Last weekend the Boy Wonder and me packed our rucksacks and enough bread rolls and bacon to feed an entire festival, and headed off to Wales for Green Man festival. We haven’t been to one all year and I’d guess we’d normally go to at least two (last year we went to four, that was plenty!). We’ve also both been so busy that a bit of husband-and-wife time was in order, before all the madness of the W overtakes us all (four weeks to go and still a silly amount to do – HELP ME BETH). Apart from the rain (well we were in a Welsh valley), it was nice just to wander round drinking fine ale, eating too many churros and listening to bands we knew and those we’d never heard of.
Green Man is quite small, with a very laidback atmosphere so it’s the perfect place to take kids. We spent many hours watching children chase bubbles and each other, with sticky, muddy little hands and faces. And I think that’s when the penny might have dropped – I thought I’d come to terms with not having children a long time ago but that was before I married the most wonderful man. We’re still very much in newlywed mode and as having a family has never been on the cards – we both knew that, right from the start – we’ve never really discussed it, what’s the point? But that weekend, as well as being lots of fun and we were very happy to have each other to ourselves for four days, was also the first time I’ve felt the really sharp pain of never having my own child. There were split seconds where Andy and I were sat on the grass and I felt like we’d lost something, the feeling you get when you know you haven’t got your wallet or something (not comparable obviously, but you know what I mean). Silly thing is though, how can you lose or be missing something you never had, and were never even likely to have? I know how it is, I accept that me having a baby would be a terrible idea, even if it were possible at all (probably unlikely, I reckon I have a period about every four months, if I’m lucky, at the moment – sorry men reading this). But it doesn’t mean I can’t mourn it occasionally, that baby of my husband’s that I’ll never be able to give him. I know Ellie felt the same too sometimes.
Anyone in my situation has to focus their attention really hard on the short-term; you’re so busy just trying to get to your next scan, through chemo, hoping your brain doesn’t pop again, watching out for every little niggle wondering if this is the start of “it”. Trying to just stay alive and sane and live as normally as you can under the circumstances. But I forget, and sometimes I think a lot of others do too, that ‘normal’ would really be being able to make your own decisions about your life. If I didn’t have cancer, perhaps I’d be sitting here thinking “a baby? No thanks.” But I don’t have that choice any more. Perhaps maybe a part of it is that the very things that were designed for me to create and sustain a baby (BRCA1 has a link to ovarian cancer too) are the things that are trying to kill me apparently so it feels doubly cruel.
Anyway who knows? Am sure it will pass. Am starting to get a bit nervous about the wedding, the thought of people staring at us (please don’t stare!) is odd and slightly discomforting at the moment but am sure once the final plans are made and I’m in that dress, that’ll disappear. I’ve been re-reading Ellie’s blog the last couple of days and it’s really made me miss her. So many of the things she talks about are familiar, the drugs, the veins, the portacaths and blood clots, the blood transfusions. But I hear and see glimpses of other things too, undertones of where she was at that only someone who has been in the same place will ever hear and recognise. As she was gearing up to her own wedding and the start of her married life, what else was she thinking? I know how much in love she and Tom were, because Andy and I are the same. Did she too have pangs of real sadness about babies? I know that we are/were both incredibly proud of our relationships and grateful, every single day, to be in love wih our boys, and they would always come first. Babies would have been a bonus, our men are/were enough. I think I know what she’d be thinking now too – “get the shoes on love, they make everything better” and she was right. I’ve got them out of the box a few times this week and whilst I might not have a baby, I’ll always have these beautiful shoes and a husband I am nuts about.