It seems a long time ago now (probably because it somewhat is) but this time last year we started trying to have another baby. Eleanor was nine months old, I thought we would be 12 weeks pregnant by her first birthday. Two under two, the crazy people, crazy busy but happy, and all that…
…but then, nothing.
We conceived Eleanor so quickly, easily and without fuss that I used to joke that I sneezed and fell pregnant. True story. Just like that. Admittedly, I had never been on the pill (due to a chance of blood thinning/stroke with my focal orb migraines) so perhaps that played a part in our ‘success’, or luck. Seemingly fit and healthy in our mid-20’s, we fell pregnant with no fanfare or fuss. Just like that. I had a text book, very uneventful pregnancy with Eleanor. But never thought much of it at all. Oh Emma…
Fast forward a few years and I of course thought the same would happen again. It had happened the first time so we’d just do it again. Just like that. Most people I knew with young families seemed to just fall pregnant, my sister did, my mum had, my best friend was already pregnant with her second, and my other best friend was going to start trying to conceive soon. Great, I thought, our babies will be born around the same time. But then, Eleanor’s first birthday came and went. I wasn’t pregnant. I just wasn’t. The first two months I don’t think I even registered that it wasn’t happening, until I looked at a calendar and became a little perplexed. Why wasn’t I pregnant yet?!
Of course, a little voice in my mind said this is completely normal. I knew the facts, I read the statistics, it’s completely normal to try to conceive for up to 12 months before falling pregnant, you hear about it all the time. Not me though, I scoffed. I made babies! Just like that. I wasn’t one of those people struggling to fall pregnant, that wasn’t my story. Ostrich, head, sand and all that. Then another mum in my mothers group announced she was expecting her second baby. I went home that day and held Eleanor tight and cried and cried. Big heavy ugly tears. Why wasn’t it me? I dusted myself off and told myself that it would be third month lucky: we would be early days in our second pregnancy on our planned camping trip through the Flinders Ranges.
Our trip came and went, instead of celebrating a new life growing in me, I got my period and cried more tears. Why was it so hard? What was I doing wrong? Why was it different this time? Of course because I started to fixate on it and want it even more to happen, the lesser my chances became. My best friend fell pregnant, I was both ecstatic for her and bitterly disappointed for me. How conflicting. Of course people around me were falling pregnant left right and centre. Just like that.
I was still breastfeeding Eleanor. That must be it. Only three months trying, that’s nothing! (True). I had my trip away to Problogger planned for when Eleanor was 14 months old, she would be weaned and I would surely conceive a baby once I was no longer breastfeeding. I still held out hope that I would be pregnant at Problogger and pondered how to avoid the champagne flutes without raising suspicion. The trip came and went also…still no two lines on that pregnancy test.
When you’re trying to conceive, most reasonable thought goes out the window. You are no longer a rational person. The idea of conceiving a child consumes you. Everything revolves around ovulation, days become weeks waiting to take another pregnancy test. All of this was new to me, and I didn’t really want to be a part of it anyway. I conceived Eleanor so effortlessly, just like that – what was so different this time? Guilty thoughts about how much I took for granted my first easily conceived child and uneventful pregnancy. I didn’t want to have these all consuming thoughts about infertility, about trying for years for a baby, about perhaps never having another baby, Eleanor being an only child. All of these crazy thoughts swirled around and around in my mind, all now of course seem ridiculous, but at the time small things became big things. A woman trying to conceive a child, and failing, has such a clouded view of reason. I was living in a foggy bubble.
After 6 months of failing to fall pregnant, I went to my GP. The doctor would know what’s wrong! Reassure me and send me on my way with a special potion or trickery that somehow I’d missed last time in this baby making business. She did reassure me – that I had nothing to be concerned about, it was completely normal, and really nothing to ‘worry’ about until the 12 month mark. Twelve months?! I thought. Another 6 months of this torture? No, no, no. I needed answers, and to fall pregnant. Just like that.
Before trying, and failing for a little while, to conceive a child, I had no idea what it was like on the inside looking out. You think you know, you hear all the time about people who tried for years to have their child, IVF journeys, losses, successes, you nod and sympathise, hmmm…but really you have no idea how it really feels. And I in no way have a long and painful story of infertility, far from it. My journey of falling pregnant is completely normal and everyday. But nobody was talking about those everyday infertility struggles, all I heard was about years and years of trying…and failing. Was that what lay ahead of us? It was either those years and years of struggling, or falling pregnant just like that. Nobody seemed to be talking about or sharing with their mama tribe about this in-betweener stage, the trying for a baby for less than 12 months, being unsuccessful…but it being completely normal.
As I said, small things become big things. Every comment, mention, sideways glance about second babies: when are you having another one, Eleanor needs a little sibling, time for number two! was like a kick in the guts. I felt like screaming in people’s faces “don’t you think I AM TRYING!” I used to be that person, don’t worry. I would often make comments to others about when they were expanding their families, how easily I fell pregnant with Eleanor, how I loved being pregnant… I used to be that person. No longer do I make those comments. I cringe thinking about the times I’d spouted about falling pregnant by sneezing. You just never know who is trying to have a baby, you don’t know another person’s struggle, nor should you. Trying to conceive a child is an incredibly personal journey, emotions run high, stakes are higher. I had to walk out of a room one night after a well-meaning woman told me it was “time for another one!” Yes, yes it was time for another one. I know. I cried some more.
And of course, the best most well meaning advice is just to ‘relax and let it happen’. Which is just such hogwash to a woman trying to conceive a child. Did I mention how consuming falling pregnant became? Consuming. After eight months of this all consuming, roller coaster of emotions, my gorgeous husband saw how upset I was, how tired I was, how sad I’d become, he said enough…and took me on a surprise birthday weekend to Hobart. Not in order to conceive a baby, to do everything but think about conceiving a baby. No baby talk. No ovulation talk. But…quite literally, it was just what the doctor ordered…
Our Tassie sprout was conceived. Just like that. Of course, when I did stop thinking about it. When I did remove myself from the all consuming thoughts of baby making. When I did have a little holiday from my busy toddler – ha! People will tell you of the elation and joy of learning they are to be parents…for me, for our second pregnancy, was quite simply relief. Such sweet relief. There wasn’t anything majorly wrong, my greatest fear, and all of a sudden eight months trying to conceive a child seemed like the blink of an eye. It wasn’t a big deal to try for eight months, and it’s not, it’s completely normal. But especially after how easily we conceived Eleanor, those eight months were very confusing. Turns out conceiving our blossom could have been just a stroke of luck, but this second child, our little sprout – well, for this child I prayed. Long nights staring at our bedroom ceiling praying. And it has made me so very grateful for Eleanor, for our healthy pregnancy with her, for our very short stint of trying to conceive in relation to others stories.
So our second baby grows and kicks inside me, getting stronger and more real every day.
Just like that.