Just over a week ago it was my Channelversary – the name that is fondly given to the day you took on the little strip of sea between England and France and won. Or should that be, the day the Channel let me beat her because she was always in control of the outcome not me. I remain forever grateful that on the 2 September 2015 she let me cross her sea.
One of the things I never expected before I took on my Channel Challenge was how many parallels there were going to be with IVF. If I had, maybe I’d never have done it. There’s the physical and mental toughness needed for the training; there’s The Wait (like the Two Week Wait) you have to suffer through before you get to swim; and then there’s the acceptance that ultimately nature will decide your fate not you. If the Channel won’t let you cross her, there’s nothing you can do.
And now I’ve realized that climbing mountains is just the same as swimming seas and conceiving babies. At Christmas I successfully climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa and now I’ve just come back from two weeks in the Alps, the culmination of which I had hoped to summit Mont Blanc. But the weather’s been unseasonably warm, the rock fall has become too dangerous, and although I had a wonderful time climbing smaller peaks – and can now confidently strap on a pair of crampons and wield an ice axe – the White Mountain remains unclimbed, unconquered.
I often wonder why I transposed my pursuit of motherhood onto open water swimming and, now, I am asking that question of myself again in relation to scaling mountains. Maybe it’s because me and nature have a date with destiny and I want to prove that she will sometimes let me win. At the moment it feels like we’re on a score draw. Two to me (The Channel and Kilimanjaro) and two to her (IVF and Mont Blanc). So here’s the question: who will score next? Who is ultimately going to win?