a note to my darling daughter.

Well.  Isn’t this just packed to the brim of wisdom and truth and honesty.  This may be advice for Meredith’s beautiful baby girl but, let’s face it, it’s advice for us all, however old we are.  

It’s beautiful.  Thank you Meredith: 

as i look upon the canvas of you and me and your daddy on the wall, i can’t help but remark on how much you have changed already. how much i have changed. how much you have grown. how much your being here means. how much we both have learned. how much we both still have to learn. how much we can still teach each other. i want you to know so much. this letter has been many months in the making. many thoughts are held within. many that i will forget to say. many which i do not know how to communicate. so much to say to one so small. something to look back on in many years. something that you may perhaps find helpful once you begin to navigate your own life. somewhere to begin.

you came into my world earlier than I expected. but at just the right time. you taught me in the first few days about a new love. one i had not known. one that is unparalleled. one that scares me. one that i will hold onto for dear life. one that is both challenging and easy. both heavy and carefree. both painful and healing. both weak and strong. one that is powerful.

much like you. so much power lies within you sweet one. in those big bright eyes. in those sweet little hands. within that curious little heart. power for good or for evil. power for love or for hate. power for both. power for choice.

choose wisely, sweet one. speak well and do good. work hard but play harder. take chances. be passionate. make music. travel. see as much as you can see. it opens your eyes to the world more than anything else. learn. crave knowledge.

know that you are clever and beautiful and talented. know also that there are some moreso than you. and know that that is okay. know that knowing that will make you driven. and content. know that absolutely nothing is more important than family. know also that your family extends beyond shared DNA. but also know that no one loves you like your mamma. know that no one loves you like your daddy. know that you won’t always dislike your brothers and sisters. know that people see you differently than you see yourself. know that perspective is everything.

remember that you deserve to be happy. but remember that happiness if also a choice. choose it. and remember that no amount of material ‘things’  will get you there. remember that no one is you-er than you. remember also that a mirror nor a number is the truest likeness of you. be you. remember that you make a mark on those you meet. first impressions are important. make it a good one. remember to be kind to others. remember to forgive but not always forget. remember that integrity is your greatest ally. patience is indeed a virtue. especially with yourself. remember that you are not perfect. and more importantly, remember that no one is. remember that judgement is usually misunderstanding in disguise. remember that you never know what someone else is going through. remember that a smile can help. and that laughter is indeed the best medicine. especially if induced by tickles.

so much is going on in the world, sweet innocent one. so much of the opposite of what i want for you. so much hate. so much hardship. so much suffering. so much loss. sometimes i wonder if bringing you into a world in such a state was right, the best thing for you, one who knows nothing but love and awe at this tender age. then again, i’m sure that that consideration is an affliction met by parents generations past as well. for me and many others, your being here makes the world brighter. and if it makes our little world brighter, that’s a start for the rest.

i want you to know that you are blessed beyond measure. you are loved. you are housed. you are clean. you are clothed. you are healthy. you are full. you are a citizen of not one but two countries, little girl. two countries that, compared to so very many today, are at relative peace. it is my greatest hope for you that this state shall continue and that you will feel safe in whichever is home to you at whatever time of your life. i want you to never forget those less fortunate than you. help in any way you can. but know that it isn’t just up to you. encourage others to do the same. always remember how blessed you are. and remember that with such blessing comes great responsibility. not only to yourself and those you love but, and perhaps even more importantly, to those you dislike or do not know. seek to sow nothing but peace and love and hope and acceptance. for all things good. for these are the things the world needs more of. and these are the things that reap true happiness.

be happy, my angel. grow tall. approach the world with open arms. and love hard, for you are loved fiercely. even if you forget all the rest, never ever forget that.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Life Experience
7 interesting thoughts on this

Behind Closed Doors: I hope

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to behindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

I don’t know how to change the time on the alarm clock, and so it woke me up and I switched it off again, and stared at the empty space. The little things are becoming the cruellest reminders.

I had suspicions you were unhappy. I thought that you were struggling with work, or life or something. I have been struggling with work and life and something. I knew that our relationship was changing, that pressures were adding up. I thought that they were the symptom and not the cause. They are for me. But overhearing you talking through things with your friend, her asking how the mortgage is arranged and suggesting you packed a bag first, hearing myself described as pragmatic and stoic… I wish I hadn’t gone to bed before you. I wish I had joined you for a nightcap. I wish I had sneaked back to bed and pretended I hadn’t heard, and held you so closely that you would change your mind.

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps we would have come to this soon anyway.

Read More »

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
10 interesting thoughts on this

Underestimating

Well.  Apparently, when you work and have a baby, the only spare time you do have is spent on the sofa, staring at a wall, after the baby has gone to bed.

Who knew?

Thank you, Aisling, for captaining the Good Ship AOW these past few weeks.

*****

In some ways, going back to work has been better than I ever could have expected.  I’ve talked before about the dangers of having too much time to think.  Maternity leave will do that to you.  Your world becomes so, so small (as it rightly should); your day is filled with addled decisions about exactly what time your baby last fed and what time should you go for that coffee, and whether you can sneak a nap in whilst your baby is down.  You go to baby groups and you meet other parents and  you have the glory of long days stretching before you with raising your child being your only priority.  It’s a wonderful, privileged situation to be in.

But oh, does it give you time to think.

And think I did.  I built my return to work up to be an impossible task.  I had no idea how I’d manage working a challenging job full time on limited sleep, expressing breastmilk through the day at work, getting Ellie fed and clothed and dressing myself in time to catch a train at 7.03am, how Ellie would cope at nursery when she was the youngest there by some way, how I’d manage crossing London in rush hour to pick her up, how I’d keep her milk cold and transport it safely, how she’d cope commuting into and out of London every day.  I worried and I fretted, and honestly, readers, you think I’d have learnt by now. 

Because it was fine.  All of it.  It was fine.  It’s still fine.

Read More »

Categories: Written By Anna
12 interesting thoughts on this

Behind Closed Doors: Friendship, Shifting

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to behindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

There’s something about feeling uncertain or disappointed in a relationship with a friend that feels immature. Uncertainty about where you stand or insecurity about a friendship makes you feel like you’re back in the playground, whining to a teacher because your best friend of three days has gone off with someone else and they keep whispering to each other and pointing at you.  You’re worried that, amid all the other big concerns of adulthood, of jobs and unemployment, homes and homelessness, families and loss, that you’re being overdramatic, immature and unflatteringly needy.

 

That said, it can be a sudden shock to the system when something shifts in an established friendship, and you no longer have the firm footing and solid foundation that you had come to rely on and expect. Friendships change over time and proximity and circumstance, but it can be a huge blow to suddenly realise that the friendship you have treasured and prioritised has changed.

 

This weekend I have wept, berated myself for weeping over nothing at all, and reminded myself that it is no one else’s responsibility to help me spend time as I’d imagined; with shared plans unfolding over a couple of days, of long evenings of shared home cooked meals and talking. Assuming those circumstances, based on previous weekends spent over the past decade, was a mistake on my part. I have no one to blame but myself for that assumption and the sudden shock that it didn’t happen.  But it was that shock, and the l­oss of the memories I thought I was going to make, that made me weep. The ground has shifted and I’ve just found out.

 

I managed years ago to appreciate that romantic film descriptions of partners’ understanding each others’ every need without a word, was utter rubbish. I realised pretty early on the importance of actually talking through plans and expectations with my other half. Somehow this wisdom has bypassed my long friendships and I find myself having to learn it again.

 

Having been separated by circumstance and distance for long months, when two friends separately arrived close by for a weekend, I was excited and thrilled, looking forward to sharing plans and slipping back into familiar conversations and laughter. When those two friends, separately rejected repeated invitations, decided to remain at home, it was their proximity that really hurt. Moments from each others’ door, we sat separately. I was alone and felt it, sitting isolated, paralysed and more hurt than I had any right to be.

 

One lost Saturday night is not important. It is not anything as large or important as an end of a friendship, let alone a life-changing event. It’s just one of those small moments when you’re reminded of the separateness of people, and the difference between your understanding of how things work, and the reality.

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
5 interesting thoughts on this

Honest-to-goodness friends

I love love love this post by Kate. Having made sone of my best friends as an adult via ‘those bloggy things’ and social media, Kate’s thoughts ring very true for me. I especially adore the stonking example in the last paragraph…how brilliant?
A friend shared this video on facebook recently (somewhat ironically) and it got me thinking.  This idea that social media is inherently unsociable is a popular one.  As the video says, “this media we call social is anything but; when we open our computers it’s our doors we shut”.  This is a message I’ve seen and heard over and over again, on twitter, on blogs, on facebook, from family and friends.  I’ve been blogging since 2008 and over the years have been told that it’s fake, it’s self-centred, and that any friends I’ve made through blogging aren’t ‘real’ friends as they only see the edited version of me I present on my blog.  I have also been criticised for doing that editing.  Now, I will readily admit that my blog shows edited highlights of my life, partly because I started it as a ‘happy place’ when quite a lot of things in my life weren’t very happy, and partly because I can’t believe that anyone would want to read about me doing my laundry, or having pasta and pesto for dinner yet again, or moaning about my colleagues / bills / hair / the weather.  But I would also argue that we  present edited versions of ourselves in person as well; my boss doesn’t want to know what I had for dinner, and my friend doesn’t need to hear about my split ends.
Mainly I object to the assertion that online friends aren’t ‘real’ friends, and that social media makes us antisocial.  I think both of these things may be true for some people, depending how they use the internet and how they connect with people, but for me these things are not true at all.  If it wasn’t for blogging and other social media I wouldn’t have many friends.  Instead I have a selection of lovely people in my life, from those who I regularly tweet with or occasionally meet for a drink, to those I have invited to my home, to some of my nearest and dearest (and even my land lady!).  I would count all of them as real friends, and friends with whom I am sociable both online and offline.
The popularity of blook club, an Edinburgh book club for bloggers, which saw people coming from far and wide even for the first few meetings, says something about the sociable nature of this supposedly unsociable world.  I’ve invited people I’ve only ever met on twitter to parties and they’ve come, and brought their partners too.  Recently a few of us discussed Friday night drinks on twitter and other people joined in and came along.  We crave social contact, and social media enables that.  Anyone who has moved jobs, or cities, or relationships, knows how hard it can be to make friends as an adult, but it is so much easier with social media.  And not just a list of friends or contacts or followers, but real, honest-to-goodness, drink and laugh and cry with them friends.
So the next time someone tells me that social media isn’t social, that blog land is disingenuous and self-absorbed, that by choosing to spend time online I am choosing isolation and loneliness, I’ll give them my flat as an example:  my land lady is a blogger, I met the friends who helped me move in online, and half of the people at my flat warming were twitter friends.
Categories: Friend That Made Me Me, Life
15 interesting thoughts on this

The house that she built

Today’s post by Meredith is one of those where you’ll want to stand up and cheer after reading it. Whether you have your own post-partum body niggles, or a different set of worries about your appearance, I think you’ll relate to what Meredith is saying – we need  to recognise the huge achievements of our bodies and celebrate them, every day.

Like many women, I’m often insecure about my looks. Post-pregnancy, that is even moreso the case as I adjust to a new shape that may or may not continue to shift and change. I’m still hoping it will! Looking in the mirror, I feel like a mess. I feel like I’m missing the mark. And you know what? There’s really something wrong with that. I’ve made a human. That takes it’s toll. I’m tired of hearing from various media sources about how I canprevent stretch marks (or correct them, in my case). I’m tired of being bombarded with postpartum fitness articles, telling me I’d better use any ‘down time’ (ha!) I can to exercise and to start before I get too ‘comfortable’. I mean can I just enjoy my baby for a second? Can I just use any ‘down time’ I actually get to take a nap or take a shower or do some laundry? My daughter doesn’t seem to mind my ‘comfortable’ body…though, to be fair, she pretty much just looks at my face and my blouses at the moment. BUT, she does fall asleep quite easily against me in all my cushiness.

During pregnancy, my husband and I got into a habit. As my tummy got increasingly babified it got itchy! So every night he would rub cocoa butter on it. It helped the itchiness and felt good. It was also supposed to help with stretch marks. Well, I still got stretch marks, even though I gained exactly the right amount of weight and applied this lotion every night. Apparently it’s mostly down to genetics. I must have a lot of genetics! Haha! Anyway…It sounds weird, but our ’tummy time’ became a special habit all about the three of us. Me and him and bump. After our daughter arrived, we stopped. Then a few weeks ago, we decided that we missed that time. We reinstated it, this time with Bio Oil, because, as you will soon see, she stretched me to the limits! I’m glad it’s back. Although, since there’s no baby inside anymore, I find myself especially conscious of my bump/pooch/roll/whateveryoucallit. I mean I’m now 15 weeks postpartum. Shouldn’t that be gone? Kate Middleton’s was. Victoria Beckham’s was. XYZ’s was. Why isn’t mine? Then this conversation happened one night, during our ’tummy time’:

Wife (guiltily): I’m sorry I still have a bump.
Husband (sweetly): I like your bump.
Wife (incredulously): Why?!
Husband (sincerely): It’s part of you. And it made her.
Wife (tearily): But it’s different than before.
Husband (matter-of-factly): Yes. A new curve. And one I like.

Perspective is everything.

I took this photo when I was three months pregnant, in order to share the news with family and friends.

Our daughter actually arrived April 15 via emergency cesarean. We had a hell of a first month, but that’s another (longer) story for another day. A story that, honestly, I don’t think I’m quite ready to ponder over and share. But suffice it to say that we are all doing well now.

I took this photo three months postpartum, in order to remind myself of what my body has been through, what my body has accomplished and what beauty can (and often does) look like. It’s now become a favorite.

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves as women? Mothers or not, we ALL do it. I think it’s about time that we stopped! It’s one thing to lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s entirely another to constantly pick apart every flaw, line, bump, curve, or mark. I will choose to see this stretched and puffy body as a blessing. To see every mark for the kick that it was, this ‘pooch’ as an empty nest! It served a purpose. A wonderful purpose. It housed her. It was her first home. She built it, bit by bit. It’s her first work of art. Should it not then be celebrated?

My current, and likely abiding, challenge is to see myself the way my partner and child see me. I hope that you can do that as well! For we are ALL beautiful. And I think when we all start to realize that, the world will indeed be a better place.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Body Image
17 interesting thoughts on this

#bookswap – the reviews

Thank you to Kate for her beautiful #bookswap reviews – I’ve read both books yet want to dive straight back into them. If you’ve been pondering writing your review/s, please do – we can’t wait to hear more about what everyone got and what you thought.
I was lucky enough to receive 2 breath-taking books (thank you again Anna!) and I took a while to read and savor them. Then I took a while to let them sink in, as they demanded a bit of sinking-in time.
[Anna, remember I said that I actually had read After You’d Gone  before, but couldn't remember the details? I didn't understand why or how I’d forgotten it, but knew I loved it,  until I was a good way in, and even then it wasn't the plot I remembered.  It was heartbreak.  I was barely coping after an ended relationship when I read it the first time, and I think I must have read it on a purely sensory and emotional level.  The watery themes were instantly familiar and the loss and grief portrayed is so stark, so raw that I could actually taste my own old loss. I think when those emotions in me healed up the book went away with them, it was linked to something too painful to be an easily accessible memory.  Mystery solved.
I was so pleased to come away from it this time with a more rounded experience of the whole beautiful book, but my god what writing. ] Anyway,  here are my reviews:
After You’d Gone  – Maggie O Farrell
This book is achingly beautiful; both the story-line and the writing.  Simply put, it’s a bittersweet love story with themes of family, love and moral choices.  It deals with Alice, her family, the love story of Alice and John, and how Alice comes to be in a coma.  It’s written as a series of vignettes which are not in chronological order, allowing the reader to experience snapshots of intimately observed and detailed scenarios of Alice’s life in London, Alice and her sisters growing up in Scotland in her grandmother’s house, her mum’s married life, and her love affair with John.  These snapshots of Alice’s memories build suspense, yet flow and meld together eventually forming a clearing picture of how and why Alice is in acoma – accident or suicide attempt?  The inconsistent chronology is handled with finesse, echoing the way our memories work and enhancing and adding realism to Alice’s condition. The author’s writing is pared down to create a haunting, deeply emotional and above all, luminous book.
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
 
I was delighted to receive this as The Goldfinch has become one of my favorite books but I’d never read this.  It begins by revealing that Richard and his student friends have been involved in a murder.  The plot then takes second place to the development of these strong central characters and the creation of a romantic, vividly picturesque university campus setting.  Eventually the pace quickens and plot thickens, and with it comes the reasons the characters were involved in the murder, the looming of an inexorable climax and a clinging hope that perhaps, things may not end as intimated. There are murky and complex themes throughout which make this book dense yet enlightening reading: – tragedy; Greek history and philosophy; friendship and the yearning to belong; beauty, decay and destruction.  The author gains powerful control over the reader with her beautiful prose and deliberate structure and pace, then creates tension by pitting the fundamentally unlikable characters against the compulsion to follow their actions.  This book is very clever, thought-provoking, and utterly, darkly compelling.
Categories: Books
7 interesting thoughts on this

In a bind

When Liz submitted this post, I couldn’t believe how timely it was – I could have written it myself, albeit with more ranting and CAPITAL LETTERS. I know from recent conversations with a lot of readers with young kids that it’s a highly contentious, relevant topic and I know that no one seems to have the answers. No one knows what the ‘right’ thing to do is to change this ridiculous system and so, as ever, we simply have to do what is right for ourselves. 

I have recently started going to church on Sunday mornings. I was christened as small child, got married in my local church but I have never really gone to church other than the usual weddings, funerals, christening and Christmas carols.

So what changed? The answer is simple, it consists on one word and It’s not something that I am entirely comfortable about – schools

The commuter town I live in has been subject to the most amazing baby boom over the past five or so years. One of the local hospitals closed the doors of its maternity wards to women from here as they were so overwhelmed

As it stands there are not currently enough primary school places for the year that my daughter will be in. The education authorities will obviously have to sort this out, but at the moment it’s not clear how or where

There is a primary school at the end of our road, about a 3 minute walk, and it is rated outstanding. We would love T to go there, convenient and high quality, why wouldn’t we? The only problem is that it’s a Church of England school. The number of children in the town means it can be picky about who gets a place, it has no catchment area,  admissions are based purely on church attendance in the two years before joining.

Our catchment school is roughly a 25 minute walk and is currently in special measures due to the poor quality of teaching there.

The 4 church schools within the town are so good, and sought after, that it has brought down the quality of the standard state schools. Such that people would rather not send their children to them.

And this is the bind…

Before I had T I was the person who would mock others who were snobby and preoccupied with what school they would send their children to. I went to a pretty third rate primary school and I did ok, so why would my daughter do any different?

I couldn’t understand the people going to church for the sake of school admissions. Didn’t they see that if they all just stopped this pretence then the church wouldn’t have a stronghold over the schools anymore? Everyone could then breathe again, happy that their child would get a good education. I wasn’t going to be part of this, perpetuating the problem.

Then one day, it was my daughter’s education I was talking about and it started to matter to me. I wish I was brave enough to say sod this system. It’s bullshit that you have to go to church to get a chance at decent schooling. However, I’m not sure that I want to take the risk. I want to be able to say that I gave T the best chance, and if that is going to church then so be it.

I still wouldn’t rule out sending T to our catchment school if it’s standards have improved by the time it comes to filling in the forms. But I don’t want it to be the only option open to us if things haven’t changed. So for now, I attending church.

In actual fact I’m actually enjoying going; that hour of peaceful reflection early on a Sunday morning. It also seems like there is a lovely sense of community there (I guess partly because it’s full of other families like us), which can only be a good thing to get involved with.

But seriously, there has got to be a better, more equitable way of having access to quality education hasn’t there?

Categories: Life Experience, Religion
18 interesting thoughts on this

Any Other Photo {Rachel and O}

Two people, one photo. A memory made and a moment captured – Any Other Photo will always have such a hold on my heart. We know that you love it too, we know that you miss it when it’s gone. So get choosing, get writing, get sending… Go!

Today’s is a photo of two (three, really!) ridiculously beautiful people who celebrated their fourth anniversary yesterday. Huge congratulations to Rachel and her wonderful wee family. I just love the idea of having photos like these taken to celebrate everyone you love being together at such an important time. 

Four years it has taken me, four years since our wedding; to get round to, pluck up the courage to and decide upon ourAny Other Photo. Is it because I don’t like our wedding photos, is it because I’m really quite shy, or is it because my husband is horrified at the thought of his face being out there? Or is it that choosing is too hard, do I pick the one of us during the ceremony, the one where I appear to be threateningmy new husband with a knife while we pose to cut the cake,the one where I’m getting my toes trodden on during our first dance or the one of my Dad and I dancing? Who knows? However given that we’ve been married for four years I thought it was about time I made an effort. But then I looked at our wedding photos again and I had a little cry. So I decided not to choose a wedding photo because AOP isn’t all about weddings it is about photos that make you smile.

This photo was taken as part of a gift for my Mum’s 65thbirthday late 2012. I’m seven months pregnant. Our life is about to change more than we could ever imagine. I love this picture because I’m probably saying something bossy and O is doing his usual and ignoring me and making me laugh.

 

The last year or so of married life has been a difficult. We’ve struggled to adjust to who we are now as parents and how that impacts on us still being Rachel and O. We’ve had conversations that turn into fights because we can’t hear ourselves over a crying child – neither of us knowing how to make her stop. We’ve been exhausted to the point of illness when she just would.not.sleep. We’ve bought our secondhouse and struggled financially with all the unforeseen expenses that come along. O has started working part time and we’ve adjusted to O being the stay at home parent and how people outside our relationship view that. But I’m so relieved and happy that we’re making our way back, we’re a team again and we’re laughing at ourselves again. Our wedding day feels so long ago and yet four years feels like nothing. When I think that in a few years my parents will have been married for 50 years, O’s parents will have been married40 years and my sister just celebrated 20 years. We have some pretty excellent role models on making relationships workthrough thick and thin.

This photo is one of a set taken of my family on a walk round Temple Newsham, Leeds by the lovely and talented Mark Dolby.

Categories: Any Other Photo
9 interesting thoughts on this

Behind closed doors: Pro

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions tobehindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

Ever since I was 15, I’ve given my period a silent party in the bathroom. Every month, sometimes a little tardy but there nevertheless, I let out a big breath, a sigh and a whispered ‘yessss’.

So when, 10 years later, I was left waiting, party-poppers at the ready, I worried. Halfway through an important meeting I felt an overwhelming wave of nausea, and I knew. Four tests over a couple of days were vague, but I knew.

As I took myself off to the doctors, I wished someone was holding my hand. I knew it was the best thing to do, but I needed someone else to say it too. But no one else could. The internet labelled me a murderer and told me that I was killing a human being.  I felt sad and cold, as if I had committed the largest atrocity.

It’s not the guilt for what could have been, the small life, but the pain that I feel for those missing out. Those couples whowould be thrilled at the surprise and give a cheer of their own, those who pray for their time, or have to have long andpainful procedures. Instead there’s me, on the way to the gym, toying with holiday plans and kitchen renovations in my head, telling the doctor I can’t have a baby.

It kills me that I wouldn’t be letting out a sigh of relief this month … but neither would any of those couples above. I wish I could magically pass it on, rather than have to just draw aline and say STOP.

What gives me the choice, where others have no option but to pray? Where are their choices?

It doesn’t make me sad that I may have stopped a potential life, but what does is that some people don’t have the choice.Why should some girls be forced to have a baby at the same age that I had my first boyfriend? When some ladies can’t choose between motherhood, or a career (or indeed doing both). When some feel they have to run away or find illegal and dangerous help.

It doesn’t upset me that I won’t have this child, but what does is that there are people out there who can’t because they can’t get the help they need. We are grateful for the NHS and other services that can help should we choose to have a child. Why should we be able to pay for multiple rounds of IVF, when others can’t get an ovulation test when they are choosing to try for a family?

We are lucky to be able to choose to have, or not to have, a baby. Whether or not I made the right choice is a matter which is much less important than the issue of allowing women, and couples, the ability to choose at all.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Health
8 interesting thoughts on this

About

Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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