Tuesday, 4 August 2009


While on holiday, I found myself making all kinds of resolutions. When I got back, life would be different. I would deal with all my faults and become a new, kinder, cleverer, more efficient person. My resolutions included the following:

"I will learn to speak fluent Amharic!"
"I will always be well groomed, and never have stray eyebrow hairs again!"
"I will buy an ice-crusher, grow my own mint and be known for my fabulous mojitos!"

Of course, now that I'm back, it's more like

"I will boil some spaghetti, defrost some bolognese and eat it on the sofa!"

and so I suppose life goes on. Holiday was great, but I'm the same me I ever was, just with a bad case of peeling sunburn. And you know what? I'm just as stupid as ever. Part of me really thought that we would get our referral while on holiday. Because it would have been inconvenient, and annoying, and expensive to change our plans, and fabulous and wonderful and why did I think I was going to get that lucky? I'm afraid I've reached that point in The Wait when I really don't think it's going to happen. When I got back to work this morning, I had to start a new diary for 2009-10 because the old one finished at July, and it was physically painful to look at those pristine new pages. I was really hoping not to have to touch that diary. I wanted my 2009-10 diary to say playdate! naptime! building blocks! rather than 'income / expenditure ratio scenario planning'.

While I was on holiday, I took this picture:

Which I think illustrates how I've been feeling. Right now, all the difficulties of our situation feel like that great big cow in the foreground. At the moment, this waiting is all that I can see. This uncertainty is all that I can think about. Last night I even dreamed that someone sent me a baby girl through the post. (She was fine after her journey, thanks for asking). How long can this top-of-the-list, edge-of-my-seat not-knowningness go on, do you suppose, before I lose it completely? No matter how hard I try to look away, I can't ignore the fact that there is a giant cow in my field of vision. As time goes on, that cow is looming bigger and bigger. It's now August and I want so much to move into the next phase of my life that it's hard to see anything else. The landscape around is beautiful, but - hey, there's that cow again. And I do keep wondering whether I'll ever really recover from what we've been through. That cow looks pretty immovable. When the baby is home, will I suddenly not care any more about all the sadness? I can't believe this will be the case. I don't want to place that burden of expectation on a grieving baby. Their role in life must not be to heal me.

As time goes on, I think I'm reconciling myself to the fact that this cow isn't ever going to disappear. I think I'll always have this cow of past sadnesses grazing somewhere on my mental pastures, no matter how great life becomes in the future. But I'm hoping there will come a day when she takes a walk and becomes more like the cow on the horizon. Still there, but further away and feeling a lot smaller. Maybe not even immediately noticeable. I don't really expect her to go away, but I hope that in time she won't be filling my field of vision anymore. She won't be the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning.

She'd better watch out though. I'm not sure how much more of this I can take right now. If she gets too much closer... I'm firing up the barbeque. Who wants a steak?


  1. You're such an amazing photographer, even if that cow is dogging you right now! I am glad you had a nice holiday and of course sad your referral didn't come through in the meantime...but it WILL come through. That cow will be so much in the background in a short little while you will say "cow, what cow???"
    Hang in there...wishing I had something more helpful to say.

  2. Well, the first thing I thought of the cow is, oh how beautiful! I love cows, can't help it and it's a nice photo and all. Interesting I should read your blog right now after the conversation I just had with my husband. He was talking about our IF and our losses and he sometimes still feels the sadness of it. Still, to this day, I can cry over it and I did. I summed it up, though, by saying that I can only hope that I will never experience that kind of pain again involving my children. May their lives be unmarked as possible, may they know themselves, may I put as much into their lives as possible to give them a foot up, to give them confidence and bravery and sweet times. I think the cow may always graze the pasture of your mind, but it might take a different cowpath as it wanders, an accustomed presence. I'm proud of myself for making my way through and around the cows of my mind, it is my biggest consolation for the grief.

  3. 1) I always, always, ALWAYS love your photography.

    2) I too share the not-really-ever-on vacation problem where I just come up with amazing things I should be doing in my "normal life."

    3) Do try to grow your own mint.

    4) If you notice, the cow is not blocking the road, the cow is to the side of the road. Your path is clear. As big as the cow may seem or feel, all that weight perched on those tiny legs, those tiny legs are oh so delicately placed on the shoulder of the road! Your path is clear! You just have to go up the hill. (And who really ever enjoys incline work-outs?)

  4. what an amazing photograph! I have a thing about photos/paintings/etc of cows and of cows on roads. If this were my photo I'd frame it for sure.

    I agree with Filoli...the cow isn't blocking your path, she on the path with you, sharing your pain with her big cow eyes. Ok, maybe that's a bit too new agey...just don't kill the cow! :-)

    I wish I had something really helpful to say...but all I have is: it will come. And like true love, it will come at the very moment you aren't looking or expecting it or, in my case, are shopping for more white shirts. And THAT MOMENT will be all the sweeter because you shared your journey with the cow.

    I'm getting in over my head metaphore wise but Ihope you know what I mean... much love, kat

  5. May I befriend you? I am always making resolutions. I keep thinking that I will fill the wait with my successful completion of resolutions. But that's the thing ... ultimately, it comes down to the one thing ... you are waiting, waiting, waiting. And no matter how gracefully you have decided to sit with the wait the truth is that the wait drives you quite mad. I am only half way through my wait window. I am experiencing a new realization as I am living vicariously through other newly formed lovely families. I want that joy. I want those people to share my joy with. I want to know my child before I turn 31- which is definitely within the window. But then I say that and I feel like I am jinxing it and it's going to be months later and later and later.
    There is only so much sanity in the wait. I think we begin to lose more each moment even if we find happy things to sustain us. But I do believe what Kat said ... that it's like finding true love- completely unexpected and no looking back.

    I wish you well. Although, the word verification that I have to type is recant ... I leave you to figure that one.

  6. I didnt' read the other comments, and they are most likely much more brilliant that anything that I have to say. But, I *heart* your thoughts. And I hope you can get to a point in your life, later when you have your child, and you realize that all of the heartache and difficulty is a part of the road that leads you there...so that someday you'll accept that cow and love it. Love it because even though it represents tough times, you are thankful for it...for it lead you to your now. But of course that is easier said than done, because that is a "now" of your future. But you will have your child, your family. Hugs to you. I wish I could time travel just to tell you how amazing your child is...and how amazing you are together. But alas, I haven't gotten their YET. lol And yes, that is a freaking amazing picture.


  7. Oh, yes, definitely with LE, don't kill the cow!

    I had to come back to look at that picture again. I freaking love it. I really want a big one to put in my house.

    Even though I am still looking for the perfect vertical print for the spot that Alpha made me take down the "offensive" picture that ended up with me spraining my achilles - I am quite the boob really.

  8. Oh how I love me some "after vacation" plans. Things are always so much simpler there, huh?

    Your photo is gorgeous. I seriously thought it was a professional print!

    I see another cow in the far background. Could you looking at how far you have already come? The cow in the foreground might be your current obstacle and there will always be another one down the road (some bigger and meaner than others), but you get past each and every one. And I think the next one will involve you teaching "moo" to your little one. Hugs...

  9. Oh Claudia, I LOVE the photo! You should sell that- you could make some good money!

    I know that before my hysterectomy, I thought I would never smile again. It hurt SO much. Afterward, I did smile, but when someone told me she was pregnant, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I used to go to therapy and cry and cry. It helped a ton! Still, I think my lowest moment was during the adoption process actually, when I had to go to a class for new moms. I was the only non-pregnant woman in a room of 30. I wanted to run away so much. It made me think, if I can still feel so sad, then maybe I am not ready. But here is the thing- when I saw Jacob, things changed. And not because of him, but because of me. Because all of the sudden, I was a mom to this child who was still on the other side of the world. I was the same mom as the women I worked with every day. I was a mom. If I had to go through it all over again, I would CHOOSE the hysterectomy. I would opt for this. And I know that someday, you will too. Someday, that cow, is just going to be another story on your journey to motherhood. It is going to be in a barn, hanging out, that you visit from time to time and think, "wow, this cow used to seem so big! Why did it feel so big?". And you will give her a pat and keep going.

  10. I love Filoli's #4 comment...

    I feel saddened by your grief and loss of hope. I wish I could come over there and stab that ef&@## cow in the chest for you. Take it down with all the vengeance and fury that this wait has caused.

    I can't speak for Julie, but I think somehow she also reached a place where she didn't think it was going to happen. I think. I can't speak for her and don't want to be that presumptuous. But I do want to say, look - She's in Ethiopia right now!!! Right now!

    I send you vibes of the grandiose hopeful kind that you may see down that clear path cow nothwithstanding (since I'm taking a machete to it and yes, I'm an animal lover)...



Over to you!