The Emergence of Mum Guilt

{And I’ve not even given birth yet}

As a baby-specific-raging hypochondriac, I had always assumed I would face fertility issues. That either myself or my husband would be pulled into the dreaded ‘white room’ of doom and be told in no uncertain terms that nope, nuh uh, it ain’t gonna happen. I had no reason, really, to think this, other than, as I say, the demons that lived in my brain, spouting such encouragement as ‘as if YOU could achieve that’ and 'LOL, OK buddy.'

(Having spoken to several female friends about this since, I have found it to be a fairly common assumption. What that says about the way media-centric negativity about our dying eggs and failing internal systems - breaking down mainly if we don’t breed before we earn - worms its way into the brains of women, I won’t go into…)

But anyway!

Due to this long standing anxiety, our TTC* journey was perhaps a little unorthodox, in that it began not with a roll in the hay, but with research into adoption agencies (which I would still be open to for future children). Discussions about surrogacy (I was against, same for sperm donors). And in forcing horse sized, not-strictly-proven-to-actually-make-a-difference, pre-natal pills on my poor husband as well as down my own neck just in case he had, like, three headed sperms/ I had a Monica-esque hostile womb willing to kill any of the few men that did get off their Barcaloungers long enough to do their job, or something of the such like.**

As luck would have it, in the end, we had nothing to worry about. We ‘tried’ unofficially for two months, before making it a bit more official (read:clinical) for one month. We caught during that one official month of tracking my cycle and having sex on schedule - even when tired/bloated/already tucked up in bed with the dog and unwilling to move for love nor money for any purpose other than this one – which anyone that has embarked on this journey will tell you, is the least appealing way to have sex. And because First Response lied to me on the first day of my period during said month, we then spent those first few days post-conception on our highly pregnancy unfriendly honeymoon, doing everything you’re 100% not meant to do when carrying a little life force in your womb. AKA we drank all the wine, ate all the soft cheese (tartiflette’s basically for every meal, no regrets), went into hot tubs and saunas, and skied/fell over quite hard in the French Alps. I also cried an awful lot, most memorably at the top of a not very high slope that I – out of nowhere, and very irrationally – suddenly thought was on a mission to bring about my untimely death. In hindsight, that should have been a bigger indicator than I took it to be, since I’m not usually a why-just-cry-when-you-can-howl-like-an-infant type of woman, but hey ho, these things will happen. (To my husband, if you’re reading this… sorry again for accusing you of trying to kill me when you encouraged me to ‘just ski.’ Especially since I CAN ski, so it would have been a crap plan on your part and I know you’re more creative than that.)

It was the day we returned home from what could be fairly described as our ‘baby unfriendly binge’ that we got the news. I was horizontal on the sofa, doing nothing in any way adrenaline raising when I noticed my Fitbit heart rate had escalated from an average of 64 to an average of 89. It had been high all week, but because we were in such a high altitude setting (also terrible in pregnancy, FYI) I assumed that was the issue and, much like with all the crying, had ignored it. But I was back at my normal altitude now, and no longer had that reason to fall back on and so, after resetting my Fitbit around 5 times followed by a quick google, I quietly exited stage right, and walked to the Co op for a pregnancy test.

As you will have guessed by now, the result was positive.

My husband told me on our very first date that he wanted 5 kids, so I was excited to see his reaction. So imagine my surprise when, handing the positive test to him in a gift bag, I got a less than enthusiastic response – basically, an eye roll and a ‘nice one.’ Because apparently I’m such a joker that I have prank preggo tests to hand on a whim. I went and sat back downstairs with our fat tabby, gazing at my belly, until – within around 15 minutes - he realised he hadn’t married a sociopath, and came to his senses with a thrilled string of sentences that I have a very vague recollection of. Happy words, anyway, which is what is important.

We announced our pregnancy at 12 weeks, following a harrowing first trimester, and I immediately began to experience the dreaded mum guilt. Not because of the ungodly amount of soft cheese consumed on our honeymoon (as I say, no regrets), not because of the hot tubs (I blame First Response), or even because papa-to-be’s initial reaction was to put his headphones back on and roll his eyes, but because I was pregnant to begin with. Because it happened so quickly for us. Because we didn’t struggle.

And it sucks, because I am absolutely over the moon. But also, I feel the need to apologise for my good fortune because I know, I just know that it must suck to be on the TTC train for an extended period of time and that for everyone I speak to that is still on that journey, I am someone that has achieved their goal already, and – from experience in other goals strived for – that can be hard to take. And so, you know what, I’m sorry. If you’re struggling, I’m sorry. And if you’re annoyed by people that seemingly had no troubles, I’m sorry. But also, there are options out there. So many options, and one day you will hold your beautiful babe in your arms, and it will all be worthwhile, even if your path takes you toward a child you didn't necessarily grow yourself.

Basically, there is a child in this world for you to love, whether it's waiting as an egg to be fertilised, or waiting in a group home to be chosen.

... Trust me, I did the research. We'll all get our good news in the end.

*(trying to conceive, for those not indoctrinated into the lingo. There is so much lingo.)
** if you didn’t get this reference, you need to watch more TV
+ picture shows me selfie-ing with the cat, mere moments before thinking ‘why is my heart rate going so mad?’


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