The only thing harder, more exhausting, more emotional and more draining than being a mum, is *not* being one, when you so desperately want to be.

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

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‘Miscarriage is easy to deal with’: revisited. And why I feel like a bitch.

I have recently become a friend’s confidante. Without going into detail, which is not mine to give, she’s had fertility problems. This is month 1 and treatment hasn’t worked. Today, my heart genuinely hurt for her because of how upset she was; clearly she is entering that black stage of realisation that fertility treatment is not a magic cure.

I sympathised, empathised, told her I understood, that she wasn’t alone in this and that I would be there any time she needed to vent or had questions – like I’ve been saying for the few months she’s been visiting the hospital. She is so early on in the process and I almost begged her to not think negatively, to see it that it’s not working yet (the word yet got me through some rubbishy times!), that trial and error is the key…

will be there for her. I will be there for anyone going through this shitty, shitty time.

Now rewind back to March 2015.  One of the most painful blog posts I ever wrote, typed with tears streaming down my face whilst going through the most turbulent time in my entire life, was entitled, ‘Miscarriage is easy to deal with’. You can find the whole post right here. To paraphrase, after trying for months and months, going through invasive investigations, continual blood tests, intense treatment, experiencing the elation of becoming pregnant three times, but facing the torture of losing them, we had just been told it was just bad luck, nothing was ‘wrong’.  Hours later, I experienced some of the most cutting comments I think I will ever encounter regarding infertility and the turmoil we had gone through; that losing a pregnancy before you hear a heartbeat…well, I quote:

When you’re so early on, you haven’t heard it being alive. And when you hear the heartbeat, then it’s not there, it’s like you weren’t really pregnant at all. That must be hardest to deal with. Not hearing it must be easier.”

 

And here is where I feel like I’m a bitch and I don’t know how to deal with it. I really need help, perhaps a slap or a punch.

The person who said this to me is the friend going through fertility issues.

Whilst I said (and I genuinely mean) the right things, deep down, I wanted to grab her shoulders, shake her, scream at her; to yell, NOW you’re beginning to get it, NOW you’re seeing it’s not an easy journey.

Today, you said you felt like infertility was beating you: you’ve only been on this road for only weeks. You’ve had investigations and are starting treatment so early on, treatment that most women don’t see unless they’ve tried for an entire year.

Today, you saw the pain that when a treatment doesn’t have the desired effect, how devastating it is: you now know the hell of hearing the words, “We’ll try again next month” and knowing, realistically, that it will feel like three times the length of time, because time all but stands still when you’re dealing with infertility and the treatment that is bound by cycles.

Today, you felt the punch to the heart that happens with the realisation that the experts can’t ‘fix’ you instantly: you felt that hellish, sick turbulence in the pit of your stomach that you might be facing the same shit news again next month.

Today, you said you felt infertility was taking over your life; that you don’t understand why it’s not working for you.

Today, you thought it was the end of the world because the first thing they’ve tried wasn’t quite right.

You are crying, you are bereft. And I feel for you, I really, really do. Almost so much it makes me feel sick because these feelings I had are still there, despite my growing bump.

Imagine going through ALL of this, multiple times, week after week of disappointment, failed treatments, tears you don’t think will end…you endure 20 months of this hell. And then out of nowhere, you get that positive test! You’ve waited, tried, cried, cursed, and then this is it! Pregnant!

Then baby is gone, in the most barbaric, physical way you can experience. You pick yourself up. Next time will be better. It has to be.

But it isn’t. You go through the treatment, the hell, the waiting, the scans, the invasive process, but it happens twice more, the third time with you ending up being admitted to hospital.

Imagine going through all this, then being back to square one with horrible recurrent miscarriage tests. Imagine you hit rock-bottom. Your boss doesn’t support you and does their best to make you feel like you’re failing. Your friends can’t understand fully and you’re distancing yourself from them. Your husband is changing before your eyes. Yet there’s no reason for your misery, tests conclude.

And on your lowest day, someone muses that what you’ve been through is not really that much of a big deal. 

That person was YOU.

You made me feel terrible. YOU trivialised the situation we faced, where we didn’t know if having our own children would be a real possibility. YOU made it out like our babies weren’t that much of a loss because we hadn’t heard their teeny, tiny heartbeats.

Yet today, you cry and cry because your very first try didn’t quite go to plan.  You have so many options left, you’ve been going through this for less than half a year, you’ve barely dipped a toe in the hell-hole that is infertility – yet YOU thought OUR awful experience, which far outweighs yours, was no big deal.

Can you now understand how you hurt me?

Can you understand how cutting your comments were?

Can you now see just why I was falling apart? 

Now I know how this sounds. I’m not making it a competition on who has suffered the most – I wouldn’t and haven’t, ever, because I know from entering the blogging world in the limited capacity that I have, that there is always someone going through an experience that makes yours look like the tame equivalent of a burnt dinner.

But I know how gutting infertility is. I understand how she feels. I get why she is so upset and heartbroken and feeling like already, what’s the point. Even now, 8 months pregnant, I’m suffering with the mental scars that our journey has left us with. I would never stand there and say, “Well, we had X and Y go wrong, so it’s worse than you.”

But when the person suffering now is the one person who was so cutting, made my pain seem overly dramatic, it’s hard to NOT to lean this way.

And I HATE myself for it. I feel sick that it even crossed my mind.

I’m not this type of person. I’ll be there for anyone and everyone. I figure if our experience can help someone else navigate this and feel less alone, then it’s a life-raft I’m more than happy to throw out.

But this, this I find so hard to deal with, that she saw my situation as nothing, but yet sees her small blip in this debilitating world of sun fertility as so drastic.

I would never say any of this to her, I’d never even speak it aloud to anyone but my husband.  The irony of the situation is painful, that she’s looking to me for the support she so desperately needs. I actually really, really like her; she is witty, clever, kind and fantastic to talk to. I want the best for her, I want to help, I want a miracle for her, I don’t want her to go through months of hell, I want her to be ok, to have a baby quickly, to be happy. SO much. Which is precisely why this situation is so hard. When I’d confided in her, I really thought she understood. Then she so unknowingly, but cruelly kicked me to the floor. It’s hard to not say it out loud. It’s hard to not feel floored.

But I will support her. I will be there. I will.

I stand by what I said in my original post: So those who don’t understand it, haven’t experienced it – you have no idea. Do not judge or put a label on what is hard, easy or easier to handle because you just do not know how it feels to have your life ripped apart once, twice, three times and more. Please, just don’t talk.

But I do understand. So I need to be there, however hard I find it, whatever has happened in the past. However hard it was for me to hear what she said.

It’s not about me; it’s about her.

And God, if you’re there, please give me the words and the actions to cope with this situation that I’m finding so hard to deal with.

Return from self-imposed exile. :)

I’ve been gone a long, long time. Pushed away by myself, hiding almost, from the reality which is, currently, 32 weeks and 5 days of pregnancy.  Can I believe it? No. No, I can’t. Despite this giant basketball-sized bump on my otherwise slim frame, a bump that jumps and jiggles and kicks and squirms, no, I can’t believe that we’re actually here. Past experiences do not allow positive realities to be accepted without question, without disbelief, so I’m finding.

The last 3-4 months have been in an a self-imposed exile. I’ve shoved my head down, and, in the words of the now infamous war time poster, managed to Keep Calm and Carry On. This has meant a retreat from everything that associates me with my journey to get to where I am. Not because I’m trying to forget or deny what happened, the length of time and the obstacles we hurdled (and often face-planted) over. No, Sir. I simply cut myself off because I was DRIVING MYSELF INSANE WITH WORRY. Worry that things would go wrong, Worry that I’d read something about someone else that would induce a worry I’d not yet had to worry about, which is bad, because I’ve already enough worries linked to things I have worried about, without adding any extra worries on to that. Talk about setting yourself up for a breakdown.

It all began with a visit to a midwife. Now, where I live is strange; it’s one of those places with a postcode for one district, council tax paid to a different district, but with a phone area code to a third. My GP surgery is technically in one area, but its postcode allows the patients to choose services from one district or another. For fertility treatment, I chose one district (a major hospital in a large city, one of the top centres in the country… and having seen my friend’s experience with the district I could have gone to, I’ve never been more happy that I chose where I did!), but for having this baby, we chose the other district (quieter area, smaller wards, less patients, brand new hospital, much easier to get to, etc). This means I need extra appointments which can be a comfort (or a pain in the ass, depending who you get) because I’m officially classed as an intruder, erm, I mean, an Out-Of-Area Patient.

So anyway, I was having my out-of-area midwife appointment round about 18 weeks.  We went through the usual; blood tests, blood pressure, questions about this and that, and then she asked how I was feeling. You know the type where they turn to you and nod in *that* way. So I told the truth. In a far more elegant way that I’ll write here, I explained that I was, in essence, shitting myself.

Birth? Nope. Don’t care about that. Feeling ill? Nope. Don’t care about that. Overwhelmed with the prospect of motherhood? Nope. Really. How my relationship with my husband might be affected? No, no, no.

But the idea that I might eat a sandwich and it not be quite chilled to the correct temperature and that I might get listeria and both me and baby die, yes. The fact that I might crash the car and kill the baby; yes. That I might get stressed out, or not sleep enough, or do too much in a day, then it all ending up having a negative effect on the baby. Oh yes.

Then she said this. “Where I’m from, there’s a proverb which says, ‘What you fear the most is most likely to be the thing to come true.’ ”

Now, on the face of it, that’s bollocks. Sorry, midwife. I worry about a lot of things and none of it has come true. Currently, my husband is in Las Vegas on a trip with his best friends, just because they wanted to go. My worries revolve around his aeroplane crashing, being hi-jacked, getting shot by a mad-man at the gun range, getting charged by a bull and/or dying on the zip-wire and/or rollercoasters. In terms of cold, hard statistics, he’s more likely to die in the car on the way back from the airport when he’s back in the UK (which I worry about, too). This doesn’t mean it’ll happen.

But I did take this from it. Why surround yourself with the things that you know will trigger anxiety? My blog has been an absolute haven for me. Only one person I know in real life has read it, so I really am anonymous and I LOVE that. I can say what the hell I want and not have to worry about offending people or upsetting people. But when I used to read it back, it made me sob. Some of the times I turned to my blog, I was at the lowest points in my life.  Because I know me, I know just how far down that pit I was, and it *hurts* to read it back. It hurts, partially because I want to grab my pre-this-pregnancy self and tell myself that things will come good. It hurts because I know just how much I believed that, no, things would NEVER be good. And when I read it back, it triggers a state of mind that, right now, I need to separate myself from because I need to power through.

That is, until we reached the anniversary of our first loss on October 3rd. Just days later was Baby Loss Awareness Week and I needed to take myself back. So I read everything I wrote on here, and realised that, actually, I NEED to read about it. It is a part of me.

How I am now, how I’ve been through this pregnancy is all down to the losses of our three unborns.  I mean that in a positive way, surprisingly. I haven’t moaned. For me, pregnancy has not been this burden, this weight to carry (albeit literally being a weight to carry…), this thing to moan about. To me, everything (and I mean *everything*) has been either a privilege or, for the more taxing things, at the very least, entertaining – like when my body showed utter revulsion to toothpaste and each morning and evening, I’d have tears pouring out my eyes while I retched for a good 10 minutes over the sink. Or when I’d wake up and have to RUN, RUN FAST, to the bathroom because the moment I gained consciousness, my body needed to poop RIGHT NOW. I have utterly refused to moan. This isn’t to say I’ve sailed through pregnancy, it’s not easy at times, but to be fair, who wants to hear a pregnant woman’s woes?! I don’t even want to hear my own woes, so I’m not about to relay them to others…

Because we didn’t conceive easily, because we learnt what it was like to lose repeatedly, because we could never take for granted anything we ‘gained’, we have approached this pregnancy and the growing of this little life with, I think, the best attitude possible. We didn’t earn this baby, we don’t ‘deserve’ it (like we’ve gained it as a reward); but either way, it’s here and it’s doing well. We will NOT moan because we know just how freakin’ lucky we are. The pregnancy started with high-fives for each pukey moment, each headache, each twinge. This has carried on. Even on the harder days, it’s all the sign of a little life who we are so, SO grateful to have anything to do with. And so we keep high-fiving.  My logic is that pregnancy illness or aches, pains, whatever, is pales into insignificance in comparison to the years we had before this. Nothing compared to the pain of late 2014, early 2015.

Life isn’t always fair. Life deals us some cruel hands. I’ve spent too long questioning why me, why us and moaning (rightfully so!) about the shitty times we’ve had to navigate through. So why moan when Life deals you a good hand? For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can read through my old blog entries and not be ridden with abject fear for the future. I don’t need to avoid it because I might make it come true, as that proverb kind of suggests, or avoid it because I’ll stress myself out. I feel like I am starting to see a chink of sunlight after walking through an extraordinarily dark forest. I’m not out yet, but that feeling of wanting to run away and/or hide, instead of facing up to the scariness and dealing with it, is subsiding.

So I return from my self-imposed exile. Where I go with my blog, I don’t really know. What topics I’ll write about, I don’t know. I feel a little nomadic right now in terms of the fact I’m expecting, yet my blog is an infertility blog and I don’t want to move away from that. But either way, I feel like I can read about my own past, other’s present days without having a meltdown. It’s all good 🙂

‘Everything happens for a reason.’ Shut the hell up. No, it doesn’t.

  

#trigger post.

This week brought a revelation. I mean, an UTTER revelation. After a 9-10 week bloggless existence, I apologise for any garbling.

The background: I’m pregnant. The fact I didn’t actually dare say the words for the first 10 weeks is testament to the journey to get to this point. Things have changed. The dreams I utterly truly believed would not happen for us, ever, suddenly happened.

If you haven’t read the ‘About’ section, the short version of my story is that it took 20 months to get a positive test, following weeks and weeks of tests, intrusive scans, bloods, medicines, disappointment, false hope. Within 9 weeks, it was all over. And in just three short months, it’d happened twice more. 3 out of 3 losses, yet tests revealed absolutely nothing wrong – all just “bad luck”. The first cycle after restarting treatment following recurrent pregnancy loss tests, I felt hope for the first time in months and it felt beautiful. But who would ever have put money on that cycle being successful? I certainly wouldn’t have. Yet it happened. The positive test again.

Suddenly now, here I am at 17.5 weeks. And I’m trying to make sense of everything. People always seem to spout that crappy sentence of everything happens for a reason, both when you’re struggling to conceive and now it’s still being patronisingly spoken to me when we have conceived. I think that’s a load of crap. There’s a reason we had to endure that, is there? Please, do enlighten me! I’d like to say I’d had a huge revelation as to what the reason for the 30 months of heartache was for, why it couldn’t just be easier. Lights shining from heaven, perhaps some cherubs singing or a giant neon sign would be great, you know, let me know I’d passed some kind of test. But no, there’s no obvious reason why we had to go through what we did, yet others sail through. If every effect has a cause, what did I do to cause this?

When we got that first all-clear scan, it made me question things further because I couldn’t understand why now. What made this time different? Why was I getting to this point, yet I was reading about others who have been through more and tried for longer. I know babies aren’t handed out on a ‘who has struggled the most’ basis, but as happy as I was, the injustices of (in)fertility seemed just as rife, despite being on ‘the other side’. Even though we’d struggled and been through so much, this didn’t take away that tinge of guilt – why us and why not X? Why are they still struggling?

And here’s where, after a lot of trying to work through the many questions (in)fertility brings, I’ve only just this week realised a glaringly obvious fact that was previously unseeable. I don’t even know what made it come to my mind, but I cried when it did: (in)fertility isn’t about fairness or qualities of the person involved, how deserving you are or how much you wish for it. I struggled for the entire time blaming myself, wondering why never me, why other people deserved it and not me, that I must not be a good person. Only now am I realising it’s not anything to do with that, it’s not a judgement of me as a person, nor am I any more deserving than I was a year ago. And whilst initially that sounds harsh, it’s oddly comforting, that we are NOT to blame for any of the horrible, horrible pain we have suffered. That’s powerful stuff.

Everything does NOT happen for a reason; this is not due to something we have or have not done. We are not, and never are, to blame.

So, no, it’s not that ‘everything happens for a reason’, but rather I’ve found that ‘everything happens and makes you ‘you’ ‘.  I am different from January 2013 when we started trying, without a doubt. This experience has made me into the me sitting here right now.

I’ve always been one to put my all into everything I do, often to the detriment of me but at no time ever in my life have I ever put myself so far down the priority list as I have done this year. I had barely any time off following my miscarriages (none after the second), despite the physical pain I went through (I know some can be ‘just’ bleeding, but mine were the full on contraction types which hospitalised me the third time). My health collapsed, my mental state was in a terrible way and yet I did nothing to preserve me. People kept telling me to put me first but there was no way to. My career is quite unique in that it is very, very hard to miss a day, let alone a chunk of time but from now, no, my family and I come first. Now, though, I’m changed. ‘Us’ before work. That includes my husband, because I really do feel like he’s been neglected for a long time, always supporting, never supported and I’m so happy that he is back to himself after what’s felt like a long time.

I know I have become a far more passionate and compassionate person. The experiences I have had put me in a unique position and since announcing our news to friends and family, the amount of people contacting me to either say that they’re going through similar, to tell me that they’re expecting but very early and need someone to talk to, or that they’ve been through losses and are struggling, and even people contacting to say that our situation has given them hope – it’s staggering and I feel utter privilege to be the person to listen. Really, I would never say the reason we have been through what we have is to be able to help others, because I’m sorry, that doesn’t make me feel any better for the tears I have shed and the pain we have felt. But it is a very, very good by-product, that my friends going through this utterly shitty time will never be alone. And I will be there whenever they need me.

And finally, I am so freakin’ appreciative. Not that I wasn’t before, but I’m going through a whole new level, graduating from GCSE to Doctorate Level of Appreciation. Not once have I or will I moan about this pregnancy. The whole time we weren’t conceiving or when we kept losing babies, I despised reading comments from pregnant women moaning about how ill they felt or how their back hurt or how they were putting on weight, etc etc, and it felt like an extra kick in the teeth. I wanted to grab them and shake them, and yell, ‘You wanted a baby, love, so shut your stupid moaning mouth.’ So for each puke, each moment of feeling really quite poorly, each headache and pain, we high-fived. I am beyond grateful because I know that each of these things is someone a woman just like the ‘me’ from 6 months ago would kill for, but also that it means I am lucky. I don’t ‘deserve’ this any more than the next lady, nor any more than I deserved the heartache, but I will not be heard complaining about the luck I have had.

I am not to blame for anything I went through but everything that happened has made me ‘me’.  So for now, I will remain there for any and every person who ever needs me, I will put my family first and I will remain so grateful for each moment I have. Everything is Only For Now. Whether in good or bad times, I hold onto that.

xx

A quick update.

Today was our 7w scan, our first one.

All is good. I cannot even begin to put into words the relief I’m feeling right now! The little one is measuring a centimetre long which is about 2 days head of where I am according to ovulation dates. Uterus is 4 days ahead and the yolk sac is pretty perfect size.

And the heartbeat! Oh my goodness, that heartbeat! Seeing it so strong and so clear was just mind-blowing. I burst into tears with relief.

The only slight concern is that I’ve had a small haemorrhage but it looks like it’s resolved itself so although I may get some slight brown bleeding, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. I’m not looking forward to that but if it’s just brown then it’s nothing to worry about. I’ve been told to keep rested under strict instructions so who am I to argue?!

I requested my favourite nurse today, Karen, who I’ve written about before. I’m so glad I did. She admitted she was nervous and we were mid-conversation when the scan started when she broke me off talking, and blurted out, “THERE’S A HEARTBEAT!!”, with voice full of relief. I could’ve kissed her! She just makes me feel so much more comfortable and I feel as though she will be honest and caring without being a dick, like the last 7w scan woman.

So, we’re in their care for 3 more weeks. I’m booked in with my local midwife for next week, and have another scan booked for late next week with the clinic. We’ve been ‘strongly recommended’ to still go on holiday, which is great.

My brain is slightly overwhelmed right now. Husband and I are pretty much sitting in silence. But at least it’s a positive silence.

High five! 😀

Tomorrow is the day.

Just a short one.

12 hours to go. I’m beyond terrified. Trying to stay positive. Tomorrow is the day we find out if this positive hpt (or copious amounts of them) mean that things may be taking a turn for the better. Or the worse. Who knows? I’m keeping everything crossed, everything I have. I still feel icky and really, really tired so I’m hoping that means something. But this pregnancy thing is hard to fathom, and I don’t know what I’m even looking for.

Please. If you have any spare strength, please send it to me telepathically tonight. I’m going to need every single ounce of borrowed strength, as well as my own, in order to get through the 7w scan tomorrow.

Thank you. xxx

No matter what happens, I WILL NOT FORGET.

I wrote this post before I got a positive test and never posted it. Having read a few posts recently though, about non-pregnant ladies feeling left behind because it seems that everyone else now is pregnant, I think it’s still right to post it. It says everything I felt about my life since October when I first miscarried.

Now I seem to be in that place where it looks as though I’m leaving people behind, I want to send a very, very clear message behind it, a promise: no matter what, I WILL NOT FORGET. I will never belittle you. God, I don’t even know what will happen in the next week, but I know I will always be there for those finding the ttc journey a difficult one.

And for the record, I still feel like this, despite carrying around a 6+4 Easter egg.

I hope this all makes sense.

——————-

Living in Fear and with the Fear or Forgetfulness:

From reading IF blogs, fear is right up there as a top emotion. Many (in)fertiles live daily, each minute even, with the fear of never getting pregnant, having a(nother) miscarriage or never having children. Some fear that their infertility will disappoint their family, friends, partner, or fear that infertility will take over their life, change them as a person.

But this doesn’t even scratch the surface.

At the moment, I am living in abject fear of my family and friends. Let’s take a relative of mine. I don’t see them all that often because they live hours away and so our communication tends to revolve around quick social media comments and occasional texts. So when their name flashes up on my phone as an actual call, I’m petrified. Why? I’m fully aware that they stopped trying to prevent pregnancy months ago, and by the law of odds, it’s likely I could be on the road to being an auntie very shortly. And every time a phone call comes through from them, naturally I think this is what it will be about. Of course, it’s likely not. And even if it was, it would be wonderful news. But yet it would crush me. I’m not saying I don’t want them to have a baby, but for them not to even properly ‘try’, and then succeed, it’s hard to swallow.

The same is with friends of mine. Their first baby was born just after we decided to try for a family and when the birthday comes around, it’s very much a reminder that it’s another year we are not holding our own child. I know that they want to try for another baby any time now – first time round, they conceived in month one of trying, and although that baby miscarried at three months, they conceived again just weeks after. Just 13 months after starting the ttc journey, they had their baby. Based on that, it’s safe to say the second child probably will be here before mine. It WOULD be the most wonderful thing in the world but yet it would break my heart, utterly and truly, to be ‘lapped’, for them to find it so easy and us to struggle so, so much. I’m not saying I want them to struggle, I just want our journey to actually go somewhere, like theirs, a car on a road, rather than ours, a fairground car ride, going round and round and round on the tracks.

I live in fear of others receiving the best news they could ever hear, because it will feel like a kick in the face. I live in fear of hearing how X’s 26 week bump is just so perfect, because I would’ve been further on than that by now, and mine would’ve been so perfect, too. I live in fear of hearing about friends of mine who ‘accidentally conceived’. I live in fear of having to go to baby showers, because it’s just a reminder of what I should’ve already had and haven’t and aren’t likely to in the near future. I live in fear of feeling like I have to cut out friendships or lock myself away, because news of their blooming bellies is more than I can handle. I even live in fear of hearing about the birth of the Royal Baby (UK) being born because it was due only days before mine. And it will be plastered EVERYWHERE. No escape. Everything just reminds me that no matter what we do, no matter how healthy our lifestyles are, or how much we want it, it clearly makes no difference: that bastard stork still isn’t choosing us. 

It has taken me a long time to realise that this isn’t me being selfish or dramatic. It’s not me being a bad friend. For months, I have beaten myself up over being a terrible person, a disgusting friend who cannot be happy for the people in her life. But that’s not it, that’s just not ‘me’. I am the first to congratulate people, cry with joy when people get good news, shower them with gifts, love, whatever. So now, this ‘me’ that clams up, struggles to formulate and organise her mouth to say or fingers to type how ‘happy’ I am for them, THIS IS NOT ME. I am happy for THEM, but beyond devastated for me. I don’t want to not hear the news, but I can’t pretend it won’t hurt.

I know friends and family will never understand. They won’t. How I can simultaneously be so bereft and so heartbroken about good news? Some would cut me out entirely, saying I’m self-absorbed, selfish or horrible. “Why is she avoiding me? It’s just so childish!” But my experience is very much that no matter if you’ve struggled for children, once you’ve got them, you forget just what you went through.

 “No,” you say, “I’ll never forget!”
But people do.

And I want to scream and shake them: DON’T YOU REMEMBER?? Can you not think how it crushed you to see pregnancy announcements? New-born pictures, updates, then almost-daily pictures, knowing you were so far away from that? How your heart physically ached with pain? How the discussions always seem to revolve around how lovely it is to be a parent and how long until they try for another? How life has so much more meaning now they’re a parent? It cuts deeply. 

I want to still be in their lives and them in mine SO much, but it hurts me too much. People have forgotten just what an outsider it makes you when so many of your friends are all mums/dads and you’re so, so not.

The arrival of a real, live baby covers the past grief up, like a huge plaster/band-aid). Yes, that’s lovely, it IS. But please, spare a thought for those of us still left on the snowy, bitterly cold porch outside. Whilst you’re basking in the metaphorical living room of parental happiness, with a warm, cosy, log-fire burning, surrounded by baby giggles and love hearts floating around the room, WE NEED YOU to remember. 

We need to remember what it’s like to be out here, looking in on the happy family scenes. 

We need to you remember how it felt when everyone around you was conceiving and everywhere you looked, there were reminders that you weren’t. 

When you don’t know if you’ll ever be a parent. 

When your entire dream of the future is pulled from underneath you in the shape of devastating diagnoses, failed treatment plans, injections, scans, recurrent miscarriage and a whole barrage of questions about your future you know will never be answered. 

And that even if you do conceive or adopt, the scars you bear from your battle for baby will make many so-called exciting experiences utterly terrifying.

We need to you remember that when people said, with eyes full of patronising ‘compassion’, “Your time will come,” to recall that emptiness, that panic, that fear that, actually, no, our time may NOT come. Ever.

I live in constant fear. Fear that I’m not understood. Fear that I’m causing pain for others by being unable to share fully in their happiness. Fear that those I used to be able to turn to have forgotten what it’s like to be where I am.

Infertility is petrifying. I often hear the saying of, “Unless you’ve experienced it, you won’t understand.” That’s not right. It should be, “Unless you’re experiencING it, you won’t understand.”

xx

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