Growth in the Absense
I have debated long and hard about posting this...in fact it hasbeen written and sat in my draft posts for weeks. I may delete it, I don't know.
There is an important story in our lives that I have neglected to tell. For the last year and a half, Kev and I have been trying to have another baby. I am still not pregnant. No underlying health conditions, no reason for my lack of fecundity, just a quiet loss every month when we realise that this time was not THE time.
Some days, I am grateful that nothing has happened. Ellis has a ferocity and intensity I have never seen in another human being. Only a handful of people have ever experienced the delightful, inquisitive person he is because of the layers of sensitivities that are so often exposed to the world. He is deeply attached to me and most days, even trips to the bathroom are met with tears and wailing. He is the toddler whose presence in public often gets a response of "you sure have your hands full with that one!" There is no doubt that the absence of pregnancy or another child makes riding out the challenging days easier. I also have more time to do...more time to write, more time to think, more time to sew or garden or read. I don't have to worry about repeat experiences of the poor NHS care we received when Ellis was born or the possibility I will not be able to hire my amazing independent midwife again due to the UK government's short-sightedness around indemnity insurance.
Its also hard not to be grateful for the change in path my current second childlessness has given me. I was going to be a Doula and an Antenatal teacher...revisions of a long standing life plan that had seen me becoming a midwife. When months and months of trying made it too hard to continue down that path, I decided to move on. I now realise it was a dream I held onto long past its relevancy because I didn't know what else to do with myself. Letting that go gave me much more time and energy to dig deeper into my own life...finding meaning and enjoyment in the everyday. Gardening, writing, sewing...all fantastic outlets for unspent creative energy. I am undoubtedly a happier person today than I have ever been.
But the change in life-path has its down sides...hope is hard-won yet easily lost. I grew up in a big family and had wished for one of my own. Time moves quickly and numbers of biological children can no longer be the certainty they once were, even if just in my own mind. I frequently find myself changing my phrasing to, "if" we have another baby. There are days I feel like a fraud, writing here about the happy and good when in reality a huge amount of the drive comes from a deep loss. I know that in the scheme of things a year and a half is not long. I know that these things happen when its their own time. I know that ideal age gaps and plans about when and where are futile, but anyone who has been in a similar position knows that each month is an eternity. "Ifs" have a tendency to turn into "Nevers" in the quiet hours of the night.
All statistics point to our age and previous history of conception as near certainties for future children. However, stats are more easily believed in hindsight. Plus they have to combat with powerful cultural messages that we are somehow faulty or broken...as if there is some hidden dirty little secret that we harbour that is resulting in our failure to conceive (Crack in the coffee?) . Maybe that is why people don't talk about secondary infertility...or maybe its the fear of pity. None the less, there is very little discussion in the electronic or real world about the issue.
I had saved this post for so long because I wanted it to have a happy ending. I wanted to present you with a beautiful tale of loss, redemption and a little blue line. I hope that I can still do that one day, but in the meanwhile I want to add my voice to the discussion- always, always with the hope that telling my own story can help someone else tell theirs. There are so many things in my life that have grown in the absence of another child, things I will be eternally grateful for. But I am glad I don't have to make a choice about which path I would prefer.
And so, I push publish.