“Trying to conceive” – a phrase signalling that you want to start the journey of becoming a parent. Something that until now seemed like a foregone conclusion of having unprotected sex. Not once until now did anyone mention that getting pregnant (and staying pregnant) is actually a rather complicated, unpredictable and challenging task!
As a teen you fear that simply looking at a boy could result in a pregnancy, through your twenties you stay safe to ensure you are getting your career off to a good start and finding “Mr Right” (other options are available!) and then the thirties arrive and you finally feel ready to start your family and wham!! A whole raft of unseen challenges leave you wallowing in the loneliest place.
I’m lucky that Hubby is supportive and I can talk to him. Yet I’m missing something – I have a deep yearning to belong, to be a part of a group, to be accepted and wanted, to have friends. Hubby says I have friends and there are a few people who I can have a friendly chat with… but… I’m always the one who starts the conversation. To me my measure of a true friend has always been that two way street. People we’re always happy to come to events and parties that I arranged, but I rarely get invited to their events. I start conversations with people and show interest in them, if I stop then all goes quiet. I feel forgettable. I feel unworthy. I feel alone.
I do have an amazing family. My folks and my sister are always there for me. I can now talk to them about most things (I did keep a lot hidden before my 2016 meltdown – I will one day write this post). But I don’t feel that I can talk to them about babies. I’ve always had the stance that I don’t want children (this is another long and complicated post) but I now recognise that more was at play and I hadn’t really made my own mind up at the time. I don’t want to face the questions and jibes about “changing my mind” when in reality I have only just found my mind.
It’s probably just an uncomfortable speed bump rather than a brick wall. I should probably get over it to be able to access their support and empathy that I desperately need. But I can’t. I’m not strong enough (or broken enough) yet. I wanted to just say “guess what mum… you are going to be a grandma!” Yes I’ve pictured it and played the scene in my head! It’s much more decisive than “we are trying”.
So we are now two cycles in and it is dawning on me that this is not as easy as it looks. On only 3% of the days in the year is it possible to get pregnant. 12 tiny windows of chance. Even if a sperm meets the egg and everything goes swimmingly then it can still fail. Maybe it’s not quite right, maybe it doesn’t find a good space to park, maybe I eat wrong or do something that shakes it loose…
maybe maybe maybe
It’s a rollercoaster of emotions before you’ve even started the expected rollercoaster of parenthood. So while you are desperately hoping for everything to work so that you can be “In The Club” you are on your own. You are a NOT: not a child-free globe trotting couple, not a stay at home mum, not an expectant mother, not a career driven power woman. There isn’t a local support group for those trying to conceive.
The despair I felt after the failure of this cycle scared me. It took me to the dark place. It reminded me of what happens when I try to be outwardly calm, capable, organised, logical and strong. When actually inside I’m falling apart.
I think I tried to fortify myself against ‘going it alone’ by starting this blog and twitter account @rawmum. I’ve made some great connections with people who like what I write and lend a supporting hand when I send out the ‘help me’ type of messages. Especially this week I’ve been chatting with @me2mummy who is at a similar point to me (fingers crossed for you to succeed this cycle). Having a proper chat where the messages go to and fro is amazing. It makes me realise what I’ve been missing.
I’ve been looking for places where I can connect with others. I can’t see any local groups (West Sussex, Chichester) and the forums I’ve come across all seem rather one way. Someone poses a question and then another person asks a question and sometimes people give advice. I’m not after more advice – I’ve now read all the scary stories (please don’t let me be one of those who takes years to conceive!). I’m after friendship, camraderie, two-way support, honesty and compassion.
While I’m desperate to connect and fit in I know I’m not just having a baby so that I get a chance at friendship. It’s funny because I’m a really rational person and having a child is not logical… we’ve been around the shall we shan’t we loop so many times. Every time we decided we weren’t ready, or that it was a bad idea, I would cry for days! Deep down I want a family.
I may not be in The Club (yet) but I know I’m part of another club. A club whose members suffer alone: crying in Tesco’s car park because they have to go pick up tampax, wanting to drive to Hubby’s work for a hug, trying to put a brave face on it when a neighbour pops round to moan about something in their life, unable to face taking a day’s work doing supply teaching because of being surrounded by what you don’t have (yet).
One day hopefully I’ll get a chance to be in one of the many support groups for parents and babies… Prenatal class? Hypnobirthing group? Waterbirth babies? Mother and toddler? Yoga babies? Stay and play group? Music time for babies? Nursery mums?
One day I’ll feel like I’m taking charge of my destiny and steering my own life.
One day I’ll feel justified in taking care of our home rather than being in a full time workplace.
One day I hope to feel as though our family is complete.
One day… I can’t wait for one day! Especially one that might not arrive.