Yesterday I realised something. I was sat in a room of family and friends and an elderly relative looked over at my cousin and asked him when he and his wife would be having a baby as they are nearing their fifth anniversary. My instant reaction was to think ‘phew they didn’t ask me’, but then my second was a complete understanding. It was the first time I saw the pain of being asked that question in someone else’s eyes and it hit me like a lightening bolt.
I know that most people don’t ask out of spite, in most cases people don’t even know that a couple are or have been trying, but that doesn’t change the fact that every time someone asks those kind of questions it cuts through you like a knife – a rubbing of salt in the wound you’ve already got from going through so much trying to get pregnant or grow a baby to full term.
So what I realised was this; and it probably sounds ridiculous but, I’m not the only one.
I’m not the only one who has a spreadsheet tracking their periods and symptoms.
I’m not the only one with pregnancy and ovulation tests stuffed into a heaving drawer, or tucked behind the toilet for impromptu tests.
I’m not the only one who has had so many blood tests it’s a wonder there’s anything left there to take.
I’m not the only one who has sat on the toilet in the middle of the night and cried, face in a towel so as not to wake up the rest of the family.
I’m not the only one who is so happy when my friends or family announce their pregnancies, but also completely heartbroken – smiling and congratulating them whilst tears threaten to spill and my heart aches.
I’m not the only one who tortures themselves looking at the baby aisles in the supermarket, or pinning ‘baby things’ to a secret board on Pinterest.
I’m not the only one who has to answer the questions or, indeed criticisms of others who just don’t know or understand.
I’m not the only one who reassures themselves constantly that it will happen.
I’m not the only one going through all of this.
I’m not the only one.
I know you’ll probably say “You shouldn’t be complaining, you’re lucky, you’ve already got one child”. And you are right – I am lucky that we have our beautiful six year old daughter. But that doesn’t stop the ache in my heart for a second baby. It doesn’t change the pain I feel or the heartbreak when another month or year goes past and Lily is still an only child.
I talk to myself constantly- a constant stream of reassurance that it’s all going to be ok and I tell myself so many things, over and over again like a mantra;
“You don’t need another baby.”
“Being an only child is not a problem for Lily”
“Lily says she wants a baby brother or sister but she wouldn’t if she had one”
“You’re still young – you could get pregnant ten years from now”
“You won’t remember what to do with a newborn anyway”
“You hate sleepless nights so a baby would be a silly idea”
“The timing isn’t right”
“Lily was such a good baby and is such a good kid that you’d have a nightmare child if you had another”
“You’re being selfish for wanting to have another baby”
“Your body isn’t working properly because another baby just isn’t meant to be”
“IVF won’t work so there’s no point saving up for it”
“You’ve got loads of nieces and nephews and your friends will have babies in a few years – it’s better to be able to give them back”
“You don’t REALLY want another baby”
Since we started TTC there have been 14 babies born to friends or family. FOURTEEN. That doesn’t include the colleagues who have gone off on maternity leave, or the people I follow on Instagram, or the random acquaintances or old school friends that I bump into whilst out and about.
Meanwhile my period keeps on coming, my ovaries decide on a whim whether or not they feel like working properly each month, I’ve learnt more about cervical fluid than any person should need to know, I read books on natural and chemical induced methods of conception, I drink green juice that looks even worse than it tastes, I embrace new hobbies constantly to take my mind off of things, I knit and crochet baby things for other people’s bundles of joy, I write and rewrite lists of baby names, I do at least one pregnancy test a week regardless of what stage I’m at in my cycle, I make bargains with myself and with every god you can think of, I chart my temperature, I tell myself that I’m absolutely fine, I try and bring myself to sort through Lily’s baby things and give them to others, I laugh a little louder, I work harder, and I hurt. A Lot.
But I am not alone, and that helps a bit – knowing I’m not the only one going through this and that i’m not the only one hoping for a miracle.