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Back from Finland

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 9 August 2014

We came back from Finland last week; arriving back on Sunday and returning back to work on Monday. That was a bit of a mistake in that I've been so wiped out by work this week that even thinking about writing a blog post has been beyond my reach. So I can only apologise for my long absence, but if it's of any consolation, we had a brilliant time away. : )

I won't go into too much detail about the trip here, but the weather was gorgeous (+30 degrees almost everyday) and we spent as much of the time as humanly possible in the lakes (of which there are lots, and lots and lots).

We got to see my relatives, which was lovely. And you know the one thing about Finns that I really like, is that they don't ask too many personal questions. Despite the relatives fest (which included my Dad's 70th birthday party), no-one asked me once whether or when we are planning to have babies!! Either it's the culture (Finns are fairly private people) or the word has gone around (I've told my Dad and my step-Mum about our struggles and haven't asked them to keep it a secret, as it'll save us the trouble of telling everyone) and people are too polite to ask, but man, was that refreshing!

The only real heart-wrencher was finding out before the trip that two (out of my three close remaining friends in Finland) were pregnant; one with twins. I'd heard about the singleton pregnancy quite a few months ago on Facebook and sent my congratulations, but only heard about the twin pregnancy just before our trip.

I feel a bit bad about this, but I almost deliberately chose not to spend too much time with them this time around (they both also have very young children, which makes it trickier to attend activities, esp. when heavily pregnant). I invited them for a few things (a day at the beach, a day trip to Tallinn) but they declined from both, which I was kind of grateful for. We only really saw them at our God daughter's birthday party and even then for a short time only. By then I was able to put my own s*it aside and be genuinely happy for them, ask questions etc. So it was fine. Of course it hurts, but they're my friends and what are they supposed to do, put their lives on hold so that I can catch up? Hardly. So I'd put my big girl pants on and dealt with it (proud infertile moment*).

What really struck me (and was almost more painful than my two pregnant friends) at this party, was that we were the only childless couple left. And yet still, no one asked us about our baby making plans, not one! Oh, the polite Finns, how I love thee. But it was sad, really sad.. It just showed me how far behind we'd fallen in this whole 'creating a family' business. Some of the people there (who were literally only a couple of years older than me) had pre-teen kids! Ouch.

My only consolation was knowing that we will get there. It may take some time, but we will get there and one day we won't be the couple without kids, but just one of the many families. And then I'll be able to share my stories and experiences that I've had with my kids. And you know what, the truth of the matter is, that I didn't even mind listening to all the stories and shared advice about kids, I just absorbed it all and stored it up for later. Because one day, one day it'll come handy for us too!

Other than that our holiday was fantastic. Almost ruined by PMT (which quite frankly is getting out of hand these days and no amount of evening primrose oil seems to curb it), but again we dealt with it, got over ourselves and just had a lovely time together. It was actually really nice to be a bit removed from the IF scene. I deliberately didn't do any writing (I did follow all of you as best as I was able to and tried to comment, too - and hey, some of you got some really great news, congrats!!!) and it was just really nice, for a change. Which didn't mean that we didn't try this month, but somehow it just didn't seem all that important. (What's our chances naturally, anyway, eh?!)

It also cemented our determination to fulfil our dream of moving to Finland. M. has been in love with the country the moment he first landed there (which was 3 months after we'd met in summer 2008 - my cousin had a wedding there and I was planning to go so asked him to go with me. He met almost all of my HUGE family at that wedding and yet decided to stick around - impressive. And I remember my aunties commenting on how he seemed like a keeper ; ) . Language is a big issue and barrier for the move, but M is doing his best to learn it (poor thing, it really is an awful language to study as it doesn't resemble any other known language really) and we'll have to sort of start from the beginning again when we get there. But we've looked at the pros and cons and the pros seem to outweigh the cons, in that even if we'll end up being poorer there than we are here in the UK, our quality of life in so many ways would still be better. My Dad has an empty flat in south of Finland which we could hopefully use in the early stages as we set ourselves up (my brother has never shown any interest in it, despite having been offered it for his use). So once this infertility coaster has come to an end, that is our plan. We haven't told family and friends yet, as we don't want to raise their hopes, but are working towards it, as we do more research on the matter and slowly develop our plans.

I find that it really, really helps me, having an aspiration  for our future. It helps me to shift some focus off this infertility rally and provides me a glimpse of the bigger picture. This is just a season in our lives, it'll be over soon and after that there'll be better times ahead. Obviously this'll have some impact on our adoption plans (I have done my research obvs.), in that we'll have to let the Social Worker know from the start that this is our plan and it will limit our adoption options and probably increase the waiting time for a suitable child (if we go down that route). But, hey, since I've become an expert in the art of waiting, what's a couple of months / years, eh!?

This is turning into a bit of a gargantuan post so I think I'll stop here. I kind of feel like I'm a bit overloaded with things to say (perhaps taking a break from blogging wasn't such a clever idea after all) so I'm afraid you may just have to suffer the consequence in the form of back to back blogs, for a couple of days, so I do apologise in advance!

*) Courtesy of Awaiting Autumn - thanks for your blog post, it inspired me to recognise my own PI moment ; )


TwoPlusOne said...

Loved your detailed post. Good on you for confirming your long term plans - something to look forward to with certainty, eh? Also really glad you had an awesome time in Finland (would love to visit someday, but we are so far from *everywhere* here!) and great that you handled yourself well around all the baby talk. Wish we didn't have to, but I always pat myself in the back for not pulling out my hair every time, and instead soaking it in for the future :)

JCH4DCU said...

I love this post so much and for so many reasons.

First: I will want to borrow this some day "what are they supposed to do, put their lives on hold so that I can catch up"
Because, I've had to tell myself that so many times. I like the way you wrote it.

Second: You are so right that having other things to focus on helps to take the stress of TTC away.
I am definitely someone who needs some type of "side project" to focus on or I will obsess and stress about every TTC moment.

Third: "What's our chances naturally, anyway, eh?" Because, that's the same boat I'm in. I know full well that natural conception would be nothing less than a real and true miracle. And I hate that!!
It's nice to know I have an ally out there in the "will never happen naturally" world.

Welcome back and I'm glad you had a great trip!

Anonymous said...

Yes! After our great trip to San Francisco, Mr. O and I have sorta decided to move there. Not any time soon, but in a few years (there are a lot of other things that need to settle, totally un-IF related.)

And it is amazing how just being able to think about and plan a future shifts your mindset. It's like IF makes you forget what possibility looks like.

(Aside: Maybe I'm thick, but I had no idea that you were from Finland. Mr. O and I went to Estonia and Helskini several years ago. Totally loved that part of the world- I can see why you'd want to move back.)

Haisla said...

Side projects / future plans rock! My other (more short-term than the Finland) plan is to find a new job (my current one truly sucks and is so not fertility friendly) and to learn how to drive (at the tender age of 35 I still haven't mastered that skill).

Ostrich: So glad you've gotten to visit our neck of the woods - it's a bit of an obscure destination, but well worth visiting, especially if small, quiet, quaint cities are your thing. : )

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