“Humans can get used to almost anything, if they have to.” Natalie Aitken
Well hello everyone! The cosiest welcome back to this podcast, which is now entering its seventh series – one recorded fully in lockdown, at home.
I thought about waiting until I could get back into the studio, but in the first few weeks of the Covid-19 crisis I decided there was no better time to start recording these episodes, and talk about what happens in our head, our greatest life challenges and looking after ourselves. I’m grateful to all of my guests for taking the time to speak to me at such a time of uncertainty and anxiety; of more time and space for some and far less time and intense multi-tasking for others.
I have an amazing, diverse mix of speakers for you over the next ten episodes and we’re talking about everything from becoming a widow in your 30s to masculinity, male eating disorders, haemophilia, mountaineering, suicide, OCD and more.
My first guest is Natalie Aitken. Natalie is a medic from here in Scotland who is currently exploring how to share her story more and speak up for the health issues that need more spotlight. In 2019, in her 30s, she lost her husband to bile duct cancer, a rare and often incurable cancer. Our conversation explored the complex realities of such a life-changing experience, and we covered a lot of ground:
The challenges of being an informed medic with a seriously ill partner
Learning to live with uncertainty
The brutal process of multiple IVF cycles and discovering fertility issues
The hope/disappointment cycle of both IVF and cancer
Changing the narrative around fertility processes
Committing to the raw, hard work of self-care and grief processing
Using the resilience and tolerance that germinated out of loss to get through Covid-19
The pressures facing the NHS and implications for future in terms of mental health, backlogs, the winter ahead and risks of disease for workers and their families
Thank you, Natalie, for joining me and talking so openly and honestly about these experiences. Please forgive the less than perfect audio, we recorded this one in late March over Skype, for obvious reasons, and the gain was a little high on my mic. Hopefully it’s still decently audible through whatever devices you listen through.
You can check it out from first thing tomorrow – Saturday 9th May - in all the usual places: