Well now… I was feeling really sorry for myself when writing that last post! Christmas and the New Year was really hard this year. Not because (I think), it was Christmas – but because it was the first time that we both ‘stopped’. Since we came to the end of the ICSI journey, we haven’t both been able to stop at the same time for more than a few days. Separately we could and did, but not together – until Christmas. And being at home, with nothing in particular to do meant we had a lot of time to think. Which this time meant that the same raw grief we’d both experienced earlier in the year came back, rolling back in, wave after wave. There was nothing we could do, expect go with it. Every so often, we’d come back up for air and another wave would hit.
I realised how isolated our lives had become. We don’t live near our families and we’ve hidden ourselves away from many of our friends over the past while (particularly those with children). We moved to a ‘child friendly’ area a few years ago, and haven’t really settled in here and none of our friends live locally. We live in a lovely place, with a gorgeous beach nearby, which we walked a lot over the break. We’ve been so busy coping with life, that we haven’t had a chance to enjoy it.
Our grieving isn’t over yet, I’m sure there will be other waves of that raw desperate pain. We’re still gulping for air after the last one. But we need to slow down and start living life a bit more.
I wasn’t one of those women who grew up knowing they wanted kids. In fact I rationalised all the reasons I didn’t want kids – the world is overpopulated, I enjoy my career too much, we enjoy travelling too much, our lives are too chaotic, we couldn’t afford to. The real reason was that I felt it really important that I didn’t just wander into having a family, because that was the ‘given thing to do’. I thought that nothing was more important than a child being born where they were very much-loved and wanted, not because it was the usual thing to do. I also thought it important that if we did choose to have children, that we would be able to love and care for them with a reasonable amount of emotional and financial stability. All of this melted away once we did decide to start ‘trying for a baby’ . Once that decision had been made, nothing else really mattered. At first it was great fun and exciting – and of course we expected it would happen quickly. We laughed about those various frights over the years when we were actively making sure we didn’t become parents. We talked about how great it would be, what great parents we would make and how much we were going to enjoy it. Gradually we stopped talking about it, we quietly worried. Afraid that if we verbalised our thoughts, they would become a reality.
We were both anxious not to turn ourselves inside out, that we did not want this (without ever defining this) to take over our lives. We set ourselves limits, there was only so far we’d go. And then suddenly we were anxiously waiting to see when we could start our first ICSI cycle. And then, 6 months later, we were hearing that there was no point attempting another ICSI cycle. Within two years we’d gone from excited anticipation to numbing despair. We went from talking about how we’d be great parents, and how we’d do things differently from everyone else (and I know how arrogant that sounds!) to realising that dreams we’d never fully articulated are never going to happen.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m getting my life back on track – other times it comes out of nowhere and grabs me by the throat. Despite everything, we turned ourselves inside out in our quest to become parents. We entered into a tunnel where nothing else mattered. Nothing else was within our field of vision. Now, we’re beginning to crawl back towards the light. Blinking a bit at times, and at times wanting to run back into the cocoon of darkness. Trying to get our old lives back, while knowing we’ll never have our old lives back.
I read a wonderful post today http://nokiddinginnz.blogspot.com/2011/09/feeling-left-behind.html#comments
I’m on the steep part right now. Where your calves hurt and all your muscles ache, and you wonder why in the hell you started this climb anyway. I know I will get there, to where I can enjoy the view, but at the moment, it’s steep.
It’s steep and can hurt the lungs. You know when you go for a run and feel the air getting into parts of your lungs that haven’t been ventilated since the last (a fair while ago) time that you decided to ‘get a bit of exercise and get fit’? Or if you’re hillwalking and you’re at the long haul, when you need to just put the head down and keep going – if you stop to look around you just won’t start moving again?
I know I will get there, but sometimes I just want to stop and sit on the side of the road. If you ask for directions in Ireland, the reply can often start with “I wouldn’t start from here now…”. Well, I wouldn’t start from here now. But I will get there.