This is the third excerpt from my forthcoming book. Rather than doing another recap here are the links to the earlier excerpts for you to read if you need to ….
To continue dear “soon to be pregnant” girlfriend
I also know that your pregnancy will not be all plain sailing. There will be times when you are feeling dreadful because of morning sickness or exhaustion. Later on there’s going to be the constant need to wee and the kicks in the bladder at 3am. I hope you don’t suffer from these too much I really do because here I need to ask you another favour. Although I might be the friend you turn to most when you’re feeling down could I ask you, again, to turn to others in my stead? I fear that I will not be as sympathetic as you would like if you moan to me about the less attractive side of being pregnant. My reaction could be totally the opposite as I would do anything to have a mid-night craving of roast beef and chocolate ice cream pizza. So by now we’ve covered your sharing your news gently with me and perhaps relying on other friends during the ups and downs of your pregnancy. After all of this I expect you are wondering …
Now this is the big question. You are going to be exhausted yet you’re going to be on cloud 9. You’ll want all your loved ones around you and expect them to join you on that cloud. However, I expect that somewhere in the back of your mind there will be added concern of “how will I react?” Well the truth is I don’t really know. There will be times when I’m able to put aside my own feelings and join you on your cloud. At other times it will be harder. I might be in pain or I may have received bad news regarding my infertility. It might simply be that there’s an “R” in the month. Yes, the emotional shades of infertility can be as random as that.
If the time of the birth has caught me at a bad moment the only thing you can do is wait. I know this puts the burden back on you again, which is totally unfair: however, please remember your understandable happiness will be rubbing salt into my already raw wounds. Give me time, and perhaps a little space, and I will come round. I will be happy for you because I am not bitter and twisted, despite all the devastation infertility has caused. I will eventually hold your baby although it might only be for a moment or two to begin with. In the meantime, again respectfully, I ask you to accept my reaction and remember that dealing with infertility doesn’t go away. It is something that haunts me all the time. So please give me the time I need to adjust to the arrival of your new baby.
I know there were all the months of your pregnancy when I will have been adjusting yet that was different. I was getting used to the fact that you were going to have a baby: it was your “work in progress” and not the “finished article”. Now I need to get used to you actually having a baby. There is a world of difference between seeing you with a bump and seeing you cradling your child, being asked to hold your child, being asked to feed your child. Watching you soothe your child when they are fractious or singing them a lullaby as they drift off to sleep is a whole world away from watching you interact with an “inanimate” bump. However, there is one thing that you do not need to worry about …
I don’t want YOUR baby I want MY own
Sometimes, when a person finds out that I am infertile they physically pull away. They hold onto their child’s hand more tightly. They look at me with fear and suspicion especially if I’ve paid some attention to the child. It is as if the parents are terrified I will snatch their child from under their noses. I know that this does sometimes happen: however, thankfully these instances are very rare. Let me reassure you again, I don’t want your baby I want my own. So you are perfectly safe. You can let me hold your baby, if I want to. You can invite me to the Christening/naming ceremony. You could even ask me to be a god-mother. Although please do it because you want ME to have that special relationship with your child and not as some sort of consolation prize!
The last part of this letter will be published very soon. 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.