Good Skin, Bad Eyes, Worse Eggs, Fitness … Improving!

crackedeggOne of the most gratifying aspects of blogging is the ability to share perspectives on topics that rarely (if ever) get discussed at work or socially or, well, anywhere in real life. Better still, our online conversations reach across continents, oceans and time zones. The fourth guest post in our Tapestry of Voices originates in the land Down Under.

Carmel is a long-time Coming2Terms reader.  She lives in Australia and has recently moved into a challenging role in the community service sector in an attempt to find meaningful work outside the home — rather than inside her own as she’d imagined. After spending much of her time focusing into the future, she’s now enjoying living in the present and the everyday simplicities of life. Her weekends are spent reconnecting with family and friends, watching episodes of “Mad Men” and reading literature (rather than the latest medical research on fertility).

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People I just meet or who don’t know my background can be surprised at my age, thinking I’m around five years younger.  It’s genetics, my mother in her late sixties has few wrinkles.   Some people tell me I’m lucky to have ‘good skin’.

My eyes on the other hand aren’t the best.  I’ve worn glasses since I was eighteen, and had numerous prescriptions over the last twenty two years.

My husband and I married when I was 35. We are now approaching our 5th anniversary.  For the first four years we lived in progressively serious! TTC territory.  For the last year we’ve been trying to adjust to a new way of living, a new life…

Apart from a myriad of other issues, my eggs aren’t in good shape.  Again, the genetics come into play.  My mother went through menopause at 44 so I did suspect I might have an issue.

Good luck, bad luck… you win some, you lose some…  Of course there’s no comparison.  They’re each individual genetic traits, and as much as I’d like to, I know I can’t bargain one off against the other.  But it does seem a cruel irony that at least for the next few years it’s likely that I’ll continue to receive questions or comments about “when you have children”.  Only our inner circle of family and close friends know the turmoil we’ve been living through.

As luck would have it another quirk of fate is that I managed to undergo six rounds of stimulated IVF without putting on weight (ha ha – am I really saying I was lucky to do that many rounds and end up with nada!?).  In some ways it’s not surprising seeing as I was incredibly conscious of my diet – giving up alcohol, caffeine, sugar and anything else that wouldn’t be good for a pregnancy or baby.  I had a purpose and end goal in mind!  Then, without a purpose and feeling so annoyed with my body for not working as it should, I haven’t treated it as well the last year.  Or perhaps I should say, in the literal sense I have treated it too well.  My weight gain isn’t the end of the world (it certainly felt like I’d already experienced that) but it’s enough to be annoying and uncomfortable.

For the last few months I’ve been back at the gym, and in the last weeks have even restarted the high energy classes I used to do — those I needed to give up for health reasons during my cycles (due to other complications that arose).  It’s been hard work. I don’t have the fitness I used to either, but it feels good to be back in there and to be using my body for something positive again.

All was going well (albeit me puffing away) during my last class, when I saw her.   She took my breath away as well as my concentration.  I lost my step, struggled to get back into the routine and keep up, wondered if I could continue?  It sometimes still happens – a reaction so strong that it catches me unawares, something visceral, deep inside.  She was another participant in the class – a woman who was very fit, seemed to know the moves, was keeping up, looked to be in her 40’s – and was quite pregnant.

While lots of things – genetic material included! – are outside my control, I knew that in this, I had a choice.  It wasn’t easy.  Every so often my eyes strayed to the other side of the class and I missed a few steps.  But I continued and felt proud of myself for going on – for taking each step and finishing the class.  I plan to continue to exercise not only my body, but the control I do have – my fitness level is definitely up to me!

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Welcome your thoughts about the ideas in this post, and let us know where you call home. If you have a guest post you’d like to share, please email me at ptsigdinos (@) yahoo dot com.

Pamela Tsigdinos

Writer, blogger and, oh, yeah, infertility survivor. My memoir, Silent Sorority, tells the whole story. There's a movie in there somewhere. Given the quirkiness needed to relate it all I'm thinking Jennifer Lawrence would be a good fit.

  1. Marci

    I really enjoyed this post. It echoed so many things about where I’ve recently been. I like how Carmel emphasizes that she had a choice to finish the exercise class and applauds herself for doing so, even if she did miss a few steps.

    Recently I had something planned I was really looking forward to. Just as it always seems to happen when I’m least expecting, the bomb dropped: so-and-so giddily announced her unplanned pregnancy. Although we’ve moved on from TTC, my heart still began to race and my skin broke out in a clammy sweat when I heard the news. I couldn’t get away from the situation fast enough. My first instinct was to go home and crawl into bed, forgoing the plan I had so been looking forward to. But I didn’t; like Carmel, I exercised my ability to choose. I pulled myself together enough to put one foot in front of the other, and continue with my original plan. Even though it was hard at the time, I knew I would be proud of myself for exercising the control.

    Thanks, Carmel, for sharing part of your journey with us.

  2. Pamela

    Agree wholeheartedly! Carmel showed great fortitude by staying in the class and focusing on her body, her fitness and the ability to do something good for herself!  That took discipline that’s hard for others who haven’t walked in our shoes to fully appreciate.

    On the giddy announcement front … I found myself on the receiving end of two work-related birth announcements mass-emailed with photos and all the joyful chitchat that accompanies such news. This adds up to 28 and 29 births in our 40 something-sized firm in less than a decade. I think it’s time to hire a few more 50-somethings! 

  3. claire

    Hi Carmel thank you for your post we have also stopped ttc i only got married at 39 after suffering a miscarriage and thought i would get pregnant again but it never happened. I am now 42 and just before i started IVF was told that my my eggs are to old to work for IVF this hurt. My husband and i are moving on slowly but when women who are older than me get pregnant it hurts although i am happy for them it just hurts i want to run away. Thank you again for your post and thank you Pamela for your book which is a life saver to me

    Claire in Ireland

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