Broody

This is a PSA to approach conversations about having children with others sensitively and with an open mind, and try not to make assumptions.

Not all women are broody.

Some women don’t want children.

Some women have partners who don’t want children.

Some women can’t have children.

Some women can’t relax and let it happen naturally.

Some women have lost children.

I am usually pretty open online about my life and my health. I’ve posted about my experiences of depression for example (and in case you didn’t know it’s Mental Health Awareness Week). But there’s something I haven’t posted about and that is changing today because I think it may be helpful to others (and myself) to talk about it. Also, as an occupational therapist the route to becoming a mother (an occupational role) is an important topic to consider, and one I now think should be explored more with people as part of health wellbeing and lifestyle screening.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you may be aware that I am turning 40 this year. I am also still single. And I am and have been broody for a number of years. In fact the issue has always come up when I’ve been for counselling. When I was younger I always imagined I’d be married with a couple of children by the age of 21. Clearly that didn’t happen. Now we hear of women who are having babies well into their 40s/50s and even 60s so many people are leaving it later. For career reasons, for financial reasons or simply because the nature of how we enter into or stay in relationships seems to have changed. It’s not as easy as the media makes it seem though and that’s why I have decided to share.

A few years back I considered looking at freezing my eggs, I even asked a GP about it but was told that obviously it would have to be done privately and I didn’t know where to start and didn’t take it further.

A number of things have happened over the last year, to me and other people, that have made me decide to act. I decided that I first needed to have an assessment of my fertility status because having not been trying to get pregnant I simply don’t know if I can.

Now although the NHS does help people with fertility there are a number of conditions that have to be met including having been trying for a certain amount of time without success, weight limits, previous children by either partner etc. Also the amount of cycles you can have is dependent on area.

Just a note about the weight limit. It seems that you don’t even get referred for assessment until you’ve lost weight which to me makes assumptions that weight is the only issue that can affect fertility (not the case) and may have an impact on timeliness of accessing treatment.

So basically I decided to look at this privately. And I can tell you this isn’t a cheap process by any means and involves scans and blood tests and depending on the results of these possibly more investigations.

Now despite what we are led to believe age is a limiting factor in having children. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have and over time the quantity and quality of eggs diminishes. Supposedly this dips rapidly after the age of 35 but may affect people younger. Being aware of the age your mother went through the menopause (yet another thing we don’t talk enough about) may be a useful indicator for you.

So my results came back and my AMH – measure of ovarian reserve (which looks at egg quality/quantity) was 0.4 which is very low. My scan indicated I had ovulated that month and that I don’t seem to have any endometriosis or other internal problems. But my age and AMH only give me a 12% chance of getting pregnant via IVF with my own eggs.

Ironically the first IVF ‘test tube’ baby was born in 1978 – 40 years ago.

IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilisation where basically a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm are introduced outside the body in a clinical environment and the fastest sperm hopefully wriggles in and fertilises the egg (just like in Look Who’s Talking 😂). Then things need to happen. Cells need to divide etc and if they do so correctly then the resulting embryo is reintroduced into the woman’s body to hopefully implant.

As a single lady I obviously have the complication of not having access to half of the process but thankfully nowadays there are sperm and even egg donors. You can literally add sperm to an online shopping cart. It’s surreal and I’ll talk about that process another time.

For now my role in the process is the following: –

Losing weight and eating healthier so that I:

Increase my chances of getting pregnant

Increase my chances of staying pregnant (I don’t think I ever realised how common miscarriage is. Obviously when getting pregnant naturally this can happen without people knowing but with IVF you can know the exact date of conception and are monitored earlier).

Decrease the likelihood of complications

Reviewing my health and the medications I am on and reducing/coming off or switching medication to safer forms. This should be a process that you explore with your GP and one that looks at balancing risks to the health of the mother and the embryo.

Trying to manage stress and be as relaxed as I can be through what is inherently a stressful and emotional process.

Be patient and wait for my next period – usually the thing you don’t want to have.

Self inject with drugs to stop natural ovulation and hormones to stimulate the growth of follicles from which hopefully eggs can be harvested.

Go for regular scans and blood tests and be prepared for things to change the whole way through.

Go for egg collection and have a general anaesthetic.

Try to coordinate all of this alongside working.

This post is long enough now so to conclude I will just say that I will be starting this process soon and I will post updates when I can. Although I think it will be helpful to write about it I will also need to safeguard my own mental health and may find that there are times when I can’t write or post about the process or may delay publishing posts.

I have some topics I want to write about but if there are any particular topics that people want me to discuss then let me know and I will do so as well as I am able but with the proviso that this only reflects my particular experience and that we are all very different.

Take care all and as I am learning if there is something you want to do look into it sooner rather than later.

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Curse of the Nomed by B. B. Taylor – Blog Tour Book Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40035236-curse-of-the-nomed

Synopsis

Ancient Gods, a cursed Librarian and a battle to save their souls. How hard could the first day of school really be? Welcome to Nomed Academy! An epic adventure for three unsuspecting year seven students as they embark on their first day of school. One they will never forget. But can they really defeat an ancient Egyptian God with nothing but revenge on his mind?

All net profits from the sale of this book go to Partnership for Children, a mental health charity supporting the positive mental health of children.

Idea created by the ‘Whizz Writers’ of Four Dwellings School Birmingham as part of the ‘Look At Our Book’ Project by Wesleyan Financial Mutual Services to raise money for the Partnership For Children Charity http://www.lookatourbook.co.uk

About the Author

Born in sunny Birmingham in the late 80’s I always wanted to write as a child, so as I grew and explored my love of working with animals and people I used all these experiences to create my first story and from there I was hooked! My Children and my animals are my main source of inspiration always giving me new ideas and stories to write. I studied as a Youth Worker and i’m also a qualified early years practitioner as well has having lots of random qualifications including in animals and sports 😉 My first book ever published is called Sox and Pals and is about my Raccoon Socrates, a very special raccoon that helps educate people all about animals and how to care for animals properly

Website:http://bbtaylor-books.co.uk/

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBBTaylor

Twitter:https://twitter.com/BB_Taylor_

What I Thought

I had flashbacks to reading The Demon Headmaster when I was little. This was a fun mash up with The Mummy vibes too.

The three lead characters Nora, Stefan and Jacob find out that missing assembly isn’t always a bad thing as they uncover a nefarious plot, find friends, and with the aid of the school librarian (who else) set about defeating the God Sett. Nora is reminiscent of Hermione and she is well and truly in control and although she is often referred to as weak that’s definitely not the case. Jacob has been misunderstood and is hoping for a fresh start whilst Stef has less of a back story. However the story is left open with the potential for more to come.

I believe children still study Ancient Egypt and Hieroglyphics at school and this book would be a great way to get them engaged at the start of a project. The book is just under 100 pages long so it’s a quick read too. Many of the chapters end with a mini cliffhanger so it’s one kids will want to read/hear all the way through in one sitting. The pace is fast and there’s a good mix of minor peril and humour.

The one little bugbear I had is the repeated use of the word crazy in a book that is supporting promotion of positive mental health as it’s been pointed out to me by mental health activists that the use of the word should be reconsidered. It’s a tricky one because calling someone ‘doing something not recommended’ crazy is so pervasive in our language. I’d love to hear some other suggestions of better ways to describe this.

Postscript:

It’s always tricky reviewing ARCs because you aren’t 100% sure what will make it into the finished copy. The author reached out to me to say they’d picked up the issue on edits and have changed it. See the tweets below. Thanks B.B.

And just a warning to parents that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are rumoured to be false in this story! And Ofsted is mentioned – sure to give any teacher nightmares!

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour to see what everyone else thought – and to purchase your copy to support the charity.

Thank you to Faye Rogers for organising the tour and for the electronic proof copy I received for the purposes of this honest review.

On Holy Ground by Louise Cole – Blog Tour

Not too long ago I reviewed the first book in this series – The Devil’s Poetry (see my review here) and jumped at the chance to read its sequel.

The first book was a unique blend of dystopian fantasy and I was interested to see where Louise took things next.

Synopsis

Saving the world was just the start

In The Devil’s Poetry, Callie gambled with her life to stop a war. And she won. But now the game has changed. A Reader who understands the Book’s magic is either a savior or a curse – what she can’t be is free. When Callie’s stranded in the US, hunted and penniless, she desperately needs allies. But whose agenda can she trust? She must re-evaluate everything she knows, and find a way to escape, or die trying. Don’t miss the riveting sequel to The Devil’s Poetry.

About the Author

Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire – she’s the one with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford – read being the operative word – and hasn’t stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.

What I thought

Another cracking opening sentence. I won’t share it though and I advise not reading it until after you’ve read book one.

As with the previous book the point of view switches between first person from Callie and third person from a range of other characters’ perspectives. Not having re-read Book 1 immediately before meant this switching did make it a bit trickier to get back into the story, and something happens immediately that knocks Callie and us for six and takes a while to process.

When Callie heads to America the plot and tension really paces up and along with Callie we don’t fully know who to trust. Not only is The Order and the Cadaveri after her but also a new group join in. Who is friend and who is foe?

It’s good to see a heroine who is vulnerable and who doesn’t always have the answers. Callie is questioning herself a lot in this book and that makes it perfect for a YA. We seem to know more than her and at times it is hard not to be shouting at her not to make certain decisions but this time she has to get herself out of the trouble she finds herself in and this makes for great character development.

The book makes for an intriguing exploration about the purpose of war and explores the concepts of bereavement, ptsd, survivor guilt and more all within the context of a fantasy thriller. It is full of twists and turns and is a pretty complex read as a result.

Do check out the other stops on the tour to see what everyone else thought.

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