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!

Being a single mum…

I never wanted to be a single mum and never imagined I would be. I know when I look back on the past 3 years, I thought that at best I would function and just about manage, yet here I am not even able to recognise the shell of a person I was.

I know that I am more than capable of being a single mum, but it is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls more than anything and I am lucky that they are both such lovely girls, but it doesn’t change the fact that everything is down to me. I constantly feel as if I am spread thinly, not being able to give either one of my girls my undivided attention when they want to do different things or when I have things to do such as cooking or other day to day jobs.

I take my hat off to all the single mums out there! ….I can’t imagine how I will juggle life once I qualify and start working but I know I will manage it even if it takes a bit of adjusting to.

Living on my own and looking after my daughters has shown me that I am more than capable of anything, especially as during that time I have had some rather difficult and stressful periods but more recently I have found myself wishing that I had someone to share my life with.

Part of me would like to meet someone to have fun with and make the most of my child free weekends with and part of me would like to have someone to share everyday life with. It’s at times such as when I was preparing everything for Florrie’s birthday that I wished someone was there to blow up the balloons with me, or at least laugh at me as I turned beetroot red trying to!

Some people have said that you never know what is around the corner and I do believe in fate however others have suggested it may be unlikely to find another woman who is single and willing to take on 2 young children (not that I would ever expect someone to take on a parenting role as I know it is a lot to ask of someone) and be open minded enough to get their head around the fact that I am going to be a surrogate. Having said that I believe it would be harder for someone to take on a single mum with a newborn baby as well as 2 young children.

The less optimistic side of me thinks I may be unrealistic to meet someone especially living in Yorkshire as it is hardly the gay capital of the country! That and the fact that people don’t generally know that I am gay. I asked Ali & Andrew if they would have known that I am gay, and they both said no. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy being feminine and have no desire to suddenly try and make myself look gay but equally even IF someone liked me who didn’t know about my sexuality, they would be unlikely to consider the possibility that I am gay.

It’s not that I need someone in my life but more a feeling that it would be nice to have someone special. I have no desire to try online dating as I feel that most profiles aren’t genuine, and a lot of people go on it looking for a fling, (I know that’s not the case for everyone) but I don’t have the time or energy to sift through profiles in the hope of finding someone who is genuine and interested in me.

I hope that as more doors open in my life and as I start increasing my social circle that one day, I may meet someone. Part of me wishes I was one of those people who is genuinely happy being single…I am happy, and I am certainly making the most of my freedom but deep down I know that I have a lot of love to give, and I miss having someone to snuggle up with and have fun with.

I remember before I started my surrogacy journey contemplating if the timing was right as I knew I wanted to meet someone, but equally not everything happens when you want it to and so decided not to put off the surrogacy. I also thought that the right person wouldn’t be put off if they met me whilst I was pregnant and if it did put them off, that they wouldn’t be the right person for me.

So, I haven’t given up on finding that someone special yet but for now I am trying to focus on me a little bit more as well as surrogacy and my future business but if someone were to come along that would definitely be the icing on the cake.

Surrogacy part 8…

As with the early stages of dating the GTK (get to know) period has so far consisted of daily messages, regular conversations and the excitement and anticipation of meeting up. My girls were excited to be going to see Ali, Andrew & their daughter Honor as they enjoyed spending time with them when we first met. I was excited too however I also had butterflies as this was the first time, I was seeing them after I had offered them the GTK.

The girls very quickly made themselves at home after we arrived at their house, and it didn’t take long before we were all sat chatting like old friends whilst I was being plied with bubbly!! Ali & Andrew went to a lot of effort to make us all feel welcome and had gone out their way to make sure they had dairy free supplies for me.

The following morning, I even had a cup of tea brought up to bed for me…. talk about how to melt me! I can’t remember the last time someone brought me a cup of tea in bed! If I was dating someone who did this, I would certainly be thinking that they were a keeper!!

We shared an incredible and memorable day at Winter Wonderland….it really did feel like I was spending the day with old friends. It was so easy, laid back and fun. The girls had never been on a train let alone the tube, but Ali & Andrew made it so easy, and I was touched by how much they involved themselves with my girls without batting an eyelid. I certainly appreciated their help navigating our way through the busy tube stations especially as its not something that I particularly enjoy.

Ali & Andrew had offered to take the girls ice skating whilst we were there, but I wasn’t sure how everyone would get on as I had to stay in the viewing area with Honor, but they all appeared to have a whale of a time! The girls were all too happy to let them guide them around the ice rink and my eldest daughter would have happily allowed them to do this for hours! It was definitely heart-warming to watch.

Now for whatever reason, Andrew (who must be a softy!) offered to try and win both my girls the most enormous cuddly toys I have ever seen! I couldn’t watch as I thought it can’t be that easy otherwise, they’d never make money on the game, and he was determined to win twice otherwise one girl wouldn’t be a happy bunny. Well, surprisingly he won…twice! I’m not sure he had thought this through though as these gigantic toys now needing carrying around London and on the tube!! I had nothing to do with this as it was his idea!!! Having said that he wasn’t having any of it when I suggested that the cuddly toys stay at their house and so I am so incredibly grateful (can you sense the sarcasm?!) that I now have them in my house!!

After an incredibly busy but wonderful day I was plied with even more bubbly as we realised, we hadn’t captured the moment (any excuse!) and we spent the evening chatting away, including our thoughts about the GTK and what the future may hold. It was lovely to know that we are all on the same page, but I still don’t think it’s sunk in that everything seems to be going so well. It’s almost as if I am expecting something to go wrong but I hope not.

The weekend consisted of lots of giggles, fun, excitement, numerous selfies, and happy memories. I didn’t feel as though I had to put on an act, and I was completely relaxed and felt like I was myself.  

Before we got home, Ali & Andrew in their excitement had announced our GTK to the surrogacy community and their post was lovely to read (even if they had put photos with me on!!) and it made me feel warm inside.

Especially in recent times I think its hard for people to find other like-minded people so if Ali & Andrew are as lovely as they seem to be then I can see us really being good friends. We are all excited about what the future holds!!

Surrogacy…part 6

It’s been a while since I have posted about surrogacy for a variety of reasons. Partly because my experience with the previous IP’s left a bitter taste in my mouth and I wasn’t sure if or when I would feel ready to contemplate continuing with the idea of being a surrogate and partly because life has been rather hectic lately.

I kind of switched off after what happened with Greig and Owen and went into self-protection mode and found myself no longer as interested or excited as before and if it hadn’t been for Paige who is also a surrogate with SurrogacyUK I would probably have shut the door on the whole idea.

However, I decided to put things on a back burner but not to rule surrogacy out based on one bad experience. I’ve not been actively looking or participating in online socials as I have been busy moving and recovering (in a fashion) from my visit to the dentist.

I decided to continue with the process of joining SurrogacyUK and I can report that I am now a fully active member.

I had to have a video chat with a member of SUK before joining who was lovely and I talked about my previous experience and my concerns, and she completely put me at ease and reminded me of why I wanted to be a surrogate in the first place.

I then was asked to write a profile about myself including why I wanted to be a surrogate and dealbreakers. To begin with I kept this fairly short and sweet as I knew that after any potential IP/IP’s read this that there is a get to know you period of at least 3 months but after speaking to Jemma (who appeared on the BBC Surrogate documentary) who is my mentor I decided to add much more. She said that a lot of teams are ending before they have even started their journey due to people not having discussions about things such as dealbreakers and this made me realise how important my profile is.

The profile directs you to think about dealbreakers relating to pregnancy, but I decided to expand on this and think about what would stop me from wanting to have a relationship with an IP/IP’s and so included things such as if they were into fox hunting or were homophobic or god forbid were Conservatives!!!

I also wrote about what was important for me including my girls. Even if I had a smooth and straightforward pregnancy I will no doubt impact on them and so it is important to me that they gain something out of the experience such as making memories, fun experiences, or the creation of new friendships etc.

When I go into my bubble (usually to protect myself) I switch off to some extent and so I can’t really remember when I first started talking to Ali and Andrew who are IP’s with SUK. I remember that Andrew messaged me through one of the Facebook groups. I also remember that I was feeling detached at the time and so very quickly I told him what went wrong with my previous IP’s and that I wasn’t sure where this has left me.

Instead of feeling like I had to ‘impress’ potential IP’s I kind of went the opposite way and as I wasn’t thinking about matching with any IP’s I just chatted to him and Ali without worrying what they might think.

Ali and Andrew have already had a daughter with a surrogate through SUK and are on a sibling journey. When I first contemplated surrogacy, I didn’t think that I would ideally contemplate being a surrogate for IP/IP’s who already had a child and distance was fairly important too. However, after my first experience I realised what was most important was the connection and relationship.

We have been chatting regularly for a while now and they even came up last weekend.

I am certainly not in a rush to become a team with any IP’s, and I know that it is important to keep your options open, but I realised as I read through the IP profiles that none stood out for me.

It takes a lot of energy to get to know IP’s and I do compare it to dating rather than making friends as it is on a different level, its more intense and personal. I realised that I don’t have the energy to spend months trying to get to know IP’s for the sake of it and that although I am cautious that it is still worth trusting our instinct.

So now the ball is in my court as to which IP/IP’s I offer a GTK (Get To Know), where we spend at least 3 months getting to know each other with the intention (if all goes well) of forming a team. SUK having been very supportive and there is absolutely no pressure to offer a GTK to anyone unless I want to.

If and when I decide to offer a GTK I have to email SUK to let them know and then they see if the IP/IP’s match in terms of expenses, distance and whether they want a host or straight surrogate. If you do match, then they send your profile over to the IP/IP’s and offer them a GTK whilst you wait to hear if they accept or not.

As it stands, I have an idea of what I am going to do….so watch this space!!

A new normal…

The beginning of the new academic year has marked the start of going back to a new kind of normal. Before the summer holidays, schools were still in bubbles, social distancing and face coverings were enforced and hand gel was used more times a day than ever before.

I imagine there were mixed emotions when everyone returned in September, some no doubt couldn’t wait to get rid of all the rules whilst others may have felt more anxious.

For me, I was disappointed about bubbles no longer existing because I was dreading doing the school run particularly knowing everyone would be fighting for a space to park! However, as with many things in life, I have soon adapted to the new routine. It is nice not to have to wear a face mask for the school run and of course it has allowed my daughter to start school as we all know it, it’s lovely to hear children singing in assemblies and see them playing with their friends.

However, case numbers are still high here so it does feel a little uneasy, but we just have to do what we can.

Up until recently I was wearing face masks whenever I was indoors but then I have been to a few indoor gatherings lately where nobody else has been wearing them and so neither have I. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid to be the odd sheep but at the same time, if this is how life is going to be for the foreseeable future, then I feel there are times when not wearing a mask could be ok.

I have certainly noticed that more people are choosing not to wear a mask and I guess that could be down to being sick of wearing them or the fact that it’s not mandatory anymore, yet whether out of habit or still feeling a little unsure of things, I still automatically put my mask on every time I go inside a shop.

I guess part of me feels a sense of responsibility for others as I wouldn’t want to pass on Covid to my Mum, those I care about or any of the clients that I work with.

The best part of life returning to some sort of normality is being able to attend events, spend time with others, being able to make plans and of course, hugs!

I am aware that there may be another wave but it would appear that the UK government has no intention of doing an awful lot about it other than make masks compulsory again. In which case, fingers crossed Christmas can go ahead this year. Last Christmas I managed to take my girls to see Santa, but it was a socially distanced visit where they could only wave at him from a distance whilst stood outside. Hopefully this year they may actually get to see him up close and maybe even get a photo with him!

We didn’t get to go to Hull fair last year as it was cancelled but this year it is going ahead. However, I have decided that we won’t be going as despite it being the biggest fair that is happening this year (as Goose Fair has been cancelled) there won’t be any real safety measures in place and I know how crowded it normally is, therefore it doesn’t make me feel easy.  

I am definitely looking forward to living life again, I’m excited about what the future brings, and I feel that the summer gave me a chance to start dipping my toes in the water! I certainly can’t imagine going into another lockdown, I think I would find it too hard. I realise that I need that social contact (says the woman who is not a social animal!) and I have a thirst for life…for meeting people, going out and trying new things.

I guess I feel like I have found my wings and I am ready to fly!

This made me giggle as it’s true!