I am writing this to you. Man or woman. Younger or older than me. Straight or gay. First child or fifth. Conceiving naturally or otherwise. This is what I want to say to you. But what I would never dare say face to face.
You see, I feel embarrassed and a bit guilty that I conceived both my children naturally in four months. I have never suffered a miscarriage. Both my pregnancies and births were complication free. So I wont sit here and insult you by saying "I can only imagine what you're going through". Because I have no idea. I can't even begin to try and imagine.
But I do know people who are trying to conceive. Who have been trying for years.
I know people who tried to conceive for a long time before falling pregnant naturally.
I know people who had IVF to fall pregnant.
I know people who have had multiple failed IVF attempts.
I know people who have miscarried a baby. Some more than once.
And to all of you, these are the things I want you to know:
I'm Sorry; not in the pitying and 'empty' sense that says "I'm sorry you've not had a baby yet". But in the sense that I'm sorry for my attitude towards my children at times. I know it must be sickening to hear me moan about my toddler throwing a tantrum or my baby waking up at night. I know that all you wish for is to have a baby to get up for in the night. And you dream of the day your threenager screams at you because he wants to take the burning hot pizza out of the oven with his bare hands. I know, even if you don't think it immediately, that deep in your heart of hearts you must want to shout at me "well just think yourself lucky you've got children to moan about". And for my seemingly ungrateful attitude, I'm sorry.
I Understand; I don't understand what you're going through. I can't begin to. But I do understand if you don't want to share it with me. Me - who has the thing you want more than anything in the world. I understand that you don't want to bare your soul and divulge the most agonising experience of your life with someone who can only offer false empathy. Someone who can hug you and encourage you to keep going, keep trying, but whose words don't mean much because they don't understand the raw emotion behind it. So if you want to tell everyone except me, don't worry. I'm not offended. I'm not worried about the state of our relationship. I understand.
I Admire You; I don't consider myself a particularly strong person emotionally. And I have been close to people going through IVF. Close to people trying to conceive. Who, every month, for sometimes years, have raised hopes and shattered dreams repeatedly. I don't know if I'd have the strength to cope with that. And then, on top of that, there are those people who are given the gift of pregnancy, only to have it snatched away when they lose their precious baby. All these people have dealt with this with a quiet strength, so respectable and so admirable that I genuinely mean it when I say; I admire you.
I Envy You; I know it sounds trivial and I am in no way comparing these things with wanting a baby. But sometimes, I listen to you and I am so jealous that yoau can take a last minute mini break because you've had a tough week. I envy the fact that you can stay in pyjamas all day and slob on the sofa when you've got a hangover, surviving solely on Pot Noodles and cups of tea. I am envious of your holiday snaps where you are lounging on sunbeds, sipping cocktails, whilst I spent a whole week catching Thomas the Tank Engine coming down a water slide and feeding a baby mashed banana. I know it's so trivial and materialistic and I know how lucky I am. But still. I envy you.
I Hope; I hope you get what you want. I hope you get the fairytale. I wont lie; some days are hard. Some days it's Cinderella before the ball - all shabby clothes and mountains of housework. But I wouldn't change my children for the world. And that's the closest I can come to understanding how much you want this.
Because I can't imagine the heartache of not having my children.
And so, I am trying to use that to imagine your heartache at not having your children.
I still don't know what you're going through. I still feel ignorant to what you must be feeling.
But I hope. I hope so hard that you get what you want more than anything.