Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:32 pm
Post subject: If only...
My username is BabyDreamer. Though this sounds whimsical, it is not intended to be, the reality of having a child seems so far removed from my reality that I cannot class it as more than a dream.
I started adult life terrified that if a man so much as breathed on me that I would become pregnant and the stigma of teenage pregnancy would befall me, disappointing my parents and destroying my hopes of becoming a solicitor. I was never particularly broody in my early twenties, busy setting the world alight with career aspirations having a family seemed to be the last thing on my mind. Then in 2005, I fell pregnant. The difficulty was I didn't know I was pregnant until I miscarried (never having paid any attention to my cycle the fact that my period was a month late passed me by entirely). When I found out I was crushed. I felt very low about it but as I hadn't been trying I resigned myself to my fate and carried on with life.
What it did leave behind was a massive aching desire for a child. I measured and recorded my cycle carefully, researched Statutory Maternity Pay and Working Tax Credits, took folic acid, obtained the perfect weight for my height. the bizarre part was that my partner had left me following the miscarriage-he couldn't cope with any responsibility and to be quite frank I was far better off without him. My body was ready for a pregnancy, but in the absence of a man it seemed pointless to be preparing myself and reverted back to the too little sleep, too much working and partying routine previously lived.
I met my now fiancé in 2006. Our first conversation consisted of him asking me if I had children. When I replied that I did not he asked if I would like too. I explained that I would very much like children but that I needed to find a father for them first! Even now he says he nearly offered up his services then and there! We began a relationship and everything was progressing fine. We both were very open about our desire for children and my partner was just as emphatic in his love of children. We discussed getting married in the next 12 months so that we could start a family. The only difficulty is that we are both religious. This means we shouldn't have sex before we are married. Unfortunately because as well as being religious we are also fallible, it is right to say we had sex. Initially I was taking the pill.
After 6 months I was getting increasingly concerned about having a baby. The worry was eating me up. Everywhere I went I would see posters for devices to help you conceive, articles in every magazines warning of the perils of leaving it too late, fertility declining at 25, IVF postcode lotteries, Chlamydia causes infertility, it can take 18 months to conceive before you can see a doctor, I could go on. The fear that I wouldn't be able to conceive was compounded every day. That even if I could conceive would I be able to keep it or would I fail again.
I then came to the conclusion in my head that I would need 18 months to conceive, and that I just couldn't wait that long. My partner didn't help much by telling me everyone he knew fell pregnant within six months of getting married. I was so sure we were going to get married and that thereafter I would take ages to conceive and that as a result I would once again feel like a huge failure for not coming up with the goods. That I would fail at producing a child, by many accounts, the most natural easy thing in the world to do. That I wasn't a good enough woman, that I would pay the price of failing to keep my miscarried pregnancy. I came up with the frankly ridiculous idea (in hindsight) that I should come off the pill in order to give myself a ‘head-start’ before we were married so I would hopefully fall pregnant nice a quickly after our wedding.
I didn’t closely observe my cycle and I was just hoping to get the months of trying ticked off so didn’t think too much about it. I honestly and truthfully did not believe that I could get pregnant after a night on the sofa watching a raunchy DVD. I really thought that unless I tried with thermometers, vitamins and put my legs up in the air for 20 minutes after sex there would be any way I would get pregnant. Later that month I had terrible PMT I remember screaming at my partner that he should be more responsible and not want to go out all the time (something that had never bothered me or had even crossed my mind before). I was stood outside Court the next day in the sunshine. I thought the concrete step looked mighty comfortable and woke up ten minutes later having fallen fast asleep. I noted my period was a week late.
I discussed the possibility with my partner who made it clear in no uncertain terms that a baby outside of marriage was absolutely impossible, that his family would disown him and that religiously he would be punished twice once for hypocrisy and once for the pregnancy. I bought a test. Since I was in Sainsbury’s at 11pm I thought I may as well do it in the loos there. I got the digital test, popped the cap back on chucked it in my handbag and walked to the car. I thought it an idea to have a cigarette before I checked it on the basis that if it was positive it would be the last one I ever had. Half way through the ever so naughty ciggie I decided that I was being ridiculous, that there was no way I was pregnant so I should stop obsessing see the not pregnant words and drive home and make dinner. I turned the test over. Pregnant.
I cannot describe with any great accuracy how that felt. The first emotion was probably terror. Blind unadulterated terror. Excitement at the whole lifetime possibility stretching out before me, complete shock, wonderment at how something so simple could create something so life swivellingly dramatic. I opened the car door and vomited in the car park. I drove back to see my partner. I tried to tell him but I couldn’t speak and kept crying. In the end I handed him the test. He put his head in his hands. He looked up and told me to get rid of it. It was at that moment the man I thought I knew became a complete stranger to me. I went to work the next day. I remember driving down the M1 with my hand on my tummy and saying: “I swear no one will ever harm you”. I felt so justified, like a woman, like a miracle was taking place inside me. I fell completely and utterly in love with my pregnancy.
My partner screamed, begged, pleaded and cried with me to have an abortion. He made my life utterly unbearable with his insistence. I cried, begged and screamed to keep our baby. He told me he was devastated that he wanted children so much but that we simply couldn’t have them in these circumstances. We had a scan. We both sobbed. The magic of a first pregnancy has now gone for both of us forever. I had the abortion. The clinic did not listen to me. I clearly didn’t want a termination. I felt let down by the ease at which they let it take place. Ultimately I came to the conclusion no matter how much I wanted a child I wanted my child to know and love it’s father and for its father to know and love them. I couldn’t have had my partner looking at my child like he was a product of shame for the rest of his life. I want more for my child than this.
Following the termination I spiralled into very serious clinical depression. My partner took it very badly and behaved awfully towards me. I know I should have left him then. I simply couldn’t bear anymore loss. I had lost enough already. Slowly, slowly I pulled myself out of depression the next 6 months and started to repair my relationship with my partner. We got back on an even keel. We are engaged. He is stalling on getting married as he would like financial security first. This is of course sensible, but I am getting the panic back. The thought of having children fills most of my moments. I want them so much. It feels like I am suffocating, that time is running out that when everyone around me has children or is pregnant that it almost as if the rest of world is using up my chance of having a child.
I have a good career, but am not financially stable, I have some residual student debt. However, I have not had the need to resort to benefits and I have a safe, family car. And no matter how much you wait for the right time, surely, there is never a right time. You just have to make the best of your circumstances, which for me are by no means dire. He tells me to be patient and wait. I have yet another birthday approaching and feel as though I am getting older and older and I still can’t have the family I so desperately want. When I fill out forms at banks the usually ask “do you have any dependant children?” now it is no longer a question to which they are expecting an automatic ‘no’ now I am at an age where they expect the contrary. Desperate is the word. I keep crying about it. My period is due again which is making it worse. I just want to have a child. If anyone at all can even keep to cheer me up, to take the edge off the desperation, please, please say, all suggestions welcome.
Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:42 pm
Post subject: Emotions
I've read and re-read your post and have entirely mixed emotions about it. Whilst I fully sympathise with the desire you obviously have for a child, I can't quite reconcile myself to a religion which disapproves of sex before marriage, but condones abortion. I wonder whether you have fully come to terms with the miscarriage you had in 2005? It seems that your absolute longing for a child started then, to the extent that you were getting your body ready for pregnancy without having a partner. Have you fully discussed your fears with your fiancee? You ask for any suggestions at the bottom of your letter. Perhaps you should go and see your GP who can refer you to a grief counsellor who may be able to help you with what are obviously very raw wounds.
Hope this helps x
Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:45 pm
Hi there, i to suffered a loss in feb 08 i went into premature labour and lost twins at 19 weeks and to this day i still cant come to terms with it,the way i look at things is our time on this earth is very short who knows whats round the corner,do what makes you happy fullfill you dreams to the fullest,follow your heart !!.I dont fully understand your relgion ,as a childs life is a blessing and surely the people who love you will stick by you.These are just my thoughts dont know if they will help much .BE HAPPY. KERRY X X X
Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:41 am
I read your post and felt so sorry that you have been though such an enormous amount and I have huge sympathy for your desire for a baby. You come across as articulate and sensitive but so hard on yourself!
I also think you should be wary of taking advice from forums such as this as the complexity of the situation you describe suggest you and your partner need professional guidance from a counsellor via your GP or an organisation such as Relate.
You have obviously done very well to keep your relationship with your partner on track after such a lot of trauma - although it does appear to be a relationship that comes at huge emotional cost to you. I wonder whether your partner totally appreciates the price you have paid for taking enormously difficult and emotive decisions in order to fit in with his rather unbending worldview.
I think exploring the issue of commitment - crucially of how much your partner wants a baby - and if he does agreeing a time-scale for getting pregnant that you can both live with is absolutely key.
The other thing that worries me about your post is your apparent neediness - both for the relationship with this partner and for this baby. Part of me thinks it is hardly surprising in the circumstances but again this may be an area you need to explore with a counsellor.
Please be kind to yourself and get some professional help for the issues you face - they are huge. I am very familiar with the baby panic having had enormous problems in having my own family. But I think it helps to think calmly about yout situation - it sounds to me as if rather than being a baby dreamer you need to be a baby planner which immediately gives you far more control over things- something it sounds as though you have lacked so far. As well as asking your fiancee some tough questions you may need to ask your self some. How much do you want a baby? Do you only want it if you are in a married relationship with your current partner? If you can't agree a timescale with him, would you be prepared to go it alone - say with donated sperm? What about your financial situation -although financial stability is important people have babies in all sorts of circumstances - including as single mums - and cope.
I feel sure you will have your baby and many of them but I would urge you to address any self esteem and relationship issues first as adding a baby into the mix may ironically be the very last thing you need right now. That said I feel certain that when the time comes - and it will - you will be the most fabulous mum.