When I took the plunge and decided to create my blog, I had little trouble thinking of a name because this old cottage and our lives are so closely intertwined.
Although I knew what I wanted to say, I had no idea how it would all tie in together. How would I avoid my blog being a mishmash of random ideas? Any successful blogger says if you want people to keep coming back you must find your niche… But what is that? I had no idea what MY niche was, I just wanted to write about beautiful stuff that inspired and made me happy. I’d had so much to cry about in the recent past that I just needed and craved some happiness and beauty. And I found that inspiration in the bright, white, vintage world I loved so much.
I surrounded myself with light colours, luscious bed linens and anything that made me smile. With a small budget it meant I needed to be creative and that was ok as I loved op shopping and scouring my haunts on the web as much as I loved my cottage.
Which is where we begin our Big Life journey.
I don’t think a big life gets big without tragedy.
About a year after moving into our ramshackle cottage, we realised something just wasn’t right. Before we bought the cottage we had decided it was time to give Miss LCBL a brother or sister but after moving in, it just wasn’t going the way we had hoped. So after a battery of extremely invasive tests, we found out we needed help having another baby and began looking into IVF.
Never having known anyone who’d been through IVF, I had no idea what we were in for. We now know, anyone going through IVF experiences the same difficult hurdles and we were certainly no different.
So our cottage became a place of solace and comfort as we felt our lives spinning out of control. We bought her having no idea our budget to fix her up would take such a huge turn in the opposite direction. Initially the idea was to put our unique stamp on her, to make her our own and do it the way we had dreamed of. Although life doesn’t always go the way we plan.
IVF quickly became our priority and took over more aspects of our lives than we bargained for and work on our cottage took a back seat. With IVF there are never any guarantees that you will get pregnant or how long it will take, so when after just a few months we found out we were pregnant with a little boy, we were shocked, overjoyed and so grateful. We just couldn’t believe it happened so quickly. Maybe our plans could be realised after all…
But we need to back up a minute. Before we go on, it is important to understand how life was before IVF. I won’t try to give the impression that everything was perfect, but we were very happy. We had a passionate relationship, both in love and war. Neither of us was afraid to share our opinion of what the other was doing or saying. But I liked that about us, it always felt real and honest. And even then, with all the opinions flying around and hitting us in the face, we always agreed on the important stuff. We always came together, stronger than ever, even when the going got tough.
So after we got pregnant, we agreed not to get too excited about it until we passed that infamous 12wk mark. But at 12wks and 1 day, we were so excited we told everyone!
Then, at 16 ½ weeks, 9 days after an Amniocentesis to check for indicated abnormalities, my water broke. It was just too early for our little boy to survive the trauma, and after 5 of the hardest weeks of my life on complete bed rest and all of our best efforts to keep him alive our son, Aaron died in utero.
And we felt like we did too.
Our lives changed in an instant that horrible day and we became different people.
It felt like his death had initiated us into a lonely, isolated club that no one wants to join. Family and friends didn’t really know what it was like, we felt so alone in the pain. People tried to say the right things or do what they could, but no matter how well meaning, none of it eased the sadness. We walked around like zombies, going through the motions, looking unscathed on the outside but ripped and raw internally. You couldn’t see our wounds because they were inside, and most people just didn’t want to, who could blame them? Dealing with grief isn’t easy, for anyone. What do you say to someone who can’t stop crying, or is neglecting themselves, or doesn’t want to get out of bed?
But we just had to get up and carry on. As cruel and hard as it seemed to us, life didn’t stop. And our precious Miss LCBL needed us. We were her parents, Aaron was gone, she wasn’t.
At the time we didn’t see it, but we needed her to need us.
Because of her we got up, then again the next day, and the next, and kept on doing it until it became a habit. Life was different, we were different and Aaron’s death had left a distinct scar on our lives, we knew things wouldn’t ever be normal again but we had to carry on.
So we decided we would create a new normal and moved out of our cottage.
We left for 2 whole years and the first 12 months of those 2 years we neglected her. She represented all our pain and we just couldn’t live with our shattered dreams around us, reminding us of all the plans that died along with Aaron. Our family home, the renovation, our son, all gone.
So we left.
And over time we healed ourselves, just enough to feel ready to start IVF again. And after a long time we got pregnant again! Eventually we came back to our cottage with no money, all the happiness we could muster and got stuck in as best we could. Our cottage became our refuge once more, but this time we could love her back and treat her with the respect she deserved. Our grand plans were considerably scaled back, but it gave us an opportunity to get creative and be more inventive with her, which in itself brought so much unexpected fulfilment and joy into our lives that this cottage truly became part of our family.
So why not have a look around and check the place out? She may just have the same effect on you. And please, don’t be shy. I love hearing from you so if you have time, say “Hi!”