This morning as I was driving to an appointment in Dorchester, I was listening to Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show and, as always, at around 9.25am ‘Pause for Thought’ came on. It usually resonates with me but this morning it did so more than usual.
Reverend Sharon Grenham Thompson was speaking about one of our biggest fears in this day and age. Being a failure. In a world where success is so much more prominent (likely down to social media and the internet in my honest opinion), failure has never been more obvious. She explained that she found herself on a psychiatric ward being treated for depression. She lost a number of friends and family but also during that time she had wonderful gestures of friendship and kindness. The kindness of strangers who accepted her for who she was. She said:
Just this week I read that, if you replace ‘I’ with ‘We’ then illness becomes wellness.
Since the failure of our treatment back on 22nd March 2016, I have been in a really low place. Lower than I can remember in a long time. But I felt that I shouldn’t be there. That I should ‘nut up’ and get on with it. What did I have to be low about? What did I have have to complain about? I have a freelance job, no commute, a gorgeous daughter and a kind, loving fiance. How on earth could I be unhappy? Sometimes though, there is no explaining how you come to feel the way you do.
I haven’t wanted to go out or see anyone. I haven’t really wanted to communicate with anyone and I have only vlogged twice since we found out I wasn’t pregnant. I have been self-concious – not liking who I am or the way I looked. I haven’t felt like putting on make-up or being happy or enjoying life…even though I was trying so hard to be that person. If I am honest I have not really felt ‘well’ or the me I was since our first miscarriage way back in October 2013. The vivacious person I had become since I had left Grace’s father had all but up and left.
Back then, I was happy. I was always laughing and full of energy. I was happy to exercise and spend time with Grace and Ross. I felt that everything in life was going my way. Exactly how I wanted it. Everything was under control. Until it wasn’t.
If I now look back at the last two and a half years I can see the rollercoaster I have been on. The first miscarriage, followed by the ectopic pregnancy the next year, followed by the court action taken by Grace’s father last year, followed by the excitement of the egg donor treatment at the end of that year followed by the failure of us not getting pregnant this year.
In all of this though, there are a number of things that have kept me going. Other people. That is where the ‘we’ comes in. This is what has stopped me continuing into the mire and that is what is helping me to get out of the pit of despair.
Firstly, there are the words of support and encouragement. Mainly here, on my blog and over on my Conception Diary vlogs. Then there are the ones who have messaged me privately. Who have shared their stories with me, helped me to see that I am not the only one. Helped me to see that being low is justified and you aren’t just ‘being silly’.
There are other women all of whom have shared their situations. This has helped me see that there is a way through. People like Helen from Actually Mummy, Suzanne from 3 Children and It, Anya from Older Single Mum, Becky from Diary of a Fat Bottomed Girl and many, many others who are getting through difficult times each and every day.
Anya wrote an article at just the right time for me. She helped me realise that I did have a right to carry on trying for this baby. I turn 45 in less than two weeks but it is circumstance that has brought me to where I am now. Ross and I are right for each other and he is prepared to stick with me through all of this. There have been a number of times where I have said to him that I don’t understand why he doesn’t go and find a younger woman to have a baby with. He doesn’t want to. He wants to be with me. It is ‘we’ not ‘I’.
Finally, the biggest rocks of all are my family. Ross and Grace. They love me, they take the mickey out of me, they are there for each other and they are there for me, and, even though I have felt like I am on the sidelines, the ‘ostracised one’, they have never stopped trying. We are together through all of this.
I am pleased to say that things are starting to improve. For the first time in forever, I got ready to go out on Saturday night and I was actually looking forward to it. I put on a full face of make-up and enjoyed choosing something to wear. I had a great time. It didn’t stop there. On Sunday I enjoyed doing some gardening and then yesterday, whilst Ross was out on business, I picked up Grace and we had fun together. Real, proper fun. She baked and I helped, she played the piano to me, we watched one of our tv shows with dinner and she asked me to come and sit in the bathroom whilst she had a bath so we could chat. And I did. And it was good.
I know that this is going to take time but WE know I am going to be just fine. Because sometimes the smallest acts can give someone the strength to carry on.