This evening I whooped and nearly shed a tear. All over both of my sons finishing 5oz, burping loudly and having a fantastic poo. In fact I celebrated those 3 things as much as I celebrated when WBA beat Port Vale in the Division 2 Play Off finals at Wembley! A good burp from my boys is often the difference between me feeling like an OK mom and the worlds worst mom!
I'm pleased that at the moment it's such a small thing that determines my perception of success. When I was struggling to become a mom, it was that that shaped my feelings about myself. I felt like a huge failure. Seriously a bloody 15 year old school kid can get pregnant and carry a child and I couldn't! After every loss I apologised to my husband- I'm sorry I have such a shit oven. Every month I would crumble and think how useless I was.
At the time, friends and family would say- it's not your fault, and deep down I knew it wasn't. But it still felt it. Fortunately I was able to gather myself together and focus on my can do's to try and counteract the overwhelming sense of being a failure.
So today I want you to be proud! For a moment lets celebrate what we can do, not what we feel we can't! We're not a country that encourages 'pride'. We tell our kids- don't show off! Well I say sod it! Let's take a moment and tell the internet what we can do and lets not apologise for it. Sometimes it's good to remember we are more that our can not's.
Wow! I am overwhelmed by the comments on the last post. Just wow. What a community of people willing to put themselves out there in order to help someone else. Thank you so much. I have struggled with how to follow it up- but thought what would Phil and Holly do (WWPHD)? Well they'd definitely throw in a less intense article to help the transition.....
People of a certain age will remember the beauty of a mix tape! Taping your favourite records/cassettes/CD's on to one Memorex dbs 90 and then giving it to people in the hopes of either cheering them up, marking a special occasion or just wanting to snog them.
I love how songs can make you feel. I remember travelling to work as a 16 year old and listening to Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette and going from extreme highs to lows all in the space of a bus journey. I sat on my bed passionately singing Stay by Lisa Loeb to some imaginary boyfriend. I have burst into tears up Merry Hill (its a shopping centre if you're not from this neck of the woods) listening to You Could be Happy by Snow Patrol. I have felt like I can't get any happier being in the middle of mosh pit while The Wonder Stuff play Mission Drive. I have felt a million dollars as I appeared in my own music videos via an ipod and the reflection of myself in the window of the train. (Hoping I'm not the only one who does this!) In hospital with the twins I would sing (poor kids, as if they weren't poorly enough!) or play them 'ooo child' by Five Stairsteps and instantly I would feel things really would be ok.
Music can change our moods in the matter of a few bars. So today I challenge us to make our own blog mixtape. Tell us a song that lifts you up, that inspires you, if there's a story behind it- even better! I'll see if I can get down 'wit da yoof' and create a Spotify playlist. And then when times are just shit, or you're just feeling a bit hopeless or lost- maybe this playlist will be the thing that lifts you.
I hope you'll all join in- or else the playlist will be filled with The Wonder Stuff and the Levellers!
Please don't judge me because I'm going to tell you something now and it might change how you feel about me....I love the X Factor. There I said it. I love it. I love Dermott. I love using my 5 votes on the free app, I love Dermott, I love the fact that every year I think it's fixed and I love Dermott. (Have I mentioned that?!)
There is however one thing I dislike and it happens every year- the bloody sob stories. You know.....my mom is an Irish disabled and my sister has brain injury and I grew up on a council estate.....I can't sing, but I really want a chance to change my families life..... and they get put through even though they are more tone deaf than Katie Price!
Now you might be thinking- you're a walking contradiction, your whole blog has been developed around how shit your body was at creating and growing babies! The perfect Sob Story. Well yes, it probably would get me through to judges houses, but I'm trying to view my story a bit differently. I want it to be a bloody good story, inspiring, hope giving, real- not another hard luck tale.
So today I'm going to ask you to share your bloody good. inspiring, hope giving real pregnancy stories. It doesn't have to be a sad hard tale. I want to hear from people who had no trouble getting up the duff, those who have long term issues (PCOS etc), anyone who has a baby, tell us how you got there! (we don't need all the details! :) )
If you're not a parent- still get involved! Tell us your plans- be proud of them, what would be your ideal scenario. Are you worried about something? Ask if someone has any experiences that may help you! Please, only first hand stories- we all know of a friend of a friend of a friend who got pregnant whilst living in a convent alone. Real stories from real people- you!
If you read something that you like, let that person know. So, over to you! Go!Go!Go!
(Please feel free to remain anonymous if you want!)
I'm not generally a superstitious person. I have lived on the edge and put a brolly up INDOORS! I have put new shoes on a table and you may not believe I could be so wreckless, but you know those drain covers that are in threes? Well I walked over them ALL! (and I didn't have to turn round 3 times and spit on the floor!)
On my path to having my twins I suddenly became obsessed with ritual. I had to do certain things or else.... For every appointment I had to wear my blue Ravenclaw Harry Potter socks which I would store at the back of my sock drawer so no one else would wear them. This ritual became problematic when my ankles became the size of a thigh and I could only really wear flip flops. You'll be pleased to know I didn't do the old socks and sandles combo- I instead cut off the circulation to my legs and wore them. Justin Bieber was in charge of my scans. If he wasn't on the radio when I was travelling to the hospital then I just knew it was bad news. Many times I grew anxious when he still hadn't made an appearance as we neared the hospital! Shockingly, he did get played every time! (I've literally just realised I should of just stuck the bloody CD in, would have saved me a whole load of panic!) When I went into have my section they had the radio on.....and Justin Bloomin Beiber was on!!! A miracle! I think my most disturbing ritual (for my husband (Rob) who up until now had no idea I was ritual crazy!) was being in a foul mood and refusing to talk to Rob in anything other than a snarl and grunt that had to include at least two swear words on the way to each appointment. You see, we had had cross words (OK I'd had a go at him) on the way to our confirmation scan in Tamworth and that was great news, so obviously I had to reinact being the worst wife in the world every time. For each trip to Tamworth we had to travel in our Fiesta and go round the roundabout next to the clinic. As the one time we went in the Scenic and missed out the roundabout I'd been told I'd only produced two eggs and had been asked to consider abandoning the cycle (turns out the two eggs were actually quite perfect- but I didn't know that at the time!). Each time I injected my Clexane prior to an appointment (borderline Sticky Blood Syndrome) I had to say certain words either out loud or in my head!
I was an absolute control freak- I know now it was my way of doing something- anything to make this pregnancy a success! I'd do it all over again too! (Sorry Rob!)
Is anyone out there willing to admit some of their strange rituals? Pregnancy or otherwise related? Please make me feel a little normal! Thank you!
I bloody loved reading Dear Deidre as a kid, and I mustn't forget the invaluable life lessons I got from Nick and Anita the life gurus of Just Seventeen! I mean they knew exactly how to overcome the fear of using tampons and how to approach my crush!
Today I want you to share the best worst advice you've been given. For me, I think the best worst advice when I was struggling to conceive was... "stop trying, it will happen then!" Usually followed by the story of a friend of a friend of a friend who knew someone who gave up all hope and then suddenly found themselves pregnant with quads! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate people taking the time to share their advice with me - but sometimes I've had to nod, smile and say thanks for that and not groan and say really?!
So, go on, share the best worst advice you've been given -about anything! I know I'll be cringing as I realise that I've probably said the same thing to somebody with a well meaning smile...
Today on This Morning they were discussing the same question we were three days ago! Could it be true that Phil and Holly read this blog..... or just a coincidence?! :) Phil and Holly if you're out there- my maternity leave finishes in March, so if we could arrange my appearance before then, that would be great!
I've been thinking the past couple of days - would the me of 2 years ago, like the me of today? Would the hurt desperate 36 years old be able to be around the woman with the most adorable twins in the world? (That's me by the way!). Could I have been happy for the present me? Being honest- I would have found it a struggle. I know the way I felt when yet another facebook announcement came up on my timeline and when rumours of friends and acquaintances being pregnant were about. When another baby shower invite came through. I'm not proud of how I felt at times but it was real. Thankfully I had people I could share my feelings with and friends who made me see things differently. One friend- Bingo Sarah (can you guess where she likes to go?!) is an example of someone who gave me a kick in the bitter arse and she doesn't even know it!
Bingo Sarah had sat through countless bingo sessions with me bemoaning my shitty body and how my baby making oven was not working right and how combined with a missing tube meant I wasn't sure I was ever going to get the one thing I had always wanted. She had listened, advised and ate chips with me. Then one day I received a text from her. It read ".....I know you'll be happy for me, I'm pregnant!" It was those 7 words- I know you'll be happy for me- that hit me. She didn't apologise for her news. Why should she? She didn't hide from me. She believed in me. She trusted that I was a nice person. Being happy at someone announcing a pregnancy was not something I had been. At that moment I was given a chance to be different. She had made me see things through her eyes- not mine.
I'd love to say I handled all announcements with that happiness I had for Bingo Sarah. I didn't. But I did challenge myself a bit more about my bitterness.
My question to you is- how do handle your bitterness? Do you have any advice to help someone get through yet another announcement. I know not everyone reading this will have struggled with fertility issues- but I'm pretty sure nearly everyone has struggled with something similar- another engagement, another promotion, another bingo win, another new car, another holiday, another stone off!
Please do comment- you never know, your advice could be the thing someone needs to hear!
Thanks for all your advice yesterday- priceless! It seems we are way too concerned with the design and cut of our special places! :)
I want to ask another question today and I'd really like your view on it. Is it ok to ask someone if they are going to have children?
I've asked it a million times- to lots of different people and not thought anything of it. Well I use to ask it (sometimes it still pops out- old habits die hard), until I really didn't know the answer to the question myself. As a childless woman in her 30's it is pretty much a stock question to be asked. As someone who got married last year it was something that would often be asked, in fact I think I got asked it about 5 times on my wedding day. I'm made of tough stuff and I've got pretty thick skin. But this question started to really get to me. Aquaintances would ask. Work colleagues would enquire. All innocently being nosey, but each time I was asked, it would hurt. I'd usually just smile and say "we'll see!" What I really wanted to say was "I desperately want children, but my stupid body won't let them grow in me and to top it off they took one of my tubes too! Plus what's it bloody well got to do with you!" But I never did. I smiled and died a little bit each time. Quite dramatic sounding isn't it? Well yeah it is. Because being made aware of my perceived failure as a woman felt dramatic. Did I hate the people asking it? No. After the initial 'ouch!' I had to remind myself that they didn't know, they were just more often than not making polite conversation and showing an interest. It didn't stop me hating the question though. I'm still not sure whether it's an appropriate question to ask someone. How would people really have handled it if I'd have told the truth? It would have probably made them feel awkward, extend a bit of pity my way and possibly make them avoid me for a few days! But that's just me.
I've just had twins. You'd think I'd escape being asked about my reproductive aims and ambitions! "Are you going to have any more?!" Now I just smile and say - I can't afford anymore! The stranger thinks its because the cost of raising kids is so high- but I know it's because I can't afford another round of treatment. At least this time I can give an honest answer!
What do you think? What are your experiences? Do we need to just get over ourselves? I look forward to hearing your opinions.
The past couple of days posts have- I hope- given you a bit of an insight into how I found myself as a mom of multiples. There are many more turns in the road to share with you, but tonight I thought I'd try and get you involved.
When you get pregnant, there is advice to be found everywhere. Don't eat this, make sure you take that, etc..... What no one advised me to do is practice shaving your legs and your bikini line with your eyes shut while you can still see them. There are months that go by where you can't see your legs in the shower not to mention your nether regions- but there are a whole host of people that will and - in my opinion anyway- I think it's important that you show yourself in the best possible way! The thing is, no one told me that if I practice shaving with my eyes shut while I can still see those parts I would escape the deep trauma of seeing myself after blindly (and without practice) hacking away! It wasn't pretty. I can only apologise to all those that were exposed to the monstrosity that was my bikini area and legs!
So there you have it. My top tip for pregnancy. Practice blind shaving. What's yours? If you've never been pregnant, still get involved- what question do you really want to ask, but have never had the courage to? (googling it doesn't count!). Remember, sharing is caring.
I bloody love my works do's! I really do. In fact my very first outing with my new colleagues pretty much set the tone for future gatherings....that night ended with friction burns on my feet from a knee sliding 'moment' I shared with Claire, one of my new work mates! Our next 'do' may or may not have been responsible for the death of Whitney Houston. We're hoping it was just a coincidence that her demise coincided with our heartfelt rendition of The Greatest Love and it didn't drive her to destruction.
Sorry, I digress, back to the post..... A works do was the setting for a really important conversation that would eventually shape some of my future decisions. Not that I knew that at the time. Christmas 2012, Rob and I had just moved into our new house and we had decided to 'start trying' or rather 'stop preventing' - calling it this took the pressure off (it worked for a while!). Work had organised a meal at the Four Stones up Clent. As usual I was rather full of alcohol (read- very drunk!) and rather enjoying a sing song to total eclipse of the heart (old school style). Towards the end of the evening, I overheard a conversation at the other end of the table. One of my colleagues (well she was just a colleague at the time- has now been promoted to hero and friend) was talking about her son and how she had gone through IVF to get him. I was intrigued by this....I just found it an interesting story. Obviously at the time I had no idea how important my eavesdropping would become, because in my brain- I would get up the duff the conventional way. The next day that conversation was still on my brain....so much so I messaged Laura. It was her reply that meant 3 years later I had a real friend guiding and encouraging me through the process.
I'm glad I'm an eavesdropper. More than that I'm glad Laura is a talker. I'd encourage you. Talk. Share your stories. You never know who might need to hear them- whether they know it at the time or not.
Reasons I love these pictures.....
1) I have minimal chins
2) Beyoncé is in the background
3) Hilarious nights out
4) Surrounded by good friends
5) I was pregnant in both pictures.
Reasons I loathe these pictures.....
1) It reminds me I was pregnant.
2) It reminds me that the pregnancies didn't make it.
I have had two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. All three were dreadful shit hopeless times in my life. All three made my heart grow weak. All three ripped hope from my heart.
I was thinking about this blog and how I wanted to give hope to people, but the truth is sometimes things don't have the ending we hope for. If that's you, all I can say is, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I can understand how you feel. I appreciate I am now someone you probably dislike as I've managed to get what I hoped so badly for. And it's ok to dislike me because of that. I would have disliked me just after these pictures were taken. It is shit. Absolutely completely shit.
I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess I just wanted you to know I know. And I'm sorry.