The first baby I held was in the summer I was 13. My 12 day old cousin was small and warm in my arms. My aunt had asked me if I wanted to hold her and my parents encouraged me, so I took her in my arms. She was so warm in my cold arms. She’d wiggle in my arms and look at me with half closed eyes. I think it’s a memory I’ll always remember.
While I held her I listened to my father and his sister talk. She told him how my other cousins had come to see her as well. It had been right after the birth so she had lightly complained about my cousin Madison. “Of course she wanted to hold the baby” I was confused about what she meant, but I didn’t ask.
Later I thought about it and I thought about whether it was normal for a young girl to want to hold a baby. It seemed my aunt thought so. I wondered if I was offered to hold the baby because I was a girl or if I was expected to want to. I was very confused for quite a while, though I never said anything.
Around the time I had a school friend who liked to talk about growing up to have babies. We would spend our time together talking about baby names and what they would be like. It seems weird to me now, but at the time it was completely normal. I felt confused about the whole thought of babies, after that.
My Mum had told me times before that she never wanted children, and how it was because of her husband that I was born. I was very young when she first said this to me, but I don’t think I understood till I was much older. When I did I felt so hurt, like someone had hit me. And so, still very young, I decided I would never have a baby. My Mum didn’t respond when I told her this, but my dad told me he was kind of disappointed to not have grand kids.
I didn’t know how I felt about their reactions or about that child I had held years ago, but I think I’ve come to terms with my self. I just don’t know if I want to have a baby. I know that if I do decide to have a child I’ll defiantly be the most loving parent I never had. I’m still young and I have much more time to think it over and I will take all the time I need.
Image from fffound
Two and a half years ago my husband and I started trying to have a baby (I wonder if there are a thousand and one other stories on infertility blogs that start with these lines?) At the time I was twenty-seven and I felt a little bit scared. Being a human being is really bizarre in that way. Our bodies are miraculously cell management systems but it seems (like with most things) that we are highly evolved to produce new life but we have no idea what it means. Why do we want to have babies? Should we be trying to have babies when the world has so many people in it already? Rather than having my own baby, shouldn’t I rather be adopting an existing baby and helping that person to make a successful life for themselves? Are these questions even relevant? Aaargh!!!!
After about nine months of trying, obsessing and of leaving a plastic trail of negative pregnancy tests in little bins and big dustbins around the house, I went to the gynaecologist. At the time, my greatest concern was that the gynaecologist would scold me for planning to have a baby without visiting her first. She didn’t. She did suggest that my husband go for a test to make sure that there wasn’t a problem. She said that I shouldn’t be concerned. The sperm test on the other hand suggested the opposite. The test results showed a zero sperm count.
This news closed off a piece of our future. I think most of us limit our own futures, but we very seldom have a part of our futures taken from us. It is a very painful experience which makes you feel very angry. To try to restore things, we went into panic mode. We immediately found a fertility doctor, and I started going for artificial inseminations. The fertility treatments were embarrassing and very invasive. The fact that the process of conceiving a baby becomes a public process is hard to accept. After three tries at fertility treatment I gave up. During this period I went through an identity crisis. I changed my job and rethought my life plan. I also began to listen to my own feelings more, and to take myself more seriously.
Following my time off, I started trying fertility treatment again. It was different the second time because I found a way to adapt the process to ensure that it suited me. I felt much less like a victim. I discovered that not being able to have a baby is a test in managing my feelings and maintaining hope. I discovered that I needed to manage my feelings because when it doesn’t work, I feel extremely angry and resentful. I imagine walking into the gynae’s office and telling him that I hate him, that he is wasting my money and potentially giving me cancer with the hormone drugs. I run through these scenarios in my head, which I know I will never really follow-through with.
I don’t believe (like someone else on this blog once wrote) that we are ‘meant’ to go through things. I don’t think that there is some higher power that is testing our characters and trying to make us better people. I do think, however, that with each painful thing that happens to us we get the rare opportunity to look more deeply at ourselves and at life. I believe that this is in its own way a gift. I continue to focus on this. I look forward to having a baby to love and take care of.