Monday, 24 October 2016

Do I wish we had started trying sooner?

One thing I often find myself wondering, and that is something I'm also asked a lot by people who are familiar with our situation, is 'Do you wish you'd started trying sooner?' and that is a question I still haven't entirely figured out the answer to.

When myself and Andrew got married 2 years ago we were 24, and I guess we were classed as relatively young to be getting married. I've lost count of the amount of people who recoil in absolute shock when they find out I'm married, 'You don't look like you would be married?' ...I mean what does that even mean?! Even now, at 26, I know we are younger than the average to be wanting to become parents, let alone to be dealing with infertility. Technically I have another 4 or 5 years until I become "Older than the average first time mother" but that doesn't mean it's any easier to deal with. People always tell me 'You're still so young, you've got all the time in the world' and I know I am, but that doesn't change the fact I have wanted a baby for two long years and that it is unimaginably painful to see people around you having what you want so easily, when everything you try just falls on deaf ears.

Andrew and I got together at school when we were both 16 and after 10 years, 2 degrees, a career change, 3 houses and a wedding; irrelevant of age, I think we are in exactly the right position to offer a baby a happy and stable life. Maybe we will never know why it hasn't happened for us yet, that's a really big fear of mine. Looking back now I find it so incredibly ironic how much time we spent fretting when we were younger about what would happen if I got pregnant, how would we break it to our parents? How could we possibly we afford it? How on earth would we cope? Now our situation couldn't be further apart and I do find myself wishing we just hadn't bothered, maybe it would've happened, maybe it wouldn't, there's no way of knowing, but I know we would've coped just fine if it had. So I guess you could say in that sense, yes I wish we had tried sooner.

On the other hand, in a weird way, I am grateful for what we have gone through. I know now that when we do have a baby we will have so much more patience and appreciation for every tiny little thing that comes along with parenthood. I see people in our absolute dream situation complaining about the smallest things, and I understand that to them it probably seems like the biggest deal in the world, but I cannot explain what I wouldn't give to swap places, to have a sleepless night because my beautiful little baby is crying, instead of a sleepless night because I'm so terrified I'm never going to get to hear that sound.

And that's exactly why I find it so difficult to answer that question. Do I wish we had started trying sooner? Honestly, I think I probably do. But at the same time, if we hadn't have wanted a baby so desperately when we first started trying, and we hadn't gone through everything we've gone through this past 2 years, maybe we wouldn't appreciate quite how much of a blessing a baby is. Yes maybe we would've been parents by now, but maybe I'd also be one of those mum's I see complaining about things that women (and men!) struggling with infertility would trade their whole life in for, maybe I wouldn't appreciate quite how precious it is to be physically able to bring a child in to the world, and maybe I wouldn't cherish and capture every tiny little moment of my child's life because I was convinced for so long that I'd never get to see it.

I'd love to know what you guys think about this, if you are also struggling with TTC or infertility, do you wish you had started trying sooner?

Becca x

Thursday, 20 October 2016

My Weight Story

As I mentioned in my last post, weight for me is a bit of a sensitive subject at the moment and something I have struggled with a lot during the past 24 months. I am the definition of a yo-yo dieter so I have fluctuated between a small size 10 and a large size 16 since my school years, unfortunately hanging around the latter currently. My main issue is that I eat my feelings, when I am happy I eat, when I am bored I eat, and probably most relevant, when I am sad or stressed I eat, a lot. I am probably the only bride in the history of the universe to gain weight before their wedding - good one Becca.

When I first came off the pill 2 years ago, after a good 8 or 9 years of being on it, I never anticipated it to have such an intense affect on my body, but how wrong I was. I had just recently gotten married, I was blissfully unaware of the long journey that lay ahead of us and I was preparing myself and my body to hopefully one day, in the not too distant future, carry our baby - to add that missing puzzle piece to our new married life so to speak. It was quite the shock to find my weight, hair, skin, mood (pretty much everything) were all affected quite so dramatically.

I haven't mentioned it before, but our fertility doctor is pretty sure I have PCOS, and this can be a real contender in weight gain and struggling to lose weight. As much as I would love to blame this for my current figure, I definitely can't ignore the fact I find comfort in eating like nothing else, and my weight gain is largely down to the fact, as I've mentioned before, I have just let myself go. Whilst there are definitely medical factors (both physical and psychological), the main blame as to why I have gained so much weight solely lies with me.

It frustrates me how much I struggle to remain motivated, you would think the thought of having a baby, the one thing I want most in the world, would be all the motivation I need, but often those negative feelings override and unfortunately as I have previously mentioned, my main coping mechanism is to then go and eat those feelings! Since coming back from our holiday however, I feel more focused than ever and have been preparing and cooking all my food from scratch again and I am feeling so much better about myself already. When you are having a dark day, it can be so hard to find the motivation to cook good food and the ease and comfort of ordering in can seem like the best idea. The fact of the matter is it makes you feel happy for all of about 5 minutes and then the guilt sets in and you feel even worse than you did to begin with.

Next week I plan to rejoin my local Slimming World group and hopefully, by posting this, I will be extra motivated to stay on track. There's nothing quite like the pressure of people knowing if you've gained weight to scare you in to action! I have done Slimming World several times throughout the years, the first time getting down to my lowest weight and losing 2 stone in just under 3 months, so I know that if I follow it, it really does work for me. I'm hoping now we are finally edging closer to receiving some sort of treatment for our infertility and baby losses, the end goal will feel a little more reachable and I will feel like I'm losing weight for a real purpose.

When myself and Andrew got engaged on a beach in Greece 3 years ago, I was a good 3 stone lighter than I am now and I felt the most confident I've ever felt in myself. I was still curvy, but I had definition in my face, I could wear whatever I liked and my thighs (my main problem area) were about half the size they are now. I'm not saying I'm going to be a size 8 Victoria's Secret model one day, or that I'm even going to be as slim as I was 3 years ago, but to be healthy, happy and increase my chances of becoming a mum would mean everything to me.

As you can see below, my weight has fluctuated a lot across the past 3 years, I hope by leaving these photos here (the good and the not so good) that I can stay motivated to become the healthiest version of myself and really increase my chances of having the baby I have longed for, for what feels like forever.

07/13 - On the holiday Andrew proposed to me, a 3 good stone lighter than I am now, and feeling the best I've ever felt!
01/14 - I had left SW by this point and had gained a little over the festive period - obvs!
08/14 - My wedding day. I'd probably gained around a stone by this point but I was still feeling pretty good!
06/15 - Jump forward less than a year and I had come off the pill, started my TTC journey and gained at least another stone! 
08/15 - Celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary in Jamaica, definitely curvier and aware of it but feeling okay!
04/16 - By this point my weight had increased pretty dramatically, probably by another stone and a half and I was feeling very self conscious. Interestingly, this photo was actually taken the month I conceived for the very first time.

07/16 - A mixture of emotions on this day, honoured to be a bridemaid at my beautiful friend's wedding but had it confirmed with the EPU just the day before that I was miscarrying our baby for the 3rd time.

10/16 - Present day, just last week on holiday in fact! You know, when I was asked if I was pregnant but wasn't...Awkward.

It's weird seeing it all laid out like that, and pretty darn depressing I won't lie! I tend to avoid full length photos and anything 'candid' or 'unposed' at the moment so the latter photos are definitely not a true representation of my current weight, but I think the increase is clear for all to see. One thing I do need to do is cut myself some slack once in a while, I need to be kinder to myself and I need to remember that I've been through a lot this past couple of years and I am still here fighting on - that's something to be proud of. Now is the time I can try and do something about it and give myself the best shot at getting this baby we want so badly. I am going to try my very best to not eat mysef in to a coma every time I get some bad news from now on, I'm sure there is a lot more bad news to come on this long TTC journey, but hopefully one day I'll be getting a big old belly for the right reason and this will all seem worthwhile!

I will try and do some regular updates on my weight loss journey, maybe monthly weigh ins to let you know how I've done if I feel brave enough. And if you have any great vegetarian Slimming World recipes please do let me know!

Becca x 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

There's No Escape

We're on holiday at the moment, we planned it to try and relax and have a bit of a break from everything, switching our booking earlier in the year from the Dominican Republic to the Greek island of Kos just in case I was pregnant - you know because of the Zika virus that could harm our unborn baby, boy do I feel stupid about that now. 

About half an hour ago we were leaving our apartment for lunch and one of the cleaners asked me if I was pregnant, cradling her stomach whilst doing so to reduce the risk of it being lost in translation somewhere. And just like that, I feel back to square one again.
I've put on a lot of weight in the last 2 years, I could try and blame it all on the stress of TTC but that wouldn't be fair, it plays a big part, but isn't entirely the reason. I could also try and blame the fact I've had back to back miscarriages in quick succession, but I wasn't far along enough for that to be fair either. The fact of the matter is, I've just let myself go, I've stopped really caring. Until something like this happens that is, and it shakes you back into reality.

The gut punching feeling of being asked if you are pregnant when you are not is hard at any time in your life, but when you are in the head space where you are so painfully aware that you are not, the humiliation literally burns all over. This holiday was meant to be a time to get away from everything, and I've tried my best to do that, but the fact of the matter is you can never escape this feeling. I feel like now I have allowed myself to actually stop and take a step back from everything, I am finally grieving for the babies we lost and I cant decide if having the time to process it all is good or bad. When I am busy it is easier, but everyone has to stop at some point.
Everywhere I go in this place there are reminders of what I don't have, by the pool there are families with young children and babies sat under umbrellas, in the restaurant there are women with prams parked up next to them whilst they eat, there are pregnant women strolling around with their neat bumps kissed by the sun and then there's me, who in all honesty has barely left the room since she got here because seeing all of that is too much to take at the moment. It naively didn't cross my mind for a minute that all the things that I find hard at home, I would find hard here too.
Friends and family keep messaging and commenting on how we look like we are having an amazing time, and I feel too embarrassed and unappreciative to say that I'm actually never truly having a good time at the moment, it's always there, looming over me. I know I am lucky to be on this holiday, a lot of people can't afford the luxury, but I would trade it in in a heartbeat, I'd happily never go on another holiday again if it meant I got to be a mum. It is easy to look like you are having the time of your life on social media, but you only put out what you want people to see and I don't like people to know I'm struggling, I don't like to put my negativity on to other people. Looking from the outside people probably think me and Andrew have such a blessed life; nice house, good jobs, a car, a dog...and on the whole we do. I know we are very lucky to have what we have but there is nothing I wouldn't trade in for us to have a family, something that should come so naturally, that comes so easily to others, but that we are having to fight so hard for. 
When I started this blog I was really conscious that I didn't want it to be negative all the time, my 15 year old emo self must be having a field day right now, but the fact of the matter is that this is what infertility and miscarriage does. Unless someone has experienced it themselves first hand, it is unimaginable how all consuming it is, every waking minute of your day is spent thinking about it, and just as you start to switch off and forget it, you are punched in the face and forced to remember it all over again. Today is an extreme example of that happening, but every day there is something that reminds me of what I don't have. I can't go to the shop, read a book, walk the dog, even turn on the TV without some sort of reminder, it is everywhere, because it is the nature of life. I hope to be able to write some more upbeat, positive posts in the future, but for now this is my reality and it would be pointless sharing it if I wasn't honest. Life is just really bloody hard at the moment.
Becca x
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