Friday, 22 January 2010

The other strand of hope

It seems that for almost two years now, I've been holding my breath.

Last Christmas, DH and I decided that we would go to China around Easter time. Then I started to get cold feet, because surely by Easter I would be pregnant, and I didn't want to be travelling in China while I was pregnant. So we gave up on that plan.

We intended to visit my brother and his family in South Africa last year. There was never a good time, in between all the times we thought I might be pregnant and then the IVF treatments, etc.

I haven't been to the gym since October, and the main reason I stopped was the IVF. This creates a bit of a vicious circle for me, as the lack of exercise and the resulting weight gain make my bad back worse, which makes it more difficult for me to get to the gym, which makes my back worse... I've got another appointment with the osteopath on Monday, and as soon as she's worked her magic I'll be back in the gym, giving it my all.

We have a kitchen extension with a flat roof which desperately needs to be replaced, and we need all new windows upstairs in our house. We said we'd sort both those things out last spring, but it never happened. The damp stain on the kitchen ceiling is now twice the size, and the guttering has come down at the back as well.

My half-yearly appraisal is coming up at work, and I can't think of a single thing I've achieved in the last six months. Work was just what I fitted in around fertility tests and treatments and obsessing about how to improve our chances.

And there've been so many other things we haven't done - friends we've failed to visit, people we haven't even kept in touch with, birthdays I've been late in acknowledging, or have failed to acknowledge at all.

So yes, you could say my life has been on hold - and one of the great things about knowing that we won't be doing any treatments for the next four months or so is that I get my life back for a while and can make plans that don't involve sticking needles in my stomach or getting cameras stuck up my bits.

But then there's the question of what happens next. I still hold out more hope than I probably should do of having a successful treatment at the new clinic. But, and this may sound bizarre, now that I know how remote the possibility of success is for us, optimism for me also means thinking about what happens if we're not successful, and if we end up not being able to adopt. Because I need to know that whatever happens, we'll be OK.

And because I'm an optimist at heart, but I'm also a realist, I'm thinking of all the possible scenarios - and working on convincing myself that each of those scenarios will allow us to live a happy and fulfilled life.

So while I hope with all my heart that I'll be pregnant by the second half of this year, and while I know I'll be devastated if that doesn't happen, I also know that if we end up not having children, I'll come through that devastation and find a way to be happy. It won't be the life I planned, but it'll still be a good life. The life I've had up to now has not by any stretch of the imagination been what I thought it would be, but I wouldn't change a thing about it - the good parts or the bad.

And what all that means is that I need to start making plans. I can't go on wishing my life away, and ending up with nothing because Plan A isn't working out and there's no Plan B.

I'm cheating a little bit, because I'm not going to make any plans that are absolutely set in stone. But on Monday, a friend said she was planning to run a half marathon in October and asked if I would do it with her.

And instead of refusing in case I'm pregnant by October, I thought how nice it would be to have something to work towards if I'm not pregnant. I thought of the sense of achievement that I got from completing a marathon (very slowly) a few years ago, and how I'd always said I'd like to train properly and do another one, aiming for a more respectable time.

So yesterday I registered my interest, which is the first stage towards hopefully getting a place to run that half marathon. And now I have two alternative scenarios to look forward to in the second half of the year. One is that I'm happily pregnant. The other is that I'm fit, healthy and getting ready to run 13.1 miles through the royal parks of London.

I have to keep repeating it to myself, and it's very hard to do, but making exciting plans that might have to be cancelled if I get pregnant isn't giving up or admitting defeat.

It's giving myself another strand of hope.


  1. I guess this is the flip side of being an optimist. Being a pessimist is usually bad for me but in this situation it actually worked out because I made all of our plans as normal assuming I would definitely not get pregnant, so I was able to keep going on trips and fixing the house, etc. Obviously this was do-able only because insurance was covering the bulk of IF treatments, however.

    I think the half marathon is a great idea! I have heard that training for one is such a rush and really gives you a sense of well-being. And I am sure that once you actually run the marathon you feel so incredibly accomplished.

    (I still pray you are happily pregnant though)

  2. There are days when we are so in sync it scares the tar out of me. Since the loss, even though I'm trying to remain positive and think we have a good chance of getting what we want, I keep thinking...what if it doesn't happen? What will our lives look like? What will we want for ourselves? Could we be happy? This post is so very in tune with what I've been contemplating, it may very well inspire a post today or in the coming days.

    Thanks for sharing. There are positive things about having to wait for the next chance to try, and it does suck how we have to put our lives on hold, but we have to do what we can to make the best of it (often easier said than done). Sounds like you are. :)