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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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trying toconceive

I hate you pregnancy test!!!

I would think that over the last 15 years I am at this point keeping these pregnancy and OPK test companies in business.

It starts with the excited buy in the early stages of trying. The optimist in me would buy the expensive brands and in bulk. They would sit proudly on my bathroom cabinets like a promise of the future we wanted. I couldn’t wait to test.

With each passing month the affection for these tests and that promised future, they started to take on a cruel light. As the fertility testing starts and the scheduled sex, the waiting to take the next test is torturous.

Then you get within a few days of aunt flows arrival and try it early because you never know and I can’t wait any longer …..

Flashing ….. flashing…… flashing…….

Listening to my heartbeat in my ears from anticipation.

Waiting….. waiting……. waiting…….

Hands and feet cold with fear. And then…..

Negative. Negative. NOT PREGNANT.

Feeling nothing for a few moments, almost a resigned “I knew it would be negative” followed by overwhelming sadness. Another month gone and no baby. Sitting cradling the cruel test, hoping the answer would change. Maybe it was too early??

The following few days until aunt flow arrives a small glimmer of hope remains symptom watching and googling “early signs of pregnancy” like a crazy person. Convincing my cray-cray brain that I am indeed peeing more (I Wasnt) or that my boobs did indeed hurt (they did but they do every month) that those cramps must be implanting cramps (they were not. They were period cramps.) That usually ends with me in a bathroom somewhere silently crying after another failed month.

It takes strength to pull yourself up and dust yourself down and go in for another round. Hopes a cruel bitch.

At this point it feels like the only option is IVF for us. In recent years I haven’t bought any tests. One, because I hate them and two because if I get pregnant then I will know at some point! What’s the point of the repeated torture.

In some ways I am probably delaying the last little bit of weight I have to loose because if we do the IVF then there is a chance I have to look at another negative pregnancy test. I know most people won’t understand that but anyone in our shoes will.

It may seem slightly kooky but I would like a ceremonial burning of everyone I have ever had to take along with the OPKs.

I imagine how it would have been to have simply gotten pregnant and not needing all these tests.

To not know what the anxiety of the two week wait feels like.

To have not experienced the crushing disappointment of each passing month, or worst of all those rare tests that were in fact positive but then ended in bitter loss all the same.

Can you imagine that. All those years waiting. To finally see that PREGNANT only to feel that life leave you. That dream leave. My heart to just break.

So yep. I hate those damn tests. I will avoid that aisle at the supermarket, but if one day on the news you hear of a woman smashing up the pregnancy test alley at a North East supermarket. You can bet your arse it’s me. Harley Quinning the shit out of those smug blue boxes.

I’m not bitter of cause. Not at all ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. Lol.

โ€œWhy donโ€™t you just adopt?โ€

I’ve mulled over the idea of this blog for a while now. It’s a tough one to write about because I have so much respect for those families who have adopted or are going through the adoption process. Let me start by saying that.

But.

So many times people have said to us “You could just adopt”. Here’s my issue with that statement, while being from a good place. It’s probably one of the worst things to say to me as someone who can’t have kids. Bare with me.

Don’t get mad.

This is why. ….. the word “just” is the killer for me. It makes it feel like they are suggesting it as a runner up prize. Adoption if you choose this route is so much more important than that.

Adoption is not a fertility treatment. It’s not a quick fix for the years of desperately trying. Adoption is a completely separate decision that any family can make if you can or can’t have children.

For me if I were to go down this route. I would need my husband 100% on board with it. It needs to be a decision you are both happy with and both healed enough to move forward, because if not, that’s not fair to any child that may be placed into your care.

My issues with not being able to conceive and carry my own child are issues that are about me and my body. I don’t feel adopting a child would magically fix those aches. I long to carry a child in my own body, I even want to experience giving birth. I want to feel that baby moving inside me. Most of all I yearn to hold a child that’s a little bit of me and a little bit of my husband, who’s the love of my life. Not everyone does feel that need, but I do.

While I know for sure if we do go down that route the child placed with us would be ours. No question. I believe that blood doesn’t always make a family. But the place I am at right now, I know I’m not ready to give up on the dream of having our own child and when someone suggests that we should adopt. Here’s what I feel.

GUILT.

I feel bad about every little life out there that needs a home and a loving family. I know we would make great parents but it’s not fair of us to half arse it and that’s just me being honest. So this suggestion just adds to my pain.

The adoption process is a difficult and emotional one. Deciding if you are willing to take a certain age, a child with difficulties or disabilities, would you take a sibling group the choices you just wouldn’t have to think about if we just got pregnant. Reading the bios and looking at those photographs, at each beautiful child and trying to decide who would get us as parents that’s something I am not in the right place for. My hearts already broken from loosing our babies, what happens if the process falls through. How would we deal with that?

Moving years into the future how would I feel if the child wants contact with their birth family. Feeling like someone would possibly take my place. Again after going through what we have with our own babies I know that would kill me.

Another consideration for many people not in the UK is the cost. It can cost a lot of money to start the adoption process. Not everyone is in the position to do that.

People often are curious about the Infertility journey. Some people it comes from a place of love, they want you to feel less pain so they say things to try and help. For some people it’s just about being a bit nosy. They want to know to satisfy their own curiosity. Others would try to make it about the greater good and “doing the right thing” I’m amused by these people as I am yet to meet anyone offering this piece of advice that has been through what we have or even adopted themselves. Those people will say it like a – “wow don’t moan about it … just adopt” – like it’s something that’s as easy as that. Problem solved. All our pain magically gone.

If when you know that having kids isn’t happening for you and you have grieved the loss of that imagined life enough to feel ready to adopt, I truly applaud you. I really hope one day that I can get there too because having time to contemplate giving a home to a child in need really is an unexpected pain of infertility. I beat myself up about this all the time.

The simple fact is, like the decision to have any children, it’s a personal one.

I understand some people may view this suggestion as a perfect solution. I don’t think you can truly understand the conflict until you have lived it. Some couples know even before they try for children, if it doesn’t work they will adopt. This is so wonderful. I wish that’s how I felt. But we all have to go through this however we can, we do our best to survive it.

The adoption process here in the uk also asks for a set amount of time before starting the adoption process if you have had fertility treatment etc. This is completely the right thing for them to ask in my opinion. Again I will say it. Adoption is not a infertility treatment. The children involved deserve so much more than that. I really hope one day we can heal enough to do that but in the mean time please try to think before you speak.

I don’t mind answering the question ;

“have you considered adoption?”

That’s so much better than saying to me;

“Why don’t you just adopt?”

There’s nothing “Just” about it. It’s a completely awesome thing to do.

Baby clothes ….a weird hope.

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, I suspect I am not but I’m going to share anyway in case there are others like me feeling the same.

After all these years I have a huge urge to shop for nursery equipment and baby clothes. There! I said it. It’s out there.

I always imagined the months and weeks leading up to a birth, the excitement and preparation of the new arrival would be so wonderful. Part of that imagined scenario is the nursery and baby clothes.

In the early days I would look around these sections when I shopped alone and imagine being able to just buy anything remotely baby related to make up for all the time yearning.

When we did get pregnant and the few occasions that bean was a strong one and made it further into the pregnancy. I even went as far as buying a couple of football related items to give to my husband. They sat in a bottom draw for years until we moved house the last time and I had to let them go for my sanity. The bottom draw became a shrine and that didn’t feel good. I was tormented by them.

It’s hard to let go of these items when you see the moment clearly. A happy moment I would have shared with my husband. Handing him a Newcastle United onesie with Phillips on it. Telling him we finally were going to be parents.

I’m often surprised by the way some things affect me and then others that I would brace myself for turn out to be not too bad. For example the other day we were doing some work on a maternity ward, a couple were signing in to give their baby as I waited to see if we could carry the work out. The ache I carry everyday burned so badly at that moment. I will never experience this. I braced myself for the whole way to the job and actually it wasn’t too bad, once the initial pain passed I was ok.

I was a little jealous looking at all those baby bumps and going into the delivery suite thinking I have no clue what it’s like to be here and I want to be here so badly. The little units with the little knitted hats waiting for a beautiful head to cover. But I left feeling a little sad, but ok.

A few hours later we went to a shopping centre to buy some new clothes for our holiday next week. We are going to Prague ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜. The fitting room of cause had to be in the middle of the baby clothes. There was a little tiny pair of skinny jeans. They were for 0-3 months and were the cutest thing I have ever seen. They fit in my hand.

As I waiting for my husband to try his clothes on, I watched as families browsed the clothing and selected items and I felt such a huge wave of grief. Grief for a life I am not getting to live.

It’s like that movie sliding doors, in an alternative world I didn’t loose our babies and my husband and I are going through all these normal life experiences and my heart isn’t broken. We cradled my huge bumps while our little one kicked away and grew safe and strong protected by my body, we argued over furniture and colours for the nursery we spent time creating for them, we were able to buy the beautiful clothes for our children. That version of us doesn’t feel like a fraud for even picking up those little jeans. That version on me might have bought them in the right size for our children. You would feel the overwhelming love in our home. Love of our family.

There is a lot of love anyway. In the real version of our lives I am so happily married. I’m so completely in love with my husband fifteen years on. We get to travel a lot. We have nice things. We are happy. We have a lot to be thankful for. We just have this one part that hurts every day, it’s become part of our lives. Some days it’s just like white noise irritating but I can ignore it. Some days my grief screams so loudly that my chest aches. Those are the days I wish we didn’t have to experience it. I wish I could find a way to let go and be ok with it and that small things didn’t eat away at me , like perfect little jeans for a perfect baby we might never have.

Plan B ….

For as long as I have been aware, having a family was something I always wanted.

No one really tells you it’s not something you are guaranteed. Growing up I heard a lot of;

“When you get married and have kids of your own”

You don’t question it. It’s life’s plan. It’s what’s done.

Here’s my issue with that. What if it’s not? Why does it have to be? Someone choosing not to have children is no less valuable to society than someone that has had a car full of babies. Yet we are often made to feel less than, I even read an article claiming that professional woman are selfish for this decision.

Are you kidding me?! Apart from the fact you never know why that person hasn’t had a family if by choice or by circumstance or like for us there is an issue. It’s none of anyone else’s business.

Also you say selfish ….Who is it that covers holidays and sickness of those needing the extra days for their children?? I’m not ever bothered about doing this, or wasn’t before I was self employed. In fact I more than once offered to cover holidays etc because I know how important it is to be at home with your kids, but don’t call me selfish for it!! Don’t tell me I’m not contributing to society doing that takes more than reproducing.

One Christmas Eve some years ago when we had a working day as you do in media advertising. They announced they would be letting those with children leave early. Sitting there post failed fertility treatment, already slightly upset about Christmas I was so angry. Did my time with my husband mean less because we didn’t have children? Ironically it took one of my friends with children to point out how unfair and insensitive that was. I know it wasn’t done intentionally to hurt me or others like me, but the fact they didn’t think about that was infuriating.

Another really irritating example is the romantic movie industry. Hard nose business woman who puts her career first realised she should have married that high school boyfriend and had a family instead, because being a business woman is so horrible…. really? It’s a repeated message told over and over. Some people are happy to be single. Not everyone needs to find their prince or princess charming. Some people love their careers – what’s wrong with that?!

I could list a hundred examples of ways in which I was made to feel less than, less important, not in the “know” because I don’t have children, like there’s some secret language you get access to when you have a child.

Having a family is important to me, but it doesn’t define me. I know that’s funny because of the time I dedicate to writing about it but I feel like we need to point this out. I am able to function in society. I just feel like we should talk about plan b a little more.

We are 14 years into the whole trying for a family thing and as times gone on, so with it has grown a feeling of aimlessness. To find out where I fit in. While my friends and family around me are taking kids to nursery’s, school, children’s parties, events for children, we kind of sit on the sidelines not really fitting in. No one really talks about what next if it doesn’t work.

I get that this is such a personal journey so some people are more ok with it sooner than others. For me I never really have given up. I try. Then I will see a baby and I’m right back to yearning desperation.

I feel like certainly the last three years I have plodded along. Just waiting in case. I had renewed hope when I started to loose weight. Here I am 61lbs down and still no baby. I know we are heading for IVF weight but I have lost my focus. It feels like it’s not helped.

As anyone that reads my blogs regularly knows, I had a car accident that sent me into a spiral. I left my job and the industry I have worked in for the last 15 years. I needed a change. I needed a plan B and to find my way without the baby plan.

I’m tired of feeling aimless and less than. This change and starting my own business has given me new purpose. I don’t know if it’s going to work out. I know I have smashed my first months target that I projected for myself. But it’s early days. Maybe my business will be my baby. Who knows.

It’s important to think about what next if it doesn’t happen. I know how hard it is to think about it, but it’s time I did. I have to try to heal. I don’t think I will ever get to a point of giving up completely but having a new focus is helping. There are so many successful women out there killing it child free and happy.

I just want to not feel so upset when I think about our future. I want to enjoy the now instead.

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes.ย 

I dream a lot and vividly. My subconscious screams at me sometimes and it can have a massive impact on the day ahead. 

The brain can be cruel. It shows images of my deepest desires and then rips them away when I wake. Sometimes the echos haunt me for the rest of that day. 

I have dreamt so many times about our babies. Some good dreams, some bad. 

I have dreamt that I have been tied to a table while someone is ripping our baby from inside me, screaming and crying trying to curl myself into the smallest ball to try to keep our baby safe. 

I have dreamt that I was nursing our baby and go to change the nappy on our bed and I loose the baby in the bedding. Searching frantically for her tangled in the sheets. 

I have dreamt of having a baby growing outside of me, so tiny that I was using a dropper to feed her tiny little mouth. 

And like last night. I dreamt that someone had put our baby into the boot of my car, in a car seat but I was frantically trying to find a safe place to pull over to put her safely in the back seat. Normally this dream I would pull over go to the boot and she would be gone. This time she was still there so tiny in this big car seat, so perfect. I felt like I stared at her for hours. Perfect little face, little fingers. Wrapped in a white baby grow with little pink flowers on it. Yes it really was that detailed. 

Then I woke up. 

And for a split second my confused brain wonders if there is a baby in the room. Just for a very brief moment. Then I know that no babies live here. The weight of this feels like lead in my stomach and the ache is back. 

I have moved to a point where I am happy. I am not as desperate as I once was but I wonder when these dreams will stop taunting me. My heart has spent so many years yearning for a child that perhaps she’s not ready to give up just yet. 

Or maybe it is our little girl reminding me she’s still waiting to be born. 

Dreams can hurt more than reality sometimes. It really is a desperate wish. 

Either that or I am finally loosing my mind ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฉ!!

Xoxo

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