Firstly I have to make a huge apology for not publishing the last excerpt from “Broken Yet Not Destroyed”. I published excerpt #3 on July 19th 2016 just before I had a massive wobble, the aftershocks of which have only just receded enough for me to pick up Accepting Infertility and start writing again.
As it is such a time since the last excerpt here’s a quick reminder and the links to the previous excerpts. This chapter is my letter to a girlfriend who is about to find out that she is pregnant for the first time. In it I ask her to understand why this will be a challenge for me and that I might not be able to give her the support that she expects because of the pain that it gives me.
To continue dear “soon to be pregnant” girlfriend
As your child grows I think the most important thing will be for us to have frank and open discussions about how much involvement I feel comfortable with. This shouldn’t happen just once soon after the birth of your child: it is a conversation that we should revisit on occasions. We may find that as you baby develops into a toddler and then an infant that the way watching them grow affects me differently. At the moment, I look at new born babies with desperate longing whilst the pain of watching a teenager is not so intense. Hopefully this will be the case as your child develops. So, if I struggle to form a close bond with your baby there is every chance that this will change over time so please don’t be hurt if I am reluctant to spend hours cuddling your baby in the early months. It may also be the case that over time my feelings towards not being a mother could change. Whilst there is a chance that I could step over the edge of that abyss and sink into depression there is also every hope that I will find a purpose in life that means the pain will have less of a strangle hold over me. I don’t think it will ever totally leave me because I longed to be a mother for so long yet I may wake up years from now and realise that the pain no longer controls all parts of my life. Enough healing will have taken place for me to play a full and loving part in your child’s life. That is my hope: we will have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, please ….
I beg this of you please,
Tread lightly as you pick
Your way through
The ruins of my life
Where floors are
Strewn with petals
Stained red with misery.
And as within you
Tiny hands begin to grow,
Tread lightly of my feelings
Once your joy begins to show.
For you are in a journey
To somewhere I cannot go
And, in spite of desperate longing,
It’s to a place that I will never know.
And as months and years pass by us
Till first steps or stumbled words
Thrill you to the core,
Tread lightly on the days when
I can’t share with your joy
Because there’s a black dog roaming
Through the recesses of my heart
That blinds me to all world’s goodness
And leaves me knowing nothing
But the devastation of my pain.
And in return for these kindly acts
I will tread as lightly as I can
To protect a friendship under strain
Through no one’s fault but a fate
That made the cards fall thus:
Leaving one of us a mother
And one of us an empty shell.
My hope for the future
Is that now I have come to the end of my missive you will realise that my infertility is not, and should not be, a taboo subject. I hope that by sharing my inner most thoughts you realise that you can talk to me about the situation. As long as you are not judgemental and do not make me feel that I am an inferior human being because I have not been able to have children I will be fine. Respect my desire for space if I ask for it. Ask me what you can do to support me rather than jumping to conclusions or running away in fear. Our friendship is important to me and I don’t want us to drift away because you have become a mother and I don’t want you to feel that you have to exclude me from your life because I have not. If we work together and continue to communicate in a non-judgemental and respectful way, we can protect our friendship from the strain that it could be place under as you start this new chapter in your life.
So, do we have a pact? I will be as supportive and as happy as I can be that you are going to be a mum, whilst you are as supportive and understanding as possible that I am devastated that I am not.
Your loving friend ….