Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons I Learned in my 30’s

Happy Birthday to Me: Lessons I Learned in my 30’s

Six Lit Birthday Candles

So, this is 40 and I could not be happier.  This time last year I feared turning 39, the age that would make me older than my mom at her passing. Subsequently, my dear husband and loved ones surprised me with a fantastic party.  Friends from all over sent well wishes and precious gifts with kindness.

I still have those days of guilt, like why did I get to live when my mom didn’t? Then, I feel extra guilty because that thought it is not fair to my girls. When I got hit with the tests that revealed that I needed a hysterectomy fast, I got very scared. I became wrapped up in getting my household ready while I was in great pain. I avoided my emotional pain through distractions that included making sure my husband knew our youngest’ therapy schedule, amongst other details.


When I woke up in ICU after the surgery, I was filled with exhilaration. My giddiness made the staff think they gave me too much morphine.  At that time I did not know if my journey to good health would be on hold, or be okay. Some days it feels like I have lived 1000 lifetimes. If only I could go back to my 20s to teach myself then what I know now. But, would I have really been the same person today if I did?


The biggest lesson I have learned in my 30’s is to rid my world of the toxic people and the Negative Nellies. I used to sweat when people would not ‘like’ me, or I would try lame attempts to be their friend. What I did not rationalize is why would I want them as friends? “Mean Girls” became Mean Moms. Life is too short to not surround myself with loved ones who see me in the good, and especially important the bad times.

Could Have/Should Have

I used to think that if I knew that I was going to be a new mom in my 30s I would have done things differently. I would have traveled more, saved more money and tried another shot at a career.  If I went through the other door, would I still of had my girls?

Do What I Love Now.

Doing what I love is the sanest and simplest way to be the best me. I began writing when my oldest was just a baby. In between naps, diapers and tantrums, writing became my vice. It did not matter if I was sleep deprived, I felt my creative self being fed constantly.  Writing has evolved to a part-time career that I can do from home.

The last lesson I learned this decade was to trust my instincts.  In my 20’s, I did not listen to my inner voice enough. This decade, I began to fine-tune my gut instinct enough to rely on it. When I steer from it, a roadblock appears. Go figure.

As I enter the Fab 40’s, I am showing more gratitude for today. It is the only one I have.

What have you liked/disliked about a certain age? Any lessons have I missed?

5 Reasons why having a Hysterectomy was a Good Thing


Early this summer I had to go in for urgent surgery, a hysterectomy. Here is why it was the best thing for me.

Family History

For once, my family history made me a priority when my periods became erratic. I have suffered from endometriosis since I was a teen. It slowed down during my two pregnancies. Last Christmas it picked up speed painfully. It got to the point I wasn’t able to leave the house or be a present mom.

What They Found

After waiting for the best OBGYN in town for months, she sent me for test. Thankfully, I got in quickly. At that time, several fibroid tumors and one polyp was found in my uterus. Surgery was scheduled 5 weeks from the original testing date. There was no time to waste. A partial hysterectomy was scheduled quickly. (Uterus and tubes removed, ovaries were clear.)  My body took a turn for the worst fast.

Baby Factory Closed

Due to the endometriosis, I never expected to be pregnant once, let alone twice. Three doctors told me I could not conceive naturally. After meeting my girls and seeing my youngest go through her challenges with autism, my baby factory is closed. I am at peace with that. If I ever feel a baby urge, I can visit one of my friends’ newborns.


No more late-night grocery store trips when I run out of pads. No more impossible-to-handle cramps when my girls need me. No more forgetting to stock my purse every week in case I am out when ‘Aunt Flo’ arrived.

I am here!

Because of my high-cancer risk due to a genetic disorder I have for ovarian and endometrial cancer, having the surgery reduced my risk dramatically. I am older than my mom lived. History has not repeated itself. I won’t let it. Apparently my body agrees.

I turn 40 on October 10th this year. I cannot think of a better birthday gift than being alive for my family and me.

Does Grief Ever Go Away?

photo-17I am frozen mid-step. My eyes are burning in hopes to not be recognized. The bright sun does nothing to warm my heart. I sheepishly look down at my phone as the woman passes, hoping she does not stop. Instinctively I raise a hand to my heart to try to get it started again.

Damn. I feel the tears rise in my eyes as I race to my car. Fumbling my key in the lock, I finally get it as the waterworks open. My heart is on the floor again.

I thought it would get easier as time wore on. What a load of crap.

I see the woman stride over to the entrance to her shop, a store I may never go in again. I hope she did not see me. I could not bear the questions or the idle chitchat that makes grief so hard to swallow. I could not help it. Opening my mouth was not an option.

It has been two weeks since I have seen her and her staff to fill my order. I have no idea if I will be in there again. The pain is too raw.

For the first time in 19 years, our home floors do not have the echo of our four-legged boys. A short while ago, our beloved Indy passed away. IT was the most excruciating task I have ever done as a parent, to deliver the news to our oldest girl that he died. I can still hear him through our walls, whining for breakfast. Or hear the click of his claws on the hardwood, racing to jump on my lap.

A realization answers my question. Every time a loved one passes, it opens up the old wounds. With that, I know I am never going to be grief-free. It is about going one day at a time.

A Confession Letter: #autism

A Confession Letter: #autism

After her first week in public school, I felt the urge to write this letter.

Dear Teacher and Other Parents,

Do you see the mom standing off to the side from the other parents at school pick-up?

Chances are she just has nothing in common to say to you.

Read more of my letter here that was posted on BC Partners in Education.


Labour Day of the Heart: #IVF

Labour Day of the Heart: #IVF

School Supplies

Labour day means so many things to different people. It began as a day off for front-line workers. It merged into the last long weekend of the summer before kids started school. To spend lazy afternoons camping with the kids or having friends over for a BBQ is the norm these days. When I think of kids I think of the birthing day (aka THE Labour Day.) When you become pregnant, the Birthing/Labour day is the finish line. For some women, they just want to start the journey to motherhood.
Back-To-School campaigns can make some people sad. They cry on Labour Day. As kids go back to school, government returns to session. Now that the election is completed, I wonder if the government is considering in adding to the health care policy to include funding for IVF treatments.
Currently, many women transfer multiple embryos during IVF, in hopes that one will grow into a baby. Often, twins, triplets and quads end up with families that were trying to just have one baby. Multiple births can be costly over the lifetime of the children and the mother. There are many maternal health risks and health care challenges for multiples, like lifetime illnesses, disabilities and more.

As it says in this article: it can help all of us as taxpayers.There are many people trying to help moms be moms by supporting the initiative to have IVF publicly funded for them. If you are suffering from infertility, check out the site for information and support.

As I pack up for my own young daughters to get ready for school, I see how Labour Day can be hard for many women wanting to be in my shoes. I hope our province can join the many other places like Quebec and Australia who help families be born.

Do you know anyone who is suffering from infertility and trying to save up for treatments? Are they foregoing many things to help fund it? Please send them here for more information.

Back to School can mean back to Families First in this Province this fall.

Disclosure: I am a valued member of the #IVF4BC blog team. As such, I received compensation, but my opinion on this blog is my own.

Young Adult Books for Summer

A Middle Eastern woman lying down reading


Brooklyn Girls 

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess is the first novel in her series about five twenty-something friends: Pia, Angie, Julia, Coco and Madeleine. They share a brownstone in hip Brooklyn. The first story tells the tale of stylish Pia, who finds herself completely unemployed and broke. So what is a recent grad with an art history degree and a history of Facebook revealing photos to do? Start a food truck business! Pia takes on the cutthroat Brooklyn world of unique food producers to start SkinnyWheels. Add her roomates problems to the daily drama and it keeps you entertained. The author captures the confusion and excitement of the post-graduate years living in New York City life, with compassion.

Famous Last Words

Sixteen-year-old Samantha D’Angelo has an interesting summer job at the local newspaper writing obituaries instead of having fun on the beach. Between Shelby, Sam’s best friend; her boss Harry, a true-blue newspaper man; and AJ, her fellow “intern scum,“ Sam has her hands full.  As Sam learns her way around both the news room and the real world, she starts to make some momentous realizations about politics, ethics, her family, romance, and herself.

Truly Madly Deadly 

Sawyer Dodd has it all. She’s a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. Her boyfriend is the handsome all-star, Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She’s free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by “an admirer” and printed with two simple words: “You’re welcome.” This story will capture you into the high school drama like you have never known.

LuLu in LaLaland

This is a fun read about Lulu, a soon-to-be 11-year-old living in Los Angeles. She prefers gardening to primping, and homemade guacamole to five-star restaurants. You’d never know that Lulu is the daughter of a Hollywood’s A-List power couple. This year, Lulu is determined to throw the kind of birthday party her glamorous parents might actually attend. But it’s so not Lulu. Should she morph into the Tween Queen of Tinseltown, or stay true to her relaxed self?

For more great ideas to add to your list please check out the lovely Bookalicious’s roundup. I had an opportunity to share some of these reads as well.