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Friday, 8 November 2013

365 Days

One year ago today, at about this very time in the evening I discovered that I was pregnant.

Six years of procedures, tests, consultations and many a dr, physio and consultant advising me against trying to have a baby, (if indeed it would even be possible)- had ended with one little blue line on a white plastic stick and the subsequent realisation of the enormous life change that was before us.

I will never forget the intoxicating mix of euphoria, relief, fear, anticipation and pure joy that entered my husband and I's lives that evening.

365 days on from that day and we are the incredibly proud parents of our miracle girl Florrie, the baby that we feared we would never have. The baby we were advised not to have and the baby that the doctors feared would make living pretty impossible for me.

In my opinion there is no such thing as impossible, merely compromise of varying degrees.

My compromise is that for me, it may be a life lived with pain, but it is also a life lived with the most incredible joy- a joy that I had never known, or could have begun to comprehend until now- and one of those elements certainly tips the scales over the other.

There is no greater motivation to getting through my day and the pain that often consumes my being, (usually at three or four in the morning when my incredible sleeper of a baby is safely in the land of nod and I have pain that just will just not let me rest)- than seeing my little angel sleeping soundly and smiling innocently in her dreams.

Despite life being challenging, I have no doubt that I made the right decision to ignore the doctors' advise.
That being said, it is important to state that it was not a decision taken lightly by my husband or I- it was one taken over years, and one fraught with anticipation, anxiety and guilt that I was putting my desire to be a mum over the quality of life of the baby that I might one day be blessed with.

I still worry that I never want Florrie to have to look after me; I never want her to be mocked by her friends at school that her mummy uses a wheelchair to get around and I never want her to think that it's unfair that her mummy can't do all of the other things with her that the other mummies can- but what I do want (and what I will do my utmost to ensure), is that she grows up knowing that she was loved and so very very wanted even before she was even conceived and that love and maintaining a loving and kind heart is more important than any of the above.

I want to teach her that a combination of love, hard work and determination can overcome more than most people even realise.

I am not saying that others in my position should do what I did, only that I know unequivocally that I made the right decision for me.

I am blessed in so very many ways. I have challenges that make me appreciate even more that which I already treasure and I have my little miracle which I treasure above all else.

What a year it has been- a challenging, tough painful year; but a year that I would never change for all of the money and riches in the  world.

Night all. Have a great weekend and try using love to help you through the tough times in your own life.

Monday, 4 November 2013

A Beautiful Life

I am very touched by all of your kind messages and support following my return to my blog.

Those of you who have been following Discover Disability for some time will be familiar with my 'Reason to Smile' posts, which could be a story, an individual, an experience or even simply a photograph which has made me smile that day and made me that little more thankful for the life that I have been blessed with. 

Today's Reason to smile, is a strange one, in that it comes from news that actually made me very sad indeed.

Last Thursday I learnt of the sad news of the passing of a an old colleague and friend of my Mum's who I had been fortunate to know and who was a great supporter of my work with the charity and blog.

In return, I hugely admired this wonderful lady's own work as an aspiring photographer and journalist; in fact It is no exaggeration to say that this individual was indeed an inspiration of mine, but it is with great regret that I never took the time to explain to her quite how much this was so.

As quite a worrier myself, who has a tendency to all too often over analyse and procrastinate about decisions or pathways in life; I took incredible inspiration from the fact that this lovely lady would just make things so and just go out there and get them- minus that selfish, 'at whatever cost' attitude that so many successful people sometimes exude. 
Instead her spirit was kind and selfless, yet full of zest and enthusiasm.

I would follow her life, (documented so beautifully through her photography and quotes that she would pick up along her travels) and feel so excited to see what she was doing with that incredible combination of tenacity and talent.

Only two days before her untimely death at the mere age of 29, my Facebook news feed took me to a photograph that Harriet Ward had taken of the sea just off of my home town just before Sunday night's big storm.

The picture was so beautiful and had captured the atmosphere so incredibly that I thought to myself that I should write to her and tell her how much I had been admiring this and her other work lately.

With newborn baby as my puppet master, I duly returned to attending to her needs before collapsing in front of the tele with my husband later that evening, never finding or making the time to write to her before I fell into bed that night, or even the next.

I naively thought that I had plenty of time to give Harriet praise and encouragement about her work, but tragically this was not to be, as Harriet died suddenly and oh so unexpectedly only 48hours later.

This sadness naturally took me to the old adage told to us all by our parents and grandparents, of never to put off until tomorrow, that which you can do today.

'If only' went around and round my mind and heart repeatedly, as it does to so many in these tragic circumstances.

In rational and realistic moments I can appreciate that life is all too often all consuming with it's constant hits of deadlines, appointments, family demands and emotional hiccups to stop and do every such nicety as send Harriet that message, but wouldn't it be nice if we took 10, 5, or even a minute out of our day each morning, or each evening to tell someone something lovely that could make their day; or to simply switch off all of our all encompassing electrical devices and just think about the small or simple beauties of our day.

The Reason to Smile from this sad tale is that that is exactly what Harriet Ward seemed to do. 
Through her mediums of photography, Twitter and her blog, she appeared to take the time to see the beauty we all too often whizz past on our way to that appointment or errand that apparently 'just can't wait'.
It is with great poignancy that I have been endeavouring to channel Harriet's inspiring spirit and savour these little things myself since hearing the news of her death and I urge you to check out her website to perhaps be inspired to do so yourself, if you too have fallen into the habit of keeping up with the rat race of late and forgetting the truly important things in life.

Harriet seemed to really see the beauty in the changes of the seasons, in particular Autumn, and I sit here in my local park typing away on my iPad, with well behaved dog and sleeping baby in tow, trying too to take the time to give thanks for the beauty around me on this gorgeous afternoon.

We none of us ever know how long it is that we should be blessed with time on this earth, but let us try and do something beautiful with that which we do have by being kind to others and aspiring to live in the way that lovely Harriet did- diving in head first into projects or journeys that may seem intimidating, taking time to see the diamonds in the dust as we walk along the path of life and truly living our lives to the full.

Take a moment out of your day to see the beauty of this world through the eyes of Harriet Ward and maybe you too will feel as inspired as I have by this lovely lady's incredible spirit to live on through her work.

Lovely Harriet I pray that your wonderful spirit is at peace. You have no idea how much and how many you have inspired and hopefully will inspire. God bless your beautiful soul.