We always thought we would have kids. We started trying when we believed we were ready. A month went by, then two months, six months, a year. Nothing happened.

Something was wrong, but nobody could tell us what - and they still can't to this day. We tried IVF three times but our results were not good. We were devastated.

Eighteen months after our last IVF cycle, we knew we would not be having our own children. And, somehow, we have moved to a life that is much different to the one we thought we'd have.

This blog is about what we do now we know we won't be having children - the thoughts, dreams, realities, sorrows, and joys that have become our new life path.

I hope you will enjoy what I will be sharing, and I hope that if you are at the point where life without children is a reality for you, that you might find some hope and inspiration here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reality check...

In the past year I have been thinking about how I would like my life to be given I can’t have children. I realised that, due to not having children, I was in position where I could follow paths and dreams that would have been much harder to pursue if I did have children. I also recognised that there were some adventures that I would not have been able to have at all if I had little ones – at least not until they were young adults.

The life I want includes travel, writing, advocating for animal rights and the environment, being outdoors hiking or canoeing, and being as engaged in my life and its possibilities as much as I can be.

With this vision came the realisation that I would have to be fit and healthy to make this life a reality. And I was far from healthy at the beginning of last year.

I have put on weight in the last five years. Much of the weight was gained while I was doing IVF – the medications I had to inject myself with are known to cause weight gain, I didn’t exercise as regularly as I should have due to the unfounded fear that something would happen to the eggs or embryos if I did, and I ate sugary, fatty foods to try and make myself feel better. Eventually I ended up with high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol, and my muscles were weaker – my health was at risk.

Since we finished IVF I haven’t really had any excuse not to lose weight. I just haven’t. I’ve tried a couple of weight loss programs, but none of them were suitable to continue long term. Eventually I kind of gave away the whole weight loss thing and decided to just do what I wanted – that is until I realised what I wanted my life to be.

At the beginning of last year I decided to be serious about losing weight. I started exercising – doing weights, doing aerobic activity, and trying to get as much incidental activity into my days as I could. I wanted that weight gone. I was successful for a while – but not for long. I went to see an Ayurveda practitioner who gave me advice on diet and lifestyle, which I was determined to follow for long term health. They actually advised me not to do aerobic exercise and to not go out when it was cold. So I didn’t. The small progress I’d made in losing weight was soon gone, along with the desire to follow Ayurvedic principles*, and I was back to where I started.

At the end of last year I realised it wasn’t long until I would be going to Thailand and I definitely wanted to lose weight for that! I renewed my commitment to losing weight and I thought I was doing pretty well – I was slimming down. Or so I thought.

Last week I was interviewed for a local television show and when I saw myself on the television I was shocked. I actually didn’t recognise myself. In my mind’s eye I was truly slimming down, my arms were toning up, and I was achieving what I wanted to. But, I could clearly see now that I wasn’t. To be honest, I wasn’t really trying that hard with the exercising – it was always “next week I’ll increase my aerobic exercise”, “next week I’ll do a bike ride”, or, “next week I’ll go up a kilogram in lifting weights.” I’ve also been eating whatever I want, whenever I want. I haven’t taken the time to learn what I need by way of food – especially as I am a vegetarian.

There’s nothing wrong with being larger – there are many women who are both beautiful and healthy at a larger weight. I’m not one of them – well, not healthy anyway (Kirby thinks I’m beautiful!). For me it is about how my health could affect what I want to do with my life. I am not healthy at a larger weight, and I don’t like not being able to lift things and not feeling fit and able. I don’t like the idea of going to Thailand and not being able to do the forty kilometre (25 mile) bike ride around the Sukhothai Historical Park that I want to do. I don’t like the idea of not being able to go on a strenuous hike ever again.

So, what am I going to do about it? First I am going to change my mindset. I’m no longer losing weight – in fact I’m not going to focus on losing weight at all. My aim is to be fit and strong and healthy.

I’m going to learn about what I should be eating, and I’m going to commit to an exercise program of weights and aerobics, and I will be setting goals – by the time I go to Thailand I want to be lifting at least six kilogram (thirteen pound) weights (I’m up to four (nine pound) now), I will be able to ride forty kilometres (25 miles), and I will feel confident that I can follow my dreams and the different paths of my life.

I will not be weighing myself anymore – instead I will be measuring my waist. It seems that waist measurement is important in determining health – and I will have a waist of less than 80 centimetres (31.5 inches) by the time I go to Thailand.

My life has so many wonderful opportunities. And I’m not going to miss them because I don’t feel healthy and I don’t feel strong. My children aren’t here – and I owe it to them to live the best life I can.

* Ayurveda is still a well recognised and amazing health system - but it just didn't work for me.

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