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.