Call me naïve if you will, but I never realised that the process of trying to make a baby would be so emotionally devastating.
Seriously, I really didn’t. I didn’t! Honestly, I think that goes for a lot of people who have never tried or never struggled. I like to think of myself as a very rational person. I’m a scientist. I do research for a living. I make spreadsheets for everything. If you think I didn’t make a spreadsheet and do the statistics on this whole baby making caper, you are absolutely kidding yourself.
But, although it’s expensive and although it’s physically exhausting, the worst thing by far is the emotions. I don’t even know how to describe it to people who haven’t been there. It’s fucked.
My mother got pregnant once before she had me. My parents were on their honeymoon and it just happened. She miscarried a few weeks in but didn’t feel upset or emotional about it. “It was just a bunch of cells”, she always told me. True. Rational. You don’t miss what you weren’t looking for. This story has always coloured my view of conception and loss.
A bunch of cells is nothing to cry over.
A couple of weeks ago, I came as close as I ever have to getting pregnant. Although I don’t have a positive home pregnancy test to base this on *TMI alert* when I got my period, I was losing what looked like big chunks of bloody flesh. Not blood clots, but actual tissue. This has never happened to me before. Ever. It was a legit bunch of bloody cells. And I felt a bloody emotional, teary attachment to them/it. Is it disrespectful to humanity to flush these down the toilet? (If so, I was eventually disrespectful).
How it turned out for my mum: After me, she tried for 6 years to have another baby, naturally and through IUI, and never had another pregnancy. The story she only really told me recently is about how devastating and all-consuming it was to want a baby, knowing that your body can do it, theoretically, and just never ever get one. That particular story is the one about sobbing over baby clothes and about buying heaps of soft teddy bears to cuddle when she was craving a little soft thing to care for. It’s the story of resenting my father for not caring as much as she did and resenting those for whom pregnancy came easy.
It’s the wanting that makes it hard. It’s the knowing it’s just luck and chance and persistence and that the only thing you can do is try and try and try and wait.
P.S. My mother recently bought me a really soft fluffy toy when I was in the ‘progesterone-crying’ phase of the cycle and started weeping profusely over it in a shop. She told me the above story and said it would make me feel better. It did.