My 100,000 Miles to Geriatric Mummahood

Last week, my car’s mileage reached 100,000 miles & I realised that I’ve actually driven all of them, but three. I bought my car brand new & I loved it then & still do now. I also realised that this milestone (& my car itself) represents my long journey to motherhood rather well. I bought my trusty Suzuki Swift eleven years ago, I was 28, almost 29. I was newly married to my first husband. If truth be told, we’d never really spoken about having children; it wasn’t on my agenda during my 20s: I was busy teaching other people’s children & I was more than happy with that arrangement. That was until one month in 2008 I missed my period. I was terrified, but part of me was excited at the thought of being a Mumma. I duly bought a pregnancy test (the first of many over the years) & waited what seemed like forever, for just one pesky line to appear. It was negative & I felt sad. It was at that precise moment, whilst sat sobbing on the loo; that I knew I wanted & thought I was ready for a baby, but didn’t realise I’d have to wait ten more years: get diagnosed with PCOS, go through a divorce, marry my soulmate, lose over three stone in weight & suffer a fair bit of heartbreak in between before I got to hold my bundle of joy.

I met Tim back in 2003 & I was instantly attracted to him. There was something about him that I was drawn to: he was (& still is) fun, techie(!), driven, successful & passionate in his career. He always inspired me with so many things & we talked for hours & continue to now – providing we can both stay awake long enough (ahh, the joys of late parenthood hey!) But the time we met was not the right one. We had our own partners & families & so I put it out of my mind that we would ever be together. To cut a very long story short; after a lot of courage to vocalise our thoughts we discovered that neither of us were happy in our current lives. We met up to talk about things, knew we were attracted to each other & wanted to be together & the rest, as they say, is history. I’m secretly hoping that Tim wanted to be with me all along too, but I’ll never know for certain! We’ve been together ever since. Who would have thought that a chance meeting all those years ago would lead to this? Our paths would never have crossed & I think it proves that if you’re meant to be with someone, then the universe has a way of making things happen & at exactly the right time. It hasn’t all been straightforward by any means, but we firmly believe that you shouldn’t stay in a situation that makes you unhappy. Yes, it’s selfish, but life is painfully too short. My favourite film quote (from ‘Steel Magnolias’) is, “I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special” & it’s so true. We had no idea how our relationship would go; whether we could even live together, but we were prepared to take the chance & I don’t regret a single day. Tim might though?!

Tim knew from the beginning of our relationship that I wanted a child. He already had two of his own, so this was a big thing for both of us in different ways. I knew my fertility was dwindling so we tried quite soon into our relationship & during 2014 – the year we got married, we thought our prayers had been answered. I had been having a lot of pain in my side for a few days & after a lot of paracetamol not having any effect & not being able to sleep for a couple of nights because of the agony, we went to A&E. It was like something out of a film. They did all my stats & then asked for a urine sample. I waited ages in a cubicle worrying what they might find, then a Doctor came in to tell me that I was ‘strongly’ pregnant & the pain could just be muscular as my body adapted. I was in absolute shock & over the moon all at the same time, but unfortunately, I was already bleeding heavily & miscarried a couple of days later. I was distraught, although had a little hope that we might conceive again soon as the Doctor said I was at my most fertile. We were pregnant within the next month & ecstatic, but terrified. I bled again, so we went to a private clinic for a scan. The sonographer said everything looked fine & it was a healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately a week later I miscarried; literally at the hospital during my first scan. The sonographer couldn’t find the foetus because of all the blood. Looking back, I don’t know how I got through this dark time if truth be told. My heart was literally broken into a million pieces, I could feel it. Then, in 2016 I lost my wonderful Mum & couldn’t cope with anything in that whole year. I had no focus, no goals, I was just trying to get through one day at a time. It wasn’t until 2017, when I’d pretty much given up all hope that I’d ever be a Mumma, that Tim suggested one rainy October morning that he thought I should take a pregnancy test. We had just received a letter from the fertility clinic & ready to try other alternatives, again. I remember we sat on the landing together, waiting for the result. After a few minutes, the annoyingly familiar single control line appeared, a few more minutes & I gingerly looked again. Nothing. I was absolutely distraught, as I felt this was our last chance. I was just about to throw it in the bin when I glanced again, just to be sure. When I did, I saw the faintest of lines in the test window! Could this actually be real? I immediately showed Tim & he thought there was something there too. We quickly went to the supermarket to get some digital tests & there it was on the LCD screen: I was 2-3 weeks pregnant. But this was just the start of my journey. Despite my terror in the early days & my almost PTSD terror at each scan appointment, I had a fairly straight forward pregnancy. This changed towards the end as my darling boy was measuring quite large (well Tim is 6’1”!) & they had to keep an extra eye on me. Then I developed pre-eclampsia, so couldn’t have the water birth I so dearly wanted. I also have a negative blood group & Benjamin’s is positive, so had to have injections & more obs. But, in the grand scheme of things all went well. I think I held things together, until the ‘final push’ when I lost it a bit. I remember thinking afterwards, “I’ve done it, I’ve actually done it, but now what do I do?!” I still have these thoughts now! Every stage of having a baby brings its own magic & wonder & I genuinely love it. I look forward to Benjamin’s next milestone, I cherish it. I do get sad sometimes that I won’t be having any more babies, but I honestly don’t think my body could do it again. And Tim keeps telling me that he is only meant to have three children in this lifetime! So I count my blessings daily: my very special little boy that I was never sure I could have.

So, going back to my blog title, I guess my little car has been a constant companion; through my marriages, house move: it literally drove me out of my old life & into my new one, my miscarriages, many road trips, a few different jobs, lots of trips with friends & family (some of whom are sadly no longer with us), throughout my pregnancy, transporting Benjamin, through my maternity leave & into a completely new career. And now here I am, a nearly forty year old Mumma of a 1 year old, still with the same car! I don’t think I could have ever believed or even imagined all that would happen in the decade to come; as I drove off the forecourt on that June Saturday morning back in 2008. We spend such a lot of time in our cars, that they become part of us. I have so many happy thoughts & memories that come flooding back to me whilst driving. It’s my bubble, my safe-haven, my thinking space & I’m not ready to part with it just yet, unless of course I’m offered a Mercedes SLK & then I might reconsider?..

NB. This has been a difficult post to write, I’ve not talked about this as openly as I have now & I apologise if there’s too much information. I hope that by writing about my experiences, it may help someone in some way; offering hope to never give up on your dreams; they just might take a little longer than you’d originally planned.

Thank you if you’re still reading!

The milestone…

My boys 💙

Letters to my baby…

Today I have finally finished writing all of Jamin’s 12 letters ☺️ This has been such an emotional experience: from the moment Tim gave this book to (a newly pregnant) me during Christmas 2017, to when I was thinking about what I wanted to write in each of his letters, right up till now, when I feel a bit sad that it’s all over.

I guess losing a parent & some dear friends has made me even more acutely aware of my own mortality; so writing my thoughts, hopes & dreams for my own (now not so) tiny baby seemed so surreal & really quite daunting. I just hope that we will bring him up well enough so he can cope with anything that life throws at him & also give him lots of happy, precious memories to cherish & take comfort in when we can no longer be with him: ultimately knowing that he was long waited & prayed for & loved more than he’ll ever know 💙☺️

Now I’ve just got to remember where I put it, ready for his 16th birthday! 🤔

Such a thought-provoking book…

The Christmas Tree is up…so I should really be feeling festive now, right?

Usually I would have had our tree up for a few days by now, but this year I’ve been putting it off. I wasn’t sure why. Yes, I’ve got lots of things going on at the moment that I wish I didn’t, but with it being Benjamin’s first Christmas, I thought I might be a little more keen to ‘get into the spirit.’ This morning I finally bit the bullet & asked Tim to get the decs down from the loft. I make it sound like this is a straightforward, simple process, but every year it turns into an epic operation & we usually end up having an argument. This year was no exception. Long story, but basically we need a proper loft ladder. Any way, Tim went to work in a mood with me & I frantically began dusting, Dysoning & putting the tree together: not an easy task when you have a wriggly six-month-old monkey to entertain, but I did it, eventually. It made previous years seem like a walk in the park! I’d made a conscious decision that I was not going to use the same vintage theme as I have in the previous few years. I had loved finding the decorations of my childhood when sorting through my parents’ house a couple of years ago. They had served as a wonderful reminiscence of Christmases gone by; of decorating the 70s tinsel tree from Woollies (then real ones later on; when I managed to convince Dad that he’d well & truly got his money’s worth from the 20 year old artificial one, which had definitely seen better days), of watching Dad meticulously pin the crepe paper streamers to the beams in the lounge, & also remembering my wonderful Mum, who mysteriously always kept out of the way whilst we decorated, but helpfully told me if I’d neglected to decorate a particular area of the tree, just after I thought I’d finished. It used to make me so mad at the time, but I’d give anything to hear her say, “Lucy, you’ve missed a bit!” these days. I needed these memories after Mum passed away. I still do, but I also want to create new ones for Benjamin. So this year I went ‘modern traditional’ (if that’s even a thing?!) with red & gold ornaments with warm clear lights. We’d bought some little red jingle bells yesterday just to mix things up a bit & I thought I’d be ready to cheerfully decorate with my son quietly watching on. Unfortunately, I’d stupidly forgotten that to get to my newer baubles, I’d have to wade through the old ones first; along with the years of handwritten cards that I’d carefully kept from Mum & those from my best friend Claire, who also tragically passed away five years ago. Everything came flooding back & I guess with my heightened hormones, combined with seeing my beautiful baby on his play mat; whom I never thought I would have, made me crack. Then, not wanting to feel left out, my own personal little ‘emotional barometer’ felt he should join the party as well. So there we were, sat on the floor of our lounge surrounded by boxes, both sobbing: although he had no concept of why, except that his Mumma seemed totes emosh, so perhaps he ought to be too. And then I realised that Christmas, well specifically when I put up our tree, is the only time when I deliberately think about the year gone by, the good & the bad, what we’ve all achieved & wishes for the following year. Then this made me also realise that Tim was my Christmas Wish for a couple of years & Benjamin was another Christmas Wish for quite a few years: soon after Tim & I began our relationship.

So I guess, right there, in that moment of my complete sadness, it made me see what a truly powerful time this part of year actually is & that wonderful miracles really do happen. So yes, I guess after a very emotional day, I do feel a little more festive now!

I really hope that The Universe hears all of your Christmas Wishes this year & that you have a magical time with your family & friends. Merry Christmas everyone xx

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