapped itself up in one big lump of pain that’s just with me all the time.

They often say times a healer. I don’t find that true. What I do believe is time gives you an opportunity to learn to deal with the pain you are feeling. It becomes the new normal.

I retreated from everything. I barely saw my friends even my family. I was happiest in my house not having to do anything or see anyone.

Then earlier this year I had a car accident. A really bad one and my cheese well and truly slipped off my cracker. All that time to stay still, all those hours alone. It wasn’t pretty. My world literally felt like it fell apart.

I made some big changes. I left my job. I stared my own business an extension of my husbands already successful company. We sell and fit blinds commercially and domestically. We spend A LOT of time together. I love it.

Just recently I have started to notice a change, like a fog lifting. I don’t feel so heavy all the time. I don’t feel the need to hide away as much. My smile is no longer forced, my laugh is genuine.

Don’t get me wrong there are some days the fog slips back and I feel the loss completely again, but it’s less frequent.

I can think of Gavin without feeling the urge to brake something.

I don’t feel like all of a sudden I’m over the losses we have experienced, I know there will be bad moments to come. Like when I see something I desperately want to tell him about and I still go to message him, for those wonderful few moments he’s with us, then I remember he’s gone.

It’s the small steps that are helping. The little glimpses of the old me.

Finding where we fit in a world that the “norm” is having kids is sometimes hard. I discovered this week that those of us many years into trying but still not lost hope completely, apparently we don’t fit in with those who defiantly can’t. The fact we still have hope however small separates us. Was a little upsetting as I have always taken comfort in anyone on this journey. Even if some have had children. We still bare scars from the journey.

So my circle now is even smaller it would seem. I’m 37. I have lost my babies, I am trying to learn how to get my head around the fact we will likely never be parents. Yes I still have a small glimmer of hope, but that is dimming with every passing year.

The grief I feel from the label “Childless”. One day I hope it’s a label I can wear without causing me pain. I feel like it might happen. Now the fogs lifting.

Childfree in a sea of parents.

I don’t think I ever felt like I was “normal” who is right? What even is normal nowadays? I don’t really even like the word!!

Dealing with infertility and PCOS has just increased this feeling of not really fitting in. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I don’t mind being slightly different. Having said that there are times that as a couple in our thirties and childfree, I feel we stick out like sore thumbs. It can catch me quite off guard at times too. Then I get angry at myself to allowing the self pity back in.

On Friday we had some time to kill between work appointments. We decided to go to the cinema and the only thing that happened to fit with our schedule was “Christopher Robin” – loved it, deffo worth a watch. Pooh Bear is so cute!! – but of cause it was filled with families.

Here we were. In our work clothes (looking like we just came off a building site) no children and watching a Disney movie. I didn’t think much about it at first until the cinema filled up and I realised we were in fact the only childfree people in there. Including a mum with her toddler and beautiful baby bump that walked right past inches from my face to sit next to us. ……. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ awesome!

I suddenly thought ” What must people think about us?!”

The fact is we are both big kids, we love a good Disney movie and the reality was probably no one even noticed we were childless but my damaged brain repeated hurtful things to me. You don’t belong here, you shouldn’t even be here, what must people think, why would you be here without children….. imagine what it would be like if you had a child here to share this with.

I’ve never been self conscious about this sort of thing before. This is new. I think maybe because the older we get we are the only couple now that doesn’t have children in our circle of friends, it feels like we are alone. That being said, we don’t need to have children to enjoy childish things.

I feel distant sometimes from our friends for this reason too. There is a certain connection that parents share from knowing what it’s like to be going through parenthood. A comradery almost (well until they are trying to out do each other with costumes and PTA bullshit then they are straight up enemies!) Still there are things that we can’t share. Birthing stories, Shared activities, children’s parties, clubs, education, trends etc. It feels sometimes like Im a spectator watching a game I can never play and I don’t understand the rules I just sit quietly at the side lines. I can do nothing about it. That’s what hurts the most.

I could allow myself to be consumed with anger and the “why us” of it all. I try not to. I embrace the life we have. It’s not the one I imagined but it’s a good one. My marriage is so good. We have fun and laugh more than we cry. He still makes my stomach flip after 16 years. That doesn’t mean we don’t mourn the life we imagined, the little boy or girl that would have completed us, but we aren’t just surviving. We are happy.

The song “This is Me” from the movie The Greatest Showman is so completely perfect for me, I cry almost every time I hear it. I feel the words passionately. I am broken and bruised. My scars may not all be visible but they are there and I wear them proudly. For every baby that lived however briefly inside of me. I feel like shouting THIS IS ME!

We almost apologise for being as we are, like we feel an obligation to make others around us feel less uncomfortable with our infertility. Often passing off events or moments as no big deal when secretly we are screaming inside. I don’t do this anymore. I make no apologies, we didn’t ask for this it’s no ones fault, we all just do the best we can. It’s not my responsibility to make others feel ok about it and it’s not theirs to make us feel better. We are coping the best we can.

So no, I may never be living the “normal” life I imagined as a child but I am living the absolute best life. Not a constellation prize type deal. It’s an actual good life. I’m just a little brokenis all.

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.

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