Alcohol has always been a big part of my life for as long as I can (hazily) remember. It’s always been there, lurking in the background, at every family event, every BBQ, every nightclub, every wedding. A night out wouldn’t be complete without a drink in my hand. I can remember various booze related things growing up. I remember having sips of my dad’s beer when I was little, and sips of wine on holidays, I remember one Xmas Eve with family friends when I was about fourteen or fifteen, my siblings and friends children got me rather drunk, my dad had to help me walk home and I had my first hangover the next day – it was horrific, but clearly didn’t put me off. I remember my mum picking me up from a pub where I’d been with older friends and had promised not to drink. My wobbly bambi legs gave me away, that and the fact that I fell through the open front door. My teenage years meant underage drinking – always cider round the friends house whose parents would let us drink. Then there was drinking in the pubs we got served in and there was the raiding of drinks cabinets to take concoctions out in plastic bottles. Then there was university and my twenties, boxes of punch, shots, wrestling – but that’s another story altogether. It’s all been a rather wonderful, boozy cycle.
You’ve had a miscarriage, it’s goddamn awful, horrendous – the most empty feeling there can possibly be, to have been pregnant and then not. And, if you’re anything like me then you’ve read as much as you can bear on various Google searches (read as Mumsnet chatrooms) You’ve read about those women who fall pregnant a month afterward a miscarriage (urgh), read about why it might have happened, the odds, that it wasn’t your fault etc etc. But other than reading things that might drive you a little crazy, what else should you be doing? Well, from my point of view, moving on from a miscarriage has been a slow and steady process. I like to think that I was lucky (ha, I try to find the positive) in that mine happened very early on, and beside my boobs – which were enormous – my body had only just begun to physically change. It’s obviously very different for all women, and no doubt how far along you were is a huge factor, but here are the things that I’ve realised I have had to accept, or things that have helped me cope with this rather horrible experience.
Have you heard about or do you know what ‘Self-Care’ means? Is it something that’s on your radar or is it more in the Bermuda lost triangle zone as far as you’re concerned? Do you even know what I’m talking about?! Self care is essentially about taking responsibility for yourself, your health and mental wellbeing. It essentially means to look after YOU. I knew of the term but despite doing a lot of things for ‘myself’ I didn’t really acknowledge that what I was doing was called ‘self-care’. Listening to Women’s Hour on Friday (I know, I’m WILD) there was a segment about this topic, where it took one woman finding out she had cancer, going through all the treatment and coming out the other side, before she realised that she hadn’t been taking care of herself at all. She realised pre-diagnosis that she’d been burning candle at both ends, running herself into the ground working and partying too hard. Having cancer made her realise she needed to slow down and start loving herself a bit more. The programme really got me thinking. Certainly leading up to IVF I was really good at meditating on a regular basis, I was getting loads of sleep, drinking loads of water etc but then the pregnancy and sickness stopped all of that, and then after the miscarriage everything went to shit, quite frankly. I went off track by way of rebelling and showing my anger I suppose. I stopped doing all of the things that were good for ME. I realised that I hadn’t been looking after myself at all.
This post was supposed to be something else entirely. It was about now that I was due to share my exciting news with you all. News that I’ve literally been planning in my head for weeks now. I’ve tried not to let my mind run away but you can’t help it. Finally after two and a bit years of trying for a second baby, our IVF back in September was successful. We were that couple who just needed a little IVF help and it worked first time! I’ve been smugly buying pregnancy vitamins and finally glancing that little bit longer at women with bumps thinking, ‘me soon’. And our awesome daughter was finally going to be a big sister. But, oh.
We’re ten months down the line from when we made the final decision to go for IVF and whilst I’m no expert on it, I know a heck of a lot more about the whole process, than back when we started. It’s been a real learning curve for me and my husband. There’s so much you’re not aware of before you take the plunge, despite probably the majority of us knowing friends or family who have had to have IVF. Pre treatment, I somewhat naively just though you went in to your clinic and they magically did something with your sperm and egg, and VOILA!! OK maybe not quite but, I didn’t know about the daily injections, or having to have a general anaesthetic so they can collect your eggs, and I definitely didn’t know about the emotional roller-coaster that it all turns out to be. It’s IVF but so much more to boot. A lot of which you don’t or won’t have considered beforehand. Obviously I’ve learnt a whole load more, but here are ten main things for you.