Now I’m back into blogger mode and have fallen in love with this little ol’ website of mine again, I’ve been thinking about it’s roots and how it began and have been excited about getting it back onto an even keel and back into a lifestyle-focussed groove again.
As seems to happen with so many of the bloggers I follow, there is a pressure on us to be ‘more’ and ‘better’ and when we find we aren’t becoming millionaire superstar-mega-bloggers, quite often we are left thinking that perhaps we’re wasting our time as we’re clearly not that good.
I had all these thoughts and came close to jacking the whole thing in several times, but it was reminiscing on the birth of this online space – back when it was LilliesandLove – that made me realise all the pressure I felt was coming from within. I’d lost sight of my blog and myself in a mist of uncertainty and I had nobody to blame but myself and my own lack of self esteem.
With this realisation and the subsequent ear-bashing I gave myself, A Penny For Them marches on towards the future with it’s anchor set well and truly in the ‘lifestyle’ category and I am happy for it to be whatever it will be. I don’t blog for money, I don’t blog for fame – I blog because I love writing and I want to leave a footprint of myself that can be accessed by future generations. The thought of my grandchildren or great-grandchildren (hey kiddos!) reading this and being able to know me even though I’m (most likely) not around is one that warms the cockles of my heart.
As well as writing for the future mini-me’s to come, this blog has also been there with me through the good, the bad and the downright ugly times. It’s seen me admit my extensive debts and battle my way out of them, it’s seen relationships breakdown and it’s seen me fall in love. And, most notably, it was there with me at one of the lowest, most heart-breaking periods of my life – when I found out I have something wrong with my womb.
For those of you who are relatively new to A Penny For Them, you may not know, but in 2012, after months of investigations, swabs, doctors rummaging around in areas of my body that aren’t designed for rummaging, and scans, I was given the news that I have something called a Bicornuate Uterus, and I have the most severe form, a ‘complete split’.
This means, in basic terms, that my womb is split in half all the way down. Having this diagnosis was a relief for me in one sense as it explained issues I’ve had since I was a teenager (and continue to have now), and I had the obvious worries that my symptoms were caused by something more serious, but following the relief at the non-life-threatening nature of the condition, there was complete and utter heartbreak as I discovered having children is going to be difficult for me.
I wrote about it in more detail here and here but to cut a long story short: I can get pregnant without issues, all of my bits and pieces work fine, but because my womb is split in half down the middle, keeping a baby alive long enough for it to have a chance at life is going to be problematic. I’ve been told I’ll definitely have multiple miscarriages and that there is a chance that having children at all might be out of the question.
When I first found out, I was upset as you could imagine. I told everyone I was fine and carried on with life but, in reality, I was definitely not fine. It was constantly on my mind whether awake or asleep, I cried endless tears, and I felt I’d lost my value as a woman. Biologically, if we take it back to science only, a females job is to have babies and if I can’t do that, then surely my existence is pointless? At least that’s how I saw it. I felt worthless and empty.
I’d see friends of mine announcing pregnancies, women in the street with baby bumps, and parents looking fraught with screaming toddlers and my heart would ache. It was an actual physical pain – heartbreak.
Although I wrote about it on here, on a day-to-day basis I’d laugh it off and make jokes about it. I’d tell people I preferred puppies to children anyway so didn’t care, or I’d say I was too clumsy or stupid to be a mother and it was natural selection ensuring I didn’t pass down my genes. I laughed it off, I pretended I didn’t care, and almost everyone believed me.
It was 9-months after my diagnosis (ironically) that I had a mini meltdown. Nothing big happened, I just suddenly couldn’t keep it in anymore and I cried. I cried big, heavy tears with sobs that made my entire body hurt until I was exhausted and fell in to bed to sleep. Then I woke up the next day and I carried on.
But somehow, with the rising of the sun that day, I found I had a new outlook. It was as if the cloud had lifted and suddenly I could look at the situation with new clarity.
Today, as I type this now, of course I’m still sad that this is my reality, but I know there are much worse realities I could be living, and I no longer cry like I used to. The happiness for my friends and family when I see their pregnancy or baby updates is no longer tinged with a faint feeling of sadness in the background. I can look at the life that is laid out for me and know that although it’s not ideal, in the grand scheme of things it’s not that bad a hand to have been dealt.
Of course, there is a part of me that fears for Future Penny when I come to a point I decide I want to start a family. But I also know that I’m incredibly lucky – a lot of women don’t find out they have this condition until they’ve already experienced several miscarriages and doctors decide to investigate. They try for and lose babies and experience that pain before they find out. I honestly, truly believe I’m lucky to be pre-warned; I know what the road ahead involves and I can steel myself for it; that has got to be a good thing.
It’s also encouraged me to think about the other options that are out there – adoption, surrogacy, fostering. Not being able to carry your own baby isn’t the end of the world although I know from first-hand experience that it can certainly feel like it when you first find out.
I’ve also been thinking about egg donors. There are so many women in the world who cannot have their own children for whatever reason – donating your eggs could grant their biggest wish and, considering they go to waste every month, it seems to me to be such an amazing gift to be able to give someone. I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, but haven’t made a decision yet; I think it’s something that needs long and careful consideration before you do anything (and it should only be done via the right channels of course!)
I guess the point of this post is just to update you, as I haven’t really spoken about the issue since the early days when I was so sad. I no longer hurt like I used to, I no longer cry when I think about it, and I no longer worry for the future. What will be will be, and life has a funny way of working out. It’ll just be another chapter in the story of my life – a story that will continue right here.
NB. There really isn’t a huge amount of information available about this condition, so I hope if you’re somebody reading this who is affected by it, this post has gone some way to showing you that you’re not alone.