OK, I have to warn you. You are about to receive a big dose of smug. This weekend I had the perfect Sunday. That’s right. My life is bloody perfect.
It’s not of course. But I had a moment of realisation on Sunday afternoon that I was living the life I had once dreamed of.
First of all, let me tell you about this perfect Sunday. For starters, we woke up to snow. Big, thick, deep snow. An inviting blanket of white just waiting to be dived in to and rolled up into a snowman (or snowduck, as was the animal of choice in our garden). Excitement was at fever pitch and the kids were out in it before breakfast – our neighbours love us. We had nowhere to be, nothing to rush for. Just a whole day of fun in the snow, followed by watching films snuggled under blankets. It was as I stood in the kitchen at the end of the day making Sunday dinner, glass of wine in my hand, that it hit me. I was living the kind of day I had once longed for so much and, at that point in my life, honestly believed I would never see.
It isn’t often I think back to the horrible journey we went through to get our girls but I had been out with friends the night before and our conversation had turned to the topic of trying for a family. We reflected on our own stories and those of so many people we know who had been through so much to finally have the family they had dreamed of. So it was in my mind for the first time in a long time.
Turn back 11 years. I was pregnant on my 30th birthday and so, so excited about what lay ahead. One week later, at 11 and a half weeks pregnant I was told that the pregnancy was lost. A missed miscarriage. I was crushed. I won’t go in to the detail of that time, which is one of the saddest of my life, but what kept me going was knowing that I just wanted to be pregnant again. And then I was, and then it happened again. And again. We had tests. I was prodded and poked and scanned and checked. And it all revealed nothing. No reason. No answer. The health professionals promised me that this was a good thing. If there was no reason it had happened it meant there was no reason I wouldn’t carry a pregnancy through to birth. This, of course, gave me no confidence whatsoever. I was desperate for answers. There were none. I would torture myself imagining my future life, my beautiful children, the fun we would have, and be so sure that this was a life that was lost to me.
And then, in 2009, we took the brave step of giving it one more try. I was convinced it was the last time I would put myself through it. And, this time, we got through to 12 weeks, and then to 20 and then there she was. My baby girl. My dream had come true. In that moment I couldn’t have been more grateful.
Fast-forward 8 years and we are, as every family is, juggling and squabbling and cuddling and bickering and teasing and laughing and crying and shouting and, well, living. It had been a long time since I had felt that gratitude. That I had realised I was living the life I had dreamed of. But on Sunday, looking at my two girls snuggled on the sofa, it hit me straight between the eyes. I have spent a lot of time this year feeling sad and angry and scared and then excited and hopeful and scared. We so often leap from being wrapped up in the moment to thinking ahead. To looking at what we hope for next, what we want to achieve. It is so rare to look back and think about what we once wanted, and to realise we have it. I cherished that moment of gratitude in the kitchen. And while I strive towards building my new life, it’s a great reminder for me to look back from time to time and recognise how far I’ve come.