24 December, 2018

Love and best wishes from Mali

It is Christmas Eve, and I am in the south with my sisters and their families, including two nieces (the youngest and the oldest with her own child who is the age my second ectopic baby would be).

I'm enjoying family, remembering those who are gone - this is our first Christmas together without our parents - and inevitably those who were never here. Tomorrow will be alternately chaotic and relaxed, and sooner than we know it the day will be over. This is why my main message about this time of year is that it passes. It is only one day, and after all we have been through to get here, we can get through that.

This is my wish for you. That at this time of year you are able to relax and breathe, knowing that you can survive it, and get back to your normal, whatever that is, very soon. That, in my view, is a gift.

17 December, 2018

My Tree

A number of the ornaments on my tree have real No Kidding meaning to me:

I have a silver angel that I bought after my second ectopic, and although it’s not my favourite ornament, but it always reminds me of my loss.

The carved wooden dolphin ornament sent by an ectopic friend from Canada, and although we’ve lost touch now, I always think of her and our losses.

I have a pohutukawa fairy, which I love because I love pohutukawa, but also at this time of year, I remember those blossoms in the trees through the hospital windows as I waited for ectopic #1 to be treated (17 years ago), and then later for ectopic #2 (16 years ago) to be diagnosed and treated.

The stockings I have in my Christmas decoration box, which I bought for my children and cousins to use, even before we began to try to conceive. I gave away some of them when I knew I would never have children, but there’s always a little twinge when I see the ones that are left.

The tree itself, because putting it up makes me think of Christmassy things, and Christmassy things for me are inextricably linked to my two pregnancies and subsequent losses at this season.

But my tree is also inextricably linked with the very best parts of my No Kidding life* too, and in loving my tree I have reclaimed Christmas, which is in itself a real gift.

* Click here to see why

10 December, 2018

Memories, growth, and gratitude

17 years ago this week, I was learning all about ectopic pregnancies, about what it was to lose a pregnancy, about grief, about hospitals and Drs and nurses, and about dealing with emotions that I'd not had to face before - in fact, about emotions that I had never even imagined I would feel. A year later, at this time I was enjoying a happier experience of the first weeks of a pregnancy, but by the end of the month, those hopes too were dashed. My memories of these times are of overwhelming emotion. Another year later I was in shock, trying to realise that it was all over, and that I would never have children.

What I didn't expect though is that 15 years later I would be able to write about this without emotion, that I would think of my lost babies with love and not with sadness, and that I would have sympathy for the person I was then, and pride for how she recovered. I had no idea that I would have helped hundreds of women in a volunteering capacity, that I would have made friends all over the world as a result of my No Kidding, childless life, and that I would have created a small book that people were actually prepared to buy* with their hard-earned money!

It could be so easy to sit back and bemoan my fate all the time, as sadly I see some people doing in a social media group I have joined, but that would make me (and everyone around me) miserable, and would achieve nothing. Life moves on, we grow, we learn, and we heal, and I am very grateful for that.

* Thank you to those who have bought it - I hope it doesn't disappoint.

03 December, 2018

The Book: No Kidding in Brief - Selected Quotes from the Blog

I’ve gone and done it, and produced a little book of memes! Unfortunately I couldn’t produce a flipbook (not many self-publishing apps offer this option) in the time frame. Likewise, I could have done a calendar, but as I won’t be here to organise postage and delivery pre-Christmas/New Year, it wasn’t really an option until next year.

What I have done is produce a small book, with full pages of the photographs and quotes, lists etc that I have used on the blog, with one or two new ones. I thought a full page per photo might be nice, in case someone wants to take one and frame it. You can get it in different formats, but I designed it to be a small, softcover book, trying to keep the costs down, though not very successfully (for the record, I’m only covering costs). I haven't even seen the hard copy myself, as shipping to NZ will take about three weeks!

Blurb was by far the easiest option for me, in the short time frame, and I’m thrilled their site was so easy to use. You can see a preview of a few selected pages below, and you can click here to buy it, or here for the e-book.
Note: Edited to include a link to the e-book.