Right now, sitting here with my beautiful baby girl tucked up in one arm, I feel like the luckiest girl ever. After 2.5 years of ‘trying’, facing infertility, three miscarriages in almost as many months, ignorant and offensive attitudes from people with no idea, invasive investigations and tests, I now have my snorty, sicky, noisy, frowny, partially bald, funny, cute two-month old daughter (who is currently making sleep noises that alternate between snoring and what can only be described as sleep-singing…?!).
Last Mothers Day was a completely different story. As a keen/regular/slightly obsessive runner, I was delighted to be offered a last minute place by a running club friend for a half marathon the next day. I took it, partly because I’m an idiot (I’d surprisingly barely run in the weeks before), partly because it’s my favourite distance and it’s one of the biggest HM’s in the country and it surely had to be great, but mainly to distract myself from what was set to be a confusingly sad day after our recent recurrent pregnancy losses.
I spent much of the course randomly bursting into tears, and it wasn’t as flat as everyone made out (and it was perilously cold), but the feeling I got from crossing this particular finish line was different from any other race I’d done: firstly… it was the most miserable finishing straight I’d ever seen (huge race, yet no atmosphere!); secondly, my legs were in a worse condition than ever before – felt like I’d been attacked with a bat (the price of thinking, “Oh, it’s only a half marathon!”); and, thirdly, and most importantly, I felt like I’d ended the race as a different person. I’m always more bouncy than a kangaroo on a trampoline at the end of each race, adrenalin pours through me with the pressure of a fire hydrant (which is why I do really love running) but this elation was different.
I felt as though I had drawn a line under the last 5 months: it wasn’t that I would forget it or ignore it, but I was ready to move on. I actually, truly felt ready to ‘try’ again, not replace what had been lost but to try for something new.
Our miscarriages had been so close together that it felt like one giant, bottomless pit that we just couldn’t get out of, that we’d claw our way to the top, bloody and battered, but then be kicked in the face by Life again, and hurtle to the bottom like the proverbial sack of shit that we felt like.
But that day, I felt positive for the first time in a long time, like a black, suffocating hood had been taken off my head and I could actually breathe.
Ready. Positive? I guess so.
Just two days later was the date my next pregnancy was dated from, the pregnancy which which led to my baby girl. I do like coincidences. 🙂
I started this blog not long before Mothers Day last year. It was a way of being totally anonymous which would let me vent my feelings without worrying about the listeners’ reactions, to scream how I felt, however offensive or upsetting that might be, and to help me process everything. I got all that (to this day, only two real life friends have read this), yet what I realised very quickly is that I wasn’t alone.
So many millions of women around the world, tens of thousands in my country, thousands in my city and, as it turned out, far more than I ever suspected right under my nose, are facing the same agonising journey as I was. We would all have given anything to be a mum, but still weren’t, for reasons extending far further than just pregnancy loss.
In the end, I was super lucky: that’s all it was; luck.
It’s hard because as I was saying to the husband, now I have what I have, I’d go through it again to get this beautiful little poppet. But you can’t ever guarantee that the end will be what you want it to be. As I say, we were lucky. Looking back, I wouldn’t change my past; if there was a giant pick ‘n’ mix for life, I couldn’t handpick what I have at the moment any better. I have met some incredible mums along the way, three of whom are my rock, who ‘get’ where I’ve come from despite not seeing this side for themselves. And I’ve met mums who know it all too well, and we have that knowing nod and smile to each other.
It’s a horrendous cliche (ugh, I hate cliches) but what a difference a year makes.
And no matter how hard it gets, how tired I am, how drained I may be, being a mum will never be as exhausting, as emotionally torrid, as utterly soul-destroying as not being a mum, when it’s all you ever want. I won’t forget how it felt.
I will never forget.
To all those who have found Mothers Day hard to navigate, for whatever reason, I’m sending you love. xx