2018: My Year in Review

2018 started well.

2018. When I picture 2018, I picture some incredible highs, some wonderful achievements, and also some really shitty moments.

Like my husband collapsing on me in the emergency room at the hospital, buzzers going and doctors rushing out.  A lot happened in 2018, let me share my story and my three keywords for 2019 and what they might mean to me. And you might choose to have those same keywords as well.

2018 started with me deciding that I was not going to go back to my old day job, and I was going to work from home.

For several years now, I’ve had a passion for fertility, working with women and their infertility based on my own experience. And 2017 was the year that I went into the hospital and I ended up with a hysterectomy. I had young Olivia and young Chloe and babies that don’t sleep well.

So, the beginning of 2018 felt like the advent of some of my old life again.

It was sort of the start of me getting my life, my body back. We had started our journey to conceive at the beginning of 2012 and it had been a lot of putting certain things on hold. There were some things in my life that I needed to put on hold in pursuit of having babies such as getting my legs lasered and doing a juice cleanse.

Doing things that I love, which is working on computers, being in front of cameras, all of that kind of stuff, really speaks to me. So, it was a really exciting start, and if you have followed me from my newsletter, you’ll know that it kind of all came crashing down in the middle of the year. Everything was going really great, and I was doing one-to-one coaching as well as my Fertility Warrior Intensive program, which was a group coaching program. I’ve been really blessed and fortunate to work with clients who have been willing to take all of the advice and beautiful people. But we got into May, and the wheels started to fall off.

Where everything went South

I am a people person. And I started to just feel really lonely.

In the middle of the year, my parents went away on holiday. I spend a lot of time with my family. They went away, and I just had this feeling of, “Oh, hang on a second. I’ve put all my eggs in one basket.” And then came September. Out of the blue, I was offered a really great day job where I could choose what I wanted to do, and the number of hours I needed to work, this was it. This opportunity became available, and I took it.

Then one day while I was working, Ross called me to tell me, “Just to let you know, I’m in a great deal of pain here.”

And I was like, “What?” And he said, “I’m just going to have a rest.” I called in 20 minutes later. I said, “How are you going?” He said, “Yeah. I’ve just been lying down and I feel a bit better.” Fast forward to about an hour or two later, he’s calling me while I’m driving home from work in peak-hour traffic and said, “I’m in a lot of pain. You need to get here now and take me to a hospital.” We got to the hospital, where he collapsed. I thought maybe he’d had a stroke. His eyes were fluttering, like he was having this mini seizure. It turned out that he had ruptured his spleen, and was then transferred to hospital for five nights.

He came out, and 10 days later was back in the hospital with two collapsed lungs, pneumonia, a staph infection and again, a re-ruptured spleen. It’s been quite a long recovery for Ross and he’s gone back to working full time. Keep in mind, he runs his own business so it’s been quite tough trying to keep a business afloat. At the same time, little Olivia was in and out of hospital herself. When she gets sick, she gets kind of a cross between asthma and croup, then her airways close up (viral wheeze). She’s been in and out of the emergency room, much like Ross, and it just felt like everything was working against us. It felt like I was swimming and couldn’t keep afloat. And it’s been quite a long time on my journey since I’ve had moments where I have felt like that. If I think back to my journey with infertility, I certainly had quite a number of sort of panic attacks, and feelings where it felt like I was drowning in everything. Like it was all getting too hard, didn’t know what I was doing. So, this was kind of a journey in taking my own advice.

I have a dear friend who’s in the process of gaining her PhD. She’s a clinical psychologist, she’s amazing. She’s done some interviews with me for the Fertility Warrior Intensive, and I ended up having a few appointments with her, where really a lot of the advice she gave to me was the advice that I give to others.

Focus on deep breathing, Focus on being calm and trying to calm yourself in all the time and not just during the panic attack moments. Keep things in perspective, try to acknowledge that this is just a physical manifestation of what you are feeling and not something to feel ashamed of.

It will always pass.

This was all advice I try to pass on to other people, and it was the advice that I needed to take. I had to drink my own medicine for a change, and it just pulled everything back into perspective. I’ve gone out and found a job that really resonates with me and started to do things for myself. As we came to the end of the year, I started the process of getting my legs lasered, and, just with a few days to spare, I also did a juice cleanse. Ross is getting a lot better and it really comes back to that whole thing of, “This too shall pass.” I know that sometimes you might feel like you’re stuck in this mess and it’s never going to get better and you feel like you’re drowning and that you might just be in this muddy place for a really long time. I want to reassure you that, it does all pass and sometimes, even if you do nothing, everything still passes.

You don’t need to do anything.

You don’t need to cover them up.

You don’t need to always be brave, or courageous, or anything like that.

These feelings will always subside.

So, I had these panic attacks and these moments of, “What the hell is going on?” As I’m sure you do sometimes, and I had a bit of a wig out, I’ll be honest.

I ended up sending this email saying, “That’s the end. I can’t do any of these anymore. I’m struggling. It’s the last round of the Fertility Warrior Intensive”. We have run the last round of the intensive because it definitely needs a bit of a change of format because of the really limited amount of time that I have at the moment. It really forced me to get clear on what my priorities were and, sometimes, we need those wig outs.

Sometimes, when we don’t have these big break downs, then we kind of just skim under the surface of not really coping, not really knowing why, kind of just floating along life but also making no breakthroughs.

And then you have these moments of real clarity, when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. When I had my miscarriage, that was another moment of feeling like I’ve hit rock bottom and then reassessing, getting clear on my goals, my “why,” my values.

It all had it’s purpose and it really forced me to get clear, for 2019, what do I want and why do I want it?

So here I am now, I have these three, I guess, themes for 2019.

One of those is Grace.

The grace that I will give myself when things get too hard.

The grace of not needing to be perfect all the time.

I give myself the grace to take time to do things, and to just know that I am always leaning towards what feels good, what feels right, what is in alignment with the values that I have in life.

The next one is “grit.”

The whole reason why everything I do is based around warriors is because I believe that sometimes resilience, grit, determination, taking one step in front of the other, is such a powerful thing.

It is such a powerful thing to understand that if we just keep going, if we just dredge through for a little bit, even when it feels like everything is really tough and all we do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, we get through.

I feel that grit is such a powerful word and so many of us fail to really appreciate how powerful that can be.

The last one is “gratitude” because I’m actually really lucky in life.

There are so many things that all of us take for granted on a daily basis.

My own gratitude habits have slipped in the last 12 months, and it’s just a reminder for me to always be grateful for what I have, because I have a lot and I have done a lot.

I am very lucky to live where I live.

We are so lucky.

If you are reading this from a first-world country, you are so lucky for the medical assistance that you receive. Trust me.

So, I want to live every day in 2019 with gratitude for what I do have and feeling lucky.

Ross was very ill, things could have been quite different for him.

But we got through 2018 we’re now here in 2019. We have started the year with everyone happy and healthy and I’m really excited.

I figured out my “why.” Why do I do this? Why do I keep showing up? Even though I’ve struggled with consistency, why do I keep showing up for women who are trying to conceive? And I have figured out why. My “why” is that I started this journey and we tried for a year before we saw a fertility specialist, and then we were trying for another year while we were at a fertility clinic. My fertility clinic was, and is, actually amazing, but it took two years for me to be offered a counseling appointment. I could have gone to a counselor myself. I didn’t, and I didn’t know that that was available to me. Maybe there was a stigma associated with that, but I was at rock bottom for two years.

The advice that the counselor gave me was at that point, nothing new to me. It was nothing earth shattering.

It wasn’t someone who had been in these trenches and understood. It was a lady who was about 60 and what I needed, in that moment, was somebody who understood what I was going through, who had been there and not like years and years ago. I needed someone who had been in those shoes recently. I wanted someone who understood, who could give me practical tips and advice. Who could tell me what they did that helped, and not two years after I start.

Whether you just listen to my podcast, whether you just look around this website and look up my programs, look up my story with my lessons, whatever it is, whether you are just part the Facebook group. Whatever it is, I want you to feel like you have that support at your fingertips right now, and that you know that that support is out there as well.

And I still feel jacked off.

Why do I do this?

Because I still feel jacked off that I had to wait two years to be able to receive some assistance that actually wasn’t that helpful in the end. So, 2018 helped to remind me of why I do this, a bit crazy of how I’ve gone to feeling snowed under to how I’ve received some clarity as well on how I can pump out all of this, but fingers crossed.

I hope you will stick with me on this journey in 2019.

If you’ve had a shitty 2018, let’s clear the slate. We’re in a new year now and it’s time for the magic to happen.

2018: My Year in Review | Robyn Birkin | Fertility Warriors Podcast
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