“When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.”
Margaret Atwood, ‘Alias Grace’
^^^This, so much this^^^
Oh my. What a year 2016 was. I’ll bore you with what I say every year, in that time and events have no idea what month or year they fall in and thus there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ year. But, Lady Event, you have made the past 6 months in particular gobsmackingly crazy.
So I thought I was never going to get pregnant.
In August 2014 after my major operation I told only those closest to me that I had very little of my ovaries left, one quarter on one side and one half on the other. This had happened with a previous surgeon in 2006 without my knowledge. My brilliant new surgeon did what he could but said the likelihood of conception was even lower than I’d previously thought (i.e. almost nil), and he also said I’d need a very early hysterectomy as my womb is so diseased and will always cause me pain. I felt incomplete, wonky, damaged, contagious and a huge part of me wanted to hide away. (I have to say I don’t think that of anyone else with these attributes like this believe me, these were entirely my feelings about me.)
To say I reeled from this was an understatement. While telling everyone how much better I felt physically, because I really did, and having spent our house deposit on my operation I was deep down braincrackingly devastated and so lost. If it couldn’t even help me have children what was the fucking point of going through a steamrolling juggernaut of an operation? 7 and a half hours of the bastard.
Yes I left teaching, not to get pregnant but to reduce the physical stress and mental lunacy it almost destroyed my body and soul with; I set myself up as self-employed (crap, that reminds me – tax return *panic emoji*); moved to London etc etc – trying to make myself a life I would be happy with without children. Tutoring people who made me laugh, but mostly just trying to crawl through life not being noticed and not noticing babies. I felt and feel pretty dreadful for the baby showers I couldn’t go to, the baby shops that made me wince, the baby gifts I couldn’t buy, the friendships I retreated from and the conversations I became a jaw-clenching stone in. It was like a white hot dagger to my ovaries and flooded my body with despair, it made me breathless with the mental pain. This isn’t hyperbole by the way, just my truth. I wish I could have been more philosophical but sometimes philosophy only works for those with hope left.
November 2015 I had an MRI for my hip made dodgy during the operation: “Could you be pregnant?” they asked. I tried not to laugh in their faces – AS IF. But a week later I just didn’t feel right and thought hang on, my tum feels different, I can taste metal all the time, I’m way beyond tired. So many many pregnancy tests ensued, way too early really to detect according to the chattering googlemeisters. Howevs, I sent my husband a pic of a v faintly positive pregnancy test and wondered why it took him so long to get back to me. I was hyperventilating wandering from room to room completely befuddled. Turns out he thought it was a positive ovulation stick, which we’d tried the month before to make sure my ovaries were actually working. Obviously, being me, the whole time I was also thinking shitshitshit the MRI! I’m going to give birth to a fucking giant magnet.
I won’t bore with the tales of my potato-obsessed and anaemically-crawling-around-the-flat-filled pregnancy times nor the syntocinon-forceps-haemorrhage labour. Suffice to say, I found it strangely difficult to tell anyone I was even pregnant. It was only if someone pointed out my enlargement of mid-section that I would say anything, and I totally resisted being the ‘all-I-can-talk-about-is-how-many-weeks-I-am’ expectant mother. So, in a weird way, I tried to hide it. I didn’t post on fb or Instagram because I kind of felt guilty that this had worked for me when for so many it might not. Neither could I believe it (honestly, I’m still in shock). Also, for me, it’s so oddly tied up with not wanting to shove it in anyone’s faces because, my word, have I had it shoved in mine many a time. So I guess there’s an element of guilt there and a huge wincing awareness of how those who are in the position I used to be in could be feeling. I’ll never forget, you know. Ever. The storm/house in a whirlwind. The relentlessness of wanting but not getting. I’m with you whatever part of the journey you’re on.
And I love our girl. Obviously. But I also love independence and alone time. Being a mum makes me no better than anyone or have any more knowledge or idea of what the eff I’m doing, in fact I feel more floundery than ever at times.
I am so happy for the friends I have and I love them and am interested in and want to spend time with them regardless of whether they have a child for the bairn to play with. I am a mum (I am a mum?! Mental. Just saying that makes me shake my head in wonder, fear and gratitude) who is a bit addicted to window shopping in JoJo Maman Bebe sure, but I am also just me scraping on by, wishing for quiet and peace when there are screams that do my head in, looking at the disgusting dust in the corner but kind of not giving a shit, looking forward to times I can freely go for cocktails, pining for Louboutins but styling mostly off Tu at Sainsbury’s, but mostly I am so ready to share my daughter with the many wonderful people I know and enjoy my life, our life. It’s time to move forward, I’ve spent too long being sad and wishing for things, for me, to be different.
I don’t want our girl to rely on me to the exclusion of everyone else, I want her to be a daddy’s girl, to run into school without looking back at me and I want her to be gentle and strong and I want her to be her. And she will get to do that if I get to be me, chubby armed, opinionated but also a bit scared, gentle yet prickly, partying but homely me.
Just needed to get that off my chest. Phew. Thanks for reading if you have. All the goodwill in the world to you and yours.