I want you to see me standing, serene, on a cliff top. I'm upright, with my shoulders back and my chin out and my hands folded neatly in front of me. If you like, you can add long hair, flapping gently in a light breeze, or lips, loosely gathered in a soft smile. You can peer at my toes, planted barefoot in the mud, spaced wide and firm, with the earth oozing between them. My hips are square and strong. My chest expands with unhurried breaths. In all this, what you must see is my stillness, my confidence, my calm.

That is how I see myself most days. On the other days, I dance. I become whirling motion, moved by the music, thrown around by a rhythm I don't control. On those days, I choose to close my eyes, to feel the world tilt up in my living room as I surrender my powers of vision and give in to a cacophony I bring upon myself, swayed but not falling, bent but responding, leaping, and shuffling, and turning around.

Rarely, I weep. I curl into myself, squeezing up like a sponge to wring out the sadness. I do this not because I am uncertain, but because I am becoming certain, and I know (after all I've been through) that these tears will help me buy my passage home.

And I know (after all we've been through) that I want to tell you how to see me. I stand. I dance. I weep. All of these are who I am.


What can I tell you about a vision I can't quite yet see?

If you click to Infertility Journey you'll find it ends with two blasts and six two-day embryos on ice. Except it can't actually end there, can it? It was always the plan (at least vaguely the plan) to wait til the two children we're now parenting gave us the breathing room we'd need to take another chance, and then take that chance. These days I know if we wait any longer I'll suffocate.  

My hands are full in ways I won't go into, and though I move continuously into the future, the future defies my attention when I haven't yet sorted out my present. Faintly, though, I hear myself yearning for other things. Then with regret, I remember how I loved pregnancy - I loved pregnancy - whilst admitting I don't think I can handle more parenting. We (the both of us) feel responsible for our embryos, but we no longer think the best home for them's here. 

Last month, the way forward seemed obvious, and at the same time, unexpectedly difficult. In the end I picked up the phone anyway, and offered our embryos to friends who were heading into their "one last IVF cycle", and they said if this try fails, they'd love to give our embryos a chance with them. 

Sometimes the truth reveals itself best in the moment of action. Before the call, I cried solid tears. As we hung up, I breathed in peace. 

Wish me luck with the two week wait, and I'll let you know how things turn out.


I guess some things can be seen best through close inspection, whereas other things are more aptly held in the corner of your eye.

The things happening lately are part of that latter category. I started a new blog which isn't, and yet really is, all about it. (You can email me if you want to know where it is. You may even see a reflection of this old place in the title.)

It helps to write, sometimes anonymously, sometimes indirectly. So I am writing again. But not here.


My sister did a lot better with my parents. ("How did she manage to get the information out of them?" The Earl asked. "By being my sister?" I guessed. My father-in-law once commented collectively that my sisters and I were a determined bunch, but his comment was triggered by a thing this particular sister had done.)

So my mother does indeed have breast cancer. Again. A carcinoma, to be more exact. It was detected at her twenty-year checkup and is still very small, for what that's worth. They think it's unrelated to the last episode - an entirely new growth - and although they haven't finished hunting for signs of metastasis they haven't found anything yet. There is a meeting with the surgeon next week, and they will learn more about what sort of things they're planning to cut off and how and why. At some point we will also figure out if there's to be any followup treatment, such as chemotherapy - that plan is still in the process of being formulated. Meanwhile, my mother is reconsidering her position on genetic testing. If she decides to go ahead, and turns out to be positive for any of the known genes, I may have some decisions to make on that front as well.

I feel calmer - actually everyone feels calmer - having put that level of information together. My mother even deigned to talk to me briefly on the phone this morning. My father has instructed me to continue planning the 2014 big family holiday we'd been talking about.

I think we will do better this time. We are all older, and wiser. My sister has obviously gained the knack of putting her foot down and insisting on being informed, as opposed to disintegrating into a blithering mess. My father has learnt a trick or two. (A friend asked him if she should come over to visit my mum and give her comfort. "She's not accepting visitors," he replied, "but don't you need me to have a look at a problem with your laptop or something? We'll both be home Saturday morning and I can check out your machine for a few hours, just make sure it's free of viruses and everything, and maybe you can wait for me in the kitchen with my wife and have a cup of tea, if she feels up to it?") And I, well. I have a couple more tools than I did when I was a teenager, too.

So this is just how it is and we'll just have to do our best and see how it goes.

Maybe I'll go ahead and change my hair colour after all. Why not?


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