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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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self employed

From desk to dirty. Ladies in construction.

I’m starting this by saying it’s not related to our fertility journey, but as I have built my following online the fact we haven’t been able to have children has massively effected this decision, so I’m going to share it here. It feels right.

A year ago I had a fairly bad car accident, this followed a couple of the worst years of my life. It almost bookended it. I lost our baby in the summer of 2015 and at the same time we were loosing my cousin, more like my little brother to leukaemia. He passed away in Jan 2016 and I thought I grieved at the time. Looking back I realise I did not. In fact I was a on a downward slide. Little by little.

The accident made me face the very worst of myself that I had hidden in the back of my mind for so long. When I stood still for too long it felt like everything came tumbling down. I know now things had been sliding for a while, but at the time I just thought I was fine. Just get on with it. You are still breathing so be thankful. Oh how silly I was!

Before the accident I had worked in media sales for 15 years. Up until the last couple of years, I LOVED it and I was damn good at it!! The most important thing to me was that my clients got the response they needed for their business and I went over and above to make sure it happened. It was a shock to me that actually I wasn’t happy at all those last couple of years, the stress, the targets, the chasing down sales all of it was too much. I knew I needed a change. I had to find a plan B.

The fact that we aren’t able to have children contributed to my decision. The feeling of

– “ok so what IS plan b?”

This was a massive motivator in my making the decision. Life was taking a different turn and I didn’t want to plod on with “what ifs” any more, “If we have kids by next year” just didn’t cut it, so many wasted years behind me waiting for that dream to come true. It hasn’t.

So plan B it is!!

My husband has worked in the blind industry for many years. He worked his way from warehouse person up to contracts manager and then started out on his own five years ago fitting, mainly commercial installations.

I would often go to sites to help on the jobs that didn’t require Cscs cards (health and safety stuff) and I enjoyed it. As I was recovering from my accident I realised the need for this big life change, my injuries would make it difficult to sit at a desk, we discussed the possibility of me working with him.

I had three concerns;

1) I am a very girly, girl. I got my nails and hair done regularly, I wore makeup, I had expensive dresses and had Mulberry handbags for the office. I had never even held a hand tool in my life, never set foot on an actual building site …… Could I work as a labourer??

2) ……….would I murder my husband spending that much time with him. Be honest how many of you guys could work with your other half’s and not be plotting where the concretes being poured in to hide the body???

And 3) ….. I absolutely did not want a pink hi vis and pink hard hat!!! I didn’t need to stick out any more than I already would!!

We decided to try to see. On the 1st of June 2018 I went self employed and we started to build up my diary with commercial work as well as SP Blinds and Curtains for the domestic market.

My husband was a patient trainer (most of the time). He’s my best friend so actually working together has been great, don’t get me wrong we have our moments but we laugh more than we argue so I’m taking that as a win!!

I did my CSCS card test and then the full days site safe training, it was at this point the full gravity of being a female in a male dominated environment started to dawn on me. I was the only woman on the course. I passed my course and test and my first site job was for Jacobs up in Glasgow the following week. I was nervous and excited. But I’d been an entertainer in Magaluf in my twenties, these trades men didn’t scare me!! Much! Lol.

A year in I have worked on a lot of sites so it’s so amusing to look back on that time and how nervous I was, it’s just normal to me now.

I answered my first concern pretty quickly, I CAN do this! I absolutely can do this!!

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been plain sailing on every site, I often get stared at like I have three heads, especially when I am carrying the tools and big bundles of blinds around. On the whole however I have been welcomed on sites just like anyone else. A few moments of people assuming I’m either a cleaner or someone of importance πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ. That’s it!

If anything I would say I have a better relationship with some trades people as I do stand out people tend to remember me more, so it means people will talk to me a lot when I go back for return visits to the same sites. They strike up conversation more easily with me than my husband…… maybe that’s just because I’m a talker πŸ˜‚!!

Any doubts about my ability came from me. It was my own voice making me nervous, because up until this year I very much believed in “blue jobs” and “pink jobs”. My inner voice would say,

“You can’t pick that up, it’s far to heavy for you get Ben to do it!!”

I had to work really hard and shutting it up. Especially working at heights on scaffolding because I’m terrified at times, but I keep telling myself I CAN DO THIS. And I do!

I feel like this year has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. There are so many interesting jobs in the construction industry and I wonder how many women would love it like I do, but rule it out as an option because they don’t feel they can! And make no mistake I LOVE IT!!

I like the domestic and interior design aspects of private homes but there is nothing like the feeling of a job well done when you have lugged hundreds of blinds up 9 floors of stairs, working as a team, getting the job done well with a happy client. I love the projects we do that start from us surveying and working with the site team to seeing it through to hand over. It’s a similar buzz to completing a big sale. It feels amazing.

On the sites we have been to I have seen three other trades women. Two decorators and one labourer and I heard about one electrician. There are a few in the offices and I have met one female site manager which was great to see.

In 2019 it shouldn’t matter if someone is male or female only that they can do the job. It’s about knowing your own strengths and weaknesses to ensure you are safe when doing the job, but I honestly haven’t seen a job performed onsite that I didn’t think I wouldn’t have a go at.

It’s hard work. They work in crappy weather conditions sometimes especially in winter, the people working outside I really feel for but it’s rewarding all the same! There’s an atmosphere of working together to get a job done that I just love and I’m so pleased that I decided to give it a go!

I hope that as time moves on more and more ladies give it a try. To not believe the “blue jobs”/”pink jobs” line. You honestly don’t know what you can achieve until you try it. I was scared at first but I am always made to feel so welcome that it’s very comfortable for me now. I never feel nervous going onto site!

I see some of the building companies trying to encourage women into construction. Posters up around the sites and info on their websites and social media. It’s so encouraging. It’s opened a world of opportunities for me, I hope I continue to grow my skill set. You never know if you are in the industry, you just might see me on a site near you! I won’t be the one in pink. πŸ˜‚πŸ‘πŸ».

Girl’s can’t what??

Ok so this is a little off topic but I’m going to share anyway because the blogs my diary sooooo. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ. Lol.

Recently I made a decision to leave the career I had for the last 15 years in Advertising sales and go into business with my husband and expand our blind and curtain company.

It’s been scary. We have always had at least one regular wage to rely on even though my husbands business has always been lucrative we haven’t ever needed to worry. Doing this was a worry, what if it doesn’t work?!

I will start this by saying that I have always been quite a girly girl, not over the top pink girly but not really one to scramble up a mountain side etc either. So it was understandably a shock when people who know me found out I was going to work on building sites as my husbands labourer. I didn’t know if I could, especially with my injury’s from the accident but I wanted to try. I just knew because of those injury’s I wouldn’t be able to sit at a desk either, that chapter is closed, at least for now.

I’m also known for my equal rights opinions. I don’t believe I am better than anyone and no one is better than me either. I judge people by how they treat others, kindness goes a long way for me and acceptance of others even if you don’t understand their choices. Everyone has a right to be happy and equally no one should be judged because of the religion or race or sex.

Sadly there are what people perceived blue jobs and pink jobs. Now I didn’t ever imagine myself donning a high vis vest, hard hat and protective footwear and mucking in on building sites ….. but let me tell ya, here I am killing it all the same. Lol. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

Why am I sharing this? Well I know there may be people reading this feeling frustrated in their careers and wondering what their next step is. I am writing this for you. I’m not suggesting all you ladies should drop your job and go get your Cscs cards and work on sites lol. No! Of cause not. But I am saying don’t let what you or others think is an appropriate job for you stop what could be an awesome opportunity!! Don’t let your own inner voice stop you, those inner negatives are the worst!!

When you struggle with infertility every year that passes becomes a – “what if we are pregnant by this time next year?” Then the year passes and you have perhaps deferred decisions or changes based on this journey to become parents. I have done this, to a point that I was miserable and felt totally aimless. Like I didn’t quite fit into this world, Childless and nearly forty. Well excuse my language but fuck that!! I’m done.

I haven’t been this happy in so long. My depression started when we lost Gavin. I didn’t realise just how low I was until I was allowing people to kick me while I was down and doing nothing to defend myself. I didn’t realise how much I had been faking it. My first couple of months in business has been so much fun. I love working with my hubby! Making money for yourself is a focus I can get on board with!!

I really love working on building sites, some of them aren’t ready for a lady on site. I get the odd sexiest remark, some stand still and ogle like I have three heads lol. But they all treat me with respect and I can do the job as well as anyone else. I am of cause still in pain from my injuries, but the sense of achievement of getting a job done is awesome and I am so proud of myself for that. That out weighs the pain I feel.

I would have looked at those jobs and thought. No way. I can’t do that that’s a blue job!! What rubbish. I can do anything I put my mind to and so can you!!

Change is always scary, but what if it works? What if a year from you are looking back thinking ….. why was I so scared??

Life’s too short to feel so stressed and miserable. Thank god I realised this!! I’m only going to shoot for the stars now.

Thank you Gavin for being my courage when I had none. I love you little bro. I miss you so much. Xoxo

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