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- 12 Oct 17

I begun writing this list in mid-February. I wanted to share it earlier, to break the silence about that tends to come hand-in-hand with trying for a baby, but I didn’t have the guts. And now I’m pregnant I feel like a fraud.
However, I thought it was important to post it. Partly as a personal record of the experience. Also, it’s recent enough to remember how lonely I felt in those weeks and months felt, I trawled Google searching for people in the same boat .

So here it is:

To give you some context we were fortunate enough to conceive both Bertie and Woody on the second cycle.
In my mind, the first cycle was more like a trial run, a ‘hump and hope’ if you will and therefore didn’t really count much.

Still, when we decided to try for a third baby we did the sensible thing and prepped ourselves by saying (repeatedly) “it might not happen as quickly the third time.”

Truthfully I said it because it’s one of those things you should say. In my heart, I backed our seeds to do what they were meant to, fast.

Cycle one, came and went. No biggy.

Cycle two, not so cool.

No luck Cycle 3 either. It’s safe to say I lost my cool.

‘Don’t get obsessed’ I said. As if. I’m a self-confessed control freak.

It’s around this time every second person tells you: ‘We got pregnant on the first go’ ‘we only had sex once’, ‘we weren’t even trying.’

Well, bully for you. I’m happy for you but JEALOUS! Horribly jealous.

And all the other emotions too. Frustration. Disappointment. And guilt.

Guilt every time I thought of friends on a long fertility journey. Those who had lost babies.

Logically I knew I was lucky for so many reasons.

Logically I knew trying for a few months doesn’t constitute a struggle. Of course it doesn’t.

But even after a few months ‘trying for a baby’ was taking over my life

Making me feel detached. Testing our relationship and my mental health in a big way.

I could only think in extremes. Either you got pregnant quickly or there was a reason to be concerned…
Again logically I knew this was bollocks.

But nobody talks about the ‘in-betweeners‘. The couples who took 5, 9, 18 months to get up the duff.

Statistics say they exist. But noone seemed to admit to being one. They were either ‘one cycle wonders’ or ‘in need of fertility help’.

All I wanted was someone’s else’s story to hang my hat on.

So cycle 3 and my rationale has gone out the window.

Cue obsessive analysis of discharge. Never has the gusset of my pants been so fascinating.

How can a squelch of something between your legs cause such a myriad of emotions?

Joy! I’m fertile and time to bonk or the crushing disappointment of blood on the toilet roll. Again.

It’s such a lonely experience that moment sat on the bog knowing it’s all over.

The vows of ‘no I’m not going to pee on sticks because it’s too much pressure’ quickly turn to ‘I’m DEFIANTLY going to pee on sticks. I want to know what’s going’.

Not only that I upgraded to the fancy Clear Blue Ones. If in doubt throw money at the problem.

Maybe the lube is to blame. Dr Internet says it can slow down his swimmers. Instanstly Amazon Prime Pre-seed. And why not get some pregnancy test while I’m there?

Which inevitably leads to testing too early. A negative result. Coupled with knowing you’ve pissed money away too (buying those pregnancy tests add up). It’s the double whammy.

Other mental behaviour includes:

Staying on your back after sex to keep the sperm in.

Being convinced your eggs have gone off on your 35th birthday.

Asking your husband ‘Why we didn’t start having kids earlier?’

(Because we were too busy having fun, being irresponsible and crucially enjoying being a couple. All the right reasons to wait, which now have gone totally out the window).

Lying to yourself. Any chance the blood it could be implantation bleeding? You know it’s not.

Meanwhile, those imaginary goal posts keep moving. The baby that won’t be there at Christmas, the bump that won’t have appeared by a holiday. The preggo mate you won’t be in sync with.

Nice plans get ruined too. My period showed up on my birthday and then on Mother’s Day. Talk about pissing (bleeding) on your parade.

My period had showed up that morning. I watched my boys feeling lucky but sad.
And then the fact that most of disappointment always comes coupled with PMT. Vicious combo.

The searing pain, when a friend sends a text asking to borrow maternity clothes. Makes sense, you aren’t using them…

And then there’s the fact that your entire social media feed is awash with mums. Torture.

A moment of optimism: at least I can drink at that event, thank goodness my baby-brain won’t affect that work project.

Again, lies. You’d rather have a tiny person inside you than all that stuff.

Stupid stupid body not doing what its suppose to.

But then there is always another month.

And another wait.

And another exciting week full of hope. ‘Could this be it’.

When your body tricks you with PMT symptoms that are just like early pregnancy symptoms.

And my case gives me the longest cycle ever. 36 days!!! When I am normally 28ish. GAhhhhh!!

But you carry on, because its all you can do.

The more open I was the easier it got. I told my mum we were trying, then some friends and my sister. It stopped it feeling like a dirty secret.

I coped by getting my husband really involved. I got him to really understand cycles.

He was uncomfortable at first. But it made a massive difference. He begun to understand the intensity of the waiting game.

I put lots of other exciting things in the diary as a distraction.

I want to tell you I stopped thinking about it and then it ‘just happened’. That is not my personality.

I had acupuncture.

I gave up coffee.

I tried to exercise more.

I learned ALOT about my cycle.

I reminded myself that introducing regular sex into my relationship is a good thing, beyond the baby making,

I include pineapple and brazil nuts in my diet. Could be bollocks. But I didn’t care.

I was reminded that “Everything Happens at the Time it is Meant To” and desperately wanted that to be true.

And I wrote this list. Over all the months I added to it. And it helped me feel better and I hoped that it helps anyone else stuck in that hormonal rut too

And then it did happen. After 5 months. We got pregnant.

And I feel very very lucky. The older I get the more I appreciate what a miracle conceiving and carrying a child is.

I also feel very empathetic to every single person reading this wanting it to be them. I am crossing everything for you too. Because trying for a baby can be very very tough. And there’s me thinking for years well-timed shag. How unbelievably naive of me.

 

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Clemmie Telford

Whatcha. I am a Mamma of two little boys, living in South East London. It feel as if I am constantly winging it as I parent. But maybe I'll still feel like that when I am 72? I write in lists because, well, I'm not quite capable of stringing together or writing a sentence any more. They are a collection of observations of this mental journey we are all on. It's a 'roller-coaster ride' you can't get off, so we may as well laugh (and drink Gin).

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