Thursday, 18 April 2013

Stepping Stones

Throughout my life I have questioned why I am here. What is my purpose in life? What is my legacy to the world? Why have certain things happened and where do those things lead me? These are questions that have kept me busy and some might say I think about it a bit too much.  I'm long enough in the sensitive tooth these days to not beat myself up too much about this and enjoy the beauty of the stepping stones that have led me to this point. Even the stones that were slippery and difficult to walk along and I wouldn't choose to walk along again in a hurry. As we prepare to welcome our new son into our lives I find myself reflecting on the journey I have taken to get here.

I'm not a particularly religious person. In fact I don't do organised religion at all these days although I would love to go back to university one day and study theology. I am deeply spiritual though and respectful of, and interested in, all belief systems. My Reiki practice allows me to step inside myself and experience some of the unseen beauty that lies within and around us and it helps fulfil my need for spiritual attachment and fulfilment. I love experiencing connections and coincidences and seeing how they influence and progress my life. Many years ago I read a book called The Celestine Prophecy and it influenced me greatly and brought some clarity, for me, to some of the events I have experienced.

Losing my singing voice to nodules many years ago and my expectations of parenthood to infertility
have made me question everything about the purpose of my life. Singing had kept me grounded and spiritually happy for many years. I used to have a pretty fab singing voice and sang all the time, everywhere I was. Losing my dreams of singing as a career knocked a hole in my world. I still warble in the car but my voice is very different these days and couldn't cope with singing publicly.  Losing the ability to bear children tore my world apart. Both left me with questions to be answered; loss to be endured and a journey to undertake. Neither have been the end of the world though and the loss of both has brought me great rewards. But I needed to understand why these (and other) things have happened. 

I have never sought fame and fortune but I have a great need to know why I am here. I'm not entirely sure I've worked that out yet but I do feel that the universe works in very mysterious ways and I'm fascinated in the way my life has shaped itself and the little ironies along the way.

Many years ago I made a statement to a friend which has come back to haunt me (in a funny way): 

"I don't want to be a young mum like my mum was 

but I don't want to be in my 40s with children hanging off my ankles." 

Well I was 42 when we adopted Katie and I will literally have just turned 45 when we bring Pip home. At this I raise my eyes upwards and mutter "Very funny". Its almost as if the universe gave me exactly what I said I didn't want and made me realise that actually it was OK. It's better than OK.

I'm a very young (nearly) 45 year old and, in many ways, I became a parent at the right time emotionally and psychologically for me.  I am quite young in myself and I do yoga to help me stay supple although a year of anaemia last year left me unable to exercise as much as I had been. The result of this has been a stiffening some of my joints and some issues requiring physio. I'm sorting that out now thankfully and will be ship shape again on no time (as opposed to the barrel shape I've become through lack of yoga and too much food!). I don't do the "D" word but there is some major healthy eating going on in my life at the moment as I prepare my body for the fun ahead. I joke that I am losing my baby weight!

I like to do what I call a 10 Year Review. It's when I look back and see all the connections and events that have led me to the point I'm at now. Over the years that review has kept me focused and brought a mental strength that has supported me through the difficult days of miscarriages and infertility.  Personally I do believe there is a plan involved somewhere. I think I have many choices but I do feel certain events were preordained to happen and my learning in life is how I react to those events and where that learning takes me next.  The day I met Katie my journey to become a parent became crystal clear and I knew it had all led to her. There was no doubt. Everything I had experienced had prepared me to meet her and be her mother.

Something I find particularly fascinating is that both my children have birth names of very close family members who have passed on. I see that as more than just a coincidence and it has helped guide me and trust that my children were meant to come to us.  As soon as I knew Pip's birth name I knew beyond any doubt that he was meant to be in our family.  I feel a sense of peace and calm (amidst the chaos of preparation that is currently our house) that this is all meant to be.

That does leave me with one very unanswered question though. 

If this was meant to be for me, what about my children's birth parents? What was meant to be for them?  I can't answer that. I am unable to live their lives and crawl inside their shoes and understand all the events that have shaped them. I can only make sense of my own existence but I can hope that, for them, their journey brings some clarity and purpose and that these events will eventually push them forward positively and help them build happier lives.  I wish for them the support that I found in my husband and friends. Support that helped me pull out of some darker places and gave me the strength to rebuild my life.  In some ways I wish I could share with them some of the feelings that I had 20 years ago and show them that life is fluid and constantly changing but you have to see the opportunities and connections and make use of them and be willing to make changes that seem impossible to start with but can become easier with time.

We are all on stepping stones, trying to find our way through our lives. What helps you through yours? 

Just edited to add that as I hit "publish" on this post this song came on the radio and it made me have a little smile.......Cool and the Gang: Moving Straight Ahead....


  1. This is a beautifully written post!

    The more I read of your blog (since I met you oh so briefly at last year's BritMums) the more I realise how much we have in common and why I love returning to your blog so often!

    I too practise Reiki (been attuned to Usui Level 2 and Celtic Reiki Master Level - because I just LOVE the trees!!) Tim does too, but we haven't practised it in such a long time... no wonder we are so ungrounded! I love the fact you go to a Reiki group, it sounds wonderful :)

    Also, I am deeply spiritual but don't do organised religion (though have quite a soft spot for it, having spent 3 months in Germany working with the Salvation Army as part of my year abroad). Theology fascinates me and I think that whatever path you choose, that is right for you. I find the saddest thing is when people are told that there is "one true religion" or "one right path" because to me that limits what is limitless (God and life itself).

    And so, with this background, I spent a long, long time thinking about what I'm here for too. I had a lot of experience with childcare before meeting Tim and knew I wanted a family. But when treatments for my Endo made me so very ill we discussed never having children. And it broke my heart. So I am so very grateful that we had Oscar, but it has been far from easy. I questioned why I would be fertile but find pregnancy so very hard on my body. I questioned whether we were meant to adopt or not. I questioned a lot of things. But eventually I came to realise that this is all perfect for me, it like you say - we tread the paths we are meant to tread but only in retrospect can we see this sometimes.

    I feel very strongly now that I was meant to have Oscar and suffer from HG so I could use my writing skills and first-hand experience to help support other women and effect change in the way they are treated. And I feel very strongly that we were led to have "just the one" so that I would have time to focus on other things (by that I mean now we have decided to have just Oscar and reassess when he is older - say around 10 - we can move forward in our life rather than living in a kind of limbo). I never thought that I would feel this, but suddenly I do.

    I am only 29 (next week) so we have the time to wait another 10 years to reassess whether adding to our family through adoption or opening our home to a child in need of fostering is right for us. It gives us time to heal from all we've been through, and to grow in ways we need to before we are ready to make that decision. It is a choice we have made... but spurred on by things that I too believe were predestined to be!

    Sorry for the extremely long comment... it's just your post made me think a lot about this!

  2. I was going to marry a wealthy man, have 6 children in my 20s, be a SAHM and make fabulous dinner parties. In actual fact I brought home my one daughter (after 4 years of IVF) at the age of just 46 and am a single mother. And it's fine. They say that man makes plans and God laughs.

    As for the meaning of my life - it is in the living I have done and the living my children and their children will do. Every encounter I've had (and they will have) has added to the experience of mankind. I am part of a very big picture and have affected so much and so many - even with a 'hello' and a smile, for example.

    What's it all for? I dunno. That one I haven't figured out yet.