We don't have children and I am fairly sure that we never will have.
Despite planning for parenthood - and trying for many years - things have just not gone to plan.
Having been through seven rounds of IVF and it not proving successful, it has come to the point where we have pretty much decided to call it quits. We've spent around thirty thousand pounds chasing this dream but it is just not happening.
I was in my early thirties when I got together with my husband, and maybe it's a London thing but this still seemed like plenty of time to settle down and start a family. Growing up in the North East, my old schoolmates from that time and who had stayed in the area had all pretty much got loved up and had kids by the time they were in the early twenties. Some had even had two or three kids by then, and/or got married and got divorced. Everyone's on a different journey.
Mine took me to Australia, and then the US, and eventually back to the UK and London. This was all in the name of work, which was my priority I suppose. I'd had one or two serious relationships along the way, but it was only when I got together with the man who was to become my husband that I knew this was the right person to spend the rest of my life with; who I would have children with.
It took a while before we realised there might be a problem, and without going through it all, it eventually transpired it was 'my fault', something was going awry at the implantation stage. The long and short of it; it just wasn't happening and seemed it never would.
It's surprising how often whether or not you have kids crops up. Mostly, it's neither here nor there. Booking flights or holidays, you skip the 'Children' box. Reading the Sunday papers, you ignore articles on 'Holiday Ideas To Keep the Kids Happy this Easter', and all the news stories on parents who take their kids out of school early to get a cheaper holiday, or the cost of childcare...well, they are interesting but not relevant to us.
It's made work easier in some ways. I can work late and my husband's the same. We can plan holidays when we want, and go on more exotic, further flung jaunts than we might otherwise. We just need to find someone to feed the cats and that's it! Us and our two cats, that's our family unit.
I'm lucky enough to still have my mother alive - and healthy. I'm an only child, so for me, Mothers Day has always been about me and her. My husband is American and his parents are on the East Coast, and there is no clash in terms of whose mum we should visit. We load up the car, and head up north, and have a lovely long weekend with her and my father. I've always made a card for her, and often make something whether it be biscuits, or a dessert, or a cushion cover. Obviously, no kids or photos in frames to bring.
We did think about adopting. And maybe we might yet do it. But in some ways our thinking has been just focussed on us, producing our own baby, and of course, doing it whilst I was still young enough. I think now our life-story is heading in a different direction, and I love the work I do, and the life I have.
More than anything I love my husband, and if I were to think about the ifs and maybes, could I have had children if I had tried to when I was just nineteen or twenty like my school-friends did? Well, I don't know the answer. But I wouldn't have been with my husband unless I had worked abroad; gone to the US; had the career I have had.
It can be difficult at work and outside - but I am happy with my life. And not everyone can say that. Some people have babies, have bigger, lovelier houses, and take fancier holidays, but I also know that there are some people who have 'everything' and they still want more, and they aren't happy.
Claudine; loving life and a loving wife and daughter