?

I had my surgery today. I was okay with it all when I posted yesterday. Mostly okay. My wonderful gynaecologist confirmed the surgery after 9 last night. I had a moment. I had to be at Liverpool Private by 11 this morning. Earlier than originally anticipated. That required changes in plans. 

I cried. I felt so sorry for myself. So sorry for myself that I didn’t avail myself of any offers of help that had been offered by many different people. So sorry for myself I just wanted to feel like a victim and blame the world. It was emotionally just too hard and I didn’t understand and why so I reverted to my two year old self. 

I’m an idiot. 

By quarter to ten I had pulled my head in, spoken sense to myself, all too late. My tantrum disempowered myself, ironically when I wanted control. Common trend of behaviour for me when I feel powerless (but are we really ever powerless? No.) and behaviour that I do not respect in myself. 

It is so easy to play victim and become petulant and hate the world. It is harder for me to accept that it is okay to rely on other people sometimes. And this is a trust issue, stemming way back to my very early childhood. 

I’m 46 now. I’m no longer a child. And I dictate my life’s trajectory. Last night I forgot this. I’m shaking my head at my behaviour with a wry grin. Don’t panic. I am being kind to myself and cutting myself some slack. And I know that my surgery is laden with grief about my failed attempts to become a birth mum. 

Because I barely slept. And when I did, I processed. So I woke up feeling nervous but better about it. Contemplated texting my ff to ask if she could drive me but decided I was okay with the bus and train. I had to trust that I was okay even though I thought it might be nice to talk to someone. 

The universe will always conspire to provide what we need. 

First train was cancelled and an old friend happened to be catching the same train so we talked and talked and talked. Thank you, Anne. 

The walk was easy. I was calm. At peace. 

I was admitted. My blood pressure was good. My sugars were okay. I’d been through this before for my egg retrievals. And then I got it. 

The tantrum was the memory of all that came before. Three times I’ve been in hospital for procedures. Three times I woke to find a number written on my hand (eggs retrieved). Three times it came to naught ultimately. 

Once, it resulted in a miscarriage with lots of blood. That ultimately resulted in my last bout of long term bleeding. That time of my life hurt me a great deal. I still think of the child that would have been. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in a good place with my childlessness. But I’m also conscious my life is different now because of that. 

I was lying in my bed outside of the theatre for over an hour. The anaesthetist had been caught up somewhere. I was completely at peace. I gave myself a reiki and focused on breathing and being present. I could hear the tinny sound the hands of the clock made and so I counted the seconds in lots of five. 

And I watched them tick over. 

Occasionally my mind moved to other thoughts, contemplating not terrorizing myself, about life. What if I died on the table. Had I lived a happy life. Would I be at peace. Resoundingly, yes. I have no will. I know my pets would be looked after. Would there be custody fights. I haven’t left a copy of all my passwords anywhere. No one knows who has keys. It was interesting. 

And then I’d come back and count again. 

Nurses came and went. I had to repeat answers to the same mundane questions. Changing nurses. Changing shifts. My lovely doctor laughed with me; I hadn’t eaten since last night and it was now well after one. Concern over my sugars but not re-tested because the new nurse didn’t listen to the previous nurse. Death could be a reality. New anaesthetist. Surgery done. 

Recovery. 

I love coming out from anaesthetic. Very sore vagina. Lots of blood. Discomfort. 

Panadeine forte. 

Winning. 

An old Asian man in recovery next to me. Beautiful soul and smile. Shift change. Relatives rung. Food provided. Time to get dressed. 

I walked past his chair. He said, “You can walk.”

I smiled, threw my hands in the air, and said, “It’s a miracle.” 

We laughed. 

He walked past me, arms in the air. He said, “I can walk.”

I laughed, “Another miracle!”

He namaste’d me. 

Gold. 

My fertility is done. I have a Mirena IUD. Five years. I’m waiting for the no period. I’ll bleed heavily for a few days, maybe a week. My results will be back within two weeks. Hopefully all will be good. Hopefully the mass wasn’t cancer. 

At any rate, I think I’m still a little high. 

I’m going to bed. 

Such is Life 

An interesting day, today. I had to have an ultrasound for my upcoming surgery to ensure all is okay with my gall bladder and then needed to go to the gynaecologist for a service. Appointments away from home and close enough together yet far enough apart to not bother coming home. 

As I am prone to do, I also arrived to both appointments early which interestingly resulted in me being seen earlier than my appointments; a rarity to be sure. First went smoothly. Picked up the images a little while ago. Second one threw me a curve ball. 

I had internal and external ultrasounds done a few weeks ago due to ongoing bleeding. My doctor wanted to rule out the cancers and horrible stuff. I took the images with me. My gynaecologist looked at them. 

No service required.

Hospital it is. As soon as possible before I travel to the United States in a couple of weeks. 

Trying a curette first. Inserting Mirena. If unsuccessful, lasering everything. If unsuccessful, hysterectomy. 

Day surgery. Fifteen minute procedure. An hour recovery. Home. 

She’s trying to book it for tomorrow afternoon. 

We both giggled at the irony of this IVF repeat failure reproductive system at forty six still being so fertile that even the gynaecologist said I was years and years away from menopause: life’s cruel ironies. After IVF I’m at higher risk of developing some type of cancer in my reproductive organs, especially endometrial cancer. 

Who knew. I think I vaguely recall reading that in my own research earlier on during that process. Meh. 

I always say, IVF is the gift that keeps giving. I just don’t wish it on anyone. 

As a result of those two appointments and having to wait around, I went to The Square to hang. Well, after my first appointment which I had to fast for, I really went there for breakfast, and just in the knock of time, my sugars were going out and I started to get the shakes. But, I also ran into a few ex students and friends, made through teaching. 

Man, if teaching isn’t the most powerful profession in reaching people I don’t know what is. And if ever I’m having a day questioning my own value and impact, I really need to just hang out at The Square. We raise compassionate and caring kids at my old school. They go on to become such beautiful people, trying hard to make life work and to give to others and become the best versions of themselves.

Us teachers are truly blessed. And if you’re a teacher who doesn’t work hard, doesn’t reach out to your kids, you won’t understand, but deserve to, so work harder. 

🙏🏻

Breakthrough

So I was just sitting here, watching Dr Phil, my head pounding, and I thought, “I struggle with my Birthday because I don’t believe I’m worth celebrating.” 

I know how ridiculous that is, but it’s truly what came into my head. I know I am worth it but it’s like I don’t believe other people will think I am. Lower my expectation, minimize disappointment. How f’ed in the head is that?! 

And I stand by what I said the other day, this stems from the IVF journey; the journey that just keeps giving lol. And that stems from being single.

For the majority of my life, probably until I hit my late thirties and forties, I hadn’t believed I was worth what I now think is very obvious worth. IVF compounded this because even though I was surrounded by people, it is a very alone journey, not lonely but alone. There are aspects of it that only the woman could understand, even in the most loving relationship. 

The drugs, the injections, the emotional rollercoaster, the listening and feeling and questioning every single physical aspect, well, you do that alone. The continual failure takes its toll. And then miscarrying, and misvarrying entirely alone and isolated, well, that compounded it all too. 

And so I learned I would do my life myself. I would pull back from everything (except work) to protect myself. I think when I wanted people to just know what to do, and to just be who I needed and wanted them to be, and they weren’t, I internalized that by reverting to my childhood narrative. The one where I’m not pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough, worth enough. 

Then there was the workplace bullying, healing from the miscarriage and another failed IVF, and then the investigation, more ‘voices’ telling me I wasn’t good enough; to the extent that my support network was shut down by the institution through their installation of fear by threatening that I would lose my job. 

Oh wow. No wonder my head is abnormal 😉 trying not to swear lol. 

And that’s why when my friend said we needed to do something for my birthday, and suggested something, and organized it, respecting my request to keep my birthday quiet, I was happy to say yes: best of both worlds, celebration without pressure. 

I’m looking forward to my birthday. A year wiser in a transformative year. A year where I am rebuilding my entire life, from the ground up. 

What a blessing courage is. 

What a blessing freedom is. 

What a blessing this life is. 

Happy Birthday, Tina. You are becoming, you are, the woman you always wanted to be. I’m proud of you kiddo! 

Hmmm …

Just watching the tail end of Sunday Night (which I never watch) and cried through Sally Obermeder’s story as her surrogate gave birth to Sally’s daughter. Following on from watching Drew Barrymore and Toni Colette in I Miss You Already. 

Two mothers with breast cancer. The birth of a baby. Lots of tears. 

And so this post is just about getting out the emotion. I know and I accept that I will never be a birth mother. I even understand why (serious lack of patience at this advanced maternal age) and I believe that in some small ways, I am much better off having never carried to term. 

But every now and then, I get a twinge of emotion. A sadness and still a longing for a life I will never experience (not in this lifetime anyway). And the reminder of the baby I lost; the potential never realised of a child who would be three later this year. 

I am okay with it. I know it is for the best. But I am human. And being human means I will occasionally feel it. Tonight is one of those times. 

Maybe today was just too peaceful 😉. 

What a difference a day makes … or six 

I leave Western Australia tonight for home. Molly, Max and Sammy wait for me there, as does a different path. A path that will require ritual, nurturing and above all else, patience. 

I trust that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in time. 

When I arrived last Thursday, Mel and I created a mini workshop to complete with her cousin. The workshop involved affirming, I Am, and a manifestation of this through clay. It set the tone for the days that followed. I was open and excited to experience the opportunities that lay in wait. 

A huge thank you and bounteous gratitude to my buddy, Mel. She provided opportunities to try new things, meet many new people, see different places, and welcomed me into her life. I have met many people who are living their creative paths wholly. This has inspired and empowered me. Our friendship has grown because we have navigated hurdles with grace and honesty. I adore her, her beautiful family and her wonderful friends, many of whom welcomed me willingly into their worlds. 

What a trip! 

What a beautiful state; Australia’s best kept secrets reside here in WA. Such beauty and virtually untouched landscape. Whole foods abound – choice is vital for a healthy lifestyle – and regular commune with the divine is inevitable, consciously or not. 

I will return home, somewhat healed, refreshed, open and trusting. 

Forgiveness is a process. Trust is a process. But the return from both when given is monumental. A freedom of spirit and an enthusiasm for life that is unrivalled in the journey of personal growth, and fulfilling life goals and dreams. 

My life, since commencing my fertility treatments in the hope of conceiving and carrying and nurturing a child all of those years ago, has been frenetic and painful, but has landed me here. And here is pretty awesome. Renewed hope, renewed faith, renewed dreams and goals. 

What a privileged path and blessed journey. 

Namaste. 

Identity

I have been so busy. I wanted to make this year The Year of Living. I wanted to trust that the universe would provide what I needed to make my life happen. I wanted to reconnect with the people I love and adore. 

And, I have, am and will be. 

I saw the new year in at Eden, on vast acreage, overlooking the coastal towns with Donna, John, their cats Odin and Loki, and my two boys. Max didn’t cope with the wide open space or the cats so surprisingly, found himself happier on the lead whilst Sammy was fine to roam. I spent a few nervous moments thinking the eagles soaring and protecting the property would swoop and steal Sammy (thanks to The Proposal for this fear) but settled eventually. 

The three of us started planning a retreat we hope to host in June/July with building a scarecrow one of the feature activities. It sounds weird, but the mindfulness required and the act of creating something tangible and useful was highly therapeutic. Meet Hilda the Healer …


I drove home on the 3rd feeling hopeful but nervous. I love Nimmitabel, a village out of Cooma. I want to buy land there, lots of land. At the end of this year, it may easily be do-able. I’m excited about this. 

I am surrounded by reinforcers and inspirers. Ginny and Marcus, also moving in different directions, are also hoping to host and run retreats in the Mountains eventually. In a sense, we have been building our own community and seem to be on the verge of auctioning it all. Again, exciting. And terrifying. 

Lunch with Amanda, Nathan and newborn Brody, and when family has babies I no longer feel that sense of painful longing. I possess an inner acceptance of where I am and where I am not. And their willingness to accept me back has been a real blessing for me after a few years of necessary hibernation and healing. 

An then an important shift started to happen for me. I am seeing myself less as a high school teacher and more of a small business owner, life teacher. I am loving how the transition in identity feels. It is wholly empowering. And today, I’m feeling less terrified and more excited. 

Birthday celebrations for Karyn and more catch ups. Quality time with quality people, reinforcing old bonds. 

Time at Swansea, revitalizing my love for camping, and more quality catch up time with more extended family. And my obligatory summer burn. Once every year. I never learn. A childhood longing to be brown. 


Home to more catch ups on a bloody hot day …


And, this weekend working on promoting my first course for the year, assignments, planning before another week of catching up before cruising to see January out. 

My cousin comes to stay in February. I am heading to Perth to see one of my soul tribe from India. And somewhere in there I need to work to raise money to fund this new life. 

It is liberating. I had a vision for the life I wanted to be living. I’m heading there. The journey is happening. 

I am blessed. And exceptionally grateful that the trauma of last year has forced me to liberate myself. I feel alive. I am not just existing. Life is transition and flux and chaos and the unknown. I will not have regrets. 

Namaste 🙏🏻

No Idea What To Call This Post

In the interests of living life because it is short, and in honour of all of those who have passed and can’t make the most of each day in this realm, I am trying to reclaim Christmas spirit and my friendships by spending time. 

I have, for the last many decades, put work first so often that I stopped living fully. At the time I would have argued that I was living fully, and maybe for some of it, I was. Maybe it’s only been since the IVF journey that I stopped. I’m not sure. It’s all a bit muddy. However, I learned this four years ago and it is only now that I’m attempting to do it all differently. 

I process emotion well but in the past I have shut myself off from others to do so. As a result, when one of my closest friends died four years ago, it had been a fair while [read, way too long] since I had seen her. I carry that regret. I can’t go back and change it, and I know that. I have to breathe and accept that that was the way it was. 

And, I have to learn from it. 

So today, I spent time with some of my longest serving friends who are family to me. We have experienced trials and times when we have been distant, but there have been significantly more beautiful and happy times. I am grateful for that, and for them. 

I think, that when someone dies our hearts never really get over it, but we learn how to assimilate their loss into our lives without them. We memorialize them in different ways. For me, it’s been four years in the making, but I’m trying to be my best self living my best life. Some moments I am more successful than others but the important thing is that I haven’t given up and I keep trying. 

I have had many chats with my friend since she died. That is the liberating part of what I believe in, and it helps me to still have that contact. I’m still trying to make sense out of something that will never make sense but I’m also accepting that there will never be a satisfactory reason. So, I must stop hiding in work, stop needing to be the martyr and the perfectionist, and focus on building a calm, loving and happy life. 

I love all of my friends, past and present, wholeheartedly, and even after bad endings, I never stop loving them. I like this about myself. I focus on what existed that was positive, and the fun and laughter that was shared. Even if I don’t like them any more (one person only really). I remember the love. 

Man, thoughts are messy today lol. Yoga in an hour will go a long way to helping that. Hopefully. A little bit of a headache too – repressed tears methinks. The body is such a strong mirror to the mind. 

I am okay. The process of life is never smooth. And it’s beauty rests in the contrasts. Without contrasts we can’t appreciate what we have that is good. A paradox, and one that often stings on days like today. A necessary paradox. 

And on that note, time to fester a bit more before yoga … because that’s how I roll 😉.

Namaste 🙏🏻

Nothing Prolific 

Anxiety and fear have passed. Gone. Faith in the universal order has been restored. Friday, my last day at structured and guaranteed work for a year, felt surreal. Yesterday, I hosted a partial family Christmas. 

Surrounded with reasons for gratitude. There was a moment that I sat back, and just soaked in the conversation around me, and felt truly grateful, peaceful and like, yep, this is what life is about. 

Nothing else really matters. 

It was my first Christmas being really present after Natalie’s death four years ago and my miscarriage three years ago. 

Time. Weird concept. There hasn’t been a single day where Nat hasn’t been in my thoughts. Her passing doesn’t feel that long ago. I try to honour her life by trying to live my best life. I’m not always successful; I am human, after all. 

Sixteen years ago, on the same day I miscarried three years ago, I woke up and went to work as usual. When I arrived, the day of Year 10 Graduation, we were all informed that one of our Year 10 students, one of my students, just hadn’t woken up. The kids, the staff, her family – shock doesn’t describe it, and then the grief. My. She, Erin, has visited my classroom through the years. Some of my more sensitive students have felt her presence and one heard her call out. An interesting lesson that was lol. 

Like Nat, life cut short way too soon. And then Luke and Steph, followed by Jamie, Nich and then, last year, another Nicholas. Lives all ending way too soon. 

In my head, it has become important to honour their lives by living. I think, in part, that inspired me to take leave for next year. I also promised myself when I stopped all fertility treatments, accepting that I wasn’t going to be a birth mother in this lifetime, that I would really do something in my life, beyond the every day; my legacy would not be in the realm of birth children. I would travel and have adventures. I would create a different life. 

A Tina type of life. 

One of the ways that I have already started to do this is by saying yes more, and making plans. If someone asks me or suggests to me something, and it feels right, I don’t pause to think of the practicalities, the anchors, I jump and am trusting that the universe will provide or know that my savings will be lost in travel next year. 

One of my inspirations for this is another ex-student, Justine. Justine was one of Erin’s friends. She created a bucket list of sorts, things to have done before she turned thirty. What a rich life she has lived in honour of herself first and foremost, but also in honour of Erin. Amazing inspiration. 

There are always ways to make money to pay the rent 😳🙏🏻.

Hehehe. 

So, I’m going to write my book, I’m going to grow my business by sharing my strategies for healing and living, I’m going to travel, and I’m going to host game nights at my house. 

Living is more than safety, more than routine, more than working yourself to the bone. My ‘gap’ year is going to explore the potential for my life, for me. Not as youthfully as it would have when I was eighteen or in my twenties, or even in my thirties, but ‘appropriately’ for now. I will foster the things that I love and see where it leads me. 

Jumping is scary, dying unfulfilled and without passion for life though, well, that’s terrifying. 

Weddings and Friendship 

I never used to commit easily. To people, I mean. Vegetarianism, school and learning, I’ve never struggled with commitment there. No, just people. 

I realised yesterday though that some of the people, amongst the best people in my life, I have known for fifteen years. Firmly in each other’s lives for more than ten of those. Amazing. 

They are my family even though they are not blood relatives. I have friends too, but yesterday I realised the difference. We have had our ups and downs but we have grown together. They have seen me at my worst and my best, and they have loved me regardless, and when it was difficult to do so. And that goes both ways. Their presence in my life enriches my life. And I am grateful for that. 

That is family. 

Friendship doesn’t always endure like that. You are not as vital as family. Family offers, even in dysfunction, stability and security of sorts. You share the massive journey of good and bad. You cry, laugh, fight, learn and grow together, because there is no choice. When they are not there, your heart misses them. To function at your best, their presence or spirit enables that. We enable each other. 

I like that. 

I miss being more present. 

Part of healing from infertility became working. And part of the working load is changing government requirements. It is time for me to reclaim my life though. I’ve talked about wanting to for at least a couple of years and then, despite the best intentions, I allow work to consume me. 

I don’t want that anymore. I don’t want to find ease in hiding in the work. 

I had photos taken at the wedding yesterday. I usually look at photos of myself and see ugly. Not yesterday. Bizarre. I think being surrounded by people in Varanasi who continually told me I was beautiful, has impacted the way I see myself, like I have seen myself through the eyes of others for the first time and believed what they say they see. 

Empowering. 

What a wonderful day yesterday was. 

How blessed is my life. 

Living the Alternative Life

I had an amazing, yet rather run of the mill conversation, with my friend Elizabeth during the retreat concerning motherhood. She said that she keeps befriending women like me: childless yet desiring to be a mother. 

Elizabeth said that she firmly believes that some women are born to be universal mothers; mothers to everyone. My friend Mike has said something similar in the past, I think after my miscarriage. Elizabeth also mentioned some other things like shamanism but for now, I’m focusing on universal motherhood. 

It has been two years since my last attempt to become a birth mother to someone. It has been a tough six years. I would not wish infertility on anyone. I do not wish childlessness on anyone. But, if I’m being honest, and looking back maturely, whilst the journey has been very lonely and very harrowing, I am grateful for it. Grateful for every second, every tear, every tiny little thing. 

I’m in a good place now. I see the potential for my life. My ‘fertility’ is leading me towards new horizons. And I am strong, and resilient, and a survivor. And I am embracing new challenges. I am a universal mother, an earth mother. And, as a result, I will share my ‘maternity’ with a lot of children and a lot of people. 

It was difficult at times, to believe that life could be good again, that I would laugh and smile without a sense of longing, that my path would take shape and be just as valid as motherhood in my eyes. It was very difficult at times. 

But what I have learned is that motherhood, fertility, raising children does not have to be restricted to reproduction in a human sense. I will still feel a twang every time I hear that someone has fallen pregnant but I am okay. It’s taken a long time, been a long journey, but I am grateful for where I stand. I am grateful for the creation of the other in my life. 

I am blessed. 

PS. At the time I didn’t realise the long term impact on my psyche of the drugs used in the IVF treatments. They say there aren’t any, but there are. It impacts us, the entirety of the journey, whether successful or not. If you are doing IVF and don’t feel quite right, trust it. But you will be. It requires work, patience and faith, but you will become you again. And, if you’re lucky like me, a better version of yourself. More whole. Happier. A survivor embracing regeneration.