We have a walker!

Hands up, I’m the worst sort of blogger. But I got landed with a mahoosive bid at work which finishes this week (started back last year and in earnest over Christmas) so work has been busier and life just sort of took over. Almost every day I think, I must blog that! But I sort of got out of the habit. Anyway, here we are!

I’m currently standing in the disabled bathroom at work with a double pump attached to my boobs, pumping… #oohtheglamour – yes, we made it to a year! Apparently this is some kind of badge moment in breastfeeding and “lactivist” communities but I don’t know because I stopped frequenting them when they started pushing adoptive breastfeeding. (Many adoptees in our communities find it problematic. I appreciate that isn’t the usual narrative – more on that later.)

Our breastfeeding journey has been pretty enjoyable so far, although I’m not sure I will really miss pumping. We have discussed it and decided we will go for natural term weaning probably unless anything else happens… This means letting B decide when he no longer wants milk. Right now he still has expressed milk at nursery but he also has water and food, so in time he’ll probably move to just breastfeeding when we’re together / mornings and evenings and at some point I guess he’ll decide he doesn’t want it any more.

We spent B’s birthday in foreign climes when I was off on my conference for work. It was fun in a way although I missed most of his birthday which was also a bit sad. I’m glad they could be with me (T and B) and it was nice for them to spend daddy and son time, but I guess I thought we’d spend it together as a family. We had a nice (extortionate!) dinner in the hotel after hours and B got a cake from the staff so I think he was happy!

We also had B’s first birthday party at home. It was a small affair… Just family (not my sister as I’ve given up asking her to travel as I know the answer will be no!) and a couple of local friends. The boys enjoyed playing in the ball pit. I made a cake. It went horribly wrong and I decided to de-ice it and redo it on the morning of the party – but I guess it went along with the tradition of crappy homemade birthday cakes!

A couple of weeks later, our keen stander decided to start walking! I’m not sure really what you actually count as walking but he’s definitely doing it now. T and I decided that it had to be five consecutive steps (not sure how we decided that – he’d been doing two for ages but it didn’t seem like proper walking) so that happened a bit before he was 13 months. It’s all a bit odd really. He looks like a little drunk when he walks!

Happily it seems that in the whole scheme of things, B seems decidedly average. Now of course personally I think he’s the cutest baby in the world, but I’m happy he’s neither an underperformer or an overperformer. There seems to be a culture amongst some mums to want their baby to be super advanced and I don’t get that. I don’t want to wish his babyhood away! (And I don’t want to hold onto it either – the new things he learns every day are so much fun.)

I suppose it comes back to what I call Post Infertility. Most mums I know didn’t go through infertility to have a baby. They just decided to have one and whoosh! They were pregnant.

I spent years hoping and thinking I couldn’t have a baby. I still find myself insanely grateful for the chance to be B’s mother. I relish every moment of it (even in some weird way, the tiredness and the waking up in the middle of the night because I think: I might never have had this! Although it is hard sometimes!)… I don’t take it for granted but I’m also generally infused with such a joy about it that it feels churlish not to let it soak in: I’m a mother.

I’m not the mother I ever thought I’d be. I was no nonsense. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the first year as much as I have. I thought the toddler years would be the best. But really what I’m understanding is that it’s all the best. I find myself worrying (mildly, not anxiety like) that I could lose it… and that makes me determined to enjoy it even more (whilst also wishing I could wrap him up in cotton wool and keep him safe forever).

As an adoptee it still feels weird to have someone who is related to me by blood. I find it weird to think I actually grew him. But I did! And he’s his own little person with his own personality… and yet I can see aspects of me (mainly my stubbornness!) in him. It’s funny and wonderful and poignant and magical all at the same time.

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Feeling strangely emotional

I think I’ve just started my period. It’ll be the first one since we started IVF cycle 2 – the one that resulted in baby B. I think we started in April 2016! Strange to think I haven’t had one since then!

I was sort of hoping I could hold off the periods indefinitely as I’m still breastfeeding B. He’s just under a year old now. I feel strangely emotional as I was hoping I could at least make it to his first birthday without having one, but I guess it wasn’t to be. It’s especially strange as today’s his first day back at nursery after the Christmas break, and I have been breastfeeding him more than usual (as he’s often away from me during the day), so I didn’t really expect to get a period now.

Agh. I hope it isn’t a period. But I think it might be.

For many years all through infertility and then loss, blood was a sign that my body wasn’t doing stuff right, wasn’t getting pregnant and wasn’t remaining pregnant.

I had really bad periods with endometriosis and fibroids. Could knock me out for days.

I don’t feel like that now but I do feel really run down because of flu – which I managed to get on Christmas Day and am still in recovery.

Have breastfed through it all. The one thing that’s gone right is our breastfeeding journey. I’m even hoping to make it to two years unless B wants to wean in between time!

Anyway, there you have it… The end of an era!

Christmas greetings

Forgive my terrible iPhone pictures but we are on our way back from Disneyland Paris and I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Disney’s always been our happy place… We always went to Disneyland Paris in December to celebrate Christmas (a bit in advance of the actual day because we like to be at home on the day). It was our “Second date” as T says (because apparently none of the intervening meet ups counted as a date, because we didn’t go out anywhere!).

And for those of you who followed my blog during the pre-B times, you’ll know it’s the place we went to try and be happy again after years of infertility and our first cycle of IVF ended in the loss of our first, longed for baby in 2015. (We said if it didn’t work out we’d go to Disney World in Florida. We did, and it was amazing. Very few things could put a smile back on my face.)

For those who’ve been through infertility and loss, you know the pain of trying to find happiness whilst thinking you may never have your happy ending. And I wouldn’t say anything so crass as to suggest you will have it – because life isn’t fair and it doesn’t always work out that way. But I hope 2018 is your year. Even though some of us are on “The Other Side” and have a baby after infertility and loss, I don’t think we ever forget.

So to be able to go to Disneyland with our little baby B and to see his reaction to meeting all the characters, and to see Disney through a child’s eyes – that felt all the sweeter. Bittersweet, almost. T even said, I wonder what our first baby would have looked like? To us, B is the most beautiful baby in the world. (Almost a toddler!) We wished and hoped for him for so long. I just loved the ability to give him that experience of the magic of Disney and to know that the dream I held for so long finally came true.

I know there is pain and sadness and I want to hold space for that. I wish that all of you could have your Christmas wishes. I also think of my friends who have gone through so much this year. My friend with cancer, marking a year of fighting it. My friend with infertility who had to accept that her journey to try and have a baby is over. My brother and his wife who are dealing with a life changing diagnosis for their child, and letting go of all the jealousy I used to hold for his perfect life. And all the difficult stuff going on in the world… It just blows my mind sometimes.

This year has been such a life changing one. The year I became a mother. The year B came into the outside world after kicking away inside me for months. Timehop tells me I was absolutely huge about now. I had all these ideas about motherhood, and I knew I really really wanted a child but I wasn’t sure if I wanted a baby – I thought that part might be difficult and tiring and hard.

But it’s been the best year of my life. And I feel such gratitude that somehow the stars aligned and we managed to make a baby (with a little help from our – medical – friends). I can’t even describe how much gratitude I feel. And I really don’t say this to be smug. I don’t feel proud of anything I’ve done because it was almost all down to other people, people who helped us achieve the (almost) impossible.

So to all of them and all of you –

The doctors who helped us

The nurses and midwives who looked after us

The embryologists and fertility doctors who helped us make B

The surgeons who made things safe for B to grow – and helped him enter the world

The immunologist who dosed me up on ten different types of medication

The sonographers who figured out what was going on

The friends – in real life and online who supported us

Our families who rooted for us and cried with us after our previous loss

I am so deeply grateful. I hope that you find your happy under the tree. I hope you get your heart’s desire. I’ll never stop feeling grateful and I won’t take any of this for granted.

Christmas crafting project

So what with our busy year this year and buying not one but two apartments, I’ve had barely any time or money to do the normal Christmas preparations I usually like to do. (Aka shopping.)

This Christmas will be a smaller scale Christmas with some less expensive (but hopefully more thoughtful) gifts we’ll be giving. I am hoping people will be slightly forgiving what with B being a rather active 11 month old and me working full time and whatnot.

Anyway, I decided to try my hand at a Christmas craft idea… not sure where it came from, but I had it in my head it would work out okay and I think it did! I haven’t had much chance to make any cakes this year and I think it sort of uses similar skills (like piping icing… but with paint instead!).

Actually I do know where it came from… There is a shop called Fortnum & Mason in London which does really nice shopping bags. They are usually blue with black writing but at Christmas they’re red and gold. They look great and they are nice for giving gifts but people also like to use them for shopping. And the bag I made for my friend’s hen do, she seems to use all the time so I thought I’d do my own take on a shopper / gift bag that people will hopefully like to re-use.

You need:

– Red jute bags (varying sizes)

– Gold fabric paint

That’s it!

I just did freehand and I think they worked out pretty well!

Let me know what you think! And link me your Christmas crafts…

Multiple identities: motherhood, adoption, work – and a dilemma

I never seem to manage to make the time to blog much any more, and that’s a perfect microcosm of how it feels to be a working mother – there’s never enough time for anything. Which is crazy, because I have a million unwritten blog posts swirling in my head. Many of which are about the strange hinterland that is being a working mum (mom!) after years of infertility.

First things first: I am so grateful to be here. I still do a double take every single day when I wake up next to my beautiful boy and I realise that somehow, after all the struggle, I am a mother. How did this happen?, swirls through my mind every day. I thank all those people silently who helped that dream become a reality. And I don’t easily forget all the years where it didn’t seem possible.

Second things second: Being a mother after infertility is a strange thing to be… I feel like it’s almost a different thing from being a “normal” mother. I don’t think we post infertiles ever really forget the deep grief and fear, the joy-pain of pregnancy after loss, the hoping and wishing that something will go right after so many wrongs. My overwhelming emotion most of the time is deep joy and gratitude that I have managed to have this experience of carrying and giving birth to a human being… my first known biological relative.

Which brings me to the third point: Having a child after being adopted [in a closed adoption] is a huge thing. It’s monumental. Having a child after having been transracially, transnationally adopted – if you weren’t, you can’t even begin to comprehend the profundity of it. I couldn’t, before it happened to me, despite that person being me.

To look into my baby’s face and recognise my own – to feel that deep kinship, to feel joined to someone else when it has never happened before in my living memory – it’s the most gut wrenching joy-pain you can imagine. To realise what I lost as a baby. To realise what I’ve gained through having my baby. To realise my birth culture and language is lost to me and I can’t pass it on to him… To realise that matters – even despite the joy. To live in that complexity where joy can coexist with grief and loss.*

Of course – I don’t want to put that on him. He has no responsibility other than being my baby doing babyish things and hopefully drawing as much joy out of life as a baby can inhale. And yet – he is everything.

(*I already knew what I’d gained – prevailing adoption narratives always focus more on gain than loss. I can be happy and adopted and have suffered deep loss all at the same time. That’s adoption complexity for you.)

Fourthly: After so many other “Not like the other” categories, Working Mother has to be the most stark. I genuinely never knew that the battle lines of Motherhood were so entrenched. And none more than Stay At Home Mother vs Working Mother. I never wanted to be caught up in these battles, any more than I wanted to define myself by Crunchy Mom vs Gina Ford Mom, or Breastfeeding Mum vs Fed is Best Mum – and yet, if there’s one thing mothers seem to like doing, it’s defining themselves as a Mum Type. (I’m Haphazard, Intuitive Mum… completely disorganised and completely in love. That’s all really.) I realise in so many spaces I don’t really fit in. And the (relative) loss of my antenatal buddies – who fell by the wayside as soon as I went back to work – felt like a rejection of the old school kind. (And that’s not even to get into the whiteness of motherhood… and how that makes a transracial adoptee feel. A complex subject for another day!)

And yet, I think we’ve settled into our own niche. I’ve found mum friends – some of whom will probably last and some of whom probably won’t. Quite honestly, it’s hard to cultivate friendships when you work full time and other mums seem to have endless pools of time to do Mum things and they use their weekends to catch up with their husbands… My baby is at nursery during the week and so even if I’m working from home, I can’t really meet mum friends, because why would I want to go and spend time with someone else’s baby when mine is in daycare? Like I said, it’s a strange hinterland and we find our own way.

I have made some Mum buddies whose kids go to our nursery – their kids are a bit older, because I had to go back to work so soon. But it’s good because we have more in common. (I’m the terrible one feeding my child Ella’s Kitchen premade pouches instead of developing a varied baby menu and posting pictures of tot cuisine to our whatsapp groups. Our working mums group is a safe space for all of us who’ve ended up rushing across town all sweaty to grab our babies at the last possible minute. No Lingo Tots or prosecco in the play park for us!)

The thing is, I wish I could join those other mums. I’d love to be a stay at home mum, for even a time, and I find myself wondering whether it’s possible to have it all, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t – something has got to give. For working mums, it’s missing out on all the mundane stuff that our SAHM friends take for granted. The idea I might not see my child’s first steps.

Which brings me to: The Dilemma.

I’m doing not too badly in my job. Weirdly… It always makes me a little nervous when things are going well because I’m primed to feel like something is bound to go wrong. But I’ve managed to develop a great working relationship with my boss (the one I wasn’t happy that my old boss – who I love in a work platonic way – put in place). We seem to be quite symbiotic and complementary and work well as a team. And I am lucky that what I’m doing right now means I have the flexibility to work from home a fair amount and to continue breastfeeding/ pumping. (11 months next week. How did that happen?!) It’s important to me that I am able to do that. And coincidentally, I also get paid more than I ever did before, and my working hours are more reasonable. I honestly don’t know how that happened. I like to think it’s my karmic reward for putting up with so much **** in my old job!

Let’s not beat around the bush – I’m the main breadwinner. By a lot. I get paid almost double what T gets paid. We were lucky enough to have an offer accepted on our dream flat this year and it’s my salary that enabled us to get the mortgage (plus a fair bit of help from my parents with the deposit). So I need to work to continue to provide for our family. T is an awesome partner as he’s much more organised than I am and he figures out everything we need to do domestically. I just have one job – to earn the money. (Well, and to feed B!) Doing what I do helps keep us afloat. And getting promoted, earning more and doing well would help us reach our sweet spot (pay off debts and mortgage) sooner.

So…

Our company is having a leadership summit in January, and I received an invitation. It’s a long way away – a transatlantic flight away. It goes on for four days plus travel. And only approved people get invited.

I got an invitation. It’s a big deal.

I asked my big boss if there was a mistake. (Surely not me!) My manager wasn’t sure either… She said our big boss had to approve all names so I must have been invited, but maybe not.

I emailed him to check there hadn’t been an error.

He called me. No error. I’m invited. “As a member of the leadership team.” Of course! (I’m like the most junior person in the team. They’re all one or two grades above me, or in his case, four!)

And when is this conference? Smack bang over my baby’s very first birthday.

Oh.

He told me, You don’t have to come. Let me know and if you don’t want to, I’ll give your space to Andy. (Andy is another relatively junior member of the team. Hopefully not as well regarded as me.)

All the global leadership will be there… It’ll be a great networking opportunity. All expenses paid.

And… It’s my baby’s first birthday.

T says, He won’t know. We can move it a couple of days and celebrate then. I say, But I’ll know. I’d be on the other side of the world when my baby turns one.

My manager has asked me to work on a big piece of work over that time anyway, so the decision may yet be taken out of my hands, but the summit probably takes priority – if I want to go.

Every few minutes I change my mind about what is an obvious decision. And it comes back to my multiple identities and how the “obvious” answer changes according to which identity I’m cloaking myself in at the time. I am a mother. I am a working mother. I’m an adoptee whose baby is the most important person in the world to me. I am a mother after loss who realises how precious those small mundane things are. I am a transnational, transracial adoptee who finally made a family. I’m someone who was cut off from her roots who invests a huge amount emotionally in birthdays because they are the only link to my past.

I am all those things and I am my baby’s mother and I am a great worker and I want to do well so I can provide for him and make him safe, keep a roof over his head, keep him happy.

But he is not me. B is not me. He is himself, and he’s wonderful and joyous and giggly and amazing and cute. He doesn’t need to be anything for me, but I need to be everything for him.

How do we ever resolve our multiple identities? How do we decide what is best?

I don’t know if we ever can, but I’m going to have to try…

Nothing has changed, and everything has changed


I seem to write reams of blog posts in my head but never manage to get round to typing them out and publishing them. 

A few weeks ago we had a little mini holiday to Wales. It rained a lot of the time but we had a great time nonetheless. That’s Wales for you! And we recreated a photo we took years ago on the beach, for our fifth anniversary. (Dog is in the originals but in the spirit of anonymity I’m preserving his!) It was strange to think that nothing has changed, and everything has changed. I feel a bit giddy when I realise I’m actually a mother!

We went to visit The Centre for Alternative Technology which was much more interesting than I’d anticipated! It made T think we aren’t doing enough for the environment and he later discovered our beloved Nissan Qashqai is the worst car for the environment! We hardly use it, but we are definitely going for a more environmentally friendly one next time!


On the one day it didn’t rain, we also rushed to the beach. 


On rainy days we did various things. We went for afternoon tea. We played with B. He’s desperately trying to walk! Poor Dog is hyper vigilant now in case of tail pulling! They seem to be buddies on the whole especially when B drops food…

It’s nice to get away, and just decompress, I think. I really enjoy my job at the moment because they give me a lot of freedom (eg working from home) but it’s still a kind of structure and I don’t have that when I’m on holiday. Also, a few days in a welsh valley without tv or Internet will do that for you!

But the best thing about going away is coming home. (And WiFi!)

Why I won’t be posting “Me too”

You may have seen the latest awareness campaign sweeping social media – a wave of women posting “Me too”.

First of all, I want to be clear that I believe anyone who wants to post should post – and I can see that it is raising awareness, and I think everyone is entitled to their own story. So this is not to denigrate anyone who has posted – and there are a lot of them.

I won’t be posting, however, and here’s why:

  1. I believe it puts the onus back on the victims to own distressing experiences, and I don’t think that everyone who has experienced this is in a place where they want to revisit those experiences. 
  2. I think social media badging and clicktivism on the whole can dissuade people from doing Actual Stuff, cf the safety pin movement. I haven’t seen a tonne of productive conversations or actions come out of this, but maybe that’s just my friends. It feels a bit like Post Your Bra Colour for Breast Cancer where nobody knew what it was for. That doesn’t really help raise awareness unless you also share your story, and that goes to my first point.
  3. Women already know that they are open to sexual harassment and attacks. I don’t think they need to be reminded and it kind of makes me angry that anyone thinks otherwise. Maybe it’s just too triggering for me but when I see my entire news feed filled with “Me too”, it doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t know and it just makes me angry and upset. I don’t feel solidarity – I just feel helpless. (I stress this is my reaction and I’m sure there are others who gain some sort of comfort out of knowing they’re not alone… but honestly it doesn’t make me feel better that most women have been sexually harassed and assaulted.) 
  4. I’m just angry people didn’t know this already; that they won’t believe it until every woman has stood up and told her story, and even then they might not be believed because history tells us that there are always people who think the woman was to blame. 
  5. The ridiculously low level of rape convictions. 
  6. The ridiculously endemic sexual harassment culture in most jobs I’ve ever worked in, most jobs of friends I know, and just the world generally… The idea that the casting couch is actually a thing and that people think women benefit from “sleeping their way to the top”.
  7. When I started thinking of my stories, it brought up memories I didn’t particularly want to revisit. They went as far back as childhood. I have done pretty well and am a happy adult mainly because I’ve successfully compartmentalised things and moved on. I don’t want to sit and do a list of the times I was sexually interfered with, because that list goes way back and I don’t want to think about it. I’d rather think about how strong and happy I am today. 
  8. This kind of swept Facebook during Baby Loss Awareness week and I just don’t like the juxtaposition. I can’t even bring to post about baby loss other than on other people’s statuses and oblique references to rainbows so I don’t think I’m going to go to the depths of my darkest history either. 

I guess the whole thing just makes me angry, and sad, and generally feel negative. And I don’t want to feel that way. 
The onus shouldn’t be on the victims to further victimise themselves. How about a campaign for men where they say “Me too” to mean, “I pledge to support and empower women and I commit to not sexually harassing or assaulting them and I am happy to be called out if I do.”

Thought not…

Sometimes the message does get through

(Aka: Mamma Mia is still a load of rubbish.)

A few years ago, my friends from university decided to come to London for a girls’ weekend. There were four of us who used to share a flat. Of four, one had recently had their second baby and one was heavily pregnant with their second. And then when they all arrived, it turned out that the third one was also pregnant with her first. Yay! (Sarcasm font.)

And then there was me.

Infertile. (Except I didn’t exactly have a name for it, apart from I knew I had issues.)

They wanted to see a show. I’d said I’ll watch anything apart from Mamma Mia. I hate Mamma Mia.

We were booked to go and see Mamma Mia. Of course.

(For adoptees and infertiles this is the ideal show to watch! Not really!)

During that evening whilst I sat through a load of dreadful renditions of ABBA songs (I like ABBA – I just don’t like Mamma Mia), I necked a bottle of wine whilst my pregnant and nursing friends, well… didn’t. And then another one for good measure. By the end of it I was dancing to the ABBA medley finale like the rest of them.

Back in our rented apartment, after my nursing friend had pumped, we sat around in the kitchen talking and of course they all talked about their kids and I feigned interest on the basis I’d drunk two bottles of wine and I figured the best thing to do when faced with tedious situations like watching an awful show with your teetotal friends was get sh*tfaced.

Matters turned to my childlessness. Of course. That’s what people do… Try to persuade you that you really must have something wrong with you if you don’t have kids. I mean, it’s not like you are woefully aware of your shortcomings if you are A Woman Of A Certain Age Who Is Not A Mother.

Anyway, I can’t really remember what I said but I think in the end, buoyed by two bottles of wine and a truckload of Mamma Mia inspired bitterness, I told them to stop going on about me not having kids, and had it ever occurred to them I didn’t have kids because I couldn’t have kids, and not because I didn’t want them?

I kinda remember they were a little shocked.

And then we probably had an early night because they were all unused to staying up late.

* * *

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I was talking with a mutual friend about childlessness and infertility. Since having B, I’ve always been at pains to stress it wasn’t easy and that I don’t take it for granted. I don’t want people struggling to think that I’m one of those people who just got pregnant without any hassle.

I mentioned in passing that people always assumed that I didn’t want kids and it was super hurtful. And I said, I remember kind of having a go at E (our mutual friend) because they’d assumed it of me and I was really upset at having to explain myself on what was meant to be a relaxing weekend.

Anyway, she said, “I may be breaking a confidence here but E told me about it after it happened, and she said she felt really bad.”

This was years ago and we’d never spoken of it again.

So perhaps the message does get through sometimes… even if it takes years to find out it did.

Naming day


A few weeks ago we had B’s naming ceremony…

  • The welcoming of a child is a momentous and wonderful occasion, regardless of whether it’s religious or not. We had a wonderful personal humanist ceremony in our new home and it was just perfect. Humanists believe that this is all there is and we need to try and do the most amount of good. They believe in the power of storytelling. Our celebrant wrote the most lovely service and there were tears all round! Even the religious people enjoyed it. 
  • Making afternoon tea is possible! I even managed to make scones and they’re much easier than I thought! We had loads of food and it was great fun. Four types of sandwiches, a whole heap of scones, jam and clotted cream, lemon cupcakes, vanilla buttercream cake, chocolate truffle ganache cake, brownies, chocolate pistachio fudge. All home made. It was a bit crazy!
  • We bought vintage china on eBay. The guy just sent it in a cardboard box wrapped in newspaper. Half of it was broken! He sent replacements just in time. We really should open our own vintage afternoon tea café…!
  • Last minute bubbles (the blowing sort) were great entertainment for the kids. 
  • Actual bubbles (the drinking sort) were great entertainment for the adults!
  • My siblings who couldn’t attend dialled in via FaceTime. My other brother did turn up after all with my nephew which was really nice of him. I still felt hurt that my sister didn’t attend but in the end I didn’t want that feeling to take over so I dialled her in. We are going to visit in a week and I think my bad feeling will have died down by then! I’m not good at holding a grudge!
  • My mum did a lovely reading that she personalised for B and it meant a lot. It was lovely to have personal aspects and our closest friends there. Everyone was so thoughtful. B received some lovely gifts! And more importantly it was so nice for our family and friends to share the day. My aunt and uncle came all the way from the north of England to be there for the day. It meant a lot. 

Ultimately I guess it is a very personal occasion and probably not of interest to many people outside of immediate family and friends. But for us it seemed really significant. Because we had a humanist celebrant he told the whole story of us, because that’s how they do it. 

It was amazingly personal and maybe the first time we had fully acknowledged how far we had come to be here with B. And also to celebrate how fortunate we are to have found happiness. It really seeemed so significant to me. I suppose some people just expect those things to happen, but after everything we’ve been through it seemed like the celebration of a very long journey to build our family. 


I know I haven’t updated much lately and I keep meaning to… Currently we are enjoying life a lot!

Another milestone: Yesterday B crawled properly! He’s been a bit slow to move but he finally figured out he’s supposed to alternate arms to move forward. (He has managed the backwards crawl for weeks and weeks which results in ending up under the sofa!) Poor Dog is now having to up his evasive moves as B loves to chase him! Fortunately for Dog, B’s still fairly unsteady so he can easily escape. Although he is definitely B’s best friend at dinner time!

I can’t believe B is 8 months old already. We are so lucky. It sort of feels like all the suffering and pain beforehand was worth it, that I get to be the mama of this little guy. Sometimes I can’t believe he’s real and it really happened. 

The old feelings

Confession time. Sometimes I can be a real bitch. That’s over a decade of infertility for you! Sometimes I feel the old jealous, mean feelings coming back. 

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while and it’s probably just going to sound like a massive whine. But I keep meaning to blog more, for good and for bad, so here goes. 

We are having a small naming ceremony at home for B. In our new flat! It’s going to be mainly home made stuff and a small group of friends and family and hopefully will be really lovely, but I don’t want to write about it too much on here because it’s a nice thing and this venting is not, so I’ll write it up separately. 

The reason I want to vent is because I just feel hurt that it’s very likely none of my siblings will be attending. Now they all have reasons, some of which are better than others in my opinion, and I know this is all mumzilla and B won’t give a flying poop about any of it, but to me it’s about something deeper, which is the fact that I never thought I’d get to have a baby and it’s a special occasion I want to mark and none of my siblings can be arsed to attend. 

This is unfair of me of course and that’s why I’m venting on here. But I’m finding it hard not to feel salty about it. Well mainly about my sister. 

One of my siblings can’t attend because of living in a different country that’s very far away… Efforts were made but it isn’t going to happen, sadly. But they (sibling plus partner) are going to record a reading and try and FaceTime in to the ceremony, so at least they’re making an effort. 

My brother who lives not that far away is probably not going to be able to make it with his family because of my niece’s (medical/developmental) problems. I get that it’s hard. I can’t imagine how hard it is. (Although she’s been fine when we have seen her sporadically including a few weeks ago when we went out for a family gathering – it was closer to their home though.) They seem to not want to take her out anywhere. Again. I get it. But they can go out for things they want to go out for. Just not for me/us. 

I know it’s not quid pro quo but I went to her christening around what would have been my due date for PB (my first pregnancy, after IVF, that ended in miscarriage). I didn’t want to go but I sucked it up and even though I felt crappy about it, I turned up. 

I probably would feel madder with my brother but ever since they identified my niece’s health problems I’ve felt all my jealousy for his perfect life dissipate. But my sister in law didn’t come to my baby shower and nor did my sister. In fact none of my family came. 

My sister has point blank refused to come. My new niece was born a month ago and she says it’s too far to travel. I’m sure she has a point. It’s about a 3hr drive between us. She says that the car seat manufacturers say the baby can’t be in a car seat for more than two hours at a time and I’m like… Haven’t you heard of rest stops?! It’s not like she would be driving anyway – I always sit in the back with B and T drives us, and we have driven way longer than that and B is perfectly fine. But she’s very highly strung and she won’t hear any of it and anyway she’s really stressed about feeding and whatever and sticks to some convoluted schedule that apparently she can’t deviate from by a minute. 

I also felt during my pregnancy that I couldn’t really be happy because my sister then was going through IVF (a frozen transfer not a fresh cycle) and she was completely nuts about it so I wasn’t able to celebrate it. I always have to mute my feelings for hers because she’s so prone to anxiety and depression and I’m always the one talking her down from the ledge. 

She’s super demanding as well, even when it’s not convenient for us. She insisted she wanted the Sleepyhead (cot cushion) and I could have sold it locally for £70 as they hold their value (cost new £110), but instead I walked to the post office in the rain and queued up for ages so that she could have it on next day delivery because she needed it right that minute and kept asking me to send it straight away. Bearing in mind I was doing her a favour and saved them £110 and lost myself the resale value of £70! And it cost me a decent amount to send!

The thing that really upset me on top of the naming ceremony non attendance was that she’d said when she was pregnant that she wanted the electric rocker… It cost around £150 new and so rather than selling it when B was done with it, we had it in the tiny living room of our tiny flat for the past four months. Like you don’t really get how small our flat is… The frame took up half the sofa and the rocker was balanced on piles of boxes because we had to move it around when we wanted to move around! So I was pretty p*ssed off when she sent a picture of the niece in a new rocker they’d just bought. (Same make but cheaper model than the one that has taken up our living room for four months.) 

When I said about the rocker she had asked us to save for them she said she “forgot, sorry.” Yeah that is fine… I mean we’ve been tripping over the damn thing for four months but whatever. 

Man, I was so annoyed. I’m sure that this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back and this is just showing what a horrible person I am. I’m also really annoyed with her because all she does is complain and find things hard when she didn’t have to go through a fresh cycle of IVF (though made sure we all felt her pain), has had an uneventful pregnancy, a healthy baby and she gets to take over a year off work when I had to go back after four months. Not to mention their huge house they just bought. (Our dream house is a two bedroom apartment. Theirs is a five bedroom house!) She’s just a Class A whiner. 

So I get that I’m being unreasonable, I really do, but I can’t help feeling upset about this. She had previously asked us to reschedule the naming from July or August to September so she would be able to come but then decided she didn’t want to. 

I guess… I know I would have gone if it had been the other way round. I know that babies can travel. And B has always been a pretty easy baby. So I don’t have a full understanding of what it’s like to be hating motherhood or whatever because I don’t get why you’d go through everything we’ve been through if you didn’t want it. They didn’t even have half the problems we had! I know it’s not the pain Olympics but jeez. 

I also know I’m feeling annoyed because we have a history (as with all relationships) and she’s always the looked after one, and I’m always the one who has to be looking out for her and making sure she’s okay, and just for one day I wanted to celebrate something good that means a lot to me. (Which of course we will still do.) 

She’s having a lot harder time with motherhood and probably prone to post natal depression and of course I’m expecting too much. I’ve just spent my whole life with her being the vulnerable one, and the one who needs looking after and building up, and it feels kind of crappy that the one day where we have to celebrate B and the happiest thing in my life, none of my siblings will be there. 

I also know that when it comes round to her daughter being christened or whatever that we will all have to go. I haven’t even been to see them yet as she’s weird about people visiting – didn’t want anyone to come when she was born, and said she only wanted a visit for like an hour, which is kind of a crazy expectation on a six hour round trip. Now apparently she’s ready for a visit, we are busy every weekend in September and anyway I feel annoyed about the naming and I don’t feel like seeing them until that has passed and I have it out of my system. 

I keep telling myself to suck it up and stop feeling annoyed but I can’t help it. I feel super resentful. I also know rationally that I’ll have a better time without her there, because she’s super high maintenance and usually has a miserable face on her and would want to leave early and whatever. 

I also know she’s trying to make up for it but its just ridiculous. Like she sent me £40 vouchers for cheese because I love cheese and I was annoyed about the rocker but firstly what am I going to do with £40 of cheese and secondly the cost of the rocker and the sleepyhead was a lot more than £40. I know she’s trying but I just want her to leave me alone until the naming is over and I’ve had a few weeks to get over it. 

I think I’m just sick of being the okay one, the strong one, and I want someone to acknowledge how f*cking hard this has been and what an amazing thing it is that I’m a mother.

Most of the time I’m fine at concentrating on that and not concentrating on the sibling stuff. 

So there you have it. I’m not all sweetness and light. I feel pretty bad for having these feelings. I know most people sympathise with her rather than me because people have been feeling sorry for her all our lives because she’s the one who doesn’t cope with things and I always do. I’ve always been the okay one and she’s always been the fragile one. And I know this is a total foot stamping moment on my part and I’m not proud of it. 

You can’t pick your family unless you adopt them (ha!) so I am just venting… In a few weeks I’ll be fine, and anyway I want to concentrate on making a really nice day to celebrate B and if my siblings aren’t there then whatever; my friends will be. My aunt and uncle even changed their plans to come from up north (further away than my sister) so that’s nice. And our best friends will be there who know how much this means to us.