Today, I ended my involvement with an ectopic pregnancy charity I have supported, and for which I have volunteered, for over six years. It was a place that was tremendously important to me when I went through my two ectopic pregnancies, and when I tried to get pregnant subsequently. It was a place where I met friends who will, I am sure, remain my friends for the rest of my life. It was a place where I learned so much about myself and others, where I started to come to terms with living without kids. It was the place where I tested out the initial thoughts of so much of what I write here today. It was the place where I learned I could help people, and where I learned that I liked helping people.
And so I feel enormously sad. But it is right to leave. The team I worked with disintegrated this year. Yes, change has to occur wherever you work (volunteer), but sometimes that change seems so pointless, so counter-productive, so destructive of everything you have worked for. And so the happy team that I once belonged to dispersed quite rapidly in the face of this change. I tried to stay - I felt a responsibility to the users. But I was giving so much, and began to feel so exploited, that it had to end. And that makes me very sad. It makes me sad that my departure is not a timely, confident one, where I know I'm leaving a happy and competent team in my place. I am not. But I can't make the commitment and continuing effort until such a team is in place. It makes me sad that what once was such a safe and comforting place is no longer that for me. And it makes me sad that I am ending an involvement with an organisation that I once seriously expected to recognise in my Will.
But I don't want to think about that sadness. I want to think about the fun I had there, in the midst of tears over loss, and infertility, and fear. I want to think about the wonderful friends I made. I want to remember the function at the House of Commons, drinking in the pub with Izzie and Ruth and Mary, and as far back as 2005, a raucous night out with a whole bunch of women I met that day, but who I knew (and who knew me) from - as Sarahg said - the inside out. I want to think about the person I am now, in large part due to those women I met at the EPT. I want to acknowledge how important that place was to me, and how much I appreciated it. And I want to feel thankful that it, that the women who made that place so special, were there when I needed them most.