The kindness of strangers; the comforts of not thinking

It feels like a lot of water has gone under the bridge since I last posted, more than two weeks ago. I was a mess for a couple of days – hardly slept (never helps), mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted, sad, sad, sad, and really, really hanging out until the end of the work year.

I had been doing the markets for the last couple of Sundays leading up until Christmas, trying to sell some Indian textiles I had imported a while back. I didn’t make much money but met a beautiful woman who was helping out her sister in the stall next to mine. She found me crying in the bathroom at one stage early in the day and asked me what was wrong. I said I was hoping to be pregnant. You don’t have to say much to some women – they just know, especially – particularly – if they’ve been there. She asked me if it was IVF. I nodded and she said she had two children through IVF, and had tried for a third but it hadn’t worked out. After talking for a while, she told me she lived in the Netherlands, was going through a divorce and was trying to decide whether to come back to Australia. But she realised her kids were still too young, and she would have to stick it out in Holland for a few more years. So she was going through a hard time as well.

She later came over to me with two pendants in her hand and said, “I want you to have one of these, they will really help you.” One was a pendant representing the heart chakra, the other a beautiful rose quartz – the one she really wanted me to have. I was on the verge of refusing her offer, saying oh no, I couldn’t possibly, but I thought – take it, it’s such a beautiful offer. I accepted the rose quartz, and haven’t taken it off since, literally wearing it to bed some nights. I think it really does help – I have felt very comforted by it, and nearly panicked when I thought I had lost it at the hippy trippy music festival I went to over new year (more on that later). Sometimes the kindness of strangers is more comforting than that of those you love; I don’t know why that is. I guess because she understood immediately.

And she didn’t come out with the “At least you tried” line, which I know is well meant but does not cut it for me right now, and always seems to come from people who don’t grasp the enormity of everything that it takes to  decide to try IVF, and by yourself.

So the end of the work year, and Christmas and New Year and a break and summer couldn’t have come at a better time.

My brother came up from Melbourne for Christmas, and I was really happy that he came, so I could cook up a feast (roast pork with perfect crackling and my first pavlova, also perfect) and look after someone. We had a fight after a day and a half but I guess that’s better than last year, when it probably took less than 24 hours. Then we went to my friend’s place in the evening, and ate and drank more, laughed and generally made each other’s Christmas.

After the not-being-pregnant, I kind of felt it wasn’t over, especially as a couple of girlfriends asked me if I was sure – “Are you SURE?” – that I wanted to give up. I had given myself three attempts, and that was it, three down, none to go. But it was such a blow after feeling so confident, and knowing there was nothing, apart from my age (I HATE that word), against me. My friends even offered me their uteruses, and money, to have another crack. None of which I could possibly accept, but incredible offers just the same. I saw the counsellor at the clinic, who said I sounded very rational; she said just take your time and let yourself work things out in your own time. Perhaps it was just too soon immediately after not being pregnant to say, that’s it, done, too bad it didn’t work out, move on. So I entertained the thought of trying again, of spending everything I had. But then I realised I only wanted to have another crack if I was assured of success, but of course that’s impossible.
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So, yes, Christmas, etc, couldn’t have come at a better time. It gave me a chance to be busy, not to think, just do, and to look after my brother, and have a fun crazy time at the music festival. I believe the not-thinking is actually good – you can think so much your head hurts and nothing is solved – but by not-thinking, things just come to their natural and rightful place. While lying in my tent early one morning last week at the festival, I realised that I couldn’t do it again. Not right now anyway. It’s too all-consuming. It’s stressful for a variety of reasons; not only the stress of hope and longing (which didn’t used to be stressful, they used to be good emotions) but also work and money.
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A music festival is as good a place as any to not-think, and the one I went to is called Peats Ridge and is in a beautiful valley not far from Sydney. Its mandate is sustainability; it has many fun or woo-woo workshops during the day (hula hooping, yoga, samba, laughter yoga, sound healing, meditation); the music ranges from small, relatively unknown bands to Gotye who headlined on New Year’s Eve and just won best album at the Australian music industry awards, with doof-doof and crappy disco in between. You camp, shower irregularly, don’t get much sleep, swim in a river stained with tea-tree, avoid deadly brown snakes and painful catfish stings, and marvel at the outfits people manage to emerge from a tent in (giraffes, an entire pirate ship, gladiators, smurfs, a set of crayolas).
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In one day, we managed to fit in yoga, hula hooping, zumba groove, samba and laughter yoga, and I adequately exhausted myself that day to sleep through the thumping bass that made its way across the camp ground from the doof-doof stage to actually sleep for 7 hours.
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That’s all from me today, I leave you with these pics.


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