Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A reality check...

So, here's the deal. I have two choices.

Choice number one: I continue to cry a lot. I continue to feel sorry for myself and for our situation. I carry on feeling like shit every time I see that a Facebook friend is pregnant with their second, third, fifth child. I continue to indulge that twist in my stomach when I notice just how big DS is getting. I carry on panicking about the 'right decision' and not allow myself to relax and just be carried along by life. I continue to keep myself awake at night wracked with guilt around my infertility. I continue to feel an irrational, angry burn whenever mums moan about how tired/stressed/hard their life is with their abundance of children. I allow this situation to entirely take over my life and the lives of my family. I wake up one morning and realise my big boy has become a bigger boy and I missed it.

Choice number two: I put on my big girls pants and suck it up.

I go with choice number two.

Just so you know.

Watch this space...

(P.S I blame the HRT)

Monday, 28 January 2013

Testing or Testosterone?

So DS has been exhibiting some interesting behaviour of late. By interesting I mean awful. DH and I have noticed a steady decline since before Christmas and now we are dealing with daily battles that include:
- deciding that he no longer needs to have a wash 'because he's 6'
- stating that he only had chicken and pizza today so his teeth don't need brushing
- creating arguments over the slightest upset (such as the colour of his underwear)
- becoming irrationally angry when challenged on his behaviour
- making dramatic statements in relation to everday events (I tried to sleep in mum but couldn't and that is why I don't want another child to live with us)

And on it goes....

As my friend and I share stories about our 6 year old boys with knowing nods in the direction of 'testosterone surges' (I read a book on it once...), I can't help but be worried that this is about more than just hormones.

I feel I need to reiterate at this point that DH and I have not brought up Fostering and Adoption with him for some time as we felt it was an issue that he needed to choose the pace about. He has brought it up a couple of times and we've talked about it. Are we wrong about this though? Do we need to just take control? A friend recently suggested that I was being ridiculous for allowing DS a say in the matter of adding to our family via A or F and that if I had just had a baby, he wouldn't have been given the choice and would have just had to get used to it. I put her attitude down to her being childless but did she have a point? My instinct tells me that I know my boy and how my family works and lets face it, in all liklihood any child we welcome into our home will have additional needs; having a genetic baby grow for 40 weeks while DS is involved in that gradual process is completely different.

And frankly it makes me cross that people to whom babies come easily never have to give it all such lengthy consideration. I always (probably mistakenly) imagine it goes something like, 'will we have another baby darling?', 'yes, we could do. When?', 'Will we say now?', 'Errr, oh go on then', 'great, I'll bob my request for mat leave in tomorrow'...Don't get me started on the various articles I've read recently by smug multi-mothers on the perils of having just one child. I try to remaim positive but lately it's getting me down. I would give anything to have those hassle filled mornings sorting out my 17 children. And there I go again, sounding ungrateful for the one that I have. Please know that I am not ungrateful - just frustrated.

DS is a lot like me - he comes across all mouthy and confident because he's terrified of channeling his inner-peach but he can't escape from his anxieties and it appears to be manifesting itself in the form of angry outburts and interrupted sleep. Heck, DH and I are confused so it's presumably fully expected that DS will be too and I wasn't unprepared for that. Well, I didn't think I was...


I just feel really crap. And in turn that makes me re-angry about everything (yes I am aware that that's not a word but humour me). I want to scream that it's all so hard! Why us? Why is this still not sorted out? Why do I have to jump through f****** hoops to get the one thing that so many other people just get? With no hassle! In the normal way! I'm exhausted by the whole process and it hasn't even begun. I'm utterly terrified that I'll ruin DS's life with my selfish pursuit of a bigger family and utterly heartbroken that he will never know the joy and irritation of siblings. He pointed out that any children he will have might not have cousins or aunts and uncles and wouldn't that be sad? Yes it would. And I'm sorry. I wish I could change it for him but I can't. And it kills me.

And breaaatthheee....
Last week I spoke to a National Charity about Fostering and the lovely lady is waiting for me to email with a date for them to come out, meet us, and talk to us about becoming approved foster parents. I don't feel that I can send that email. I think I need to spend some time sorting out DS's feelings. I want him to be happy. I want to do the right thing. I want, most of all, to not be in the position where I can't just relax about the whole thing, safe in the knowledge that the decisions me made were the right ones.

P.S The **MELTDOWN WARNING** should probably have been inserted at the beginning of this post....

Monday, 7 January 2013

One step forward, three steps back...

Hurrah to 2013.
Or not.

So, the 'Bubonic Plague' hit the household just in time to ensure a poorly, sniffly, vomity, diarrhoeay time was had by all over Christmas. Joy to the World etc etc...

This, however, was not the low point of the festivities. That point came when DH decided to drop the 'I'm not sure I want to go forward with applying to Adopt' bombshell as I was polishing off my 15th pre-Christmas Quality Street. To say I was shocked was a bit of an understatement. I had thought my main concern was DS's apparent lack of enthusiasm; I was unprepared for the fact that my husband was in agreement with him.
You'll be delighted to know that I handled it with maturity. By maturity, I mean that I completely ignored that he'd said it, squished it firmly into a box and quickly threw it to the back of my mind. And steadily became more and more resentful. And cross. Adoption scares me too; I wasn't sure where the path would lead us either but I wasn't being ridiculous and communicating that to him now was I? Why on Earth would I do that????? Tsk!
Instead, I continued my silent tirade. I couldn't bear to confront him because I really didn't want to know what he had to say.

Every year, DH and I spend our Wedding Anniversary in London. We got married at Christmas and I just love Oxford Street with all the Christmas lights and hustle and bustle. I look forward to dropping DS off with his grandparents and heading off, first class (free bacon butties don't you know...), for our weekend away together. This year was no exception - I was really looking forward to it. I wasn't expecting that the 'bombshell' would have such an effect. I felt really unsettled and just had no wish to speak to DH  - I could do the 'what will we do for lunch?' conversation but the, 'will we have a chat about your worries while we're alone and have the time?' conversation refused to materialise. Romance was not so much dead as deader than dead and I spent most of the weekend wanting to come home.
Eventually I knew I had to bring it up. So I asked him and once again found myself surprised. DH apparently doesn't think he'd be a good enough dad.


This is the man that actually wants to spend time with his son - not through me bribing him or pestering him - he genuinely enjoys it. The man that sits with DS and patiently runs through his spellings and cursive writing (far more patient than I could ever be) with him. That spends hours hacking through the woods, swinging on the park, searching the internet for another swimming pool to go to at 7.30am on a Saturday morning when the local one burnt down, making number plates for his go kart...And bike...And scooter... He's a fantastic dad! So why does he think he wouldn't be again? I have to be honest that I remain a bit confused about it all. Not least because if he thinks he's rubbish, where does that leave me?
DH tells me that he's often found it frustrating when we've had difficult times parenting DS; when he seems unhappy or his behaviour seems out of control or he's just being a usual, challenging, 6 year old and that because of this, he worries that he wouldn't cope with a child that had issues and/or challenging behaviours. I get where he's coming from, it worries me too, but I'm a big believer in pushing forwards and seeing how things pan out. Making an application and having a conversation with a social worker does not mean we would have a bundle of joy delivered to our doorstep the week after (quite the contrary I imagine...). It would mean that we would gather more information. And then a bit more. Until it feels right. Or not.

On a plus point, DS seems to be asking questions around it all. I haven't pushed it with him and I think it's worked in that he hasn't felt 'forced' into thinking about it. He's not sure about it all (which is fine) but he does want to know more about it.

I can't say that any clarity has been achieved just yet but at least DH and I are discussing it again. My only worry is that the longer we procrastinate, the less 'right' it might feel.
But then que sara que sara I suppose...

Oh and Happy New Year :o)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Well I did not see that coming...

... So, DH and I decided that we should probably broach the subjects of adoption and fostering with DS. Test the waters so to speak.

DS and I have had numerous conversations over the last couple of years around why he doesn't have a brother or sister; I think he has struggled to understand and at times has become cross that while his friends have someone to play with at all times, he doesn't and despite DH and I laughingly correcting him that he isn't infact a 'lonely child' but an 'only child'...We have worried that this is how he perceives himself.
The best explanation I could give him (we've tried to be as age-appropriately honest as possible with him) was just last month when we had the usual tantrum when it was time for his friend to go home - a very vocal objection to the fact that while his friend got to go home and play with his brothers, DS would now spend the rest of the evening alone. After swallowing my hurt firmly down (I 100% realise that my 6 year old is in no way trying to hurt me with his frustration), we had a lovely chat where I explained that the part in mummy's where they grow babies doesn't work in me - that it's broken. He asked a few more questions along the lines of whether it could be mended (nope, sorry), whether dad could grow the baby instead (er, nope...) and did I think he could have the new iCarly DVD (not right now) and then seemed to accept my explanation.

So, cue: made up conversation around a friend and her fictional Fostering arrangement... DH and I started talking about *Carol at work who was having a little girl come and live with their family. As expected, DS' ears pricked up - mum, why does that little girl need to live with your friend? Where are her mum and dad? Jackpot! I thought,  so I went on to explain that sometimes childen aren't able to live with their own families. Why mum? Well, for lots of reasons - sometimes their parents are having lots of problems that they need to work out, sometimes they're poorly and sometimes they just need a rest. Hmmmm...I could see his cogs turning.... And do they always live with the new family? No, sometimes they go home, I said. Ok. At this point his attention switched back to the Disney Channel... So, DS, I said, do you think you might quite like a child to come here and live with us? My friend's daughter is really excited - do you think you would find it exciting?
To his credit, he thought for a moment before replying...
No mum. You see I'm thinking about Christmas. I like presents and sweets so I don't think it would be a good idea to have another child come and live here.

After DH and I had stopped laughing (behind our hands natch), we sat back to consider his response. Admittedly, it was the opposite of what we thought he would say. So, back to the drawing board? Not quite we don't think. Perhaps we need to continue the 'drip drip' of ideas and see where it all takes us. We did, afterall, say that we wanted DS to be very much a part of any decision and in his usual style, he is certainly making his feelings known!

Friday, 12 October 2012

And THIS is why you wait...

... For anybody chancing upon my blog after having wearily accepted that they would now like to look at Adoption as an option for building their family and feeling angry about the enormous wait to apply imposed by Social Services (currently a year from the last IVF attempt), please read on...

Here are my observations of how you are probably feeling:

1. You feel exhausted by the processes of finding out that having a baby will not come easily for you and devastated that either IVF has not worked for you or is not an option

2. You continue to die a little bit inside when anyone you know becomes pregnant

3. You feel angry and cheated one day, calm the next, depressed for the few after that

4. You are beyond desperate to hold a baby in your arms

5. You are convinced that said baby would solve everything and that your life cannot move forwards

And the reality is:

Now is not the time to decide to adopt a child.
You will never get over not being able to have your own baby but it will get easier to live with.
Your relationship is about to be tested enormously; you think it has been difficult up until now but suddenly when there had once been hope there is now....Nothing...

One year on, I finally understand why that wait is very very necessary. Deciding to adopt a child is a huge decision and though I knew this before and it was never a decision I would have taken lightly, I didn't know myself  at that time and certainly wasn't capable of deciding whether it was what I needed or what our family needed. A child needing to be adopted deserves the World; deserves to be placed with a happy family that are ready to embrace him/her into their lives. And that was not me.

Take that year to adjust and to allow what you feel to be realised...

July and August have been hard. My (much longed for) baby would have arrived had I not had another Miscarriage last October and it was tough. The miracle conception that never was. Another little soul not destined to be mine. And that, coupled with me having to stop HRT (my Migraines increased tenfold) made for a pretty disastrous Summer. I felt like I had regressed; babies being wheeled around the street, toddlers holding sticky fingers up to be cleaned, the sound of children laughing - all would set me off crying. It took a while for me to connect the dots (sometimes, I'm just not that quick...) as I didnt want to believe I wasn't 'over it' but once I'd accepted that I probably never would be and that's fine, I felt better. A trip to see a Menopause Consultant and a different HRT prescription have also helped me feel better. And even though the only thing currently benefiting from the Oestrogen is my mattress since that's where these ridiculous patches always end up, the 'tough' has once again passed.

And another door has opened. DH and I decided that we would wait for DS to be old enough to participate in the process of Adoption - that way, we feel, it would be more of a decision that the entire family has made. Thanks to some lovely ladies who have posted to my blog reassuring me that my PND shouldn't have too much of an effect on our application, I feel more confident about it all. And in the meantime, we're now looking into Fostering. We've got the books, we've been online and the next step is the open evening. I'm also fortunate in that I know people who are Foster carers and given my Profession, I work with disadvantaged families with complex lives every day, I feel I have a good grounding into the needs of children who have had to be removed from their own chaotic and sometimes distressing lives. My experiences will help me to understand the processes more and to understand the families of these children that I will need to work closely with. My biggest anxieties were firstly, that I'm not 'special' enough to be a Foster mum and secondly, that I would find it difficult to cope with the distress of the children in my care when things weren't going to plan with their birth families. On the first point, it took me a while to feel convinced that you don't need to be 'special', you actually just need to be 'normal' and 'good enough' and as for the second point...I'm still working on that.
Strangely, preparing a child for adoption doesn't worry me as much - letting go of a child that you have loved for a while will always be hard but I feel I could cope with this, knowing that their lives are moving forwards.

So, big decisions ahead.

I made another big decision recently too - I have cut my hours at work by two days a week. And despite being worried about the money aspect such a change will bring, I am beyond excited that I will be home more for DS and will no longer feel as though I'm 'missing out' on him. I can't wait.

Crikey...Whoever said life was dull had to be joking...

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Just pensive...

...It's been a while I know

Have had so much to think about; DS turned 6 which for the first year I can remember I felt ecstatic about rather than panicked that my baby was growing up too fast. Of course he is growing up too fast and getting cleverer by the day and one day he will, quite surprisingly Im sure, be about 28 and I'll still be singing 'yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy' at him as he rolls his eyes and examines me suspiciously for further signs that I've been on the sherry...
But a strange, bizarre feeling has come over me in the last month. It is one of peace and I just know that everything will be ok. I have to say, I never thought that I would feel this way until a baby was plopped into my arms. But I do. I really really am happy with my fantastic family and I feel calm.

DH and I were given a huge reality check with the literature we bought regarding adoption; it was hugely motivating to read about adoption stories but also incredibly daunting to learn more about the process. The bare bones of it all. I think we knew that we would be placed under enormous scrutiny (I am not unaware of social services from a professional point of view) but I don't think it occured to us for one single minute that my postnatal depression could impact on their decision to place a child with us...
DS was such a long waited for child, after my pregnancy losses it was surreal that I was even carrying a term baby, that my anxiety levels were massively high before the horrendous delivery, his admission to special care at day 2 where they queried meningitis and burned his foot with a calcium infusion followed by my breastfeeding woes that I finally lost the plot entirely...Convinced that the best plan was for me to move out and after being terrified for weeks that not only was I a useless mother (how could I ever be good enough for this miracle baby??) but that I would harm my baby, I finally confided in my GP who was fantastic - I was referred for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and never looked back. I now consider myself a normal mum in that I feel permanently guilty for every decision I make :o)

I 100% agree that social services need to ensure that they are placing children with the right families and that those families can support them and their needs but it was still a bit of a blow. I immediately froze at the idea of continuing down the adoption path - it was too much that I had 'failed' biologically at providing another child for my family, I absolutely could not consider failing again because of my mental health history.
So there I sat for a while. Pondering. Wondering. Procrastinating. Until it occured to me that actually, we said the Autumn and it's not even Summer. We have a holiday planned for August that we're all really excited about and plenty of time to decide our way forward. We've also veered off from the notion that we would be adding to our family - providing a sibling for DS - and are now thinking much more in terms of being able to give a fantastic life to a child that may not ordinarily have been given the opportunity.

And that's a really big deal...

Thursday, 5 April 2012

A time for eggs...Easter eggs!

I suppose I should feel maudlin or jealous or something at this time of year - a celebration of all things egg - but actually I'm feeling pretty good again... Obviously, this feeling of excited anticipation has nothing to do with the ENORMOUS chocolate egg I imagine DH has secreted somewhere for me...

As well as fantasising about chocolate, I've been doing more research into adoption. To keep busy? To know more? To feel more in control? Probably all of the above... But I have been feeling more and more as though this could be the right thing for us to do.

DH and I have talked a lot about everything as you can imagine and after a weekend away to see friends with DS, our relationship seems to be improving (phew) and we seem to be connecting again. We've both agreed that allowing the other to grieve in their own way has been difficult - we've been conscious that the other person has felt sad/guilty/angry/complacent at times and it's been difficult to feel as though we're on the same page.
We were talking about pregnancy. My pregnancy with DS was problem free (aside from the sickness - euw, that was baaaad) and I love love loved being pregnant - I was not remotely irritated when he kicked me to death in the night and often laid smiling hugging my belly. I was so desperate to be pregnant for longer than a few weeks that as the weeks ticked by, it became more and more real and more and more fabulous. Now, I'm not so sure that I can go down that path again. DH got very emotional when we were talking about the DE option - he referred to 'the call from the bathroom' that has been the end result of 5 of my six pregnancies - the call that said I was bleeding. Again. He tells me that 'the call' was the worst thing he experienced; the tone of my voice, the dreaded slow-footed ascent of the stairs knowing he was going to see me keeled over my knees on the loo. And though we would be using someone else's eggs (so would hopefully have a better chance of not experiencing 'the call'), we're unsure whether we can risk another Miscarriage emotionally and also it would be an extremely expensive Miscarriage...
We also remain unconvinced that a child through adoption would feel any less 'mine/ours' than a child conceived with a DE and grown by me. Genetically, any future children won't be 'mine' but could potentially be genetically DH's. He tells me he has no interest in whether his sperm makes our next child or not. And I believe him. I think what we both want is to extend our family and as DH pointed out, he thinks we could give a lovely home to a child somewhere that needs it. And I agree with him. I have anxiety about all of this obviously. I worry about the impact another child will have on our family but I imagine, like all children plopped out naturally into families all over the World, you muddle through and cope.
I think I've said before, we have a lot of love in our house...

So, for my next trick, I will be reviewing the adoption books we've bought and are currently winging their way from the Amazon warehouse. Watch this space...

Ooooo I can hear that clock ticking - the countdown to Easter Sunday where I intend to be surrounded by family, eating roast lamb and nicking DS's chocolate when he's not looking... Oh and just so you know, I am aware that there's slightly more to Easter than eating chocolate eggs (honest)...