Monthly Archives: November 2012

Not forgotten

Very sorry, it’s been a terribly busy week and I have a very early start tomorrow morning.

So, this is just an IOU post.

Bear with, bear with… (which will only make sense to middle-class UK folks who watch a certain comedy show, sorry).


Busy week

That’s my excuse…

Completely not thought about what I would write this week. When sitting down to do so this evening I did have one idea and started on my merry way  writing about inspiration and motivation and then had a vague sensation that I’d written something about this topic before… That’s fine, I thought, I can link to it… Found the post in the archives and realised that covered all I was going to say and more… not a bad post actually, don’t think I’d have written it as well this evening.

So, I resorted to hunting around for a meme I hadn’t done and found this one:

1. Where is your cell phone? Plugged in getting charged for the week ahead (well the 2 days it usually lasts)
2. Where is your significant other? In the other room NaNoWriMo-ing
3. Your hair color? Blonde – always has been.
4. Your mother? Artistic, but has never really let herself explore her talents.
5. Your father? Musical. Busy.
6. Your favorite thing? Tough one – love my iPhone & iPad, but the thing I hate to leave the house without and would dash back in to save (assuming May is already safe) from the hypothetical inferno is the ring May gave me for our 6th anniversary.
7. Your dream last night? I rarely remember my dreams, if I do they are usually rather strange
8. Your dream/goal? Largish house somewhere close enough to civilisation for good broadband, but far enough away from the hubbub for peace and quite.
9.The room you’re in? Study/spare room, rather cluttered with domestic appliance boxes and work shirts that need ironing.
10. Your hobby? A year ago I would have said photography in a flash (hahaha, sorry), but I’ve lost my imaging inspiration; so for now I’ll stick with singing, as I seem to be involved in three choirs at the moment.
11. Your fear? Losing control; no idea what of – and as others have pointed out it’s all an illusion anyway. It’s under active discussion with my therapist anyway.
12. Where do you want to be in six years? That house would be nice…
13. Where were you last night? Out singing in a concert, sorry I cannot be more specific.
14. What you’re not? Out of work (which I could easily be at the moment)
15. One of your wish list items? Benda Bilili DVD
16. Where you grew up? Dorset.
17. The last thing you did? Wrote the word ‘Dorset’… caught up with the first episode of season two of the BBC drama ‘The Hour’
18. What are you wearing? Wedding ring, hair elastic, purple t-shirt, dark grey sweatshirt, light-blue briefs, black tracksuit bottoms and purple slippers.
19. Your T.V.? 32″ Samsung LED, a great investment – has lasted well and is just the right size for our place.
20. Your pets? A de Broglie–Bohm kitten
22. Your mood? Somewhere between Meh and OK
23. Missing someone? Grandfather who died earlier this year.
24. Your car? Hired when we need it… if we move out of town and had to get one, then I would very, very seriously consider electric.
25. Something you’re not wearing? A watch. Haven’t owned one for years.
26. Favorite store? Apple
27. Your Summer? Too brief
28. Love someone? Very much.
29. Your favorite color? Blue or purple.
30. Last time you laughed? Listened to The Bugle earlier
31. Last time you cried? Children in Need – yes, they extracted money from my wallet

The roller coaster of IVF

To date I have not been overly keen on, if not in reality actually more against, IVF (for me personally, I hasten to add – this is not a moral or technically principled qualm).

As the weeks and months of TTC have merged into years, however, I think this needs reevaluating. Firstly, we now know a lot more about what we are dealing with/are up against. Secondly, we are seriously starting to run out of time (why yes, it is my birthday in a couple of weeks – how could you tell).

So, you may well ask: what were my problems with IVF in the first place?

One of my biggest fears has been the perceived risk/danger. As May only has one ovary remaining, if something goes wrong with that (ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, for example) then it really could be game over. I had/have the impression, possibly unfairly, that especially within the NHS IVF is not a well-invested-in process and therefore may lack the individual care, attention and precision to reassure me. I think I’m justified in stating that their attitude, when we did get to the first step of consideration for treatment, seemed to be a very rule-based, “same for everyone because we must be fair to everyone on very limited resources” approach. I had/have also witnessed that, while the NHS is a fantastic service for dealing with the majority of everything, it didn’t/doesn’t handle edge-cases, such as May, very well. These factors combined all played into my fears.

I think we are in a very different place now. We’ve run the NHS gamut as much as we can; therefore if we go private now it would not compromise how we may be treated on the NHS, which I’ve heard can not be overly helpful to patients who are also doing parallel private treatment (for I think perfectly understandable/reasonable overall cost effectiveness reasons). We have been saving over the last few years and combined with offers from May’s mum to help with costs plus age and other complicating factors I think private is our only realistic option now anyway. I have the impression, possibly unfounded, that a private clinic will do things absolutely on an individual basis and take care (for fear of harm to reputation – and therefore profits – if nothing else).

So that’s the rational reason; the more psychological block is about the process itself and what that means about my role in fatherhood. This is more difficult to articulate, partly because I have problems identifying and dealing with the emotions surrounding issues (see previous post), but also because it goes against my self-image of me not being a chest-beating, self-important, prowess-obsessed bloke… it’s not me making the baby. I do know enough biology to know it never would be me really anyway, but the micro-details of what happens in utero can be easily brushed over when people think about these things. There is still an overall conception (haha, sorry) of those brave ‘boys’ swimming the tough swim, healthy competition, fittest wins, etc. that provides the ‘natural way’ of these things in the minds of the world. Yes, this is a perception thing as much as anything else. To take that process out of that environment and have an artificial laboratory induced, ‘test-tube’ event – under the harsh lights of scientific judgement and evaluation – doesn’t have that same narrative or acceptable ‘normality’.

Finally, there is another psychological trope that plays into this. Over the last few years, and particularly in psychotherapy recently, I have had to get used to the idea that, as much as I try to deny it, I am a very controlling person. Those that know me may (or may not) be surprised that the gentle, unassuming, introverted soul that I am has this trait. But I can assure you that apparently (I’m still coming to terms with this) I have a strong and wilful mind that has an unfortunate (possibly sometimes unconscious) habit of using passive-aggressive techniques to influence and control. The thing is, the thing about IVF is, that it takes everything out of my control. The same is largely true for May, of course, but this post is about me, all me. Before knowing and understanding this and therefore being able to cede controls and make the choice there was a ‘thing’ at the back of my mind nagging away at this isn’t what I really want to, if not more strongly saying no!

Now we understand that and we are where we are, it’s time to make a positive choice and work for a positive outcome and say… YES!


I’ve been doing a lot of talking recently, mainly at my counselling sessions. What have I learnt?

Philip Larkin was (almost) right… A lot of the conversation has been about my parents (plus their siblings/family and my grandparents). In particular what their behaviours and interactions were when I was growing up and therefore what role modelling I have been subjected to. The layers of generations and layers of psychological fucktitude that I have inherited.

I have found it particularly enlightening, because I was rather under the impression that I had rather an uneventful, benign childhood – I wasn’t abused or deprived. Yes, there were certain members of the family that were difficult from time to time, but I never felt directly unwanted or unwelcome. And yet…

It seems that there are a lot of subtle things happening all around in the interplay of family members that one doesn’t really understand as a child but some of these seem to get taken on board and shape attitudes and behaviours in unexpected ways. So, for example, my mother could be slightly uncomfortably clingy and overly affectionate when I was a teenager – which I found embarrassing and awkward and therefore pushed back. If I thought about it at all I had just thought it might be her not wanting to accept eldest child growing up growing away and reacting to that. However, I can now see another possible reason for her clinginess was perhaps something lacking in her relationship with my father, which was being subverted. My father being, like me, not particularly emotionally literate or aware his actions were distancing, leaving my mother rather looking for affection elsewhere. So I had not only the poor role model of my dad’s distancing emotional behaviour, but also developed a resistance to being emotionally pushed.

There are two main things that I’m working on at the moment in relation to all this. Firstly, is that I don’t give myself space to think about these things. At work I’m busy on work stuff, at home I distract myself with web and TV, and on my commutes I like listening to podcasts. So, one thing we’re trying chez nous at the moment is an evening per week free of TV and internet. It’s only been a couple of weeks, so far – so possibly too early to assess any beneficial effect.

Secondly, the realisation that I’ve never really had to work hard at things or been forced to practise stuff. Nobody made me do my musical instrument practising as a child, I found exams at 16 a bit of a breeze (to get relatively good grades), A-levels similarly not difficult study-wise. University was a huge step up and I struggled a bit there, but manage to scrape through without too much effort.

I’ve been relatively fortunate career-wise with a few lucky breaks and only one sticky patch without work (which May would attest left me rather bereft). I’ve also usually been able to do the things I enjoy at work and not so much of the things I didn’t like/have an aptitude for (again there was a time when I really hated my boss/job for a while and again May will tell you how I was completely incapable of dealing with it – however, luckily again, I was able to find a sidestep out of it so I didn’t have to really ever deal with it properly). Likewise my family and relations didn’t seem to put much effort in to practising anything really. So, when May says to me ‘yes, emotions are difficult – you need to practise expressing/acknowledging/dealing with them’ I have no frame of reference as to what that means or what to do.

This of course spills over uncomfortably into working at relationships and of course working at trying to have a child… it hasn’t been easy and I’ve certainly not been prepared for the hard work and persistence, which has, of course, upset May on occasions when I’ve been lagging.

I realise that it’s only ‘half the battle’ to identify some causes – finding how and fixing is not going to be any easier, especially if I have to work at it…

Over to H

I’m not here, I’m writing a novel. If you want actual blog content, please feel free to nag, beg, demand and emotionally blackmail it off H.

See you in December.

Much love,