Since I turned 39 on Christmas Eve (what a cruel day to have a birthday, thanks Mum!) I have been in full-on reflection mode on the last decade of my life. Because, for me, my thirties was a tale of two halves — terribly tough, and yet also pretty incredible too.
When I turned 30 I had a big meltdown (ever the drama queen) and wasn’t happy about turning that age at all…I didn’t want a BIG birthday bash like everyone else was having and instead chose to have a quiet dinner out. Even though I was really happy with my life at the time; I was newly married to Dave and we were starting trying for a family, I felt sad and reluctant about leaving my twenties behind.
Turning 30 felt like the end of an era and I hate new beginnings. I’m a sentimental little poppet and tend to get a bit too emotional when big things happen.
Turning 40 at the end of this year, however, feels a bit different this time…i.e. it isn’t freaking me out in the same way. I think it’s because so many of my friends of this age are wonderful, happy, high achievers and inspirational. Maybe it’s also because I’m a bit more in tune with my own happiness now — plus I have the things around me that I’ve always wanted.
When we started trying for a baby after our wedding I thought I’d pop one out fairly quickly and then maybe another one soon after, and perhaps a third (maybe). I couldn’t wait to become a Mother and was incredibly excited about the life that lay ahead. Even though I was in a good Human Resources Management job (with plenty of potential) I had been broody for some time. I was always one of those people who had a ‘life plan’ — i.e. I had the next 20 years mapped out, and having children was absolutely a main part of that.
About 9 months into trying (I was about 31 now) we got pregnant and we were absolutely over the moon. I remember sitting on the bed crying tears of joy that it was now happening. Dave and I were a little bit nervous, but SO delighted at the future that lay ahead. However, soon after, I had a miscarriage on holiday, at 6 weeks.
The miscarriage literally floored me. I mean, this wasn’t meant to happen. I was gutted — but I tried to pick myself up and carry on. I guess I hoped that we’d be pregnant again soon and prayed that the next time wouldn’t have the same outcome.
Except that I never got pregnant naturally again.
When we were going for our third round of IVF (after 3 years of tests, Drs appointments, counselling sessions, treatments etc) I remember vividly wondering whether this was going to be ‘it’. That if IVF wasn’t successful (again) that we might now be going forward as a couple without children.
Dave and I weren’t at a great point in our relationship right then either. We were still very much together but it was a testing few years. I blame myself a lot because I felt so down during that time and the days felt dark. I wish I could have been breezier about it all and just ‘gone with the flow’ to see ‘what would happen’…but I’m not like that as a person. AT ALL. Plus, in truth, I felt like the only woman going through it. It ate away at me.
You’d therefore think that getting pregnant with twins on our third round of IVF was the end to a perfect book….she got pregnant with twins and they lived happily, ever after. And I guess my dreams did come true! A boy and a girl — in one go! HURRAH!
But, (like anything like that) it soon wears off — especially when you’ve had 2 hours sleep a day for months on end and you’ve never worked so hard in your life changing nappies, feeding babies and generally trying to function! Life got tough again but in a totally different way!
The last half of my thirties have been beyond amazing. Our twins are growing into the most gorgeous, happy, clever, inquisitive and witty children — and I absolutely adore them. I am SO proud of them. They’re my best little buddies and they bring me the most joy I have ever felt in my life. They’ll be 6-years-old this September 2018 and even though I miss them being so little and cute, every stage brings with it new fun. Raising them feels truly amazing.
I also feel so close to Dave nowadays. We’ve got a social life back again and our relationship is once again strong *punches fist in the air*. Even though we’re busy and tired — like everyone these days is — it feels as though we’re on the same page again…and we love hanging out together. We’ve got our sense of humour back and a bit of the old passion too! I think it feels even more special now after everything we have been through.
And then there’s work. Obvs. I feel so lucky that I can sit here on a Monday afternoon in my kitchen and write posts like this. I’m loving being a blogger and delighted that it can also be my hobby and a job. I love being my own boss, as well as the flexibility that blogging brings, plus all the wonderful opportunities and exciting post that I get.
So who knows what my forties and the next decade will bring me and my little family? Who knows. But instead of hiding under my duvet and dreading my new age, I’m googling Gucci bags and trips to NYC — and fully intend to milk my big birthday as much as I can. You go girl.
Love, Jess x