By Jodie Nicholson, Author of I(v)F ONLY!
My journey got me thinking, if TTC (trying to conceive) and conception is different for IVF Mums, is pregnancy and motherhood also different?
Mum Vs IVF Mum….. Are the two different?
Are we more wary? Appreciative? Insecure? Scared?
Having only been an IVF Mummy I can’t really compare the two versions of motherhood, I just know that during my pregnancy I felt an incredible amount of guilt for anything I found unpleasant. As if I was being unappreciative and, well, how dare I.
I was extremely lucky as pregnancy was very kind to me, however, any unpleasantness I occasionally felt also came with a feeling of such guilt I find it hard to put into words.
My body changed so much; shape, size, skin, hair, even my fingers changed with swelling, and to be honest I am still waiting to lose the sausage fingers. During pregnancy I was accepting of these changes. I was growing a life and understood that my body needed to change and adapt.
Once motherhood began and I didn’t have pregnancy to blame, I hated my new body
I mean, I’m no skinny Minnie on the best of days but I now had a pouch that could house a whole family of kangaroos. It was so easy for me to dislike myself. I guess over the years I’d become an expert at resenting my body for its failings, it appeared that even after finally getting something right, I still hated the carcass.
I loathed how unappreciative it made me feel, how could I feel anything other than grateful after all we had been through to get here?
I felt judged, not only by others but by myself
How dare I not appreciate every single aspect of pregnancy.
I also felt so very frightened that at any moment, this bubble of preciousness could be taken from us.
I’m under no illusions that all mothers, parents in fact, will feel incredible pressure to do things “right”. I mean really? By whose rulebook???
But is it fair to think that there may be a little more pressure on those who have struggled to get here, as if they must appreciate their blessing even more so?
Are we allowed to complain?
Are we allowed to find parenthood hard?
Well, my answer is YES…….
Of course we can find things hard. We fought to get pregnant, not to feel rubbish. We fought to be parents, not to lose ourselves.
It’s so hard to find balance in any aspect of life in today’s world, let’s not make it harder for ourselves by adding unrealistic pressure that we must always be perfect parents.
My new body was proof of my journey, every stretch mark, a battle scar of strength and a reminder of how far we’d come.
I have many Mum friends, some IVF, some not and I don’t know one of us that hasn’t struggled with some aspect of parenthood at some point. It’s part and parcel of the role.
So IVF parent or not, don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing amazing.
And let’s not forget – we are all just winging it.
Keep up to date with Jodie by following her on instagram, @JodieNicholsonAuthor
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