My thirties: a tale of two halves

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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.

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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!

BUT…

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.

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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.

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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

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20 Comments

  1. February 27, 2018 / 7:37 pm

    A great read, embrace your 40’s I certainly have 18 months in and I’m loving it, no huge birthday bash, just lots of little occasions with different sets of friends so not to spread myself thinly and get stressed over a party everyone else wanted BUT me!
    Enjoy and I too did NYC, loved just loved it x

    • Jess
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 11:56 am

      Whoooooop sounds like a plan — 40 is definitely the new 30 and I think we kind of know what we want more in life now?! Thanks for the comment xx

  2. Louise
    February 27, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    Literally SNAP! Married at 30, pregnant within a few months, miscarried at 6 weeks and then nothing for 3 years 😞 We were so lucky to fall pregnant on our first round of ivf and our little princess is 2.5 now. But I will never forget those years of trying. Hard to put into words unless you’ve been through it and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But she was defo worth the wait! Xx

    • Jess
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 11:56 am

      Oh honey – I know. SO tough going through those years but makes the babies so much more special. Glad you got your little princess. She is a lucky girl xx

  3. February 27, 2018 / 8:59 pm

    Love this Jess! I turn 40 this year and to be honest I’ve been burying my head in the sand about it. For me I feel happy and content with my family life, but with my youngest daughter starting school in September, I now need to sort the work side of my life out and that feels a little bit daunting. I hope I can enter my 40’s with a clear head of where I’m going with it. I too am constantly googling trips to NYC x

    • Jess
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 11:57 am

      I know. SNAP. I’ve been having little panic moments realising HOW old 40 sounds but in reality I feel great right now. I think that it’s all in the mind and actually it’s only another year. Happy BIG birthday to you too darling..hope you make it a good one xx

  4. February 27, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    It’s amazing how couples get through it all but so lovey to come out the other side bringing the passion and laughter back and so glad that’s happened for you and Dave. It’s so lovely when things start to fall into place and I think the next decade should be scared, cos you’re going into it guns blazing and sounds like you’re planning on making the most of it all x

    • Jess
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 11:59 am

      Exactly. Raising kids is lovely but SO hard too and often couples really struggle. I wasn’t fun to be around during the IVF years and was so fed up. It’s taken us ages but we’re really happy right now and hopefully going into my forties much stronger and happier. Thanks for the comment lovely 🙂 xx

  5. Emma james
    February 28, 2018 / 6:57 am

    Love this, I was the same had a meltdown at 30 & looked forward to turning 40 ( just turned 43 though) and it is getting quicker and quicker these birthdays! It’s alwaya great to hear of stories where couples have struggled yet survived the tough times! Well done to you & love your gorgeous twins! Your 40’s are definatley the best xxx

    • Jess
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 12:01 pm

      THANKS! 🙂 And god, yes, the years are flying by. Scary — but I think you get to a point where you want to embrace it all too. My thirties feels like it was hard work at times but mostly amazing (still can’t even believe we have twins!). Looking forward to the big birthday much more xx

  6. February 28, 2018 / 10:39 am

    yay and high five to you and Dave !
    Enjoy your forties they fly past ! I can’t believe I’ll be 55 this year !
    Yes you go girl fly high
    Ashley
    xxxxx

    • Jess
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 12:03 pm

      You’re a young pup! You’re my #goals – I love you! I know — many years ago 40 would have been deemed as old, but nowadays a lot of us women are just finding ourselves at this age. It’s a good time to be 40 & 50+ !! Thanks for the comment and here’s to the next decade xx

  7. February 28, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    Ooh Jess I feel like I just want to meet you and give you a big hug after reading this! Our 30s sounds so similar!! ( I also didn’t want a big party for my 30th so flew to Australia, turned off my FB comments and hid away (oh so dramatic!) Again we’ve struggled with baby loss and trying for a baby, but im in the tail end of my 30s now and really hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel! I still have a couple of years to go until I hit 40, but I’m hoping in a similar position as you when I get there! Happy penultimate year of your 30s! Hope its the best one of the decade xx

    • Jess
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 9:23 pm

      Thanks lovely and for sharing your story too — good luck lovely and a hug sounds great! xx

  8. Holly
    March 1, 2018 / 10:30 am

    Thankyou! Currently trying for baby no. two, after 3 miscarriages and open heart surgery all in my early 30’s. I can feel myself slipping back to the point where I’m consumed by trying. You have reminded me to try and be more breezy about it!! Who knows where I’ll be when I’m 40, and I have so much to enjoy right now! x

    • Jess
      Author
      March 2, 2018 / 10:15 am

      Good luck lovely and I hope you get there soon — it’s so tough but you’re not alone. All the best and keep me updated xx

  9. March 7, 2018 / 8:33 am

    You said it yourself,..you go girl! I loved reading this Jess and I think it’s so important to reflect on life and live from a place of thankfulness. I absolutely agree with you that the nearer to 40 I got, the more settled in my life and who I was, I became. I have learnt to rest and absorb all of the goodness when life is on an even keel, because inevitably there will be something round the corner and that’s when we will need the strength that we’ve obtained during the quieter times. And New York? Yes to that! xx

    • Jess
      Author
      March 9, 2018 / 11:03 am

      Whooop thanks Suzanne and glad you feel the same. You’re right about feeling more settled and that we know ourselves more. BOOM! Jess xx

  10. Michael
    March 9, 2018 / 1:10 am

    Glad you have accepted that your impending 40s are not so scary. I remember the same feeling when I was teetering on the brink of 39. I remember the same feeling at 49. Well, to be honest at 59 the feeling became a little scary, but I passed through OK (with a little help from my dear family, a lifetime ambition to drive a Jaguar E type and finally, flying a Tiger Moth biplane). All very childish you may think but for this quiet, naïve, upright Englishman they were fabulous experiences. So, at 62 years of age I can look back at my late twenties, thirties, forties and fifties with equanimity and acceptance. I may not be perfect and I certainly have not achieved all my ambitions but life is good and I am blessed with a happy life, a lovely wife and two wonderful children (like you – boy and girl). Finally, may I say I love your blogs and really enjoy your essays. Good luck and a fair wind at your back, Jess Soothill.

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