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The Family Picnic

Last weekend was ‘The family picnic’. Many years ago, my grandfather and his brothers and sisters (and their kids) all met in a park in Enfield, North London near to where they lived at the time and had a big picnic to celebrate my great-grandmother’s 60th Birthday. They decided that this was a pretty nice thing to do as they all got to see their cousins and second cousins and third cousins and the only other time they did this was at funerals.

The family picnic

The family picnic 2014

And so a family tradition was born, and ever since then on the last Sunday of July, without anyone needing to check, come rain or shine, we all make the trip to Enfield and meet under the same tree for a picnic. I think only one of the families still live in Enfield, the rest come from far and wide – Kent (my family), Norfolk, Brighton, the Isle of Wight, France and even Australia. It’s a really lovely thing but also kind of weird. It’s really nice to see my cousins and aunts and uncles, but also all my mum’s cousins are there which is kind of weird as we only ever see them at The Picnic so we have awkward “I only see you once I year and I’m not totally sure if you’re Janice or Susan” kind of conversations. It’s the sort of thing you groan at when you realise next weekend is  The Picnic, but also secretly love.

I didn’t go last year – it was a month after my first failed IVF round and I just didn’t have it in me. This year I was determined to go, especially as some of my cousins that I hadn’t seen for ages would be there.

So I went, I chatted awkwardly, I ate sandwiches and had an icecream. I watched all the relatives of my age group play with their children, tell their children off for not sharing or sulking at having to be at the picnic, pick them up when they fell over, share an icecream with them. And guess what? It fucking hurt. To see my family with their own little families. To see them pass on the tradition to their kids and the thought that I’ll probably never have anyone to pass this onto.

For the last few months I’ve thrown myself into the ‘summer of fun’. I’ve tried my hardest to enjoy life and to let go of all the hurt and pain. But it’s impossible. There is a huge burning hole inside me and no amount of cocktails will fill it. People tell me to put it out my mind and to focus on the wedding, and I’m trying I really am. And don’t get me wrong, I have had some really fun times recently. But you can’t think about a wedding 24 hours a day – the fear and the pain creep back in no matter what distractions you organise. And even when I’m not directly thinking about it all, I can feel it. It’s physical. This gnawing hole deep inside – the same place where a baby should be.

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19 thoughts on “The Family Picnic

  1. Oh hon. I know how you feel. One of my sisters had a baby in February, to see my parents with her is heartbreaking. My other sister is due next week. I totally hear you on the family traditions thing… this thing is so mean sometimes, hugs x

  2. No No!

    This is no good! Be happy! All you have to do is not give up … I know that it’s rough (trust me), but all things are possible. Keep trying, and please be happy! :[

    • Thank you for your positivity, but it is not always as easy as deciding to be happy or never giving up. After 3.5 years ttc and 4 rounds of IVF (and trying every alternative therapy under the sun) the possibility that I will never be pregnant is a very real one. For some people the realisation that this will not be part of their life and working through accepting that is the only way…I’m not sure that I am at that point yet but if it does come to that I will not view it as ‘giving up’ by doing what is necessary and healthy to move on with my life. Unfortunately you don’t necessarily get pregnant if you just keep going, you might just get broken hearted and bankrupt.

  3. Ache for you so much. I wish there were something to say to that would magically assuage the gnawing hole but of course there is not. I am glad you’ve had some good times….but I know that family reunions are the worst.

    (By the way, I’m at tut072012@gmail.com if you ever need anything.)

  4. I know this feeling well 😦 I am starting to dread family gatherings… Even if there are fun parts and I enjoy seeing them all, it’s not easy surrounded by a ton of 30-something relatives and their children, plus the rude questioning that inevitably happens at some point. Lots of love my friend. I wish this wasn’t so hard xxx

  5. I don’t know how to put IF out of my mind. If you ever find a solution please let me know. I don’t think it’s possible though..
    I really wish things were easier and that we could really just have a break from it all for a while.. big hug lovely. xx

  6. I have been gone a long time and this aches my heart to read that you are suffering so. There are no easy solutions and resolutions for each person are so personal, one cannot paint it with the same paintbrush. Loving you… in your pain…. wishing we could take it away. hugs and love (((hugs)))

  7. Your brave and amazing , I’m going through failed ivf fet cycle ,I’m also in my early thirtys, it’s beyond heartbreaking , and soo so unfair, wanted to just suggest something to try, I’m unsure if you’ve already tried this, but have you considered pgs or cgh testing on your embryos?? , please look after yourself be kind to yourself , all the best

  8. Pingback: That girl | NewtoIVF

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