Thursday, 25 March 2010

Forty Not Out

This post is part of the Writing Workshop over at Sleep is For the Weak. This week I have chosen prompt 4. Describe a ‘letting go’ that made you happy, rather than sad. What have you been ready to say goodbye to? What new future have you been ready to embrace?

I didn't cope very well with turning 30. At 29, 30 seemed a bit grown-up and middle-aged. And as I still had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life and where I was heading, 30 felt a bit old to be so clueless.

When I hit 39 I started to brace myself for another wave of panic. But it didn't come. Strangely I felt quite excited about leaving my thirties behind. I think your 30s are typically quite a difficult decade - they are a time of big decisions, marriage, babies, mortgages, career choices. It's the decade when you make your bed -and are then forced to lie in it.

My thirties were not easy. I met my partner when I was 29 and by the time I hit 30 we were already trying for a baby. But nothing happened. For months. So we went for tests (which anyone who has been for tests will know is not much fun), to be told eventually there was nothing wrong.

Then I fell pregnant. We were deliriously happy and told anyone who would listen our happy news. We'd waited so long. Then, at 8 weeks, I miscarried, alone at home. I howled, like an animal, when it was over.

I fell pregnant again - and miscarried. And again - and miscarried. My life became defined by hospital appointments, blood tests, scans and procedures. I was referred to a hospital in London and, quite unexpectedly, they found a reason for the miscarriages. A reason for which there was a treatment - daily injections of anti-coagulants for the whole pregnancy and for six weeks after. So we went away and tried to get pregnant again. And every time I wondered if I could put my body, and my emotions, through the heartache again.

I went straight to the hospital as soon as I fell pregnant for the fourth time and was shown how to inject myself in the thigh. For the first couple of weeks I cried every time I injected myself - it didn't seem fair that there was no joy in being pregnant, just scans, blood tests, needles & anxiety. But the treatment worked and 9 months later my miracle girl was born.

I knew if I wanted more children I would have to go through the same treatment again. I wanted to get it all over and done with, so by the time she was 10 months old I was pregnant, and injecting myself, again.

Having 2 babies in 19 months was hard but it was for a good reason. Having taken 6 years to become a mum, I was much older than I had planned to be. The first half of my thirties had been a medical and emotional battleground. The second half had passed me by in a fog of nappies, breastpads and germaloids. But suddenly there I was, teetering on the brink of 40, and I could see a life for me winking at me in the distance.

I'm looking forward to really enjoying the two little girls I went through so much to have. By the end of my forties they will be 14 and 12, the thought of which fills me with excitement and terror. But I am so looking forward to getting to know the girls and the young women they will become.

So, saying goodbye to my thirties was no sweet sorrow. It was a decade of laying the foundations for a fabulous forties!


Sandy Calico said...

What a lovely post. I hadn't realised how hard it was for you to start a family. Turning 40 wasn't that bad after all - we've got so much to look forward to x

Readily A Parent said...

I admire your strength in carrying on through all that. I can't imagine the pain of your losses but can imagine the joy and trepidation that comes with raising these children! I think often of how old I'll be when the kids do this or that and having a husband much older than me I have to think about it sometimes. I too dreaded turning 30 but I'm becoming a little more comfortable with it. I'm actually looking forward to 40!

Anonymous said...

Just when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are driving me insane, someone in Blogland reminds me how absolute and unqualified my gratitude ought to be. It's embarassingly easy to take for granted these wee bundles of delight and despair, and tonight I needed a reminder or this.
Much appreciated, as were your kind comments on my rhyme.

@porridgebrain said...

Goodness Sam, I had no idea you had been through such a journey to get your girls.

It sounds like your 30's were just the beginning for you. Look at how much you have achieved already! I feel excited for thinking of everything you have still to come - knowing you it's going to be brilliant :)


Anonymous said...

What a fab post! I too passed 40 a few years back and wasn't bothered in the slightest by the age. I too struggled to get my girls and now I have them my life is complete.
I love your blog! Really cool design.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know, they say 40's are the new 20's. And I agree with you---turning 30 was a lot tougher than turning 40. The best is yet to come. I was sorry to read about what you went through to get your girls. But I'm glad you've had your happy ending (or should I say beginning).

Iota said...

What a story. I'm so glad you have picture of such a bright future beckoning you.

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