26 October, 2012

We can find peace

Another quote:

Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace. 
– Dalai Lama

As I write this in advance, I'm assuming I am finding some inner peace on my holiday.  I'll be home soon, and will report then.

24 October, 2012

Infertility and guilt - again

I was referred to this post a while ago (Mel's Round-Up I think) about motherhood after infertility and the inevitable feelings of guilt.

Good mothers, know that you are not alone.  I've written before  (and most prominently, here) about the feelings of guilt I have had (and observed in others) when I find myself enjoying my life with no children.  The guilt brings up thoughts - does this mean I didn't want it enough?  Does this mean I never should have had kids and that somehow there really IS a reason I didn't?  Does this mean I wasn't enough of a woman?  Yes, guilt brings up thoughts that I have long since dismissed, long since ignored, thoughts that I thoroughly disagree with and discount 99% of the time.

As I've said before, letting go of the guilt is the beginning of understanding and acceptance and true happiness.

This week, as this is published, I will be here (though this time we'll be at their safari lodge by the hippos' waterhole, not the one on the hill). And there will be no kids there either.  So with any luck, I will be communing with hippos and giraffes and elephants and lions and leopards and warthogs and more.  With any luck, enjoying being a long way from cellphone reception and wifi, relishing being out in fresh air, soaking up that Vitamin D after a gloomy winter.  Enjoying time with my man.  Forgetting how old I am.  Smiling.

And not feeling any guilt whatsoever.

20 October, 2012


When I was born, it was in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis.  Even on the far edges of the earth, there was fear.  My mother remembers the nurses at the hospital wondering if there would be war, and if they would need to go.  I of course was oblivious to this, having turned up eventually, about a week late.  Life was all about eating and sleeping (perhaps little has changed).

When I turned 10, I was just a kid.  A kid who was just getting to do exciting stuff:  Girl Guides, piano and dance, netball.  Well, that’s as much exciting stuff that you can do living in the country, in a two-room school with only about 45 kids aged from 5 to 13.  Summers were endless.  Winters were full of frozen puddles to jump in and giggle as the ice broke.   Birthdays were spent with my parents, sisters, and grandmother.  Life was carefree, fun, full of prospects.

When I turned 20, I was in the midst of my third year exams at university, the exams that would see me graduate with a BA in History and Political Science, which would see me become the first member of my extended family with a university degree.  There were opportunities for women, and I had met a wonderful man I would eventually commit to spending the rest of my life with.  Life was exciting. On my birthday, I cooked dinner for some friends, and we drank wine and Baileys (not together).  Life was looking good.  

When I turned 30, in Bangkok, I had three birthday parties.  One for each decade.  Two were surprises – a posh lunch at my favourite hotel in the world with a couple of friends and the hotel manager (also a friend), and later pizza with many of the Embassy staff, including most of the local staff (with whom I was privileged to have a special relationship).  And the third I hosted myself at our apartment, a barbecue by the pool.  Work was stimulating, we lived in one of the great cities of the world, and there was Thai food.  Life was good.

When I turned 40, I had recently quit my job in an effort to set up a business and be self-employed, and hopefully become a mother.  But I had suffered dengue fever, and experienced my first ectopic pregnancy, and had scheduled an appointment with a fertility specialist for a few days after my birthday.  Life was more uncertain.  But I knew more about what I wanted than ever before, and I knew what I was and wasn’t prepared to do to achieve it.  I invited some friends over and cooked them dinner.  It was very low key, but we had good food (if I do say so myself), and good wine, and good company.  Life was still exciting, but it was now scary too. 

Today I turn 50.  Life is getting shorter.  I’m on the downhill slide.  I bear no illusions that I will be that small number for whom 50 is half-way.  I have seen the aging begin – the hair has long since been coloured to hide the grey, the lines on the face are arriving.  50 is scary.  Really scary.  I can’t say I’m thrilled about 50.  But I’ll adjust.  At 50, I know the the things I’ll never do.  I’m okay with them, the what-might-have-beens.  Life has had its disappointments, but it has its unexpected rewards too.  I’d rather concentrate on them, on what I can do, on what I want to do, on the type of person I am, and on who I have in my life. 

I’m not cooking dinner tonight.  We have a reservation at a prestigious restaurant, set in  wine lands, surrounding by dramatic mountains, in a vast vast land.  There will be champagne.  And I’ll have my husband.  He’s all I need tonight.  And it’s not just because he has the Visa card.

15 October, 2012

Be happy

I saw the following quote recently.  This I think sums up how those of us in the No Kidding community are trying to live our lives, and is relevant given my previous post about guilt.

So here is my thought for the day:

Don’t wait until you have no more suffering 
before allowing yourself to be happy. 
 —Thich Nhat Hanh

12 October, 2012

Happy places ...

Everyone needs a break.  Everyone needs to celebrate a significant birthday.  And so I’m going to do that.  Freely, outside the school holidays (we leave when everyone else is coming home to begin the final term), and on a long haul flight that would be difficult with toddlers or babies or young kids. The 6.00 am flight time, with a wakeup time of about 3.30 am tomorow morning, is going to be tough enough.

And yes, I openly and without any concern whatsoever freely admit that I hope there won’t be any babies or little kids sitting next to me as I sink into my seat, ask for a glass of champagne, and prepare for 14 hours in the air, with nothing but food, movies, and sleep.  And you can guarantee if there are kids, I will roll my eyes and be frustrated, and wish they were elsewhere!  But I’m pretty sure that in the seats we’ll be in on this trip, there won’t be any kids kicking the back of our seats.

We’re going to my happy place.  We’ll be in places where there will be little or no cell-phone reception, and no wifi.  I think that’ll be a relief, a time-out.  And so I’ve scheduled a few posts, and I’ll see you at the end of the month.

Busy busy busy

A brief post - feeling rather overwhelmed this month with a) aforementioned stupidity deciding to post every day on A Separate Life, b) visitors for several days, and c) getting ready for departure and a 3 am wake-up call tomorrow morning for the 6 am flight.

Had my four-year-old niece visiting earlier this week.  Oh yes, and her parents!  It was lovely to see them all.  We had child time - she crawled into bed with me in the mornings to play on the iPad - and adult time to celebrate my sisters' birthday.  Things I realised:
  • It doesn't matter that I don't have toys for her to play with.  Everyday stuff we have in our house that they don't is just as much fun.
  • Kids are loud, and ask hundreds of questions.  (I knew this.  It was just reinforced).
  • Children are exhausting.  My sister looked exhausted, and it was supposed to be a holiday.  (Though probably two late nights and lots of champagne and wine didn't help!)
  • The zoo is just as much fun for adults as kids.
  • My normal life - when I can do things outside of school holidays - is so much more relaxed!  Or at least, calm and peaceful!
  • They'll be back at Christmas.  Which will be fun.  I'll get to use my Christmas stockings.  But I need the intervening period to recover!

04 October, 2012

October ...

Rather rashly, I have begun a project for October over on my other blog - A Separate Life.  This was my first post -

As a nod to my first blog, all of my posts this October will have 50 words:
50 words to express my frustrations,
50 words to rant or rave,
50 words to be grateful,
50 words to celebrate my friends, family and country,
50 words to say I love you.

 I encourage you to check it out.  There will be reminders about why I enjoy the No Kidding Life from time to time.  Including this one today.

Being seen and heard

I have a friend who has had a very different fertility journey than I have.  She is already a grandmother, always wanted kids, had them early and without difficulty (conception, that is) despite being told she might not in fact be able to have any.  She’s now an empty-nester – which explains how, on short notice, we could meet at our favourite cocktail lounge last night for a drink.

She’s been supportive of me (and understanding) all the way.  From back in the mid-90s when I was torn about whether I wanted kids or not, through my ectopic pregnancies and now, my no kidding blogging life.  She talks when I need to talk, and doesn’t when I don’t want to.  She’s one of my few (I think) real life friends who reads this blog, and if I talk about having a reasonable friend, it’s her!  (Though I did also post about her here.)

She has prompted a number of my posts, and I have another post brewing about something we’ve talked about.  But today I wanted to note something that surprisingly and almost instantly had our eyes welling up.  She has an elderly uncle, and she’s a good niece (I should copy this to my nieces as a less-than-subtle hint!).  She visits him at his house in the South Island, and has him to stay here.  He and his wife (now gone) never had children.  My friend says her mother recalls them buying a pram, but then nothing happened.  I suspect that something happened – a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy – that meant the pram was never filled.  The family – or perhaps just the matriarch – were judgemental about his wife.  I’ve often suspected my own mother-in-law being judgemental about me in the same way.  This was the 1950s and 60s, so very much a sign of the times.

Recently Uncle D visited my friend.  She says something came up about him having no children, and she said to him simply, “I’m so sorry.”  He looked at her and nodded.  It was the first time she ever remembers it being acknowledged between them.  We agreed, as our eyes filled with tears and we sipped our drinks in an attempt to recover, that this could have been the first time anyone ever said that to him.  I hope not.  But I’m glad she said it.

In the same way that even though I hope all of you have at least one friend like A, I am also glad that we all have each other.  We all need to know that at least one person in the world sees us, and understands, and says “I’m so sorry.”

Even when we're happy, free, and drinking on a Wednesday evening in spring.