My new house and its ghosts

My lack of posting at the moment can be explained by the fact that we are in the midst of moving house. This has been going on for months and months and it’s been an epic struggle to finally exchange contracts today! The whole thing has seemed to represent the whole rest of my life at the moment – everything I plan goes wrong. Everything I want falls through.

But enough of the negativity. I’m really trying to be positive, and this is a good step in the right direction. Something has worked out! Maybe everything else will too.

The problem is that our new house has three bedrooms. One for us, and a spare room. And then the little tiny room that overlooks the garden. The one that was going to be the nursery.

So far, every time I’ve been in the room I’ve wept over the ghost it holds. I know we’ve got to use it for something else for now at least, until (hopefully) some day I’m pregnant again. But I almost can’t bear to call it ‘the study’. It’s still my baby’s room, in my heart. I want to put a cot in it, not a desk. I want to put a little chest full of baby clothes in the corner, not a filing cabinet. I’m planning to paint it beige – not to make it minimalist and neutral, but so I can add teddy stencils to the walls some day.

And amidst all this I know I have to be sensible and not worry about another month passing by, another month closer to my due date, another month where a little tiny life isn’t growing inside me still. I’m doing so much better – the house has been a great distraction. I want to enjoy it and have a fun time moving – and I’m sure we will do.

But in the middle of my lovely new house, full of our things and our tastes and our love, is an empty nursery, empty like my womb and my heart.

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Another month wasted

I started my period last night – so that’s another month of nothing. Another month of futile hoping and trying. Another month to wait before another chance.

I cried again last night, even through I thought I’d feel less hopeless this month – for all my rationalisation and talk of silver linings, I was still hoping with my whole heart, still holding on for one more day to pass without my period starting, just enough to make it worth a pregnancy test. Just maybe it would be positive.

I was just deluding myself. I feel utterly barren.

I really, really need to get out of this habit of counting the days and weeks and months as if they’re wasted. It’s just so hard *not* to see them as wasted when I feel like all I want is to be pregnant again. It’s the purpose of my life, much as I might try to find purpose in other things – everything else feels like marking time.

And time feels like it’s slipping away. I know I’m still only 29 and it’s only been four months since my miscarriage, but most of the time I just can’t envisage ever having any good news again, ever being able to actually announce that we’re having a baby. I just feel like all I’m having is blood. Blood and blood and blood and never a baby. I’m so sick of bleeding – I just feel like I never want to bleed again.

But of course I have to do this, have to come to terms with my cycle and all the traumatic memories and feelings it brings, because it’s the only thing that can maybe bring me a baby one day. My cycle is back to being fairly regular (normal for me, anyway) which is a good thing. I wish I could muster up any genuine feeling of pleasure about that.

So off we go again. Another month. In the meantime I guess I have few days of being able to enjoy a glass of wine – I’m not a huge drinker but not being able to have a glass used to feel like a big sacrifice when I was pregnant. What I wouldn’t give to have to say no to a drink tonight.

I asked my husband today if he really, truly, from the bottom of his heard didn’t wish he’d married someone else, someone who could give him a baby easily and quickly and with none of this heartache. He said he didn’t feel that way at all – that it could happen to anyone and that it wasn’t my fault. I’ve asked him that so many times but I believed him a bit more tonight. I know he loves me and won’t leave me, and doesn’t blame me. I just need to find a way to stop blaming myself.

Silver linings

I’ve been thinking over the last few days about some of the positive things I’ve been able to take from my experiences over the last few months, both of my miscarriage itself and also of the disappointment of my hopes and plans for the rest of this year. None of these things make it better, but they give me a different perspective sometimes.

The best thing is the hardest to explain. I feel like I’ve got a bit more back in touch with myself – my twenties have been a whirlwind of fun and good times and happiness and I’ve been swept up in that sometimes, forgetting to look inwards. I have spent a lot of time thinking about myself and my life since January, and where it’s heading now that having a family may not be as straightforward as I’d always assumed. I feel like I have got a clearer idea of where I am heading as a person and what I want, rather than just surfing on the wave of life. 

I’ve also remembered that I’m living my life for ME and my real family and friends, and not for other people. One of the things I was most looking forward to about being pregnant the first time was posting the 12 week scan photo on Facebook – of course my feelings about having a baby ran much deeper than that, but being excited about announcing it to all and sundry over social media was definitely a big element of it. When we lost the baby, the fact that everyone plasters their good news all over social media made everything ten times worse – Facebook seemed like a sea of baby photos and status updates, and it made me feel doubly bereft and like a failure. 

I left Facebook about a month ago now to escape, and I feel much better – I’m not inundated with everyone else’s baby news, and also, more broadly, I’m getting out of the habit of needing to announce everything I do to people I barely know. Thinking about telling my friends and family if we do get pregnant again of course makes me feel happy and excited, but now I’m excited just about telling the people I really love and see regularly. No one else really matters. And more broadly in my life in general, I’m remembering that I do things for me and not for the interest of people I haven’t seen for ten years. 

The last big silver lining is about motherhood itself. I’m not scared any more! Not at all. Not of getting saggy and covered in stretch marks; not of putting my career and social life second; and mostly not of the pain of childbirth, which had been scaring me profoundly. I just want my baby in my arms, healthy and whole and happy, and smiling or crying or both at once. I’ll go through anything for that. Maybe of all my silver linings that perspective, that level of simple appreciation, is the biggest gift. 

I’m halfway through my pregnant colleague’s last day

It’s my colleague’s last day today before her maternity leave starts. I found out that we’d lost our baby just after she announced to everyone that she was pregnant, and the awfulness of that has been intensified by her sadness and worry over the fact that they’ve seen on the scans that her baby has a cleft palate. There have been times when I wanted to shake her and tell her not to be so stupid – a cleft palate is nothing major nowadays and she still had a lovely healthy baby inside her! Alive and well and just with a tiny fixable problem. What wouldn’t I do for that? Doesn’t she know what a gift it is? 

I made it almost all the way through our little mini party for her today before I lost it. Even though I was standing right next to her, I looked at my feet and bit my lip, and coped with all the laughing and smiling and joking about how late her first baby was, and how she’s so huge that our boss has been wondering if he should keep clean towels and warm water on permanent standby. I even made it through all the good wishes for her to have a lovely maternity leave with her growing family. I was feeling lost and a bit poleaxed, but I thought I was doing OK.

It was the present we’d bought her that opened the floodgates – I hadn’t seen what had been bought with all our contributions. It was a lovely Cath Kidston bag with a built in little changing mat. I just looked at it and imagined her little baby lying on it, and her carrying it around filled with baby things. My eyes swam and my chin wobbled. Luckily my colleague who knows my whole saga saw that I was losing it and got me out. 

All I could think about as I sat in the corner office sobbing my eyes out was all the things people would have said if I’d been six months pregnant now, like I should be. All the jokes that would have been made. “There’s something in the water in this office…” “You’re going to bankrupt us with all the baby presents we have to buy!” “Anyone else want to tell us anything?” 

It would have been fun. Me and my bump and a little kicking baby inside would have glowed with happiness that it would be us soon. 

As it is, it’s just me, sitting back at my desk, feeling empty and barren and wishing it could have been me too. It should have been me too.