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Sep 12 / Caro

Two Years of Trying

This month marks two years of trying for our second child.

The child who could have been fifteen months old now. All chubby cheeks, wobbly legs and new adventures. The child who could have been around a year old now. Just getting on the move and exploring everything by stuffing it in their mouth. The child who could have been six months old now. Just beginning to explore solid foods, but loving lots of milky cuddles too. The child who could still have been nestled warm and safe inside my swollen belly now, but soon to make their entrance in to the world.

The child who could have been any age in between, but instead does not yet even exist.

There are still moments where I find it hard to believe that we’re here, in this situation, but in almost every other moment of every day I’m faced by reminders of what we don’t yet have.

I spent one sunny afternoon this week at a playdate with NCT friends. Amongst our number, the newest addition was just ten days old – a tiny, scrunched up and utterly adorable newborn baby girl. I love newborns as much as I ever did, but I find it a challenge to cuddle them, to inhale their newborn scent, without letting a fat tear plop on to their tiny heads. As the afternoon passed, as I sat on the floor helping with jigsaw puzzles, it hit me that I was the only one unencumbered in that activity by a second small person. That, despite being the first to begin “trying again”, I’m the only one to have not yet achieved it. My son does not have a little brother or sister in common with his friends. Whilst he may not yet care, I do. Desperately.

The nursery pick up has become fraught with danger for me, as it seems each day another of Thomas’s classmates’ mums has given birth. I bump into them in the doorway, with their infant carriers swinging from one arm, their toddler clasping their other hand. Everyone, children included, coos over the baby, whilst I slip in to retrieve my son, trying hard not to cry until we’re safely around the corner on our way home. “Are you sad Mummy?” Thomas asks, and my heart breaks more thinking about what I might have allowed him to miss out on in the last two years. Not by not having a sibling, but by the extent to which infertility has infiltrated my life, and how that may have affected the kind of person – and kind of parent – that I’ve been.

At work, I’m faced with patients who sometimes forget that I’m not their friend, and that perhaps I don’t wish to discuss personal details of my life outside work with them. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been asked about baby number two. Or even told “You can’t just have one!” or “You’d better hurry up and have another” with an undertone of something terrible to happen if we don’t. I’ve written before about the awful presumption of these questions and statements, and how rude they truly are. Even if we weren’t infertile, one child could well be plenty for us and it wouldn’t make us somehow inferior people or parents. But when you can’t actually create that baby, it’s hard not to take these comments that way at times. It’s hard to keep brushing them off, over and over and over again.

Two years seems like an awfully long time to wait for something that you really, really want, especially when patience has never been your strong point and when there is very little in your control that you can do to help you get it sooner. The old saying “good things come to those who wait” is hard to accept when wonderful things are coming to so many people around us with so much less waiting on their parts. I can’t help the flash of anger and frustration I feel towards “accidental” pregnancies, or towards those families who’ve managed to give birth to a couple of children in the time we’ve been trying to make just one. Please don’t think badly of me for that. WaiTing is wearing.

Time is supposed to be a healer. To help you cope. Accept. Move forwards. But if it weren’t for Thomas, it would have felt very much like time had stood still in the last two years. And far from healing me, the passing of time has just made it harder and harder to accept that this still hasn’t happened. The longer it goes on, the angrier I feel myself becoming. The more people I find to resent for their fertility.

The more I am edging towards self destruction.

I won’t do that, of course. And in no small part I have Thomas to thank for that. I’m so glad that I have this wonderful little guy in my life and so thankful for every last inch of him, and every tiny quirk of his enormous personality. In the time I’ve been trying to give him a sibling, he’s learned so much. How to walk. How to talk. How to count. And now, he’s beginning to teach himself to read, astounding me with the number of letters he recognises and sounds he can associate with them.

It just reminds me, though, of what a really long time two years is. It’s not just the passing of each season twice. It’s enough time for a baby to grow in to a child.

I almost can’t stand it any more. But there is still nothing else to do but go on trying. Go on hoping. Go on waiting.

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2 Comments

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  1. Mia / Sep 12 2014

    By the time we got to 2 years of trying (helpfully punctuated by my 2nd miscarriage) I pretty much couldn’t stand it anymore. We took a good few more months to decide not to try anymore then fell pregnant again anyway which was terrifying.

    When will you start the next round of IVF?

    Thinking of you x

  2. Heidi / Sep 13 2014

    I can relate. It wasn’t easy the first go a around,
    but it at least was possible.(I had an IUI with Clomid)
    And by the time my son was 1 people are asking “do you
    want more” like it’s just that easy,and I don’t really want to
    go into the specifics without it turning into an awkward pity conversation.
    He’s 2.5 now and people still ask.(meanwhile,people still keep getting pregnant..one of my friends is on baby #3 and it just keeps hurting,like stabbing pitch forks into my heart) Yes I do want another
    but it’s just not easy or cheap like it is for “normal”
    people. Don’t currently have the funds to go down that path
    again although I can’t let that dream go from my life. Stay strong.

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