This is a difficult post to write. But it needs to be written.
Since discovering our great news at the start of September, I’ve experienced a mixture of feelings – joy, happiness, disbelief, fear, excitement, anxiety, contentment… and guilt.
Guilt that it happened to me before others – both those that I knew personally who were in the same shoes as me, and those I knew in the virtual community.
On some strange level, I didn’t feel I had ‘suffered’ enough compared to others. I hadn’t earned my stripes as much as someone else.
It’s all bollocks of course. And I soon gave my head a wobble.
What I was feeling wasn’t guilt, but compassion and empathy. I realise that now.
I wanted – and still do – others to experience the same joy that we had been blessed with. I wanted every woman who was desperate for a baby to be granted one (or however many they wanted!) Because when you see that BFP – that sticky BFP – it immediately makes all the prior heartache worth it to get to that point. And if I was lucky enough to experience that, I desperately wanted everybody else to be lucky enough too.
And that’s exactly what we were – lucky. Lucky to conceive when – and how – we did. I realise how lucky I am. I don’t need it pointing out to me. Everyday I wake up grateful to still be pregnant. I cherish every single time Dave puts his hands on my stomach and kisses Cub – no matter how cold his hands are I will never swat them away!
I never take it for granted how fortunate we are. Every single time of every single day that I go to the toilet, I check my underwear for blood. I don’t think I will ever stop doing that.
Okay, we didn’t have medical intervention to help us get pregnant. We didn’t take medication. We didn’t do IUI, ICSI or IVF. We didn’t need donor eggs or sperm. We didn’t have to spend any money or use insurance to cover infertility. We didn’t experience any miscarriages (although our chemical pregnancy still broke our hearts in a way that will never be repaired). And I can’t imagine how tough those challenges are for the people going through them every day.
But the struggle was still real. Not going through what I’ve described above doesn’t mean we didn’t suffer for 20 months too. It doesn’t invalidate or negate our experience.
Our hearts still broke at the arrival of my period.
We still shed the same tears after seeing a pregnancy announcement, that another couple would have shed.
Infertility is not a competition of who has suffered the most. Everybody’s journey is unique and cannot be compared. We should celebrate every woman’s pregnancy no matter how they got there.
I will never forget how difficult I found it when people we knew got pregnant. I will always understand those difficult feelings and emotions. It will never leave you.
I will never forget what we endured to get to this point either. I still find myself saying to people “but it took us nearly 2 years” immediately after I’ve told them we’re pregnant, like I have to add it by way of explanation, just in case they were to assume it was easy for us. I’ve never hidden how difficult it has been. And I will never stop doing that. Because I hope it helps others to know that they are not alone.
This weekend, 2 people who I know (but not very well) told me how long it took them to fall pregnant, all because I was honest with them first. It is more common than I realised. They described themselves as infertile too, but didn’t have medical intervention. They just kept going and didn’t give up.
And that’s what I have in common with every other woman who is currently trying to conceive, even though we fell pregnant “naturally” as opposed to “medically”. We kept going and never gave up.
And that’s what I will continue saying to other women:
KEEP GOING. AND NEVER GIVE UP.
And Cub, I will NEVER feel guilty for conceiving you when we did. You came to us at the perfect time.