Andrew and I were planning to publish a blog reflecting on the recent comments made by Andrea Leadsom regarding the link between motherhood and caring for the country. However, the last few days has shown that the old adage “A week is a long time in politics” is well out of date. So we’ve decided to let the dust settle for a couple more days. Our intention is to stand back, watch for changes and then write something which might actually still be relevant 37 minutes later!
Whilst we wait for the world to stop so we can get off it’s probably an ideal time to publish “part 2” of the extract from my forthcoming book “Broken Yet Not Destroyed”. Here’s a quick re-cap of the letter so far ….
In part one I shared some of the basic reasons why infertility makes dealing with pregnancy news difficult. I went on to explain some of the wide ranging emotions that receiving pregnancy news can stir up in us and that emotions such as jealousy and anger don’t make us feel very good about ourselves. Towards the end I explained that whilst your natural instinct might be to avoid or delay telling us because you are concerned about the pain it will cause us, this is actually the worst course of actions. Whatever you decide to do posting something on Facebook is the worst of all options. Finding out that your best friend is pregnant whilst you are struggling to conceive is a kick in the gut: finding out via an impersonal photo of her time-line is like a heard of elephants trampling over your stomach. If you want to re-read the first excerpt (or missed out on in totally) here’s the link.
To Continue dear “soon to be pregnant” girlfriend
What will my reaction be? Well for a start it will probably throw me for a moment. There could be an awkward silence. The smile may vanish from my face. That’s nothing to do with you personally: it’s just that I will have been kicked in the belly by the universe and need a moment to recover. I know that you are trying to conceive: however, there is a huge difference between trying and succeeding. I should know, I’ve been trying for eight long years.
All I ask of you is that you be patient with me. Give me a chance to gather my thoughts together in order to feel and deal with the involuntary emotions that will flood into my being. I’ve been dealt an almighty blow and it will floor me for a while. So I need to recover from the shock as I know it is very important for me to be happy for you: not simply to smile and go through a charade by putting on a brave face. I really do want to feel happy for you: you are my friend and deserve happiness and my support even if the source of that happiness is something I long for and can never achieve. After all, if I want you to be supportive of me, as I struggle with infertility, I have to accept that it works both ways. I have to be supportive of you during your pregnancy. Please remember though that it will be tough on me: you are experiencing something of great happiness whilst I will be reminded of my pain.
That pain will probably ebb and flow during your pregnancy because the pain and grief of infertility does that too. Some days I’m fine. On others I am standing on the edge of an abyss staring down into a bottomless pit of despair. Be aware that as the time of the birth drawers nearer I may distance myself slightly. I know you’ll want most support then: however, self-preservation will probably kick in and demand I look after myself first. This is not me being selfish by putting my needs first: this is about survival. At any moment I could stumble whilst standing at the edge of that abyss and fall to my doom: when you go into labour that risk becomes greater and I have to crawl away from the edge to save myself.
During your pregnancy could I ask you this?
When you are thrilled, feeling great and blooming please share your happiness with your other friends as hearing this will be like a knife thrust into my heart. Please don’t expect me to be ecstatic at the photographs from you latest scans, showing a tiny foot or a thumb stuck into a mouth for comfort. These images that fill you will love won’t have the same effect on me: tears will fall as another piece of my heart breaks off. Please don’t rush to tell me when you feel baby’s first kick or find out that there are two heart beats when you were only looking for one. I know that you will want to share your news and happiness with the people you love. This is only natural. All I ask is that you remember that I will be carrying the pain of my infertility around with me all through the months of your pregnancy. I am not saying shun me. I am begging you not to cut me out of my life. What I am asking is that you show compassion for my situation. Help me help us both reach the stage where I can share your happiness with you because I do want that with all my heart.
I’ve created a new “category” called “Broken Yet Not Destroyed” so you can easily search for all the excerpts if you miss any of them.
If what I have written has resonated with you I would love to hear your comments because I want this book to express the feelings that some many people in our situation struggle to share.