Updated: Mar 27, 2020
International Day of the Girl
I came across this post last week from @girlifeempowerment and it got me thinking about exactly what I would say to my younger self!
In reality, there are hundreds of things I would love to share with my younger self. If only to share a glimpse into the future and tell her just how great life is going to be. But if I had to whittle it down it would be:
1. You will face challenges bigger than you could imagine, but you will have the strength to combat them.
I suffered quite badly with depression and anxiety in my early 20s. It ruined friendships, relationships, threatened my career and changed my entire perspective. I’d never heard of it before and had days where I feared I would be checked into a mental institution- the scary looking ones that you see in horror movies. It took me months to figure it all out and open up to people about it, but as soon as I did it felt like it opened up a whole new world. New friendships that meant so much more than before and a respectful understanding of other people and just what they might be going through. The point is that there were times where I didn’t think I was going to be ‘me’ again. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I thought this was it. But from somewhere I found strength and built my life back up again. Looking back I can only feel proud of what I achieved and what I’ve been through. I just wished I could have seen that light a little bit sooner and been kinder and patient with myself.
2. Infertility is very real and it’s really hard, but it will make you kinder, more empathetic and it will identify your true comrades.
I know it sounds bizarre to say that infertility is ‘real’ but if you’ve read any of my earlier blog posts you’ll understand that I genuinely thought it was one of those things that didn’t really happen in real life. I’d never known anyone struggle with it, I come from a very ‘fertile family’ and I just always assumed it was the life plan and natural order of things. Now of course I realise how naive I was and how much I wished I understood everything earlier in life.
Infertility being hard was also something I wish I’d been forewarned about. I haven’t always wanted children. There was a significant part of my teens and early 20s where I had very nearly made the decision that it was something I definitely didn’t want. I could never imagine myself as a mother. It wasn’t until I met Tom and wanted to become a family and make him a father that I felt super strong maternal urges. Almost like it came from nowhere and the urges so strong it was like they were making up for lost time. I’ve often considered whether my body knew about my infertile issues and told my brain not to want them to avoid this disappointment! It’s funny that it’s taken a number of recent events where I have had to revisit those feelings of possibly never becoming a mother and the decision being taken completely out my hands. This has been the hardest thing I could have ever imagined.
It’s made me a kinder and more empathetic person. I have a tendency to hide what’s going on sometimes (don’t we all) just to get through the day. It’s made me more aware that I might not be the only one dealing with some shit. We’ve all got demons and they’re all relative. I hope I’ve been more conscious about that with people around me and tried to talk or ask them how they’re doing.
Finally, identifying true friendships is something I’ve struggled with a lot of my life. Going through what we are going through has made me realise those people that are prepared to see you through the tough times are really the ones worth spending time with. So many people have avoided us, the issues we face or don’t know what to say so badly that they don’t say anything at all and it leaves you in a really lonely place. Funny how life turns out sometimes!
3. It’s perfectly fine not to be fine and when you open up, talk to people and share your experiences with others, you will see just how common it is.
Number 3 is really born out of numbers 1 and 2. When it comes down to it, we’re all each other have. Take away material possessions, successful careers or ambitions and all you are left with is each other and the memories you’ve made together. Whether that’s a life long friendship, a passionate marriage or a fleeting conversation with someone you just met at the pub. That’s what really matters and that’s what can change your mood, outlook and your life.
I want everyone to talk more openly about issues that they face. How they’re feeling if it’s a bit shit. Telling someone you love them just because you do and generally not holding back on anything that makes you happy. It’s the main reason I started my blog and it’s opened up so many conversations with amazing people. It’s all I could have hoped for.
Talk to each other- you’ll see just how common and valid your feelings are.
As an aside, an update on my infertility journey:
I have an HSG booked on 23rd October (provisionally dependent on my cycle) and hope this will give a definitive answer on whether we can start IVF or have to wait for surgery first. Read more about this here.