STOP Asking Me “When Are You Getting Pregnant?”
I got married to my husband quite young and in both our minds at some point we planned that we would have children. I could say we were both a bit naive at the time as we were secretly open to having children at any moment from the honeymoon onwards. The marriage was going really well, so well that we weren’t even using contraception, getting pregnant was not a worry to us. For at least the first year of our marriage I never gave conceiving a second thought.
In my mind I felt it would just happen when it happens and I would get to play the “surprise, I’m pregnant” role. I never got a chance to play that role in year one of our marriage. Year two also came and went, and by year three people began asking the tired old question of “so when are you going to start having children?” “When are you getting pregnant?”. At first you laugh it off because you consider it normal. It’s just something people say for a conversational piece right? The more people ask you the more you begin to wonder if perhaps something is in fact wrong. Three years without contraception is quite a long period of time. As the time ticks on the questions from people start to get more aggressive. They change from the flippant “when are you getting pregnant?” to outright “is your husband firing blanks?”
That might sound quite funny on the surface but on the inside I was being crushed like a car in a recycling yard. You see at this point I was vulnerable, broken and feeling incredibly lonely. People around me were getting pregnant as though they were giving out free babies at the local supermarket. A supermarket that didn’t allow me inside. Who could I talk to about what I was feeling?
The few times I was brave enough to lightly bring it up, I was immediately shut down with “oh there’s nothing to worry about” “it will happen when it happens” etc. They are all great answers but in all honesty that is not what I was looking for. I just wanted someone is listen to me, to actually consider for a moment that there might actually be something wrong. I spent many nights and days if I’m honest quietly crying myself to sleep. It was a very dark time for me. You have to understand that I loved children. Being around children was my superpower. It’s just what I was good at doing.
Year 4 of our marriage came and went and by this point we were concerned enough to consider going to see the doctor about getting pregnant. In fact we did book an appointment. Before we went to see the doctor I began using a fertility monitor to track my cycle because just maybe, hopefully, I was simply doing something wrong. I used it for months to no avail, so I threw it in a draw, closed it and forgot all about it. I booked a doctor’s appointment for my husband to get checked out before I booked my own appointment. The night before his appointment took absolutely ages, it was like 3 nights rolled into one evening. My stomach was a mess because I was so scared about what the doctor would say. I’m not sure I even slept that evening.
I couldn’t go to the appointment with my husband that day as I had to go to work but I was eagerly awaiting his call to let me know how it went. That afternoon my husband called and said “I couldn’t make it to the appointment I had an emergency at work so I’ve rebooked.” I didn’t know if it was more appropriate to laugh or to cry. What a wasted night, I had huge bags under my eyes for nothing. Eventually I had to let it go and wait for the next appointment.
A few days later I was feeling really down and just not myself. I felt that things had got too much for me, all I wanted to do was cry all the time and I couldn’t seem to shake it. I went to lie down in bed for a little while and for some reason I turned to my bedside cabinet and took out the fertility monitor. I immediately jumped up. it said day 29 since my last cycle. In all the months that I had used the monitor, I had never EVER reached day 29, I was a strict 28 day cycle. I felt so excited but I didn’t want to give myself hope at the same time in case I was then met with bad news. It would certainly explain all the crying I had been doing in the last few days and the extreme tiredness that I felt. That evening I kept quiet about it and went to bed early.
In the morning I stopped off at the local supermarket to buy a pregnancy test before going to work. In my mind I was expecting someone to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I wasn’t allowed to purchase it because it was only for people who could actually get pregnant. My mind was in a complete state of confusion. I took the test at home, alone after work and I could not believe my eyes. I was pregnant, true to form the fertility monitor was right when it said “possibly pregnant”.
I’m pretty sure I sat in one position in a blur for quite some time after that. You see it was the best news that I could ever hope for but it was also the most scariest. What if something was to go wrong? I had to kick myself a few times to stop the negative thoughts from coming. Was something so good actually meant for me?
Everything from this point onwards was smooth sailing. I had ample appointments where I was poked and prodded by doctors and nurses and that suited me just fine as it was all part of the joy of getting pregnant. Anyway we got to our 13 week scan and as the midwife was doing the scan on my belly, she stopped for a moment and said she needed to go and get a second opinion on something and come back. Before I knew it we had about 4 doctors in the room all looking at my scan. I can’t tell you how intimidating it all was. I was sick to my stomach. What kind of evil was this?
The midwife had found an issue with my ovaries. When she showed it to us it looked like a bunch of shadowed grapes on the scan and neither she nor the other doctors knew what it was. I was sent for a second scan at Kings College Hospital in London. It felt like forever before I was seen but eventually I was called in. The doctor took a look at my notes, did some very uncomfortable tests which I hope I would never have to ever repeat and then calmly said that they did not know what it was but it wasn’t cancerous. They told me that I was very fortunate to have conceived and that it could be difficult for me to have another child after this one. I was shocked but so very grateful for at least being able to have one child.
After I gave birth, we didn’t really talk much about trying to have any more children. We just left things simple and let it be. When my son was 7 months old I found out that I was pregnant with baby number two. What a miracle!!! We couldn’t believe it after what the doctors had said. Having two children was amazingly perfect and to top it all off it was a girl so we had one of each. I couldn’t have asked for more than that, until baby number 3 came along 2 years afterwards.
Looking back now I realise that it was all for a reason, everything I went through at that point was to be able to encourage someone else. To help you who may be struggling feel a little stronger, a little better. You are not alone.
I could have given up after the doctors told me that it would be unlikely for me to conceive again. They were wrong, anything is possible.
Having now moved to Ghana in search of a more fulfilling life for my family things have been great, not always easy but great nevertheless. I love seeing the children run around freely and exploring new things and so does baby number 4 too. 🙂
It was possible for me and it is for you too. Who’s report will you believe?
To the woman who is struggling to conceive, to the woman whose chances of ever getting pregnant are 0, you have not failed, you are not a failure and I am listening if you want to talk.