The worst feeling in the world…

I have recently been involved in a research project about attitudes towards mental health and the results were both surprising and interesting. Although there generally appears to be more awareness of mental health and more understanding it would also appear that we still have a long way to go. Too many people still feel uncomfortable talking to friends or family about their mental health or seeking professional help and support.

A general feeling that I have is that the help and support available is a bit like a postcode lottery and some will be incredibly useful whilst others will be shocking. For many people, reaching out takes a lot of courage and so when help is sort, the least we can do is offer them the best support possible.

One of the worst feelings in the world is when you feel helpless, hopeless, and completely powerless. When you can’t see the light even if you so desperately want to, when no one else appears to truly get how you are feeling and they tell you it will be ok when you don’t feel that it will and all you desperately want is for the pain and suffering to end. Those are very scary feelings and ones I hope no one ever has to experience but if they do, I only hope that those feelings fade enough to be able to see the light in order to have the opportunity for life to get better.

I can’t sit here and judge those who have those feelings and make the painstaking decision to end their life. It isn’t cowardly, a cop out or an easy decision…far from it. It makes me feel truly heartbroken and angry with society that people reach this point and see no other way out. I feel that we have let those people down, but I would also never feel that any one individual has the power to stop someone from taking their own life.

Everyone’s experience is different but, in my opinion, I would say that often people don’t truly know what is going on for that person and if they do, they may not ‘get it.’ With the best will in the world we can try and put ourselves in their position or try and understand how they are feeling but no one can ever truly know or feel the pain of that individual. Sometimes, I’m not sure that there is anything anyone can say or do to help when someone feels so much pain and suffering. For some there is also a feeling of shame and a sense that their family would be better off without them which they genuinely believe.

Despite knowing this I still believe that as a society we have a long way to go when it comes to helping improve attitudes towards mental health so that people feel able to talk more freely about how they are feeling and to be able to access support.

I know that GPs are incredibly overworked and that they no doubt see numerous people who are feeling down or depressed, but I would always hope that rather than seeing patients as yet another person feeling down that they would take the time to see patients as individuals and genuinely listen to them. Whilst I can’t blame GPs for people’s actions, I am incredibly angry and disappointed that despite someone working up the courage to see their GP and talk to them about the state of their mental health for the first time in their life that they would be fobbed off and sent away. Heartbreakingly, last week, that person took their own life.

We never know what is going on for people and on the face of it people can look happy, and their lives can look wonderful which is why I always believe in the power of smiling at people or taking the time to be kind. Yes, it may not make any difference to someone who is feeling so hopeless but equally it could make all the difference…to feel noticed, to feel like someone cares, to feel hope.

I can still picture the last time I saw my best friend’s dad and he looked happy as he played with his young son and sat around the table singing happy birthday to his granddaughters and now, he is gone.

It only takes a second to smile at someone, a few seconds to check in on someone or to give someone a hug but for that person these things could mean so much to them and make the difference between feeling hopeless or having hope.

Nobody should ever feel alone, scared, hopeless or helpless.

R.I.P Ian

Taking control…

I have often thought that people find it easy to make decisions and take control of their own life but without asking everybody I don’t actually know. I know that generally speaking I am an indecisive person (although I am getting better at being more decisive) and hate making decisions especially when they are not easy ones.

As I sit here writing this, I can hear people telling me that I have taken control of situations in the past including incredibly difficult ones…the main one being fleeing domestic abuse. However, although I did do this and I made the choice on my own, I still feel that the only reason that I did was because I felt I was in a position where I didn’t really have a choice anymore. I had been ignoring my own thoughts and what my body, head and heart had been telling me for more than a year.

One of the main reasons that I found it so difficult was fear of hurting or upsetting others as well as hoping that the situation would change or that it wasn’t as bad as it was.

I feel that when it comes to taking control of situations, I still go back to my default which is worrying about others and struggling to listen to my own needs. I find it extremely uncomfortable and naturally would rather ‘keep the peace’ than say or do anything that could potentially ruffle feathers.

I wish I were more like those who find it easier to say it how it is and put themselves first.

However, in recent weeks I have taken control of certain situations in my life rather than stew on them, ignore how I am feeling or the impact the situation is having on my emotional and physical health and acted fairly quickly.

That is not to say that I found it easy, I would say that ending my surrogacy journey was probably the 2nd hardest decision I have had to make in my life.

Fear of the unknown including people’s reactions or what the future holds can be scary and cause a great deal of stress and anxiety and I know that I am someone who likes to be sure of a decision first rather than make a decision on a whim. I often seek others’ opinions as a source of reassurance too as I often struggle to trust my own thoughts or instincts.

Rather than seeing taking control of your own life as positive and healthy it is something that I have historically seen as selfish particularly if it involves putting myself first or risks upsetting others. However, I have now learned that although I care about others, I also need to consider myself and the recent decisions I have made have proved to me that listening to our own needs is important.

Our bodies are clever at sending us messages and so listening to our guts or noticing how we are thinking are feeling is important. There may be times when it is obvious what has caused our bodies to send us a warning but equally there may be times when it isn’t as obvious. I felt like that with the surrogacy as I had had a miscarriage so I kept pushing aside how I was feeling as I told myself it was purely down to that, and I would get over it so carry on regardless. Despite being devastated to end something so important to me and not being sure of how I would feel afterwards I was surprised to be able to feel a difference fairly quickly.

My anxiety levels decreased, and I generally felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

This proved to me that I had made the right decision for me and that although the thought of upsetting others and putting myself first doesn’t sit right with me that taking control of the situation was the best thing to do.

There is something quite empowering about taking control of a situation rather than feeling like a puppet on a string, not knowing what is going to happen and it taking over your life whilst you feel helpless in a situation.

Taking control could be about the big things in life but equally it could be about the little things such as what you want to eat for tea!

I feel as though the lesson to be taken from all this is to listen to ourselves and notice what our minds and bodies are trying to tell us. We are important. We live with ourselves 24/7…it is easy to put ourselves at the bottom of the ladder, but we need to look after ourselves in order to be able to look after others.

A sense of belonging…

Not long ago I wrote a blog about religion and how I associated it with a sense of community and belonging and that this is something I have always craved but never felt.

I also spoke about how I have struggled with religion throughout my life because of the negative aspects that are portrayed in the news. I feel that acceptance within a religious community is conditional and that there are quite strict rules to abide which can be very much open to interpretation. I also feel that religion can be used to mould and manipulate especially by leaders who may abuse their power. It is a shame as equally religion can bring together people, communities, and societies to share common beliefs and be something rather special.

With that thought in mind and knowing that I still have hope that this does exist alongside with the fact that faith is important to my partner I was intrigued and open to going along with her to a church service. I don’t think I have ever been to a normal church service, and I know I have never been to Holy Communion. However, I was open minded, and I wanted to share something that means a lot to her especially as her church is an inclusive church and openly LGBT+ friendly.

On arrival we were greeted by warm friendly faces, I had no idea really what to expect or how I would feel.

The service started and the woman stood there with a smile on her face, welcoming us all to sing the first hymn. I have always liked singing so this is a part of church services that I knew I would enjoy. However, I have to admit that it didn’t take long for me to feel slightly uncomfortable. I’m not 100% sure why but I feel it was partly down to how ‘official’ it felt (I can’t think of a better word to describe it) as there were a few people in full religious attire walking around the church with a large cross and swaying incense around or the fact that I felt the service was a little preachy, especially when the service mentioned sins and sinning.

I found myself zoning out throughout the sermons and felt as though this was almost an enforced time of quiet reflection.

As I sat there, I had this deep sense of feeling lost and suddenly I felt a little sad, but I forced myself to be in the moment which worked for so long. Then everyone was invited to partake in the Holy Communion and again having never experienced it I wanted to try it and for some bizarre reason it was when the two women leading the service smiled at me, said ‘the body of Christ’ and placed the wafer in my hand that I could feel my eyes welling up. I sat back down trying my best to stop as I felt a few tears trickle down my face and when my partner noticed she took my hand in hers.

When the service ended as we went to leave the church the woman who led the service came over to say hello and introduced herself to me. She was very warm and welcoming. I haven’t been to church often, but I have to say that this was the first time that I felt genuinely welcomed, that the people felt friendly, and I also felt acknowledged even though I wasn’t a member of the congregation.

As we drove away my partner asked me what had made me feel emotional and I felt like it was an odd thing to say that the service had made me realise that I feel a little lost and that it was the first time in my life that I had genuinely felt welcomed, included, and accepted for who I am by strangers.

I can’t say that going to church on a regular basis is something that I feel is necessarily something for me, but I am pleased that I went, not only to experience something important to my partner but also to see for my own eyes that religious people can be accepting and that it can be inclusive and create a sense of belonging.

I have been left with a sense of hope and faith in people which is something that has been wavering within me as I have felt that there are less and less genuine people in the world and that friendships and relationships are often conditional or fickle. However, I am determined to remain positive and hopeful and to share my life with those who are genuine and who love and accept me for who I am, unconditionally.

I feel that sometimes especially when our confidence and self-worth has been knocked it can be all too easy to hold onto anyone and everyone in our lives even if we know deep down that may not be the best for us as we can be afraid of being on our own or being the one to walk away. However, we are all worthy of surrounding ourselves with people who add to our lives rather than drain us and who value us as much as we value them.

Surrogacy part 14…

After the miscarriage we decided as a team to continue trying again straight away. I knew I would find it emotionally hard whenever I tried again so thought putting off tries would only make it harder. So we tried again and this time I had a very different mental attitude towards it, obviously I still wanted it to work and did everything the same as last time but the biggest difference was that I switched off from thinking about it every day and instead almost pretended there wasn’t a possibility that I was pregnant in order to protect myself.

Then, about a week later I started getting exactly the same pregnancy symptoms as last time that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. That’s when the anxiety kicked in quite badly and I kept having flashbacks of the miscarriage, I couldn’t bare the idea of using the toilet for fear of history repeating itself and I felt scared. Me being me, I pushed these thoughts aside as much as possible and decided that if I were pregnant, I would just try and focus on me time instead of the pregnancy until 8 weeks when the risk of miscarriage significantly drops.

When I took the first pregnancy test I had specifically waited until day 9/10 to give myself the best chance of getting an accurate result and I remember being incredibly anxious as I felt sure it would be positive and I knew this would scare me and lead to weeks of horrendous anxiety for fear of another miscarriage whilst also being aware that stress can contribute to a miscarriage so it felt like a vicious circle.

I was that anxious that I couldn’t look at the test myself but it was negative and so I spent the next 24 hours in a heightened state of anxiety wondering if the dates were wrong because of the miscarriage affecting my cycle or not being pregnant but I couldn’t see this being the case because of the unmistakable symptoms.

This went on for 4 days until I finally started my period very unexpectedly as I normally can tell but, on this occasion, it took me by surprise. More so because of my symptoms which certainly were not PMS symptoms which added to the confusion.

In a way I was relieved because I had been so anxious and just wanted to know one way or another. However, I was also anxious because I knew it meant going through this again at least one more time and realistically a few times and it felt so painful. I contemplated taking a little break or just working on coping strategies as I couldn’t see the trauma disappearing.

I went into this journey 100% dedicated to helping create a family and once I put my mind to something I stick to it regardless of the consequences.

The days leading up to finding out I wasn’t pregnant were incredibly difficult and very emotional. I wanted to protect Ali & Andrew from this but did end up telling them I was finding it hard and as always, they checked in on me regularly to make sure I was ok but if it were not for my partner, I don’t know how I would have got through those days.

She helped me come up with coping strategies and what helped me through was giving myself a full timed schedule to keep my mind occupied as well as her love and support. I was incredibly productive that weekend I have to say!

….I am sat here not even sure how to say this, so I am just going to say it….

I spent a few days in pieces, feeling incredibly guilty that I was even contemplating this, the thought of upsetting or hurting anyone does not sit well with me at all nor does putting myself first.

I lost sleep, I cried lots, I worried, I felt scared…I wanted someone to tell me what the right decision was.

I reached out to friends in case they thought I was making a mistake, but I was surprised that everyone’s response was along the lines of… for once I need to put myself first.

So…one of the hardest and heart-breaking decisions I have had to make and the most painful conversation I have ever had was ending my surrogacy journey.

How I managed to hold it together during the conversation I will never know. I had prepared myself as much as possible and spoken with SUK and I made sure I did what I could to protect myself and I made sure I wasn’t on my own.

It is safe to say that after the conversation ended, I sobbed like a baby.

However, as hard as it was and still is, (I feel as though I am grieving for many reasons) I know it was the right decision for me at this time.

I am not turning my back on surrogacy and still want to be involved in the surrogacy world especially as a counsellor and it is something that I may come back to at a later date but right now I need to focus on me and my family as well as recovering properly from the miscarriage physically and emotionally.

Although this journey has ended, I have lots of amazing memories and have made some great friends.

The best things happen unexpectedly…

I remember a few months ago my friend trying to encourage me to give online dating another go despite my reservations about it, and I was adamant I wasn’t going to. However, curiosity got the better of me and so I decided to join just to have a look, but my heart wasn’t really in it. Then I started to get some likes and of course you can’t see anything unless you get a subscription so after deliberating for a while something made me sign up.

Fairly quickly I remember regretting it but decided to make the most out of it and so I put effort into my profile (rather than leaving most of it blank or vague) and put a few photos of myself on. I didn’t have much faith that anything would come of it as I had it in my head that realistically it would be unlikely to find someone that would entertain dating a woman in her 30’s with 2 young children.

However, I started chatting to someone, but I didn’t expect anything to come out of it especially as people often talk about trivial things and then things fizzle out or they just disappear! 

After numerous messages we decided to meet up…this was my first date in years! To say I was nervous was an understatement!

When you meet someone for the first time you never know if you are going to get along in person or how you will feel and so I was fairly reserved in my expectations of how it would go.

I remember seeing her for the first time and thinking how pretty she was and that her photos didn’t do her justice and that’s when the butterflies kicked in!

I never expected to feel so at ease with someone I had just met or to chat away about all sorts for hours…it was evident at this point I knew I liked her and wanted to see her again.

It makes me feel emotional to think of how amazing she is. She came into my life at a time when I had just found out I was pregnant, and she was with me throughout the miscarriage. She was incredibly supportive and caring and I remember feeling as if it was too good to be true.

I never imagined it would be possible to find someone special and to be in a relationship again let alone for someone to embrace my girls and be fully supportive of my surrogacy journey. It is safe to say that I feel incredibly lucky to have met such an amazing woman and I still pinch myself now.

My girls adore her, and it is very heart-warming seeing her with them. It certainly makes life easier knowing that they all like each other even if I still feel like it is a lot for her to take on. It’s one thing being in a relationship with someone without children, it’s something very different to be in a relationship with someone with children.

It is such a lovely feeling when you can truly feel like yourself with someone and I love the fact that we are so open and honest, and we have shared a lot with each other. It takes a lot for me to let my guard down and open up to people, but I feel safe when I am with her.

She has certainly put a sparkle in my eye, and I can’t remember the last time I felt this happy.

I am excited about what the future holds, and I am looking forward to embracing this new chapter in my life…no longer as a single mum!

Queer Freedom…

I rarely listen to podcasts, but I have just listened to Queer Freedom: How can we be both held and free? by Glennon Doyle after it was recommended to me. I would definitely say it is worth listening to.

It is about having faith and being gay, something that is still contentious even in 2022.

I admit that I am not someone who would describe themselves as religious as I have grown up seeing the negative impact it can have on the world and society which I think is a shame. At the heart of faith is a shared belief that can create strong community bonds but with that it would appear that there is often a price to pay.

I think I have always wanted to feel a sense of belonging, but I realise that I have never truly felt as though I belong. Growing up I liked the idea of being a part of a church because of the sense of community and I liked the idea of what having faith should stand for. However, I soon became aware that you would only be welcomed with loving arms if you followed their rules and lived your life how they expect you to and even as a child this didn’t sit right with me and so, I became sceptical of religion. 

The bible has been interpreted in so many ways by so many different people and then these interpretations have been fed to thousands of people who like sheep have followed what they are being led to believe are the ‘rules’ of life.

I wonder if these people truly believe what they are being told whether they crave belonging to a community so much that they will overlook certain aspects or whether they may find it easier to live their lives in accordance with certain expectations and rules rather than having to think for themselves? I can see how any of these options could appeal especially as it can be hard and scary to be different, to stand our ground or fight for what we believe in, and I know only too well that people have a desire to belong.

I know that we can all be ignorant at times, particularly if we are completely unaware of something and sometimes, we are not aware of our actions or the impact these can have on others. To some extent I could forgive people for not knowing what they are doing but I would hope that if people were aware of their actions that they would alter their behaviour towards others even if it was something they didn’t necessarily understand or agree with. 

One thing that Glennon says is that ‘we’ll never be ok if we don’t talk’ and she’s right. When I was listening to the podcast it really struck a nerve with me when she talked about how taking children to a church which is openly homophobic and not having the courage to find a different church or stop going allows children to soak up the shame and hatred and then it’s too late, the damage has been done.

I’m sitting here wondering where I picked up on religion having such rigid rules and this feeling of churches not being as accepting as they are made out to be at such a young age? I’m also wondering where my fear came from when it came to being gay? I spent years feeling ashamed as if I had done something wrong and that I had to hide it. It took me until the age of 33 to fully accept my sexuality and not worry about people knowing.

Fortunately, I have now got to an age where I am no longer prepared to be judged for who I am…it is my life, no one else’s and I believe I have a right to be happy and to embrace who I am, as does everybody else. Don’t get me wrong, I still have niggles…I sometimes wonder if people are looking or judging me as I walk hand in hand with my partner but equally it makes me happy to do that so why shouldn’t I and if people are judging I don’t actually care.

It saddens me that society and religion have a lot to answer for and that many people have felt that they have to choose between religion and themselves. As Glennon says, it shouldn’t be a choice between god or love, nor should we ever be told that god won’t love you if you are gay.

Yet so many churches still reject the idea of homosexuality and even if they appear to be ok with it, they still expect you to live your live by certain rules. People have had to make difficult choices to leave their church and their community which can be incredibly painful, but they have been left with no other choice but to remove themselves from a toxic and traumatic environment in order to put themselves first so that they have a chance to grow and be true to themselves. 

It is sad, because undoubtedly the vast majority of Christians are kind-hearted people who genuinely think that they are doing the right thing and if they knew how much harm they have caused they would be mortified. I think I find it hard that people of faith can be so lovely and supportive towards others but at the same time they can’t let go of what they really believe to be true about sexuality.

The podcast talks about how we are allowed to disagree with certain things such as climate change but that we do not get to disagree with someone’s identity, instead you are rejecting someone. It is our choice to love someone or to reject them and it is not Christianity that stops you from loving others because of who they are.

It talks about how those who reject our identity and those who have homophobic beliefs (even if they are private believes) contributes to homophobia. Sometimes it may be through ignorance or fear of others’ opinions, but that fear rubs off on others and I think that was probably my experience growing up. 

I loved it when Glennon said that we have to stop being afraid of small minded people – it’s true. Why do we let these bigoted people have so much power?

She talks about how we need to create a world where we don’t have to throw away what we need and that we can have faith and also be gay and be true to ourselves. That if anyone or any organisation asks you to abandon yourself or those you love, you should cut those ties.

Despite knowing all too well the damage that religion has caused and how heart-breaking it is to know the pain it has caused someone I love, I would be open to becoming part of a community of faith that is open and accepting of homosexuality.

I really admire Glennon Doyle for keeping her faith whilst being an activist for gay rights and modern Christianity.

Surrogacy part 13…

It has been a few weeks since I had a miscarriage now and partly it feels surreal, yet every known again I have had a moment of feeling emotional and sad. I didn’t expect it to affect me so much and I thought I’d be right as rain after a few days.

Fortunately, I am now feeling more like myself…. this has without a doubt been helped by the love and support of the people around me.

As a team, if anything we all feel even stronger than before, and Ali & Andrew have been amazing. I went into surrogacy wanting to help create a family and despite the miscarriage this hasn’t changed.

So, we have discussed the next steps and unsurprisingly the boys have pretty much left the decision making down to me. I knew that whenever we decided to try again that we could find it harder next time around and so I thought that it didn’t necessarily matter when we tried again.

The hardest part is that after a miscarriage it can take a while for you body to get back on track and that your cycles can be affected. Me and Ali are similar in the fact that we like to be organised and so this has thrown us both off as we aren’t able to predict when I will have my period or when I will ovulate and so it’s turned into a bit of a waiting game!

Part of me is anxious about the possibility of having another miscarriage even though there is no reason to believe it would happen again and part of me doesn’t want to let Ali & Andrew down as I know how much this means to them.  

In the meantime, we had the chance to spend some quality time together (just the adults) at the SurrogacyUK annual conference. It was lovely to see them as always as we had a great time. I had never been to the conference before and being more of a wall flower I was a little unsure about how I would find it. The boys were always going to arrive after me and so I had to put my big girl pants on and walk into the conference hotel on my own and navigate my way around until they got there. The main room was full to briming for the opening talk and that’s when I found out 450 people were there!

SurrogacyUK promotes friendship first and it really does feel like that. Everyone involved is incredibly friendly and supportive and you never feel as though you are alone on your journey. Throughout the day there were various workshops including those aimed at intended parents and surrogates. I was expecting to see a lot more surrogates there (there must have only been around 40 of us) but it was interesting to hear about their experiences. I still find it hard to believe that people don’t take the time to share their deal breakers or have the serious talks with each other until quite far down the line and this ends a lot of teams. There have even been occasions where surrogates haven’t felt able to have a say in how they give birth even though SurrogacyUK would always promote that those decisions should be down to the surrogate. I feel lucky knowing that as a team we have discussed everything, and that Ali & Andrew trust me.

One thing that I found interesting was when they discussed children’s involvement in surrogacy journeys and how to make them feel included. I definitely feel as though my girls knowing that I am hoping to help create a baby for Ali & Andrew and how that works is the right thing. However, none of us had really considered our children’s role throughout the pregnancy and so now we have thought of ways for them to feel involved such as attending scans if possible, recording scans/baby’s heartbeat and I always thought it would be nice for my girls to be aware of the stages of the pregnancy even just down to telling them how big the baby is each week and any milestones.

The conference was quite emotional as it touched on loss, but it was also emotional when other teams shared their journeys with everybody. It is so heart-warming to hear such positive journeys and the incredible friendships that have come out of this and that continue years after the surrogate baby has been born. I went into this thinking that I would help to create a baby and that would be it…never did I imagine that I could end up making some amazing friends and extending our family.

Who knows how our lives will have changed by next years conference??   

Our Inner Child…

I recently read an article that really resonated with me. I love how both my girls are brutally honest and say it how it is. They say what is in their head without questioning themselves and without any filters that seem to be ingrained in us at some point in our lives.

In a way I envy that…my girls (and no doubt most other children) are fearlessly and wonderfully themselves. 

So, what happens in between childhood and adulthood that creates a sense of fear, shame or embarrassment or a feeling that we should be following some sort of rule book of life?

Why do we feel the need to edit ourselves? To act or present ourselves a certain way that may not feel like ‘us’? Where does this desire come to ‘fit in’?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead, we allowed ourselves to just be us, without editing ourselves, mulling things over or overthinking?

Florrie came out with something the other day which made me feel embarrassed, but it was nothing bad, she was just saying what was on her mind. In a way I admired her innocence and the fact that she didn’t have any filters…no questioning of if she should ask or what the answer may be.

I’ve noticed how much time can be spent on editing ourselves and I wonder sometimes if this is to protect ourselves from others.

When we are in our happy bubble, we don’t want it burst and so rather than share our happiness we may hide it or edit what we share for fear of judgement.

The article talked about how as adults our colours de-saturate and our quirks quieten and how the things that make us ‘us’ are slowly covered up until we are a grey blob in a grey world.

It really struck a chord with me when it said that we end up being a grey blob, in a grey world whose utter wonderfulness is hidden not just from others… but also from ourselves.

I couldn’t agree more that when we edit ourselves it’s us that lose out because we stop ourselves from experiencing happiness and we prevent ourselves from discovering things about ourselves.

Why should children get all the fun and carefree times? As adults we have so many responsibilities and times when we have to be serious so why shouldn’t we allow ourselves the chance to show our true colours and be ourselves?

I believe that we should hold on to our sense of fun, silliness, playfulness, discovery, and freedom and that those who we feel most comfortable around are more likely to have the opportunity to see and love our true selves.

Unediting ourselves is hard. I read that before we can un-edit ourselves, we have to figure out which parts of ourselves we’ve shoved in the back of a metaphorical cupboard. This involves a bit of detective work, to figure out where we’ve made choices based on our genuine wants and needs, and where we’ve made them based on others’ expectations.

In order to do this, we need to learn to start noticing those things that light us up and to let that light shine bright.

This is something that I think could be quite hard but equally I feel it’s something we should all try and do.

Afterall, its worth remembering that there isn’t a single human quite like you on this planet.

We all deserve to sparkle and shine, radiating every colour of the rainbow.

So, let yourself be unapologetically, wonderfully you!

Kindness makes the world go round…

I have been incredibly touched by all the love and kindness that I have received since having my miscarriage. I never expected so many messages of love and support which despite making me tearful also made a heart-breaking experience more bearable.

It goes to show how much difference people can make to our lives and sometimes all it takes is a few kind words, letting someone know you are thinking of them or any act of kindness.

I think I still had it in my head that it would be something that I would have to go through on my own and try to think of in quite a clinical sense in order to cope and move forward but, the past few days have proven to me that I am not on my own and that there are people around me who care.

It dawned on me that the reason I felt as though I would be pretty much on my own is because that is how it felt when I was going through all the trauma after the domestic abuse. Don’t get me wrong I had a couple of people who were amazing, but they also found it hard too and had their lives to live.

I then realised that my life is very different now, I have managed to open up my life to new experiences and new people and so even if I don’t always realise, I do have people that have come into my life since and these people are genuine, caring, and lovely.

Sometimes I maybe still don’t realise, as pretty much everyone disappeared out of my life back then when the going got tough.

It takes seconds to get in touch with someone, but we don’t always realise how much it can mean to someone and what a difference it can make.

In a time when someone is feeling sad or going through a difficult time it can shine a light and suddenly things don’t always feel so bad.

As I write this, I can’t help but smile as I look at the bunches of flowers lined up on my windowsill…aside from liking flowers anyway, they are a reminder of peoples love and kindness.

In the days following my miscarriage Ali & Andrew rang me everyday to check in on me which always made me smile and I thought it was very sweet of them. I had people telling me to take care of myself, to rest and take it easy…those people who know me, know I am not good always very good at that.

I can feel a sense of guilt when I am not filling my time with what I deem to be productive, but I know that self-care is necessary. So, I am working on allowing myself to rest and relax as well as letting others take care of me without feeling bad.

Without people’s kindness I know I would have got through this eventually but my goodness I cannot tell you how much difference it has made, feeling loved and supported. I suppose it feels as though you are not alone and the image I have in my head is being surrounded with people who are holding you up.

I really believe that kindness does make the world go around and that we can never truly know what a difference it can make but no doubt it will only make someone feel better, loved and that they are not alone.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me, I really appreciate it and it has made these last few days easier. I feel incredibly lucky to have such lovely people in my life.

Surrogacy part 12…

So, the past few weeks have certainly felt like a rollercoaster ride.

After our 1st go at trying to conceive, I spent the following 10 days thinking about nothing else and analysing how I was feeling to the point where I drove myself bonkers! I kept reading about early symptoms and when was the earliest I could take a pregnancy test. I got that fidgety that I started testing ridiculously early even though I knew I could be pregnant, but it wouldn’t show up yet.

Then on day 10 I did another test and on seeing one line I threw it away but something in my head made me get it back out a bit later and there it was…a second line.

I remember standing there in shock, shaking with shiny eyes and I’ll never forget Ali & Andrews reaction to the news.

We were all on a high and I felt a huge sense of relief particularly as being pregnant explained how I had been feeling over the past few days.

I was feeling nauseous, exhausted, had that pulling feeling in my stomach amongst other symptoms and then a few days ago the nausea disappeared which I just put down to the fact that symptoms can come and go. On top of that my back pain eased, I stopped needing the toilet every 2 minutes and something felt different but again I shrugged it off.

Then a few days later I noticed a little bit of old blood and felt concerned but everything I read suggested it was normal and could be implantation bleeding or to do with hormones. Later that day I spotted a small amount of fresh blood and the panic set in. A few hours later I started cramping and had back pain and that’s when more blood came. At this point I knew I was having a miscarriage.

As I sit here writing this, I am holding back the tears…there is no other word to describe it other than shit. It’s a really shit thing for anyone to go through no matter how many weeks pregnant someone is, and I only imagine it is even shittier later in pregnancy.

The hardest part of it all was telling Ali & Andrew…it broke my heart to have to tell them as it was their future baby. Of course, they were sad but equally they have been absolutely amazing, so incredibly supportive and kind. They reassured me that it’s fairly common and that it wasn’t my fault. I knew this but I imagine a lot of women in this position blame themselves…did I do something wrong? What could I have done differently?

I never imagined that I would have a miscarriage and it has been hard.

There is not enough support available nor enough information out there. The NHS website suggests that some women may not even know they’ve had a miscarriage and that some may have some bleeding and period like pain but it’s only when you go onto the Miscarriage Association website that you find out that it can be very painful and that you can even have contractions.

I had no idea, I thought you bled a bit and that it may be uncomfortable but that it would be short lived. I never expected to be in so much pain, at one point I was doubled over unable to move whilst tears ran down my face. The pain and bleeding haven’t stopped yet, but it can last for a couple of weeks.

I was shocked that there isn’t really any recognition of miscarriages in terms of support particularly in the workplace. I imagine most women feel compelled to go to work possibly whilst they are still having a miscarriage because there aren’t any real guidelines. Do you call in sick? Do you make something up? Most people won’t have told their employer they’re pregnant and may not want them to know.

Again, it was only when I read on the Miscarriage Association website that you can have time off work for as long as you need and that you can be signed off with pregnancy-related sickness. It should be recorded separately and may not be used against the employee, for disciplinary or redundancy purposes or as part of an appraisal and there is no time limit on sickness absence after a miscarriage.

I thought that I would feel fine after a couple of days but soon realised this isn’t the case and so I have given myself some time to recover physically and emotionally.

I have never experienced so much love and support from people…every time someone sends their love or says how sorry they are I have to stop myself from crying.

I like to think of myself as a strong independent woman, yet I didn’t have the strength to stop Ali & Andrew rallying around after me…cooking, cleaning, pampering me etc and it was lovely to be looked after.

I feel lucky to have people around me who are checking up on me, offering to help and being there for me. I’m not sure I could have gone through it on my own. I’m incredibly grateful for their love and support.

I’m hoping that I will soon feel like myself again but I’m also mindful to be kind to myself.

Words cannot describe how someone must feel when they go through this, and it is upsetting to think that there is pressure to brush it off…the good old stiff upper lip.

I considered hiding it from people and coming up with another reason for why I am not my usual sparkly self and I thought, no, I don’t feel the need to lie, women go through this all the time yet it’s something that isn’t spoke about a lot and some people may not understand but actually in my experience everyone has been lovely.

I hope that anyone else who has been through this has been able to reach out to others for support, felt able to talk about it and been kind to themselves.

It’s at times like this that we need a bit of love and TLC.