Wednesday, 20 January 2010


You know that glass half empty-glass half full thing? Well, my dad once laughed at me because I was driving him somewhere and said we'd have to stop and get petrol "because my tank's only about one-sixteenth full".

I haven't always been a hopeless cock-eyed optimist. In fact, I can pinpoint the year that my attitude began to change.

I was about 17, and we were living in a place which was about four miles from the nearest town. I very seldom needed to go into town on my own, but I can recall two occasions, about four months apart, when I cycled into town.

The first time, I was irritated to notice that the road seemed to go uphill in both directions - on the way there and on the way home.

The second time, there was no difference in my level of fitness. I took exactly the same route, and the weather was very similar. But this time, the road seemed to go downhill in both directions, and it was a much more pleasant ride.

Of course, the reality was that the road was gently undulating, and there was probably an equal amount of uphill and downhill cycling in each direction. The difference between the two journeys lay only in my attitude - on the earlier ride, I concentrated on the difficult bits of the journey, while on the later one I focused on the parts that I enjoyed.

The interesting thing is that it was when I was 17 that I first encountered a major setback in my life. I went through something that was very difficult for me and forced me for the first time to face up to the possibility of failure.

Coming out the other side, I had learnt that I had the resources to cope with that failure and to turn it around. I had learnt the value of hard work. I had also learnt how kind some people can be and that support can come from the most unexpected places.

And learning all of those things taught me to look for the good in people, to work to achieve my goals, and not to give up when things got tough. They were great lessons which have stood me in good stead throughout my life, and I couldn't have learnt them without facing failure and a certain amount of difficulty.

I've seen how other instances of failure in my life have taught me a lot more than my successes. And perhaps that's what makes me an incurable optimist - because if things are going well, then they're going well. But if things are going badly, it gives me an opportunity to learn and grow, and I often end up with something better than I had originally thought I wanted.

I know now that it wouldn't have been right for DH and me to have a honeymoon baby - we had both lived alone for a long time and needed time to get used to living together before adding a baby to the mix.

We've learnt a lot about ourselves and each other and about our relationship in going through this whole IVF process. I think in many ways it's made our relationship stronger, because we're able to show each other how we're feeling and support each other through the hard times. It's taught us to communicate better and not to bottle things up or make assumptions about what the other is thinking.

I think it's also given me more understanding and compassion for other people - not just those going through IF, but those going through other difficulties as well. I see more shades of grey and am more willing to listen and try to empathise with the decisions that other people make.

So in many ways, I can be happy that we've gone through this experience for the things that it has taught me and the ways I have grown as a person.

But as the eternal optimist, I still can't let go of the hope that one day we'll be parents. This has been a learning process. I've learnt. Now let's get on with making babies...


  1. I know what you mean about IF making you more willing to see the shades of gray in many other situations. I think it has taught me that until you face a situation yourself you never know how you will react to it. That has made me a more understanding person. However, I think IF also made me an even bigger pessimist than I started out as (unfortunately), so I really admire how you've been able to maintain your optimistic outlook. I think that shows your strength of character in the face of troubles.

  2. It's always hard learning life lessons :/ Praying your reward comes in May/June honey XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  3. I have to echo what Sonja said, I can definately empathise with other peoples pain more now than pre IF but it has also been so many dissapointments after another that it has lead me to expect the worst and made me more pessamistic. I wish it wasn't the way, and I admire you so much to be able to realise there are some positives from all this. It is truely a admirable quality to have and inspires me to open up my eyes more to the glass half full scenario.