The Childless Mother at Christmas

I am mother, I am simply a mother without a child. I have all the Mumma bear instincts and skills, I am ready to go, to create a home, to love and protect my family above anything else.

From a very young age I knew I wanted a big family, I loved my dolls, carefully wrapping them in woolen blankets and kissing their little heads goodnight, I imagined what my children would look like. That’s how long I have been preparing to be a mother.

It simply was not meant to be. Sometimes, there are things that no amount of love and hope can cure.

Every year, when the nights draw in and the twinkle lights start to appear in homes like happy little dancing fairies, my thoughts often turn somber and the little ache that has been present over the year, just seems to sting a little more at Christmas Time.

For the 12 years that we have been on this journey I felt so alone at this time of year, while families celebrated with nativity plays and sharing their children’s excited faces, naughty elf’s, Santa visits etc. I watched with envy, but felt completely and utterly alone even when I was surrounded with love.

While this year has been hard for other reasons, I have found a sort of peace on this subject. Having experienced the rawest grief this year for losing my cousin, I now understand that the process of infertility and losing my babies is also a form of grief. Not in the same way as losing an actual person, more that I am grieving for the what could have been, my imagined baby and what he or she would have grown to be. Its allowed me to let go a little, to move on.

I spent a good deal of time online reading success stories and looking for help with our situation, anything that might help us to get pregnant. The longer it took, the losses we experienced I started to look for other stories, for those ones that didn’t get their dream. If we couldn’t do it, how was I ever meant to put myself back together? How had anyone done this and moved on with their lives? There were not many of these stories and that made me feel worse. Why was I the only one taking so long to get pregnant?

For this reason, now I have been through it and pretty much come out of the other end. I wanted to share this blog for a while, because with the big day approaching and all the wonderful family time we have ahead of us, I want anyone in my position to know you are not alone. You will get through it! You are strong enough to do it!

I adore spending time with my nieces and nephew, however there was a time where I found it so hard that I would be exhausted from the show I had delivered, we all have that “I’m fine and happy” face. I felt terrible guilt for this. The desperate ache of wanting a child mixed with guilt would be hard to process and I never spoke of it.

Of cause, it’s not your family and friends fault, but it isn’t yours either. No one would wish infertility on themselves, we didn’t ask for it and you may find yourself making excuses a lot of the time to hide how hard it is on you. No one can truly know how you are feeling so it’s up to you to take care of yourself because it’s hard for some to understand how broken you feel.

Sadly, our story hasn’t ended with a bundle of joy, and while I don’t think I will ever not want a child, I have learned to deal with the devastating ache and feeling so terribly broken. I can see a happy future without children in it, I am so lucky to have my husband who is my rock and soul mate.

For many of you still on the “trying to conceive journey”, hopefully most of you will end up with your miracle. The journey is a tough one but you will get through it. I hope that you get something positive out of it, or like me, that it makes you appreciate what you have. Be as forgiving as you can, many will say the wrong thing. I have found that there is no right thing to say so that’s no one’s fault and that’s OK too.

I might not have ended up where I thought I would be, but I have a good life. Our babies have the most wonderful angel with them now, taken far too soon from us but I know he will be looking out for us and them. Life is far too short, it’s said so often but it is so very true. I wish you all the luck in the world and truly hope there are Christmas Miracles for everyone this year!!

 

 

 

 

Memories that hurt 

I was always a glass half full sort of person. Since we lost my cousin this year I have been finding it harder and harder to find the good in things. 

I hate cancer like it was a person! A person I want to beat and kick and scream and shout at. I want to know why it took him! I feel like it took a peice of me with it too. I want to know why it wanted to hurt my family so badly. Why us?? 

Yesterday I realised was the first full day I had gone without crying. Today when I thought about this, I sobbed for a half hour. 

Back in January when he was first taken from us the notion that I would go a day with out crying seemed unlikely. I didn’t want to because would that then mean I am forgetting? Logically I know this isn’t true. I think about him and my family’s pain every day. But still the fact I didn’t cry seemed to cause hurt as well. 

It’s true when they, whomever they are, say that it comes in waves. Some days I hold it together ok, tears are usually last or first thing in a day. The middle bit we all slap on our brave faces and try to do normal. The tears are brought on by a memory or picture or just the ache that’s been so present since the moment we found out it was Leukemia. 

Yesterday I was distracted, I was worried about a scan I had to have at the hospital. Recently I have had cysts causing me pain in places you don’t wanna know. So at the moment they are investigating the next steps to take, the problem for me with scans is that it transports me instantly back to loosing some of my pregnancies. 

The whole thing from start to finish, the waiting room with expectant mothers blooming with their healthy pregnancies to the scan it’s self and being in the position again on that bed. 

I haven’t ever suffered with depression or anxiety but I think the truly awful year we have had has nudged me closer to feeling these things. 

Laying there yesterday with yet another nurse looking at my insides and clicking away pointing at the abnormalities on my dysfunctional baby machine. I started to feel sick and shaky and very emotional, I wanted to jump off that bed and run for it. Every bad experience I have had in this situation weighed on me. 

I rarely let the pain out of its little lock box in my brain regarding the failings to get pregnant and keep the baby. I try to continue and not let it consume me. Recently the memories are leaking out more frequently and it’s been hard but frustrating because I am normally so in control. Little triggers around me all the time set off some monumental meltdowns. I don’t know if this is still my grief, like a side effect that all the bad experiences are pouring out of me. I haven’t ever felt like this before, grief so consuming. 

I have overwhelming respect for those people in my life that have lost young loved ones and managed to look like they are carrying on. I realise now how much energy it must take to just be “normal”. uRghhh I hate that word “normal”!

So yesterday I didn’t cry for Gav and I felt guilty for allowing my thoughts to be on me and it felt selfish.  I think perhaps I am now officially a crazy person. I don’t want to move on, I know he wouldn’t want us to be like we are but it’s easier said than done. We are all in such pain. 

I wonder if he watches over us and is annoyed, or if he realises the total mess we are in is testament to how much we loved him. I don’t want to do a day with out crying for him!! I know life goes on, but this version of life is different to before, somethings missing, we aren’t the same. Our hearts are just completely broken.  

⭐️⭐️❤️❤️💔💔

A trip to Edinburgh, crazy few hours. 

My husband works all over the UK. August is one of the busiest months of the year so he is often working over the weekend. When he told me he was headed up to Edinburgh for the day Saturday, I took the opportunity to spend some extra time with him but also take in the sights. I took my 14 year old niece along for company too!!

Our alarm rang out at 4am, I started to regret my decision and wondered how much could I really get done in a day….. Maybe staying in my nice warm bed would be a better choice?!?  The traveller in me screamed NO!! Get up lazy bones!!! 

So up we got and made a half hearted attempt at making myself look presentable, we bundled into our car and off we went on the three hour trek!!

Once I shake the sleep off and start to feel more human less Zombie, I really love this time of day. Watching the sun rise in our beautiful countryside is always worth being awake at stupid o’clock. 


Once we arrive in Edinburgh, I start to feel excited!! I have been before but never in summer. The smell of the yeast and malt that fills the air instantly transports me to Christmas time which was the last time we were here. I am reminded of gingerbread latte and twinkling lights. This time we had the Fringe and Tattoo atmosphere. It gives the city a totally different and exciting feel!


My earlier blogs will tell you that this year we are trying to lose weight and get fit. The lose weight is going ok, the get fit …..hmmm not so well!! I mention this because we park the car near the job, and I say … “It’s ok we will walk into the centre!!” Off we go! We follow the well sign posted tourist attraction signs. Forty minutes later we are standing below the castle and my face is resembling a tomato!! Three miles down already and it’s only 8.40am!!


There is a great mix of high street shops and boutiques here. I love it. We are coming back in October for a week so will be looking forward to spending some more time exploring the shops. For this day however it was about cramming as much into the hours we were there as possible and remembering I am with a forteen year old who may not like the same things as me. 


After giving the fourteen year old an appropriate amount of shop time, where I felt incredibly old as most of the styles were from my teenage years in the 90s so if the fashion has come around again …. I must be old lol!! Moving swiftly on!!!!

We had only a couple of hours left and I had read somewhere that deep in old town was in fact the grave of Tom Riddle the name that inspired one of my favourite authors to name a villain in her book …. Voldemort in Harry Potter. I am such a massive fan so of cause we had to go see!! By this time we had clocked up seven miles and the old hips were singing a bit, did we let that stop us?!? Of cause not!!!!!

After another couple of miles, we arrived at Greyfriars Kirk and its famous gravestones. It wasn’t just the appeal of the famous grave. 


It was also my addiction to graveyards. I don’t know why but I find something so beautiful in the old headstones, some lavish and well crafted almost transport you back to that time. I love the history in those old graveyards and this one had some great examples. Including the caged plots that prevented body snatching and grave robbing. 


There is a folk tale that within Greyfriars that it has a poltogiest oh and a ghost dog called Bobby, the poltogiest can be found in the oldest part of the graveyard. Locked up only accessible if you pay to go on the tour, a fact that has me a little skeptical, and when we reach this section there are plastic skulls with lights for eyes on the entrance and I am not convinced. Either way I had a chance to snap and image through the gates without being attacked!!


We passed the last hour before being picked up here, it was peaceful and interesting. I snapped a couple of great pics and though brief, our time here made my excitement for our return trip in October much higher. Edinburgh has so much more to share with me. Can’t wait!! 

   

How exciting is a smiley face?!!!

This morning I peed on a stick and it made me happier than I have been in a long time. 

I share a lot of my life particularly the fertility issues online as I have found such support from others in my position, but in truth this morning I shared my joy because I was excited!! My Facebook post was instantly filled with love and excitement from my friends and family. 

For all these years of trying for a baby, I have peed on a LOT of sticks, Clearblue more than others and the results always upset me. I have had so many negatives that the little empty circle on the ovulation kits or the not pregnant flashing on a pregnancy test, I have become numb to it. I expect the negative. This mornings peak was amazing!!!

To be clear my stick didn’t tell me I was pregnant. It told me I am ovulating. I have PCOS and those digital tests have NEVER in all these years told me I am ovulating!!! I was excited like I was pregnant!!! I did a little happy dance in the bathroom and instantly decided to share. 

I have people in my life I have never met. They read my blogs or follow me on Instagram etc. I get so many messages from people thanking me for sharing my journey. It’s for these people I am glad I did share as well as myself feeling the love. That was awesome. It’s nice to share a positive result even just the ovulation!! For some it may be hard to understand the excitement over ovulation but do as many tests as I have, that have been negative and then come back to me, see how you feel lol. 

Our journey has been a long one and there are so many “trying to conceive” stories out there most of which end in a beautiful bundle of joy. Our story hasn’t ended that way, I feel that’s a story that should be shared too. It’s a lonely road here feeling like the only one who’s body just will not do as it should. If I can make one person feel like they aren’t alone through this then I feel I am doing some good, my babies that didn’t make it aren’t gone for nothing. They live on with me and my blog in some silly way. I know that sounds nuts!! 

I am not getting ahead of myself as the chances of getting pregnant are still not great, but I guess I am trying to say don’t give up and take what ever positives you can!! That little smiley face has given me a little glimmer of hope, something I haven’t felt in a long time. Will it mean I get pregnant? Probably not but it’s still a nice feeling that it’s possible ….. I am not out of the game yet 🙊🙊🙊!!!

Wish us baby dust!!! 👪👨‍👩‍👧💑💑

Farm gurl in training – shearing sheep!! 

This weekend we packed our camping things into my husbands van and we made a trek up to Bonny Scotland to spend the weekend with some friends at their farm. 

Let me start by saying, I am NOT a camper, I’m accused regularly of being a snob. This is not the issue. It’s not like I deem myself “too good” to camp out, just that given the choice between a comfy bed with amenities in a nice hotel or a sleeping bag in what is essentially nylon ball with a door. I choose bed every time. I have to defend this preferance. ALOT.   


However if I was ever to give in and take the plunge it would be to spend time with the wonderful people I did this weekend. I am so glad I did. 

You may have read my blog about lambing with the Brown Family well here we are back again with them, but this time we are on their new farm in Scotland and we are shearing sheep. 


The drive to Scotland was beautiful, we live in an already breath taking area but the beauty of Scotland’s landscape isn’t lost on me. It’s raw beauty is worth the drive alone, the farm is actually in the middle of no where, so like those houses on the hillside that you say,

How cool would it be to live there, no one around for miles!!!

This is exactly what the Browns new farm looks like. Driving up the long road to the farm, the van bounces along like that scene from Ace Ventura. We don’t have a comfy car with great suspension, we have a Vauxhall van with naff suspension that makes me feel like my stomach is about to come out of my mouth!!! Sorry Vinny Vauxhall but it’s true!! 

The comical scene that waits me is worth the trip, Marie Brown one of my oldest and closest friends does not do anything by halfs, she says camp and she has every possible thing you could need to do it. Including twinkle lights, a must for any party in my opinion!! 

There are seven adults standing over a six man tent complete with three bedrooms and a living room with a carpet. There are no instructions for said tent and only a couple of us with any clue about how a tent goes up!! Cue at least an hour of hilarity that can only be equal to that of a Three Stooges movies, up goes our home for the next two nights, with minimal input from me. I imagine many divorces are a result of putting up tents!!!

Now I know what you are thinking, you are at a farm, why don’t you sleep in the house. Well it’s been empty for a while and well …… That’s just how we roll!! Apparently ….

After a fun evening filled with a lot of beer and laughter. We retire to our tents to get some rest for the adventure ahead.  


So after a some what freezing night in the tent we headed out to work, we were all supplied with coffee and bacon butties by Terry before we started!!! He is Marie’s dad and I think we all adopted him total ledgend!!! 

We started my clambering to the top of a hill, jumping a stream. Anyone that knows me will confirm how unlike me this is!!! I broke two nails climbing on my hands and knees to reach the sheep, not going to lie, cried a bit at this I have been growing them for ages!! *sigh* never mind let’s move swiftly on!!

At last we reach the top the hill and Gwen the sheep dog sets off to work.  


It never fails to amaze me how passionate Ian, Maries husband, is about farming. It’s a hard job that is a lifestyle, you live and breathe this life and he still has such a passion for it. It must be amusing to him us townies showing an interest in his lifestyle but we do love it. We love spending time with them. 

This time of year the heat and the bugs can be a danger to the sheep, if their fleece gets too big and they get stuck on their back, they can die. So shearing is an important part of looking after the wellbeing of the sheep. It’s more than just wooly jumpers. 

Ian the professional showing us how it’s done. 


It’s back breaking hard work. It’s a fantastic skill to see, quickly and expertly removing the fleece it’s obvious that Ian has had many years experience. We were on hand to help …. I maybe hindered but Nikki, one of our party, was a dab hand helping to pull the sheep out and pulling them into position which is bloody hard work and some of them were as big as her!! My husband Ben also pitched in and for a city boy he did well. Between them it was a smooth assembly line. 

The wool when it’s removed is rolled up and sold on but not for a great deal. There is something very pleasing about the smooth lines and the sheep shaped wool that’s removed. 

Ian told me some farmers burn the wool rather than sell it in protest to the poor prices paid for the wool. I can understand it. There is a LOT of work that goes into running a farm, do we really appreciate it? Do we do enough to support our British farmers? 

Me having a go. Then Ben and one of the final sheep. 


Ben really got the bug and he and Nikki helped to worm some lambs too, I was amazed watching my husband who has been born and raised in the city take control of these lambs. Nikki on the other hand equally amazing at it she looked very at home in this enviroment and you can’t help admire a girl that can really kept up! No pink or blue jobs here!! Yes I realise I loose some credibility for mentioning my broken nails but it can be gurl power with awesome nails!!! 

They worm the lambs every six weeks or so because of the bugs in the grass the lambs eat it keeps the insides healthy. They also are regularly sprayed with fly spray to stop them living in the wool. 

 This life is so different to the one so many of us live in the corporate world, dealing with targets and money and sales. Farming has its own stresses and it’s unbelievably hard work but I can’t help feeling envious of the time spent outdoors with animals. 

Many hands made light work so we were able to get out and do a little touristy stuff in Ary too. Hopeful Ian was pleased with the help getting his jobs done, I don’t mean my limited efforts more the others lol!! 

Our weekend was a mear glimpse into their life, but I loved it. It was helped along by great company and a lot of laughs. After the unbelievably bad start to 2016 laughs have been rare. I hope we can do it again soon. 

Here are some other shots from the weekend. Xoxo

Sunday’s Fundays

Sorting through the thousands of images I have on my many memory cards, I am so longing for another holiday. 

There is so much beauty out there and I want to see as much of it as I can.

I wonder how many of you are out there this Sunday evening wishing for a different Monday Morning.  

I had a great weekend spending time with my hubby before he left me to work away this week. The weekends are so precious to us, so Monday mornings and to be honest Sunday evenings are rough. 

Now as I edit a couple more images and make plans to share them with the social media. I wonder if one day that Sunday feeling with ebb away, on the Monday morning I wake up doing what I love all the time. Sharing beauty through images and art.

ROME, ITALY. 


Washington DC and Philadelphia. 

Where else can I go, what will be our next adventure. Only we are truly in control of our happiness. Make it happen. 

Xoxo

Beauty and travel 

The summer time always makes me want to travel. Sunshine and blue skies always seems like a waste when you are rushing around working and doing normal life stuff. 

We don’t just stop to appreciate it. 

I am doing a bit of a push on editing some of my images in my spare time at the moment. We are very blessed to have travelled as much as we have and we still have so much more to do. I don’t know if I am ever going to be any good at photography but I love doing it so much it almost doesn’t matter. 

Dreaming of doing something isn’t enough. Dreams are a wonderful thing but I want to do it. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. It’s time for change in my life again. Losing my cousin this year should make us realise life is too short. It’s not always about the big things, it can just be taking that extra time to relax. We are here for such a brief moment of time. Will you look back and think, I am so pleased I stressed out about my job or will you remember the laughing and adventures. 

Yes indeed talk is cheap it’s time for action!! 

Excuse or exercise?? 

This weekend we had friends from the city here for a visit. I love to see the area as a tourist again as it reminds me how very lucky we are to live here. 

It was a weekend of letting our hair down and I will admit we had a couple of treats but we also exercised to! We took a lovely long walk around the area and it got me thinking …. Perhaps now is the time to add exercise to my weight loss journey! 

I am not a natural athlete, I was the one lagging behind tripping over my two left feet in PE at school. There isn’t a sport I enjoy or activity I want to do a lot of (other than dance) so how do I get this started without giving up after the first week?!? 

Well my motivation has always been Gavin, to do something positive in his memory so I am using that same drive to help me stay motivated here! 

I did a work out tonight and for the first time EVER I was able to plank and do some burpees!! I realise to those of you that work out a lot that might sound nuts but being so big it always hurt my hands and I couldn’t jump up well!! I keep saying it’s not always about the big goals and it isn’t. This week my weight stayed the same and after a few food related treats I deserve that! But being able to work out more comfortably, I will take that as a win! These little goals add up! 

I am moving into week 9 with a new incentive! What will I be able to do another month down the line ?!? 

I love the meme that says,

No matter how slow you are running, you are running circles around those sitting on the couch! 

The one that is more relivent to me is the one that says 

If I am running you better run too, I am likely running away from the zombie!! 

If today you are reading this thinking about trying to start healthy eating! Do it now, if I can anyone can! I truly mean this.  I have a fairly bad food addiction. I’m still not perfect, I make mistakes but the most important thing it to keep trying. Never give up, I learned that from the most amazing person I ever knew, my hero, my warrior – my cousin Gavin, cancer took him from us but he fought with everything he had! We all can learn from that! We all should learn from that! 

Until next time! 

Here are some shots from my walk this weekend 🙂 

Body shamers…. Mind your own damn business!!!!

I know writing in anger is probably not a good idea but I am so annoyed!!!

I follow a lot of body positive messages on social media and over time I have learned to not read the comments as they often really annoy me!! Since I have been trying my hand at healthy living  more and more of these comments pop out to taunt me. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!

What ever your body shape it is no one else’s business!! We are all made beautifully different and I am yet to meet someone who is 100% guilt free healthy living  or 100% happy with their body. 

What’s even more upsetting is that people feel it’s ok to comment on feeds bashing someone for their size be that big or small!! You have no idea what that person is going through, why do you need to comment hate and anger at all?!?

I have always been brought up to believe if you have nothing nice to say do not say it at all. 

It matters what the character of the person is, if they are happy and healthy, which FYI you can not tell by looking at someone, then that’s their business!

It works for every body shape I have people call my friends “skinny bitch” feeling this was a complement. Not knowing that the person involved felt so skinny that she would do anything to put a little weight on. Others that work damn hard for their “perfect” body and they shouldn’t be shamed for that either. I don’t think I will ever be a five night a week gym person but I applaud those that have that sort of drive and commitment! 

I am a size 20 at the moment. I am working hard EVERYDAY to loose weight. Not because I want to look good in societies eyes but because the government say I can only have IVF below a certain weight. The fact that I am overweight doesn’t mean I am not beautiful, maybe not to everyone but then who is? I am beautiful to the only person I care about and that is my husband. 

The next time you feel the need to pull someone down for their size in life or on social media, think how you would feel if this was your family? Is your life so “healthy” it gives you the right to bully someone else?? 

Instead of posting a negative comment, which lets be honest shows the world more about you than it does the person you are commenting on, think again. Try a positive one, you never know you might like it!!

Social media has give us too much anonymity. We would not go up to a random person in the street and shout these things at them. Why do it here?

I started sharing on social media for support and to keep up to date with my friends and I use it a lot because I have friends all over the place. It’s been a great comfort to get the thoughts out of my head after loosing my cousin, sharing my grief at times has been something that’s stopped me from loosing my shit all together! What’s sad to see is that so many people use it for a place to speak their hatred because they are too cowardly to do that in the “real world”.

You don’t know their story, you don’t know what brought them this point in their life. If we showed more love and compassion and less hate – wouldn’t that be a better way to live? 

To anyone out there who has experiences body hate no matter your size. The only person that matters, the only one you should care about is you loving yourself. Its ok to want to make changes to your body shape, to strive for what you want but I don’t believe any dress size will truly make you happy if you do not love yourself! 

❤️✌🏻️✌🏻✌🏻❤️