National Gathering, Taupo, Queen’s Birthday Weekend 2011

I’ve just come back from our national meeting in Taupo and I just wanted to let you know how it went. It was a less formal affair this year than last year’s outstanding conference in Rotorua, and I think that’s a pattern we’ll stick to: a big event one year followed by a casual one the next. That way we don’t exhaust our sponsors, speakers or organisers and keep it affordable for our attendees. That’s the plan for now, anyway! Tanya from the Australian Early Menopause Network is suggesting an Australasian event next year in Auckland or Melbourne, so watch this space for more on that.

But back to Taupo. Saturday morning, I drove down from Auckland via Morrinsville to pick up Helen and we had a very pleasant drive down, until the rain hit just before Taupo itself. But we didn’t have any big plans for outdoors adventuring over the weekend, so it didn’t really matter to us. Heather met us at the motel with soup and rolls and the heater going in our room, so we unpacked the cars, picked bedrooms and had some yummy soup for lunch. We then went into town for a little food shopping and a quick visit to the information centre to get our bearings, then back to our cosy room for the rest of the afternoon. Sunday was going to be our “big day out” in Taupo so we wanted to plan some activities. Number one on my list was a massage, but would you believe there were no beauty parlours open in this touristy town over this long weekend! We were all very surprised. So we decided on a lazy morning, then out for brunch then a wander round town for the rest of the day. We thought the weather would be fairly lousy again, so this seemed like a good plan.

For the rest of the afternoon we chatted about our experiences and got to know each other a bit better. The three of us are all fairly far along on our POF journeys – all diagnosed about 5-6 years ago and over the course of the weekend it became very clear that we have all faced similar struggles, like feeling out of touch with our peer group; doctors that run the gamut from great to awful; the shock that our diagnosis was; the disruption to our life plans; and the effect all this has had on our relationships. We had all tried DE IVF but with differing results and we’d each found different solutions for the family thing: one had success with the DE IVF, one has adopted, and one living happily childfree. Throughout all our struggles our poor husbands have put up with a lot of tears, tantrums and turbulence, but we’ve all been blessed with very loving men who we’re very grateful for. This kind of thing can either make or break a relationship and it takes a strong commitment from both sides to stay together through life’s ups and downs. I pray that everyone reading this will be equally blessed in this respect.

We managed to find some time to eat, among all that talking, and for dinner we enjoyed a wonderful lasagne that my DH had made along with a fresh salad and a lovely bottle of wine. And what girls’ weekend away would be complete without chocolate? Heather brought with her a divine chocolate cheesecake that went down so very easily. After that feast, we all slept very well!

Sunday morning looked nice for a little while, but then the clouds rolled in. After a lazy breakfast, we headed off to L’Arté (pronounced ‘Latte’) for lunch and while we were there enjoying the live music and fabulous food, the sun came out. They have a resident artist and we had a lovely time wandering around the craft store and “outdoor mosaic living room”. Fabulous photo opportunities in there! I fully recommend a visit next time you’re in the neighbourhood. To get more of an idea of what I’m talking about, have a look round their website:

Then we went into town for some serious retail therapy and we bought clothes, jewellery and other things that caught our eyes. My mother always bought jewellery when she went away as it is a nice reminder of the trip, without being something you’ll probably end up throwing away, like so many mementoes. And that’s what we did this weekend. Every time I look at my new pearl bracelet I’m reminded of this wonderful weekend away. I’m sure Helen’s new diamond ring does the same for her! Well done Helen - we all deserve to sparkle. ☺

Exhausted (and broke!) we crawled home to give our feet a rest for a little while. Then we freshened up and headed into town again for a delicious Indian meal for dinner.

We ended up in bed quite early after that long day and were up again not too early on our final morning. We enjoyed another lazy breakfast before packing our bags and heading home around 11am.

As usual, being together got us all fired up about raising awareness of POF/early menopause, so we’re all taking flyers to our GPs and specialists. If you would like to be involved in this endeavour, please let me know. We need to spread the word about this little understood condition. I do worry that we’re not reaching enough women sometimes, but I know our website is doing a great job 24 hours a day of making this support group available to NZ women. I’ve made so many friends in this support group. You ladies inspire me on my journey and I hope I’ve managed to help you a bit on yours, too. This can be a lonely road to travel, but together, not only can we have company, we can make it fun! (And share the secret that chocolate &/or red wine truly is the next best thing to a cure sometimes.)

So next year, if there’s enough interest, we’ll certainly look into organising that trans-Tasman meeting. If you’d be keen to come &/or help, Tanya and I would love to hear from you.

Bye for now,
Nicole x