Monday, 29 April 2013

That old familiar feeling

I think I've become almost assimilated into normal, sometimes. I don't recoil at the sight of babies anymore. Infertility no longer dominates my every waking moment. I mean, I don't forget I have no tubes, but, post-Boy, things are much easier.

But some people make it easier to handle than others.

I have a friend who had her first when I was going through a particularly rough time with losses and treatments. She probably didn't mean to, but she completely rubbed me up the wrong way (I think she had it in her head that I'd feel better if I took more interest in her pregnancy and baby, and some of her endless status updates on Facebook were particularly aimed and me and my husband, when we just wanted to try and deal with our own problems as best as we could) and we barely spoke for a while.

Fast forward a couple of years. Things have gotten much better between us, although I think the level of trust has diminished.

So, I asked her if she fancied doing an activity with a small group of other people. It's reasonably strenuous and somewhere quite remote. I made a point of saying we were leaving the Boy (partly because it's not small-child-friendly, and partly because she sometimes just ignores her toddler causing havoc - which isn't really what you want if you've booked a babysitter for your own kid).

She said yes, so I started looking at pricing and arrangements. I e-mailed the group to confirm, then got a weirdly passive aggressive message from her saying she'd noticed her husband and son weren't included. She quite often does stuff without her husband, so I replied saying she hadn't said anything about him coming, and reiterated that it wasn't a suitable activity for small children, so I'd understand if she couldn't make it.

I then got a reply saying that she'd checked with her husband and he didn't want to come anyway, so just to go ahead.

Then - and I bet you saw this coming - she posted a scan photo on Facebook.

So now I'm gritting my teeth about the whole thing. I had been feeling relatively ok about being infertile, babies weren't bothering me; feeling normal. But I'm kind of grumpy about the whole trip and it's making me feel grumpy about my husband's dithering about whether or not he wants to try for #2, whether we'll move house, and so on.

If she's coming, the dynamic will change; not so much drinking and having to take it slightly easier. One of my other pals is also going through fertility problems and I suspect will probably find it a bit tough.

I'm not sure if I'm irrationally annoyed because she can get pregnant easily and I can't. Maybe I thought I was doing better than I actually am. Or maybe it is just genuinely a bit irritating.

I don't want to go back to feeling bad when other people get pregnant.

Update: Giving the Boy his bedtime routine, I remembered that I promised myself that, if I ever actually had a baby, I'd stop fretting about small, stupid things and be grateful for just being able to have one child; that secondary infertility would never affect me as badly as it did first time around. So I think I need to just focus on, and be thankful for, what I have.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Changing rooms

As part of our plan to move our lives on, we had our flat valued. We bought our home just before the economy went completely down the toilet. In fact, checking an article in an estate agent magazine, we bought it the month the property market peaked.

Great timing, eh?

The good news is, we don't have negative equity. The bad news is, the recession has wiped a cool £30k off the value. Which is probably about as much as we gained on my husband's last flat, sold when we bought this place. About 8,000 kebabs, the entire contents of every local charity shop, and then some. About as much as David Beckham spends on a single pair of pants.


We had been banking on a leetle bit more money than that, and it's going to make it a lot more difficult to move somewhere with a garden. Plus the value we got was dependent on getting our place repainted, recarpeted and so on.

Hope we win the lottery, or that our collection of DVDs is actually worth more than the £6.87 I estimate it to be. Pray that the estate agent was wrong.

I suppose the silver lining is that the market is a wee bit shagged everywhere; we'll pay less for a bigger place than we would have five years ago

We'll have to get someone else round for a second opinion but make sure we do a better job of tidying and decluttering first. Casting my eye around, the dead pot plant, carpet stains, and half-chewed roll of toilet paper are not likely to help form positive opinions.

I remember in the 2000s, there were all these property shows that told you how to make an attractive wall hanging out a bike wheel and some ribbon and bottle tops. And other, similar ones that said you should paint everything magnolia. But I don't think either of those will help us, now.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie...

I must admit, my primary emotion at hearing of the passing of Margaret Thatcher was a stab of exhaultation.

Isn't that awful?

On reflection, I think she did some good. From reading the history books, the UK couldn't have gone on in the way it had been. Industrial reform was inevitable, and was inevitably going to cause some pain. The council house buyout allowed millions to buy property, giving them a more secure foothold in society.

Which brings me to the bad points. Like her not believing in society.

But above all, what she did was to make society less equal. Those who ended up on the bottom rung during the 1980s have become less and less likely to move up the ladder. Entire communities were thrown on the dole queue, and became far more susceptible to the ravages of drugs, unemployment and poverty. Some of them are within a few minutes of where I stay, and have not recovered from the dismantling of heavy industry.

It wouldn't have been so bad if there had been more invested in alternatives. We didn't stay in a town dominated by heavy industry, but, during the 80s, I remember my older siblings spending months, even years, being firstly unemployed and then under-employed. Mass unemployment hurt graduates as well as ex miners, particularly in areas outside the South East of England.

For every good policy effect there was a bad one. The council house buyout wasn't just about a family buying a house; some families managed to buy several and then make a fortune. Which means that now, some households live in terribly cramped conditions, unable to afford to buy or rent commercially, but stuck in a tiny council house.

Perhaps some sort of counter balance to the policy would have to have reinvested the receipts for sales in new council housing, or only allowed, say, 50% of houses in a community to be sold.

I think I'd have felt slightly... well, "sad" isn't the right word. But possibly find the celebrations of her death a bit more distasteful, if this horrible government, full of her political children, hadn't chosen this month to step up their persecution of disabled people. Food banks are opening everywhere, the government cuts benefits as an incentive to work, then announces it is also going to cut the minimum wage. And they try to justify reforms by using the deaths of six children at the hands of their father.

That's her legacy - that "the devil take the hindmost" is an acceptable government policy. Well, he's taken her, now.