There were a couple of moments that stand out in my memory in particularly sharp focus. One such occasion was a conversation with my therapist before I had even started trying to conceive and was still trying to chase the elusive child-with-partner dream. We were discussing the guy I was involved with who was not stepping up to the plate (in fact he had left the field all together but I wasn’t able to acknowledge that yet). My therapist commented: “He may not be a sure bet but you are”, and it fell into place that I was everything I was looking for in a partner – reliable, dependable, hard working, responsible, thoughtful, caring – and he was none of these things. That realization made me start to question what he would bring to the family I wanted so desperately, and none of it looked good. I woke up, though it took me a few more months to smell the coffee.
Then my reproductive endocrinologist had me see a counselor who would talk through the assisted reproductive process with me and offer support. It was a lovely appointment and she gave me a lot of useful information. However, early on in the meeting she asked me how I felt about IVF and I said very definitely that that was not for me. When she probed more deeply I burst into tears – much to my surprise. She asked me again if I thought IVF was an option for me and I said that it was for couples who were struggling to have children, not for someone like me.
Once she got me to unpack my thoughts and feelings a little more it became clear that I didn’t feel I deserved to go to any lengths to have a child because I wasn’t that perfect thing: a couple. I left the appointment with yet more work to do with my therapist to become able to see myself as deserving of a child, and to value what I could bring into a child’s life as a mother. In the end I did pursue IVF and have a beautiful son who is the joy of my life and the delight of my heart.
There were two pieces of advice I received once I was pregnant that I found very helpful . One was to find my tribe to support me during and after the birth. To me this meant that I accept that there are many ways to bring up a child, none of them necessarily right or wrong. The important thing is to find people who have a similar worldview to mine. Our views won’t always be identical but we’ll have common ground to discuss, debate, think and share in a mutually beneficial way.
And secondly, my acupuncturist said to me that I would only be able to raise a good man if I believed there were good men out there. I hadn’t thought I was feeling so negative about men that she would need to say that but obviously I was! Processing that statement helped me to put down some of the baggage I’d been carrying from failed relationships and other hurts and to look around the world at the lovely men I knew who could be a part of my son’s life, to help him become the best man he can be.
Wherever anyone is on their journey, I hope you experience times of clarity and healing. It really is a rollercoaster ride, so right after every dip there is a climb up, up, up to a place of beauty and truth.