My little girl had her fifth birthday yesterday. She got a pink scooter, had a massive slice of chocolate cake and by anyone’s standards, it was a pretty good day. And as always, when one of the kids has a birthday, I thought back to the day she was born. The day, five years ago when my son got a sister and I got a daughter.
I waited a long time for that girl.
I suffered from secondary infertility and as a result, there’s ten years between her and her brother.
It’s strange, almost, to look back on that time. Mostly because I remember it so clearly. That feeling of complete longing that I had in those years before she was born, it felt like grief almost. Grieving for a child I didn’t have, that I never thought I’d have.
I can so clearly remember that feeling, the days where I’d feel so despondent, so full of despair. And the guilt! Wow, I remember the guilt at feeling that way, because who was I to want another child when I already had a perfect son? Who was I to be sad about not getting pregnant when I was already a mother?
It’s was a nightmarish mess of emotions. I actually shudder when I think back to those days. I remember our last visit to the fertility place, where a nice woman told me, ‘there’s no reason at all why you shouldn’t get pregnant. Stop trying so hard and it’ll happen.’
I think I wanted to physically hurt her when she said that.
So many people had trotted out those words to me, ‘stop trying so hard,’ and I’d wanted to scream back how hard it is to stop trying when you want something so much.
After that meeting at the fertility clinic, my husband and I went out to eat. I was crying. We ordered food and had the conversation that it was all too much. It had been too long. Enough was enough.
We’d already made the decision not to explore IVF or other fertility treatments, and we had a lovely boy, and wasn’t he perfect? Wasn’t he enough? He was. He is.
So I sat there and made peace with it. I ate my meal and said goodbye to the idea of another child. It’d been years of trying, counting, praying and I was tired of it all. Exhausted. And besides, I was coming up to thirty-eight years old, time was no longer on my side and I didn’t want to approach my forties in a panic fueled state. I wasn’t enjoying getting older, I wasn’t enjoying anything. It was time to stop. To give up.
Eight months after that meal I discovered I was pregnant.
To this day, I’m still surprised. After all the years of counting dates, taking temperatures and checking calendars, it happened when it wasn’t meticulously planned.
That damned fertility woman was a little bit right, as were all the other do-gooders who gave me that useless advice that turned out not to be useless. And it still irritates me, the fact that it wasn’t by doing something that made it happen, it was by doing nothing.
There’s an analogy to be found here, because it was the same with my book. And I’m not in any way comparing getting pregnant to having a book published, because the two events are incomparable, but just when I thought my book was dead in the water, my agent rang to say we’d got a publisher.
I don’t understand any of it, and I’m not writing this to give some great advice or conclude how things work, or to say, ‘let go and all your dreams will come true,’ I just wanted to write it down to say, isn’t it odd?
That sometimes, by doing nothing, the something happens? And isn’t it so bloody annoying?