Bye bye 30’s

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday.  I remember when I was young and I thought 40 was like really old! Now I’m nearly there I’m not sure whether I feel old or not.  I don’t think I have felt a particular age since I was about 27.  That was a good age.  Maybe because it was the last time I was me. Before I was a wife, before I became a mother. 
I’ve had lots of good years though. Some not so good, some wasted, some altogether unmemorable. But lots of good ones definitely.  My 39th year was going to be the best year! I was going to embrace turning 40 by running at it with all the gusto of the 27 year old me.  I decided that I was going to make my 39th year count and would make sure that I was fabulous at 40. I would take chances, travel, be spontaneous.  I would make a list of things to do before I turned 40 and tick them off one by one. Time with friends.  Making memories with family. Dates with my husband! It was going to be great. 

It started great.  It started with a weekend trip with my best friend.  A trip that began as an idea for a UK overnight stay and a bit of retail therapy and ended up being 4 days in Rome! It was amazing! We had the most wonderful time seeing some amazing sights, chilling, drinking prossecco, eating rustic Italian food and truly immersing ourselves in that beautiful inspiring place.  Ah Rome! I loved Rome! 

That’s where the travel bug began – how many more beautiful cities were there to explore? I made a list – places to see with friends, places to take the children, romantic cities to visit with my husband.  

We booked a family holiday to the Canary Islands in April with my little family and my parents, where the kids frolicked in the pool and we kicked back in the sunshine.  In May I took my daughter to her first music concert at The O2, and spent a lovely weekend together, just her and me, in London. First class travel and a great hotel. It was wonderful. Then a week later I took her to see One Direction in Manchester and had another amazing girly weekend together (she’s a good kid, she deserved to be spoiled just this once!).  The Summer saw me and my best friend off to Tunisia, this time with the kids, for a week of relaxing in the sun, and when we returned to the UK my husband and I surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland Paris.  Halfway through the year, and oh my hadn’t it been a wonderful year so far. And although we still had half the year left and a whole host of things to experience, we had already booked the finale – 2 blissful weeks in The Maldives to celebrate my 40th birthday as a family. 

2 days after our return from Paris, we met with friends for a drink in the local wine bar. As we sat and talked I joked about how I’d had a dream that I had to cancel our Maldives trip because I was pregnant. Friends fought over who should take my place! Ha, it was funny.  And even though I’d missed my period, and I had felt unusually tired walking around Paris, I also knew that the only time my husband and I had made a ‘mistake’ I had quickly recitified it with a visit to my doctor for the morning after pill.  So that was not something to be concerned about was it.  

Next morning I was hit with an awful nausea – but I knew it wasn’t the prossecco.  I knew exactly what it was, but I told myself I was being paranoid. But I took a test anyway and my wonderful year ended as soon as that little blue line appeared.   I was 7 weeks pregnant! Christ! How had I missed that!  

If you’ve read any of my posts you will have a good idea about how I felt about it. My amazing year had been completely pissed all over because of one silly mistake.  I’d ruined everything.  Not just my plans, but I’d blown the promotion of a lifetime that I was on the brink of being offered. I fell into a deep despair and depression, and I guess I spent the best part of the next couple of months a walking basket case. I entered a darkness that I had not seen in a long time, and my old friend ‘Ant’ regained her previously held position of power. Nothing was in my control. And the more I realised how little control I had over my life, the more obsessed I became with death. I was going to die, the baby was going to die, my husband was going to die, and if none of that happened, one or both of my other children would die. Every TV programme that featured death was a sign. Every tragic Facebook post, a sign. Every solo magpie, a sign. I had sentenced myself to misery one way or another.

And here I am, on the eve of my 40th birthday! Today the refund from the canceled Maldives holiday was paid into my bank account, marking a definite end to this marvellous year. I don’t know if we will ever make it there again. But, in 6 weeks my baby girl is due to enter this world and become a part of my life.  A life that held such promise to be wonderful, measured by a wonderfully exciting year.  My 39th year – the best year of my life! And do you know, although there are times I mourn for the exciting adventures I was going to have, and times when I view the impending arrival with nonchalance and practicality, I have as many (if not more) moments when I wonder if maybe this baby is THE most wonderful  event of my 39th year? A year that promised to be the best year of my life may just still have been, but for a different, unexpected reason.  

And so I no longer see this as a mistake.  I think this might just be a miracle.

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11 thoughts on “Bye bye 30’s

  1. This blog doesn’t do justice to the real lows of this year, but by the same token there were some great moments that I’ve missed as I was writing too. One noteworthy cathartic weekend with old school friends that helped me turn a corner, and some of the recent wonderful gestures from some great friends too 😊

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  2. First — Happy Belated Birthday!

    Second — a baby in your 40th year might be just the thing to help you re-define what’s important in life. As someone who is counting down the last eleven months of my 40s, I’ve realized that each decade has brought things into new, cleaner focus. What was important to me at 20 is not important to me as I approach 50. I imagine the first time this little girl smiles at you your miracle will begin ….

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    • I do believe that John, although I try not to set myself up either way. Have had two very different experiences – post-natal depression with the first where I didn’t even want to hold her when she was born, to being completely smitten from the get-go with my 2nd. I think expectation is the root of all evil, so will just wait and see how this one pans out. Not long to wait. Thanks for the encouragement 😊

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      • I have a friend who suffered post-partum … it took her almost six months to want to hold her baby. My understanding is that post-partum is particularly horrible form of depression … I’m sorry that you had to deal with that. As if just having a newborn isn’t work enough … Here’s a wish that this time, the depression stays away.

        You’re right about expectations — they certainly lead to their share of disappointments — but, they can also lead to unexpected good surprises as well.

        When is your due date?

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      • It was one of those things – in some ways I’m glad I suffered (strange I know) because it gave me an appreciation of mental illness that I never had before. Of course I wish I could have learned what I learned in a book rather than the hard way! But made me more rounded nonetheless. On the other hand I think it also unlocked a door to depression that sadly has been with me on and off ever since. Unfortunately I don’t dare to dream very often because Ant is always there in the background waiting to say “I told you so”. I’ll kick her into touch one day! Perhaps this baby will help to exorcise her x

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      • I think your blog is a good start. For me, once I started writing about my various experiences with depression, anxiety, bipolar … once I set the words down, they lost a bit of their power over me. Writing about those dark moments helps me see patterns and connections to other things — things that help me hang on, pull my way back to a more normal state (of course, a bit of medication has been helpful too!) πŸ™‚ But, I do know what you mean about experiencing a severe depression gives you new understanding — and, I think you’re also right, that it does open the door.

        I think that blogging has helped me a lot — not only the writing, but in meeting people who share similar experiences. Everyone has had a few days of depression, over a breakup, or not getting a promotion — but, once you enter the realm of deep, crippling depression, you realize that those ‘other’ depressions were very different. It is tough to describe the difference to people without sounding like you’re playing the My Depression is Worse Than Your Depression Game. But, deep depression is something different. And, having a blog where I’ve shared my own struggles has introduced me to many others who know what that Dark Place is like. And while each of us has a different experience with it, we understand how crippling it can be. And, strange as it is, for me, knowing that there are others out there who have felt the same things, is comforting. Even if it’s a stranger thousands of miles away, knowing that we aren’t alone in these dark places makes it seem a bit less scary. For me, at least …

        I think it takes a lot of courage to admit to feeling things that are different from the standard Jumping For Joy expectations we have of pregnant women.

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      • Couldn’t have said it better myself. I don’t know about courage – I’ve not taken the step of actually publicising my blog (not ready for the people close to me to see the ‘real’ me). But it’s been truly therapeutic writing it down, and as you say it takes some of the power away. Left inside it can cause so much damage, and I mull it over and over and over. Once I write it down it’s almost like it has just gone. I’ve set the words free. I’ve always been a bit of a non-conformist too! I hate that some people feel that you shouldn’t say how you really feel because it isn’t palatable for others! They’re my feelings – why shouldn’t I be allowed to be honest about it! And when you are honest it’s amazing how many people breathe a sigh of relief that someone has finally said it and made them realise they are not alone. I love being a mum, and I am sure I will love being a mum this time too. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be days where I go nuts and wonder what the heck I am doing! Anyhow, it’s late here and I’m going to turn in. What time is it where you are?

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      • I don’t sleep much these days … for some reason i can’t seem to sleep more than about 4-5 hours at a time. So, usually I don’t go to bed until around 4am, then I take a 2 hour nap at some point.

        I used to love to sleep — when I was in my teens and early 20s, I could sleep twelve hours straight through.

        Part of it, I think, has to do with my mom. My partner and I live with her (she’s 91). My mom never gets sick during the day. Every emergency we’ve had has been at night. I’ve developed night terrors …. I’ve reached a place where I sleep because I have to, not because I want to. My psychiatrist assures me that insomnia and irregular sleep patterns are part of being a caregiver.

        I do my blog reading late at night …

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      • I can empathise with the insomnia at the moment, but for different reasons. It’s got to be tough taking care of your mum, you’re brain has probably learned to be on alert right at the time it should be shutting down for some rest. Sending a UK hug x

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