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Different Lives

A male friend’s wife recently left him. He is struggling – struggling so much lately that I make sure I touch base with in on Twitter daily to make sure he’s OK. Some nights I’ve been worried he wouldn’t make it through the darkness. I’ve found I’m pretty good at telling him that sometimes life is shit, but you get through it and one day you will smile again once in a while. Some days he copes better than others, and I’m always especially worried on weekends when there is a lot of time alone to fill.

Yesterday I was thinking of all my various lives, both those I’ve lived and those I never lived, and realised that is what he was experiencing: the life he had set out for himself and was working towards suddenly didn’t exist. Part of how he defined himself was as a husband and – BAM – suddenly that was gone. Not by his choice and apparently not with any warning.

Then I realised I was so worried about him because I’ve been experiencing that lately. I’ve been in IVF/ ART/ ovum donation ‘family building’ mode for so long, and when that suddenly stopped I didn’t know how to cope. It has been a huge part of who I am, and I wasn’t ready to let go. But my husband wasn’t prepared to keep going down that track so – BAM – suddenly my life is ‘parenting after infertility’ and I somehow didn’t see it coming.

I sometimes think of my next child, the one who won’t ever happen. If she was a girl, we’ve had a name picked out for her since 29 June 2006. She has been named and in my head that long; Sparky’s name was decided that same night – and he exists outside my head.

So this has been a big thing for me, even though before that life ended I wasn’t sure how I felt about going on with it. I yearn so much for another child – the smells, the pain, the joy, the little stranger in my arms.

A part of me sometimes thinks I feel worse about this now because now I know what it is like to have a living child – I know what it is to have that life I am diverging from – the life of a new mum. But I know this isn’t true. And I don’t compare myself to others; I only compare myself to me. My pain now feels more real than most past pain I have felt just because I’m experiencing it now. I know this is nothing like what I felt when Blobby died, but it is hard to remember what it felt like when I started this journey and a cycle didn’t work.

So here is to the new life. To mine, parenting a gorgeous son and with sweet memories of the other children who won’t be. And to my friend, the now single man building a new life. We need to make the most of these new lives.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. a
    14/02/2013 at 9:49 am

    It’s interesting which life events make us imagine how our parallel lives would have gone. We make decisions and experience changes daily, but there are only a few things that make us re-evaluate everything. And once you get into that rut (the what-if one), it’s hard to pull yourself back out of it.

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I hope he finds his way through to some sort of new start. I know you will roll with the changes, because you’ve been pretty resilient thus far. 🙂

  2. 14/02/2013 at 4:39 pm

    NIcely written (visiting from Mel’s blog). Your last paragraph showed me that you will be okay. You’re looking towards your new life, and remembering with love what won’t be. I think that is important – the “remembering with love” (sweet memories as you put it) rather than “remembering with pain.” And your new life will have all sorts of things in it you can’t possibly imagine. As will your friend’s. You just have to believe it.

  3. jen
    14/02/2013 at 4:57 pm


  4. Mel
    15/02/2013 at 3:31 am

    Gorgeous post. I love the way you phrased the idea of having these two children who came into being via thoughts when you named them, and how one exists outside your head and one exists inside. Sending good thoughts for the new journey.

  5. Rebecca
    16/02/2013 at 6:15 am

    Beautiful heartfelt post, sending love & thoughts your way and hope that you find strength and joy in this new life ((hugs))

  6. 20/02/2013 at 4:54 am

    I love this post. Not because you’ve stopped thinking about the dream you’ve had for so long, but because how you phrased working towards what you know to be true about your new life. It’s a neat connection to what your friend is going through.

    My heart is aching for you as you process these feelings and decisions about what this looks like for you and your family going forward. You are a strong gal and your new reality will be the one that is best for you.

    Hugs 🙂

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