After Reclamation Comes Transformation 


After the reclamation of my body following five years of trying to conceive and loss, I find myself looking across A vista of change. Physical change, emotional change and environmental change as we decorate our living room. I pushed for the redecoration because I felt I couldn’t spend rainy winter days stuck in there with Oskar. It felt sad, almost uncomfortable. Full of memories maybe?

You might recognise the photograph above- it’s the place I went to in the days after Robyn was born sleeping. I had another photograph taken there on his due date when I was first pregnant with Oskar, and this one is of me with Oskar recently. A tryptch of change in the one landscape.

Postnatal cycle number two rolled into town with so much emotional baggage I didn’t see coming. Until I looked on the calendar- it’s September this week- which means a year since the cycle I got pregnant with Oskar (8th September for the period & 22nd of September he was thawed, if we want to be precise. Those dates are stamped in my mind). 

Well, so what right? That’s what I asked myself while I cried all afternoon. 

So what, because it reminds me that it has been a year since we entered a new chapter. And what an amazing chapter, no doubt about that. 
So what, because I don’t want to leave the previous chapters behind or put them on a shelf or under my pillow. I want them to be alive with the pages turning in the chapter I’m in now. I want them to breathe the same air and squint in the same sunlight. I want to hear their heartbeat at the same time as mine and I want to hold them tight and not let go.   So what.

I know Robyn and his twin have gone. I know time is lapsing those moments now and these new chapters are growing into beautiful stories. I know Oskar is here and illustrating some of those stories.  And I know, I really know I have to find a way of taking them with me in a form that acknowledges the continuation of life.

Transformation. 

New baby.                                                      New routine.                                                 New living room colours.                          New book shelves.                                      New photographs.
The spot where I sat in the dark at night, numb, when I couldn’t sleep, is exposed and pale now the sofa has moved.       After the highs of reclamation, I’m in the lows of transformation with no sense of where it is I should be stood. 

The song ‘Dancing on my own’ by Calum Scott is on repeat for me at the moment. Although it’s actually about unrequited love, the loneliness and emotion of the words just remind me of this chapter in transformation. 
“So far away but still so near,                   the lights go on, the music dies.              but you don’t see me standing here,           I just came to say goodbye.                       I’m in the corner watching you kiss her, I’m right over here, why can’t you see me,                                                                    I’m giving it my all but I’m not the guy your taking home,                                             I keep dancing on my own”.

Transformation is inevitable but painful.Maybe it takes time to find your place within it? 

Until then I’ll keep dancing on my own.

Reclamation


Something very interesting happened this weekend, the emotion of which completely took me by surprise. I have finally got my first period since having Oskar and I can’t tell you how happy I am about it! I’ve not had one for 11 months, the last one was September when I got pregnant. 

For the first time since January 2011 I don’t have to track my cycles, think about ovulation, worry about whether I ovulate too early, worry about if I have spotting in the middle of my cycle, how many days a cycle is- 25, 26, 28. I don’t have to worry about wasting an egg, about peeing on ovulation tests, about whether I’m fertile.

I don’t have to make a decision about which month to cycle, I don’t need to call the clinic to say it’s day 1, I don’t need blood tests, scans, I don’t need to shave my legs! 

I don’t need injections, I don’t need to panic about whether it’ll fall on a Sunday when the clinic is closed and it will be cancelled and I don’t need pessaries! 

I don’t need to chase my thoughts through the tunnels of “will I get pregnant, won’t I get pregnant”. 

My period doesn’t symbolise failure, it doesn’t symbolise grief, It doesn’t symbolise a chance lost. It doesn’t symbolise the being on hold that life feels during treatment.
For the first time in years my period means nothing. Absolutely nothing! It’s unbelievably liberating. I’ve reclaimed my body from years of stress, tests, scrutiny and sperm. From pregnancy and loss and pregnancy again, from surgery, breast milk and raging hormones. I can just have a period!!

My body is mine again. Just mine, for me.
I felt the weight lift from my shoulders and it was only then that I realised how much stress we had been under for such a long time.

I almost did an ovary dance at my favourite place in the countryside. I spent many a day here gathering my thoughts after failed cycles, in between treatment and after losing Robyn. Going there over the weekend felt special, I really don’t have the words to share it with you. Maybe when I’ve processed it I will. 

Afterwards we had some lunch while we were out, just us and Oskar. It was a really nice day just being in that moment with no clouds of fertility treatment hanging over us.

Write of Passage


I am so far behind with writing and the blog. Mainly because I don’t get any time, and if I do it’s eaten up with sterilising or washing. I really miss writing. I also miss having a functioning brain to write in the style I’m used to! Call me old fashioned but I like to write by hand and then I transfer it onto screen. I just can’t get the flow when I sit in front of a key board. Perhaps that would be an issue if I were to ever pursue writing as a career, I’d be dead by the time each page of my novel made the journey from dog eared exercise book to screen. 

Each of those note books has it’s story not just between the pages but across their covers. When I pull one off our book shelf I might not remember what is written inside but I certainly remember which months or years they are from. They almost soak up the atmosphere and emotions of the time. And are littered with short shopping lists and scrawled appointment times. If I was to write a book one day, I would kind of like for those to be in there, in the margins or even a page to themselves.

I often hop out of a note book and into another because sometimes they hold writings from a difficult time. Cutting loose and into a fresh book can feel cathartic. A fresh start. Writing tools are often used as a fresh start too. Sometimes I like to rough it and scribble away with a biro. Other times I like to select the right pen. Or even switch to a pencil which is always good. Until they go blunt.

Given that I am behind with writing, dithering between notebooks and wrestling with time, I found a pencil under the bed whilst laying on the bedroom floor crying. Crying through sheer exhaustion, through fear and pressure, the relentless tournament of looking after a tiny person and feeing like I am losing every round. I saw this pencil looking at me, looking at it, beneath the bed, next to some pants. Are they my pants? I wondered where they’d gone. I reached out and rescued the HB and placed it on my bedside table, as a beacon of a new age- I WILL begin to write again before my brain dries up. 

I was trying to deny my bout of writers block. My bout of writers block so closely linked to my bout of depression following the birth of my very much wanted and long awaited, little boy (who I can report is a gorgeous, happy 9 week old baby who likes to pee up his nursery wall at nappy changes). I feel such shame about both of them. The shame of feeling depressed when we have a miracle baby after losing Robyn. I want to write about the sadness and shame but I struggle to find the words because I’m depressed and exhausted, which makes me feel further depressed because I can’t. 

How do I climb up and out of this subterranean trap? Maybe I need to embrace any pencil, any pen, any paper and just write without judgement.