Back in 2018, I turned 34. I had been married for 2 years and it just felt so right to start trying for a baby
I am the eldest child in my family and have 2 younger sisters. I was so excited by the prospect of falling pregnant that I shared the news that we were “trying” with my sisters. “Girls, how do you feel about becoming aunties?!” I announced over a family lunch. My sisters squealed!! “Whaaaaat? Your’e pregnant?!” they exclaimed? “No, not yet, we only just decided but we are going to start as of now” i replied factually. Well, that’s how it is meant to go right? You stop using contraception, you time sex according to your ovulation window and then you fall pregnant..right?….wrong.
When I look back, I feel so stupid. I was so naive. I just assumed I would fall pregnant naturally and quickly. However, my body had other plans. I carried on trying for the whole of 2018, then at the beginning of 2019 I decided enough was enough and I went to see my doctor. Let’s just say “natural and quickly” are the two words that will never be used when it comes to describing the conception of my future baby.
Tests revealed that me and my husband would need medical intervention to ever realise our dreams of parenthood. So, we took out a loan and charged forwards with IVF. I was determined it would work. Why wouldn’t it? They take my egg, my husband’s sperm, they make an embryo, they put it back and two weeks later I take a test that reveals I am pregnant. Right?….wrong again.
It hadn’t worked
In the summer of 2019 I had the devastating call from the embryologist to say that not one egg had fertilised. I had zero embryos.
Now I know this is going to sound over dramatic, but from that moment on, I swear I could hear the clock ticking louder. I suddenly went into a complete panic. Once again i felt stupid and naive. Why did I assume it was going to work? How would I tell my friends and family that I had failed. I blamed myself.
No one really knew what to say
They all hugged me and told me it would eventually happen. Mum and Dad were amazing and said they would pay for another round of IVF for us. As comforting as it was to have my family around me, making me tea, giving me so much love and support, and offering to help me financially, something just didn’t feel quite right.
A week later I discovered why something didn’t feel quite right – it was because something wasn’t quite right – the order of things
My younger sister announced she was pregnant. This is not how it was meant to go. She was supposed to be an auntie first and a mother second. I am the older sister and I started first so I should become a mother before her.
I was overcome with grief and panic. Of course deep down I knew I was happy for her, but I couldn’t feel it because my grief was suppressing it. I know she could see this in my eyes. We hugged and we cried. She was amazing.
And then, just as I thought things might change for the better, 2020 came along and screwed everything up royally.
Where do I begin?
Well…..my IVF was cancelled and I didn’t get to meet my niece until she was 3 months old. With no new date for my IVF, the uncertainty made my fear of never becoming a mother spiral out of control.
Me and my husband were furloughed and went into lockdown following an epic trip to Majestic Wines. We ate a lot of cheese, drank a lot of Malbec, watched pretty much everything on Netflix and basically wrote off the year.
Our clinic promised they would call when they were given the green light to reopen, which they did … but, because 2020 has been such an ar**hole, we were unable to start treatment again as my husband was made redundant. We decided that with so much trauma and financial pressure, we would hold off until this awful year is over.
The great news is though, that my husband has since found a job and we have put the bottle opener away whilst we get ourselves fit and ready for treatment that we have planned for early Jan.
I know my time will come
I know I will be a mother, and I will be a damn good one – strong, patient, fair, supportive and resilient. Attributes I have developed in my mission to become one.
To all the mothers in waiting out there – our time will come. It may not be the time we had planned, but it will come, and it will be amazing.
Here’s to the most incredible 2021.
We can’t thank Penelope enough for sharing her heartfelt and inspiring story. If you would like to share your story to inspire others, we would love to hear from you at email@example.com