On The Road To Find Out

If I had a cat he would be called Stevens. As things stands I don’t have any pets – but nevertheless, this is an understanding we have in our household. That one day, Cat Stevens may become a family member.

When I was a young girl in the 70s, we used to go out for drives in the country at the weekend, legs scorching on faux-leather seats, with the warm smell of my dad’s plaid shirt in my nostrils, and our favourite 8-tracks on the stereo. Read More »


Finding Joy

I was delighted when I was asked last year if I would be happy to contribute to a book about childlessness that was being written by Lesley Pyne. Lesley’s website was the first place I ever released a piece of my own writing into the wild – when I felt compelled to tell my own story – one of the hardest, but most important things I’ve ever done.Read More »

The Mother Club

This week has seen the invention of another new word in our household …

Haribwoe –
noun: The guilt and self-loathing one feels having eaten too many sweets, resulting from no children having knocked on your door at Halloween, necessitating a frantic consumption of said sweets to do away with the evidence that you ever bought them in the first place.

I can imagine the conversation amongst the neighbouring parents as they took their little people up and down the street “Oh no, they don’t have children, we’ll leave them in peace”. Imagining that this is the sentiment (unless we have other issues with our neighbours that we are unaware of) I can appreciate their consideration. However, it is just one of many little reminders throughout the year that we are on the outside of a club. The biggest, most natural club in the world.Read More »

A Refreshing & Entirely Inappropriate Conversation

Yesterday my mother and I went to get our hair done. It is a little ritual we do every 10 weeks or so. Some quiet time for her to read magazines and drink coffee, and a nice little me and her thing, which we don’t often get the chance to do.

When I went to pick my mum up I was in a terrible mood. It had been a tense week for one reason and another, and when my dad asked me “So, what is new with you?” my brain leapt immediately to “Nothing good!” and I clammed up, as I so often do when asked this question.

For others I might try to invent a positive slanted something or other that tells them absolutely nothing. For my dad, I sometimes try and fudge together some diversionary train of thought, perhaps about current affairs (which he loves), or what somebody else we know has been up to lately. Yesterday I just didn’t have the energy or the imagination or the heart to even do that. I shrugged and said. “I have no idea”.

So my mum and I headed out to our hair appointment and I was left feeling agitated and dissatisfied with how my life is going just now.

The new junior (who recently started working at the salon) came over to take me to the back room, in order that she could wash my hair. She was very young, and very keen and very chatty. For me, the extraction of a tooth is often less painful than the extraction of small-talk, but I tried my best, so as not to squash her springer-spaniel spirit.

She asked the usual questions:

“Do you have any holidays planned?”
“What are you doing with the rest of your day?” 
“Any plans for the weekend?”

I have no holidays planned in the foreseeable future. The rest of my day was probably going to be spent trying hard not to get my grump all over my parents. And the weekend felt like a big gaping void of nothing fun at all at the present time.

Then the conversation took an unexpected and alarming twist.Read More »

Release & Renewal – Reflections & Wellbeing Through Writing

A Guest Piece By Forty & Everything After For Lesley Pyne 

I was contacted by Lesley Pyne recently, whose website was an absolute blessing to me, when I finally felt able to look my childlessness full in the eye.

Lesley asked if I would write a guest post for her site – which supports childless women to heal and create a life they love. She hadn’t realised when she asked me that her site was the very first place I had ever shared a piece of writing publicly. It remains the hardest writing I have ever done. The hardest story I had to tell. And it was thanks to the inspiration and support I found on her website that I found the strength to do it.

If I could tell that story, strip myself bare – not just down to the skin, but to my absolute heart – release it into the wild, perhaps I could release some of my fear and pain, confusion and grief along with it. If I can write that, I can write anything.

And here we are now, on this blog what I made – Thank you Lesley :)

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My Musical Coma & Letting The Light Back In

The final procedure performed when you undergo IVF is the re-implantation of your now fertilised eggs. This procedure is painful, both physically and emotionally. Before I underwent this procedure (on what was to be my third and final course of IVF), my husband and I, rightly or wrongly, agreed to be introduced to our two fertilised embryos (Edwin and Ernie as they became known in our house) – as they sat there, only a handful of subdividing cells between them, on a petri-dish under a microscope. Left alone to have a moment with them, we gave them some encouraging words and urged them both to “Grab on”. They didn’t grab on.

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I Had To Come Back To The Beach

I had to come back to the beach
This is where the music stopped
But now I think I need the waves
They kept rolling whilst time stood still
They’ve been all over the world since then
As have I
Now it is time to rejoin them here

I think I may have set the answer down
Amongst the rocks
And if I walk some
Write some
Is that ticking?

I had to come back to the beach
The needle got stuck
But it may now have refound its groove
The tune sounds different
Not the endless loop of before

Sam sang ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’
He knew
And now it has
It crept but it did come
And if I can bear to listen once again
The tune will sound different this time


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