It came back. Only momentarily, as I’m well aware of the futility of spending time thinking about things I can’t control or that are far in the future. But the baby bug made a brief return appearance.
There’s an explanation for this.
I’ve been researching a newspaper feature about infertility and how it impacts friendships between women and have spent the last week speaking to women about this (by the way, if you’ve struggled with infertility or are a mother who has friends with infertility problems and would like to talk about challenges around friendships, anonymously or otherwise, please do get in touch. I’m still looking for interviewees and have until Jan 30th).
I also had a long chat about the topic with a counsellor who works with infertile women and couples and it really moved me. It moved me because I have friends who’ve struggled with this – attending christenings, congratulating other women on their pregnancies, seeing prams or baby bumps around every corner as they battle infertility or recover from miscarriages – and I don’t think I ever really understood how hard all that must be. But talking to someone who works with infertile women day in, day out, really brought it home.
I guess that conversation also moved me because it left me pondering how I’d cope in a similar situation. Would I be willing to subject my body and my emotions to numerous rounds of infertility treatment if I was ever in a position to have children but discovered I couldn’t conceive naturally? I don’t like taking paracetamol and I use chemical-free shampoo so I’m not sure how I’d feel about injecting myself with fertility drugs. And how would I cope with the disappointments, heartaches and stress that seem to come with the territory?
Of course, I don’t need to answer those questions right now, or even ask them, for that matter. I can’t see into the future and I’m a long way off any of this. But at the end of my chat with the counsellor, I confess I shed a tear for what my friends and so many other women have gone through and perhaps out of fear that I may end up going through the same.
The baby bug also returned momentarily because I watched Unrelated, a film by Joanna Hogg about a woman coming to terms with the things she may never have. I won’t give any more of the story line away in case you haven’t seen it and would like to, although I guess you’ll have a rough idea by now. The film is incredibly subtle and I expected to be more moved as I watched it. But it had a delayed effect. As I switched off the lights in my beautiful, silent flat and took myself off to bed, a question went through my mind: “Will it always be this way?”
But that’s enough melancholy for one blog post. And I’m pleased to say I managed not to dwell on the baby bug. I brought myself back to the present moment the following morning with a ten minute-long gratitude session – on my knees, by my bed, saying thank you for everything I have in my life today: my home, my work, my bicycle, the sun, the rain, my family and friends, my freedom and a holiday I’m about to take. I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
As an addendum, and because I’m going away next week, a brief note on geographicals.
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘doing a geographical’? It describes a tendency to hop from one place to another – from city to city, country to country, or continent to continent, or from one job or friendship group to another – in search of excitement, fulfillment or peace or out of a sense of chronic dissatisfaction, as I wrote about in a previous post.
I was an expert at doing geographicals when I was younger. After a year living in Spain when I was 21, I decided England was the most boring place on earth and I had to escape. After university, I bought a one-way ticket to Australia, imagining I’d never come back. I’d decided the Australian lifestyle would be perfect for me – outdoors, beach, sun etc. And maybe it would have been, but I was too young and restless to stick around. There had to be something more. I moved on to New Zealand, Fiji, the States, and then to Mexico, Brazil, and finally, 10 years after I’d left, back home to the UK.
I congratulate myself for recovering from my compulsion to do geographicals – I’ve lived in London for more than nine years and haven’t planned to leave yet. But I can still fall into the trap of thinking that happiness, fulfillment, excitement or peace is out there – in the Himalayas or the Andes or on the beaches of Mexico or Brazil. Now, I love a good holiday and I really cherish my adventurous spirit, but I’m finally realising that I take myself with me wherever I go – so if I don’t have peace or happiness inside, I’m not suddenly going to discover it sitting cross-legged in India (although the break might be good for me!).
This is revelant because I’m off on a week’s holiday – a rare event. For once, I’m leaving work and emails behind, even if it’s only for seven days. But I’m writing this to remind myself that I take myself with me whenever I go away and that peace, contentment and satisfaction are found on the inside.
And I can help create that sense of peace every morning – through gratitude, acceptance and living for today.