As I approach my 36th birthday it brings with it a time of reflection.
This past year has felt as though a weight has been lifted, as though I can breathe again, for the first time in five years I have just been “me”. It has been wonderful to just be, without fear, without holding back “just in case”, how freeing not to calculate cycles & dates, to actually make plans, to be present - no trying to conceive, no trying to stay pregnant, just being me "Lucy" again.
It also brings with it a sadness - I would trade every second of this new found “me” to be the mother of our second child, to be the mother of two little girls, to be the mother of a four month old. Oh how I wish life could have gone to “plan”. Surely there is a limit to how much two people can endure weren't we due some good luck?
This time last year I was eight weeks pregnant- we had, had a scan at seven weeks there was a strong heartbeat, I felt so sick, so tired, my tummy already starting to “pop” out (I had my maternity jeans on in this photo) - I had no idea that the strong heart beating away inside me had stopped. That life was about to deal us another blow, another loss. I was blissfully unaware. I wouldn’t say I ever fully believed that this time we would get to meet our baby but I felt slightly more confident as we’d made it past the 7 week hurdle (the point at which my previous pregnancies had ended, the point at which I’d had a massive bleed during my pregnancy with M) this time there were no signs, no bleeding (oh the fear every time I went to the toilet) no reasons to suspect anything was wrong. On my birthday I was counting down the weeks until our next scan at 10 weeks, to being able to share our news, to surprise our families.
So 35 you’ve been a roller-coaster year but also the year I found me again under the rubble of infertility & baby loss. I found running, I the least sportiest person going became a “runner” & with it my confidence slowly returned, my self worth & a realisation that I need to run to function, I need to run for my mental well-being, I need to run to be “me”. 35 was the year I decided I wasn’t going to feel ashamed of my story any more, that I was going to be open in the hope that I could help others to feel less alone & in doing so helped myself to feel less alone too. It’s been a year of many firsts & a year of finding an amazing tribe of women who I feel so I incredibly lucky to know, many of whom have become my friends & who I would be lost without.
So as my 36 birthday draws closer I can say I am not any closer to feeling able to “try” again despite almost a year passing. No closer to being able to step back on the roller-coaster of trying to have another baby and I’m starting to think I’m not sure I ever will. Maybe that makes me selfish or a coward or maybe it makes me strong because I don’t think I can handle any more heartbreak. Either way my next challenge is to make peace with that decision so that I don’t wake up in ten years time and have any regrets to add to the what “could have beens” had life continued down the path it was supposed to go. Would I be a mother of two, three or four by now who knows? But I am a mother, a mother of one & for that I will forever be beyond thankful because for a very long time I didn't think I ever would be.
Here's to 36 and to a whole 365 days of new adventures that await!