Regular readers of this blog might have noticed that I’m not blogging the 12 Days of Christmas this year. I began #blog12daysxmas back in 2010 and this is the first year since then that I haven’t done it.
2016 has been an interesting year.
If you follow the media reports, it was a horrible year. It was the year of celebrity deaths. The world mourned the loss of musicians and actors and other notable names. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Fidel Castro, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and a multitude of others. It was the year that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. It was also the year that Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America.
For me, 2016 had a bit more balance. There were good times and there were bad times.
It was the year I got news from Rome that I had been granted a Papal Dissolution of my first marriage. This left me free to marry Sean…which I also did in 2016. Words cannot describe the feeling of marrying someone who has brought so much happiness into my life. The process of requesting the freedom to marry and then providing all the information to support that request was perhaps not as bad as I had anticipated but it was no picnic either. The hurdles. Mishaps. Delays. The long wait. More waiting. Then JOY!
The wedding itself was wonderful. The liturgy was beautiful. The readings, the music, the Sacrament. It encapsulated who we are as a couple. It was the perfect establishment for our married lives together.
We followed that with a very relaxed and enjoyable afternoon with our friends and then a honeymoon (or “Bees’ Honeymoon”, according to Róisín) which took us to some very beautiful parts of Queensland. Not only was it our honeymoon but it was also our first family holiday with just the three of us.
Such wonderful and happy times were had this year.
But 2016 has not been without its personal lowlights.
I have spoken at times about my desire for a Cuddlepie for my Snugglepot. This year we took massive steps towards turning that desire into a reality. After receiving news at the end of 2015 that a natural conception was nigh on impossible, Sean and I decided to undertake assisted reproductive procedures. I’d always been against IVF for me but we navigated the ethical, moral and spiritual minefield and signed on. I won’t bore you with the process but suffice to say it wasn’t pleasant. You wouldn’t choose this method of making a baby if you didn’t have to.
Some of the illnesses I’ve suffered this year can be attributable to the side effects of the medications and procedures I’ve undertaken. I was left immuno-compromised and susceptible to whatever viruses and bacteria came my way. It was really adding insult to injury to get sick after all that I’d gone through.
I don’t want to make this a post about our fertility issues. I really just wanted to talk about the impact of the experience. We had two attempts at conception through IVF. Given that I’m not making any happy announcements tells you that both attempts were unsuccessful. In fact, the specialist said to us after the first attempt that a second try would be worthwhile but a third would be pointless. Ultimately, the message that we got through the process was that a second baby in this family would have to be a miracle.
My challenge now is to accept the reality of our situation. It has been very difficult to accept that our family is complete but accept it I must. Science can do many things but it can’t turn back time. I find myself crushed at the thought that my child-bearing years have been lost. I must look forward, not back. My child-rearing years are still with me and I have a wonderful little girl who needs a mother to be both present and positive.
So, I guess with all the ups and downs of 2016 I’m facing 2017 with renewed resolve to be positive. I want to accept the reality of things beyond my control. I want to take joy in the things I have, not mourn what I have not. I know I am loved and that my life is full and happy.