As someone with three children you may find it difficult to believe I have any experience of fertility issues, and although I was fortunate enough to avoid IVF, I do know the pain of struggling to conceive.
The stress of not being able to conceive a baby can be all-consuming, especially, I think for women. It is, for most women, a right of passage to become a mother. I have friends of a similar age to me who have elected not to have children and I occasionally think, gosh, why didn’t I think to be like that? Alas, my brain was not wired that way. From an early age I wanted to be a mum. I cannot remember a period in my childhood where I wasn’t bouncing a baby cousin or niece on my hip and although I had career aspirations, that urge to reproduce gnawed inside me. So, you can imagine when I was 21 and recently married (yes, I know, I was a childbride the first time around and everyone thought it was a shotgun wedding. It wasn’t) and the doctor told me I had polycystic ovary syndrome and would find it hard to conceive – up to 2 years – I panicked. In the event I got pregnant immediately and had by beautiful baby boy ( who is now *gulp* 14) at 23. Easy peasy, all sorted with and on with the next one when we were ready. Not so; it didn’t work like that. Conceiving Archie took a year. One whole, long 12 month period in which all my friends who had had babies at the same time as I had Hamish went on to have second children. I kept telling myself I was only 25, it wasn’t the end of the world; there would be options. Plus, I had a child, what did it matter? It mattered because I didn’t want my son to be an only child, like I was, and it left me with an overwhelming feeling of loss.I found it hard to be around pregnant women; not easy when you’ve got a toddler to take to mother and baby groups. It became all-consuming. Checking my basal body temperature, keeping charts, analysing my vaginal mucus and precision timing for intercourse. Now I look back on it, I’m amazed my marriage survived long enough for baby number three!
Which brings me onto Grace. We meet her when she’s about to begin IVF, having tried desperately for two years to conceive. Only, Charlie is about to walk in and explain, somehow, he’s got one of the stable girls pregnant. Her world comes tumbling down, but one of the biggest battles she has to overcome is guilt. Guilt that she broke down her relationship with Charlie by obsessing over wanting a baby. Until she realises this guilt is stopping her from moving on and she has no option but to confront it. So, I leave you, dear reader with this message today:
Meet me tomorrow where we’ll discuss one of Hennie’s hurdles; single parenting.