Tag Archives: personal

I am the one in four

Advanced warning: personal post, and TW for pregnancy/miscarriage

I was prompted to write a post on this by my friend Ellen’s blog. October is pregnancy and infant loss month, and this week (9th-15th) seems to have been designated Infant Loss Awareness Week. You may have seen posts on social media saying this, adding ‘I am the one in four’ (1 in 4 women will experience miscarriage/stillbirth in their lives).

This has taken a fuck-load of courage to write, and even more to post.

I am the one in four.

I have had three miscarriages, one just before Christmas 2015 (that made for a fun Christmas…) and two in Spring/Summer 2016.

I think for many people, the strongest pain of a miscarriage is the potential: this could have been a child, this could have changed everything. But for me, to be honest, it wasn’t as devastating as the loss some people experience. My mother had two miscarriages, and so I was in some ways expecting it; I knew there was a family history, and knew it could happen. I took what precautions I could, and didn’t dare treat the pregnancies as real until 12 weeks – it wasn’t a child, it was just a tiny potential bundle of cells. And none of my pregnancies reached 12 weeks (two miscarried at 7 weeks and one at 5), and so… it was just a thing that didn’t happen.

For me, the worst pain was the uncertainty. Had I done something? Not done something? Somehow caused it? Could I have prevented it? I have been told, repeatedly, that there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. I accept that for the ones I have lost – it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t. Lifting things doesn’t cause it. Eating the wrong thing doesn’t cause it. Doing exercise doesn’t cause it. It wasn’t my fault.

But I can’t help take that burden of fear and guilt, and push it forward: if I try to get pregnant again at whatever future point, will I have another miscarriage? Another two? What’s wrong with me that means I can’t get past 7 weeks? Standard tests haven’t shown anything: there’s nothing immediately physically wrong, and blood levels etc were all standard. My body’s fine….it just couldn’t maintain any of the pregnancies. And I’m now past 30: what will that do to my chances?

The whole thing was compounded by a specialist at the local hospital, who quite bluntly (while trying not to offend me, she repeatedly insisted that she wasn’t trying to offend me) told me that essentially, I was lying. I had no medical proof that I had been pregnant, and therefore they weren’t miscarriages: I hadn’t got blood tests, scans, checks – this all prior to 12 weeks, on an already overburdened NHS, and when there’s nothing anyone can do to change a miscarriage at that stage if it did happen! I’m still deeply angry about her attitude and her accusations: I understand where she was coming from in that the best medical course was to assume that I wasn’t able to get pregnant and check that as well as the actual pregnancies, which is sensible, but she most certainly could have worded it a lot better, and been a lot less cruel and dismissive in her attitude to someone who was simply trying to get help and work out if there was anything wrong.

I did feel – and still do feel – incredibly alone and uncertain about it. It wasn’t something I could share at the time; I wasn’t going to tell anyone until at least 12 weeks anyway, and even the people I did tell couldn’t say anything that eased what is, at heart, a very personal pain. My partner at the time did his best to be supportive, but considering he wasn’t outwardly enthusiastic about children, it was hard for me to lean on him or share any of what I was feeling. And I didn’t want to try any of the resources or groups available – I struggle with interaction anyway, and I felt I had no place amongst people mourning for their child. I just carried on going with whatever the next step needed to be, be it doctor’s appointments or waiting or another try, and tried again and again until everything else broke around me.

Even putting this out now is hard. It isn’t the full story: I can’t process that yet, it’s too linked in with the divorce and emotions and all that. I don’t feel I have any right to support, and I don’t want sympathy. It’s something that happens: I don’t know why it happened, I did what I could, and I don’t have a medical explanation. It passed, it’s fine, and I want to try again someday. It’s all still a jumble, and I’m dealing with it all as it comes up.

But miscarriage happens, and it isn’t talked about. So – I’m talking about it.

I’m the one in four.

5 Happy Things: October 2017

Five things that are making me happy in October…

1.I started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I like it! I’m doing my Kate thing of watching with something else on (I find TV and films – and audiobooks, incidentally – stressful, even though I do like watching some things, so that’s the best way) and so far, it’s amusing. We’re only three episodes in but I’m planning on carrying on.

2.I’ve created my NaNo novel – I’m doing The Thief & The Seer. Wheeee!

3.Autumn colours. I’ve been getting out for walks every day, and seeing the trees change has been beautiful. I really need to start up my Instagram photos again…

4.Trello. ORGANISATION! I’ve made a board for my writing, and I’ve got one for my editing etc as well. While I do have a spreadsheet of submissions, it’s nice to be able to see what is in progress and needs to be worked on, and the dates.

5.Tidying. I’m moving house, and there’s something very satisfying about being able to organise! I have ridiculous amounts of shelving that’s empty, just for me (happy librarian!) and I’m currently packing my books up, planning where they’re going to go, thinking about storage and organisation….there’s definitely a reason why I gravitated towards libraries!

So that’s me for October for the moment – I’m moving on Wednesday so I should remember to do a post, but if I don’t, it’s because I’m filling a van with boxes and trying to ensure that the cat isn’t amongst them…

A brief hiatus

I broke.

I was hoping to get to the end of the next two weeks; finish at my current job, have a trip to Croatia for a couple of days, move house, then catch up on the stress from the last few months. Unfortunately there’s been a couple of additional stresses recently, and it’s all just got too much.  I’ve been trying to do one step at a time, and there’s too many steps, and I’ve run out of energy to keep fighting.

I’ll be able to start up again, I’m going to keep going – just I need some time to get up out of my hole first. I’m going to take a couple of days to just relax and let everything hit, and then I’ll start dealing with it.

I’m going to try to keep posting on here (because it’s a nice schedule, and I can write what I want, damnit!) but I might not be around on social media as much. I’m ok, I’m just Hermit’ing for a bit, as one of my friends says. Hopefully I’ll shortly be back to Human’ing. I can’t promise Adult’ing, because that’s just scary, but it’s something to aim towards!

Internet hugs to everyone as well – the season’s changing, the world’s shit and life is pretty stressful right now. Remember to take care of yourselves!

 

The Writer’s Sword

I was talking a few weeks ago with the wonderful Adrian about….something…and we somehow got onto a writer’s sword…

(I just had to look up the conversation. It was to do with whacking said wonderful person with something when he gets too big-headed about his imminent fame).

Anyway. It got both of us thinking, and I ended up coming up with this motto;

The Writer’s Sword: skill blended with ego, tempered by humility.

I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks about the balance that’s needed to be a writer. It’s a bit of an odd one – you do need all three elements listed above, and all in roughly equal measures.

Skill’s the one that is most easily learned, I think, and yet the hardest to gain. It’s no surprise that the writer’s advice is most often “write, write, write” – practise really does make perfect, or at least lets you make all the mistakes you can! And if you want to get published consistently, you have to have that skill, and use it consistently.

And this feeds into ego. You have to believe that you’re good! You also have to recognise that while other writers might be better than you, while you might not yet be perfect or a bestseller or whatever your personal vision of “A Writer” is, you’re in your own class of excellence. Only you can write how you do. Only you can see the world as you do, and translate that into words. Only you can tell the stories. You might not be as good as you want to be, but damnit, you’ve got some talent there!

But…that has to be tempered with humility. Critique can be soul-destroying, and it’s a harsh thing to have to accept that the work you thought was amazing might need polish. It’s frustrating as hell to have something come back with metaphorical red pen all over it, especially when you feel you poured yourself into it. Writing is personal and it is hard, and to put it out into the world, get it trodden on – either by your editor or your readers (or by the lack of them) can hurt. You need to be able to roll with those punches.

And then we’re back round to skill and ego. You have to have the skill to accept the critique and work what you learn back into your writing, to get better – and the ego to survive the criticism and put your work back out there!

It’s something I’ve been watching in myself over the past few years – from the original work I did on Shadows In The Light (with its…ooh, about five revisions, improving each time) and then GreenSky, over the course of ten books. I wouldn’t write Green Sky & Sparks in the same way now as I did ten years ago – but then my work now is very, very different! Even The Necromancer’s Charm is looking very different to No Man’s Land, and that’s only got two years between them.

The sword keeps getting stronger over time, the more you write, and my blade gets more and more honed for every word I write, every change I make.

What metaphors have you got for the balance that’s needed for writing?

Happy Things: August 2017

Well, at least the things I’m holding on to at the moment. I’m up and down quite a lot with some big changes and scary things coming along, so I’m trying to focus on the small stuff, just to keep level.

1.I had a lovely time in Amsterdam. My travelling companion and I just chilled out, walked around, ate burgers, sat in a converted library, read books (well, audiobooks in his case), watched the bats and the parrots…it was a really nice week in a very relaxed city.

2.I’ve learned things, yay! I’m struggling with feeling like I’m failing at everything at the moment, and that I’ve lost or given up on so much…so I’m trying to hold on to this.

3.Trello – I’ve started boards for my writing, editing work, general organisation…it’s only good for certain types of organisation (ie. not in-depth tasks) but I quite like it, and if nothing else it lets me see what’s on my lists to do. I do still have post-it notes on my computer and a colourful notepad for day-to-day things.

4.I want to bake more – and a friend sent me this. GET IN MY FACE.

5. Have I said that I love this? Because I do. Walk the Moon, Shut Up And Dance. I may have been editing while bopping along to it!