On Sunday afternoon we took a long walk through Amsterdam.
This is something I've hated and avoided doing for a year or more. Everywhere we looked we were always face to face with another family out for the afternoon.
Another mother, another father, another bump, another child, another reminder.
That meant pretending we didn't see them just to get through it, and eventually, I stopped going there at those times completely.
For over a year I have skirted past the pregnancy section in bookshops, making sure to look anywhere but at the books, for fear anyone would notice me and instantly recognise I was a little broken. Like being labelled a deviant if you were caught anywhere near the porn section in a video shop.
Those things are embarrassing, and not entirely healthy.
Sunday, for the first time in so long, we were able to watch those families pass by, and talk about them. The size of the bumps, the ugly strollers, the cute kids, and how we certainly wouldn't dress them in those rags. It was like being released from prison.
Sunday, we stood at that section, thumbing through book after book, passing them back and forth between ourselves, comparing their merits, choosing what we wanted to take home.
Handing those two pregnancy books to the assistant to pay for and bag, was as liberating a moment as I've ever had.
'Yes, I'm perverted and here's my porn'.
I know that some people read this stuff here purely because they identified with it. What we were facing was what they were facing. A trouble shared is a trouble halved.
Now, it must seem like we have become an enemy of sorts. I described it myself once as finding out that someone else had discovered the secret, but wouldn't share it.
There's no secret. There's just persistence and luck.
I find it hard to articulate why I feel an amount of guilt about having that luck. No dictionary holds words strong enough that could explain how grateful I am that we have had it, nor how much the misery of the last couple of years has shaped how we are now, and how we'll go forward.
I know people will stop reading here now, I know it's too hard for some. I understand.
I hope they will see whatever gets written here not as gloating, but as an example of what really can be if you stay persistent and get that little bit of luck.
We are going to enjoy what lies ahead of us now, we are not going to dwell on what's gone before and let it spoil this for the three of us, but keep it as a reminder of how lucky we are.
I hope it's catching, and long lasting.