‘It’s bad news, I’m afraid.’
And just like that, my sunshine-y day was plunged into darkness. Eyes open, but not seeing. Hearing my voice, but unaware that I’m talking. A weird voice, higher pitched and somehow asking all the sensible questions. Ten years ago that call from my gynaecologist changed the course of my life. Turns out that my darling Mr Love, (yes, that’s his real name) had mumps post puberty, which basically turned the sperm tap off. The traditional way of having a family wasn’t to be. So we launched into making a different kind of family, bouncing like pinballs from doctor to doctor; at times painful, angry-making, but often filled with fits of giggles or tearful collapses in each others’ arms. I got pregnant twice with a sperm donor, but the tiny lives never made it past nine weeks. Support from friends and family was incredible – on the whole. Some people are weird.
But one woman’s understanding, warmth and professional advice was invaluable: Julia Samuel, grief psychotherapist and bestselling author of Grief Works (an important book on how to live and learn through great loss), helped us with a road map on our bumpy journey into the unknown. And when we decided we’d had enough, when it was time to swerve off the fertility treadmill and U-turn back to focusing on our love for each other and our flourishing lives, Julia was there with a suggestion for which I’ll thank her forever. ‘Write yourself a letter, telling yourself that you did everything in your power to come to this decision.’ That letter was a way of honouring all the time and tears involved in our effort to have a child, and eternal proof of how seriously we’d taken our eventual choice to not have children. It future-proofed me from potential regret or blame.
So when later this month Julia releases her new book, This Too Shall Pass, about change, crisis and hopeful beginnings, I’ll be first in line at the bookshop. As Julia explains: ‘Those who don’t change have less chance of success, joy or thriving.’ Julia is a sage; put this book on your reading list, hand it to friends who are struggling, leave it lying around for family members. It’s a life changer for life’s changes.
And I don’t mean eureka moments, but actual bulbs and the actual bloody light from new LED lights. Firstly, hurray for the legislation banning wasteful lighting (lighting consumes 18 per cent of the UK’s electricity), but why the ugly cold light from the new sustainable LED bulbs? Where are the warm shafts we’re used to from inefficient but oh-so-glowy incandescent bulbs? But after conducting my research (basically asking the beautifully-lit Soho House gang what they use to make everyone look so glamorous), I have news… It’s a company called Tala and they’re good (and stocked at Oka, Heal’s, The Conran Shop and Soho Home). Let there be… really good, golden – light.
This month I’ll be…
1. Nose deep in travel writer Sophy Robert’ book, The Lost Pianos of Siberia. Doubleday, £18.99
2. Trying a new girls’ night out: facials and yoga at the Haybarn Spa. bamford.com
3. Travelling with Larq, a bottle that self-cleans with UV light. livelarq.com
Luxury & Necessity
Delicious and Danish. blogger.co
SHARE THE LOVE
Recycled notebooks. thekindnessco-op.com
DITCH THE PLASTIC
Shampoo bar. christopherobin.com
A LIFE CHANGER FOR LIFE’S CHANGES
This Too Shall Pass. juliasamuel.co.uk
Murano glasses. campbell-rey.com