Shine A Light

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The festive period is upon on us. With that comes excessive shopping, spending and indulgence. It made me want to do something for a cause close to our hearts.

We lost a much-loved, much-wanted baby this year who suffered from a debilitating medical condition. However many babies born with similar conditions have a different path in life. They face a brave life filled with ongoing medical challenges. In memory of our little one we decided to raise some money for those babies who will need support throughout childhood and adulthood.

Last night we brought our friends together for a Chanukah party where they gave so generously. It blew us away. We knew our friends were special but we are so grateful and appreciative for their kindness. I am thrilled that we can help others to lead as meaningful lives as possible. Chanukah is the festival of light and I hope we can shine some on some very special little ones.

The Best Kind Of Post

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Yesterday I found, amongst the bills and boring letters, a brilliant postcard from my best friend. This is what it said. I have put it up at home to remind myself that a) I must try to be less negative about the outcome of this pregnancy and b) my best friend is so very thoughtful. Thanks N. Made my day!

Infertility Faux Pas

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What not to say to a woman who can’t get pregnant

Author Tracy Buchanan has ‘dodgy eggs’ and struggled to conceive for five years. During that time, she was flabbergasted by some of the ‘comforting’ advice she got – even from well-meaning friends. Here, she explains what not to say:

  1. ‘Kids are a nightmare anyway, you’re better off without them’
  2. ‘Don’t worry, it’ll happen, I just know it’
  3. ‘I bet you’ll get pregnant on holiday’
  4. ‘So-and-so got pregnant on her tenth round of IVF!’
  5. ‘There’s always adoption’
  6. ‘Oh, I didn’t mention so-and-so was pregnant, I thought it might upset you’
  7. ‘It’s G-d’s way’

My advice  is to be realistic without being negative.You might be tempted to be overly positive but it’s frustrating to hear. Let your infertile friend vent without adding your own opinions or dismissing them when they try to be realistic. All you need to do is listen. Make it clear you’re there for them. If they need to talk or ask your advice, they will.

Weekends Away

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Since my husband has a new job and is nervous for me to fly we have been discovering some lovely places to retreat to in the UK. It has been rather delightful, despite the inconsistency of British weather. Last weekend we escaped to the Cotswolds for some greenery and English cream teas (yum), and this weekend my best friend and I visited Bournemouth for some chick-flicks and seaside tranquility.

IVF and pregnancy anxiety are all-consuming. Sometimes a change of scenery and a new place to explore provides the perfect break from the normality and stresses of everyday life. As a typical Londoner I tend to forget that life exits outside the capital city. Turns out there are some charming places to enjoy. Bring on the weekends away!

Awkward

 

Yesterday was the first time, in a long time, that my husband had to have the awkward conversation which begins with ‘so your wife must have had the baby’ and ends with that person feeling utterly embarrassed. We are resilient enough now to be able to talk about it without it being horribly painful but we do feel sorry for the well-meaning people who put their foot in it. They are people we rarely see, who are not connected to our friends and family. How should they know? It’s not their fault. Even worse was that his wife was pregnant and I don’t like to tell pregnant people in case it makes them anxious. Hopefully we will be able to tell them positive news soon.

Green With Envy

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Inevitably a number of my friends, or ladies I know, have had babies or announced their pregnancies during the time when we were consumed by sadness at the loss of our baby. Of course a part of me was filled with jealousy. It made me feel like a bad person. However I realised it was only natural to feel this way. I felt robbed of the baby I was expecting. When I felt bad I reminded myself that I was still happy for them, I just wished I could have the same. There was no need to feel guilty about completely normal emotions. So if you feel that way don’t be too hard on yourself. Also remember that just because they are having a baby doesn’t mean there is one less in the world for you!

One of my best friends was due a week before me and we had excitedly discussed our pregnancies and maternity leave together. When I lost our baby it was hard to see her progress through her pregnancy. I felt that I should be doing the same. She totally understood when I needed not to see her for a bit and was beyond understanding about my emotions. Her gorgeous baby has now arrived and I adore him. However I was worried about how jealous I might feel and, based on my experiences, whether the labour would go safely. Thankfully all went well. And I can say with complete honesty that I feel nothing but happiness for her. When I saw his little face it was impossible not to feel joyous. He is a bundle of loveliness and a blessing to my friend. Obviously I wish I could be in that position but now that I am pregnant I at least feel there is a chance of that being me someday. And when I do I know she will be absolutely thrilled for me too.

Shout out to baby E! Love Auntie K x

BFF

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“Tragedy happens in everyone’s life, everyone’s circle of family and friends. Be the person that others can count on when it does. I think that between 30 and 40 is the decade when a lot of shit finally starts to happen that you might have thought never would happen to you or those you love. Parents die, spouses die, babies are still-born, friends get divorced, spouses cheat… the list goes on and on. Helping someone through these times by simply being there, listening and not judging is an honor and will deepen your relationships in ways you probably can’t yet imagine.” (Rebecca, 40)

NE, JB, MB & GB

You’ve certainly done this for me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you xxxx

Girl Power

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Forums, blogs, social media  – the internet certainly feeds my obsessive, anxious soul. I have googled every imaginable aspect, question or concern about fertility, conception, infertility, IVF, pregnancy and pregnancy loss. I have read it all. I have an insatiable appetite for information on the subject. While it can be highly addictive it is also unbelievably comforting.

The kindness of strangers has been astonishing. I have found blogs and forums, particularly Mumsnet, incredibly supportive. Women from all walks of life connect over their shared desire to be a mother. They talk about every possible topic imaginable. I have, over the last 18 months, participated in numerous Mumsnet talk forums. They have included, in this order, conception, infertility, pregnancy, baby names, antenatal tests/choices, miscarriage/pregnancy loss and bereavement. What a journey. Only once did I receive any negative comments and immediately hundreds of women came to my defense. Mumsnet even apologised.

At each stage of my journey I have met women who have shown incredible interest, empathy and kindness towards me. I have seen such compassion as women share their deepest emotions – fear, pain and loss – with one another. I have read posts where I feel as if women are writing my exact thoughts. They are in the same boat. They understand. While our friends and family can listen and support us, these women really feel the same way. They offer reassurance, endless sympathy and good wishes for the future. It is girl power at its finest. Ultimately it makes you feel that you are neither mad nor alone.

Be Brave & Keep Enduring

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I wanted to share two things my friend (and colleague) told me which I have often recalled when things have seemed impossible.

One was that it was okay to tire of people telling you to be positive. Of course there are times when there does not seem like much to be positive about. She suggested that it might be better to try to be brave instead. I think it was exactly what I needed to hear.

The other was this quote. So true. It is important to remember that the worst is over. I’ve got this far and I haven’t given up. Therefore I can continue to endure the rough days. And so can you.

She’s very wise!