Saturday, 30 January 2016

Guest Post: Sarahg on living life

When I first joined the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust message board fifteen or so years ago, there was a special, shining light on the board, guiding people through the tough times, making us smile with her wicked sense of humour, and giving us practical, sound information. Sarahg (as she was known on the boards, and always will be to me) was then working for the Trust as a message board coordinator, having been through her own losses and pain. In that role, she touched not just my life, but the lives of hundreds of other women. To say she touched my life though is a major understatement. She enveloped me - all of us - in a huge, comforting hug.

This isn't the first time I've mentioned her. I talked about her here, when I commented that the best people I know were women without children. She has continued to inspire me, facing additional difficulties with courage and spirit. I’m so proud she’s my friend, and so pleased I can introduce her to you. I asked her to write something for my blog, and - as my first ever internet contact - it seems appropriate that she is the first to do so.

These are her words:
“Ironically, next month it'll be 20 years since my first ever pregnancy. I always wanted to be a Mum. It was my biggest ambition, something I instinctively believed I'd be good at. I met my husband when I was 20, we married when I was 23 and moved to the opposite side of the country from our families following job opportunities - yes, we 'got on our bikes.' We bought a one-bedroomed house which promptly turned to poop as the market crashed leaving us stuck paying 15% interest for a house in negative equity. Yes, kids, that's 15%! Our mortgage payment was equivalent to my monthly wage. After a shed load of hard work and five years, we managed to move to a bigger place so finally we could start a family.

Three years later the pregnancy test showed a faint positive. I went weak at the knees and felt physically shocked with fear and excitement. My husband was thrilled. My in-laws were delighted, my Dad was chuffed. My Mum was a picture of worry. My sister was already leaving the first trimester of her pregnancy. Wow, how cool was that, cousins close in age! Here the story turns upside down. Misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis - I finally ended up in hospital having my ruptured fallopian tube removed along with my precious baby. Scroll on almost five years, and I am back in hospital two weeks before Christmas, losing my second baby and my remaining fallopian tube.

Everything I had hoped for and dreamed of had evaporated. Alienated, confused, grieving, hurting, desperate. No blueprint, no idea what to do, cut adrift. I began searching for answers, and in 2002 stumbled upon a new-fangled message board on the internet, a place for other women who'd also experienced what I was going through. I was hooked, addicted to chatting and unpicking what was happening to us. I found myself and my purpose.
My life hasn't turned out the way I expected. We decided neither IVF nor adoption was for us. They were hard decisions. We knew they were the right ones for us.
My biggest fear was how it would hit me after menopause. With typical predictability, it came early, and although I did ask myself if I had regrets, the truth is I know I did the right thing. So for me, no regrets.

My happy ending has required a massive rewrite - it has been very hard. However, I've stopped leaving my happiness to chance, stopped waiting and started to live my life to the best of my ability. I have met so many extraordinary women, my peers, people who understand what it's like because they've walked in my shoes. People who share the deepest pain and the most exquisite joy of being able to laugh again, laugh at ourselves. I feel alive. I would never have worked with teenagers if not for my losses. Worked with amazing colleagues who will always be my friends.

As it turns out I got sick, diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Arthritis eight years ago. Suffered a fractured hip 3 years ago, ended up disabled, walking with sticks. But guess what? I learnt my lessons, the ones my babies taught me:
  • Live life, it's not optional, it's obligatory.
  • There's too much pain in the world so we must ferret out joy
  • One of those joys is being an aunty
  • Having access to young folks helps us to live a full life
  • We shouldn't be afraid to open up our hearts 
  • We must use our compassion
  • We must laugh harder, and 
  • Cry uninhibited with those who are hurting.
  • Don't go through life holding your breath, waiting to be saved, hoping for that metaphorical white knight. Be your own hero.
I turn 50 this year and I am not done being young.”

Life Life - it's not optional, it's obligatory

6 comments:

  1. dear Sarah,
    thank you for sharing your story. I love the lessons that you are sharing with us. Live life, exactly!
    kind regards from sLOVEnia,
    Klara

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  2. I love this post!
    Thank you so very much for sharing it!

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  3. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for sharing this wisdom. Too often, we put life on hold waiting for the moment when everything falls into place before we start living. But we fail to remember that life happens even in trauma and choosing to live will put us on the road to happiness.

    Wishing you many, many more years of youth.

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  4. I read this the other day on my iPad and forgot to come back and comment until now. Sorry! Sarahg sounds like one heck of a woman!

    Dear Sarahg,
    You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. The many women that you've mentored over the years are so fortunate to have you. Thank you for helping to make Mali the woman she is today. I think she's pretty awesome too.

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  5. Thank you, Sarah (and Mali)! While I love reading bloggers at all stages of the infertility/loss journey, I especially appreciate the perspective of 50-somethings like myself ;) because there is so much in your words that I can relate to.

    I especially liked this line: "They were hard decisions. We knew they were the right ones for us."

    I am sorry you've had some health challenges in recent years, but I love your attitude! :) I just turned 55, and I'm not done being young yet either. ;)

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  6. Thank you for this post, Sarah. Wise, wise words. Your story touched me on many levels. Here's to living and being alive!

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