The Baby Journey
I spent most of my life absolutely 100% certain that I didn’t want to have a baby. I was totally obsessed with my job - I was in a senior leadership role, I travelled a lot and I worked crazy hours...and I loved it! Then it all changed...
Something just clicked - I’m 34, I just married the man of my dreams after a really horrendous first marriage and I just knew that I wanted to be a Mammy. I remember going to a baby shop, looking around and asking myself, ‘What if I was shopping for my own baby?’ I expected to come out in a rash! But no, I felt good. I was more afraid of the thought of my life without a child in it - that had never happened before. Was it my body clock? Or just being completely settled for the first time in my adult life? Who knows. Yet I knew, that life as I knew it, would never be the same.
I told my husband by presenting him on Christmas morning, with a beautiful box with a baby-grow in it, that I wanted to make something to fit in it. He had married me believing I would never want to have children, something I had told him not long after we met. As he was from a big family, I knew my not wanting children was going to be a BIG issue for him, so I gave him an ‘out’ early in the relationship. Thankfully he didn’t take it, he said he would rather we had each other and that would have to be enough. So when I told him on that Christmas morning, it was so unexpected, so out of the blue, that he cried. We both did!
Neither of us, sitting there on that Christmas morning full of love and possibility, could have predicted the four years of heartbreak that would follow. Unless you have felt the burning need to have a baby, it’s hard to imagine the heartbreak you feel, the overwhelming sense of desperation, the soaring hope that becomes crushing despair every month when you realise you are still not on your journey of becoming a parent. I swore I wouldn’t become one of those women who allowed her need for a baby to devour her - but honestly, I did. Don’t get me wrong, as an expert in looking shiny on the outside, to the world I was still determined, resilient and happy Donna, but inside the fear that I would never feel my own baby in my arms, literally took my breath away at times.
Another thing I swore at the beginning of our journey, was that I would not have any medical intervention to get pregnant. I wanted it to be all ‘natural’. After 2 years I gave in and we sought medical support. I had wanted it to be ‘natural’ but after a while I realised, I didn’t really care how it happened, I just wanted for us to be parents. All of the checks and tests and uncomfortable conversations with experts had me crazy as we just weren’t getting anywhere - and when you hear words like, ‘undiagnosed infertility’ and ‘highly unlikely to be able to conceive’ - your world seems to fall further away from you. So I made peace that if my baby came to me in the form of IVF, that was ok too. It would just make it even more special as we had tried so hard to make it happen.
On two occasions, we did actually fall pregnant. Our excitement and joy was just euphoric. And I was mentally picking out clothes, schools and careers for my baby immediately. People tell you, ‘not to get your hopes up’ and ‘just to wait until twelve weeks’ but that’s like telling the Pope not to pray! It’s just not possible. You feel like all of your dreams are finally coming true and you’re telling yourself that you should wait and see whilst actually working out your birthing plan and thinking of how you’re going to tell everyone the great news!
Our two miscarriages happened almost two years apart. One was following our second and particularly tough, IVF cycle. We lost our little baby just before Christmas. I won’t go into the graphic detail of what happened on these occasions, but I found it so traumatic both physically and emotionally, that it took me a long while for me to be myself again. I remember though not even telling people that I had the miscarriage as I didn’t want to ‘spoil their Christmas’ - there was an element of that don’t get me wrong but I also just found it hard to admit it. I felt like my body had failed us again. I’ll share the details of that on another day...
I remember going on a trip to Rome which was a gift from my sister, shortly after our second miscarriage. I prayed to God whilst in the Basilica and touching the foot of San Pietro, that he would bless me with the child I believed I would have or give me the grace to move on with my life and find my path. On doing this, I remember a sense of relief coming over me. The only way I can really explain it, is this has happened a few times in my life and it’s when I truly surrender myself to a power greater than me. To the Universe, to God, to your Source - call it what you will, but believe wholeheartedly in the concept that sometimes, we just have to take a step back and see what happens. I clearly couldn’t control it as nothing I did worked, so what had I to lose? I was pregnant three months later and carried to term for the first and only time.
For us, we were finally blessed with a miracle, our boy Kaleb who is now five. There is not a day goes by that we don’t look at him and see him for the miracle he is, and thank the power bigger than us, who blessed us with our earth-angel.
Our personal journey of infertility is something I talk openly about because I know that we are not alone. There are many out there who have been through it and are still going through it today - and for all of you, I feel love and I pray for you to have courage for your journey.
Don’t feel isolated - talk to those around you, you will be amazed at how many people have had similar journeys and if not, then reach out and find groups online who can support you. You will get through it and keep your faith in the love you have.
Big love, always