The no-good bad sad unreasonable

It was my birthday on Thursday. I am 37.

Well now.

I wouldn’t mind being 37 in the least if it weren’t for the ‘and barren’ thing. Why else should I mind being 37, if not because I’ve spent my entire 30s so far failing (sometimes bloodily, spectacularly) to have a child? Oh, and getting a job and a promotion and a degree, which I keep mysteriously forgetting about. It’s not like I’ve spent 7 years exclusively either flat on my back on my chaise longue or flat on my back on the ultrasound table. But it somehow feels like it.

Tomorrow, H and I are going away for a week, for a holiday. We always have a holiday this time of year, partly because it is my birthday, you know, and partly because I got a miscarriage for my 33rd birthday and it was such a long, drawn-out mess of a thing, and I’ve not only never got over it, but it has come to stand for All The Other Miscarriages And Continuing Lack Of Baby. So my birthday is partly a pleasant day of being sent cards and given presents and being taken out for dinner and such, and partly the pointiest day in a week or so made up entirely of things to bruise oneself upon. It’s easier to be Somewhere Else, and not trapped in the routine of the everyday which won’t even have the decency to be an everyday that includes small sticky fingers, nappies, push-chairs, very small jelly sandals, and someone asking me ‘why? Why? Why, Mummy? Why?’ seventeen million times a minute.

Because of the timing of The Period, H and I didn’t go away this week as originally planned. So on my birthday, I went to work (still feeling rather fragile, as The Period has hob-nailed boots). Whereapon all the ladies who are on maternity leave came in to show the office their babies. Which, you know, fair enough, but on my birthday? With all its pre-existing pointy-bruisy-ouchy bits? Thanks, Universe. And then there was a spate of ultrasound pictures on FB – you know, cute ones, showing wee spines and skulls and things, rather than the ones I’m used to, which show ovarian cysts and adenomyosis and empty uterine cavities and, occasionally, little empty collapsing gestational sacs surrounded by haemorrhage.

The thing about Not Getting Over It, is that, in my case at least, nothing has happened to get me over it. Time has passed, yes, but in that time I’ve had more losses, and my health has got worse, which have between them increased my distress. My chances of having a living child have, of course, shrunk, because time has passed, which in itself fucking sucks rancid arse and would be plenty to be depressed about. I do not have a living child, which I am given to understand is a joyful event that provides a great deal of distraction and healing, even if he or she can never ‘replace’ or ‘make up for’ the lost ones. So I am sad. I am sad on my birthday, and I am sad the week after my birthday, and I am sad when I should be happy for people, and I am sad when sad things happen to people, and I am sad when doing laundry and sad when watching telly and sad when standing on the bus and sad when walking along the street and sad when I go to bed and sad when I get up in the morning.

This is not a totally joyless soul-crushing sadness. I still laugh at jokes and enjoy books (oh, I got books for my birthday! I love getting books for my birthday!) and put on pretty sun-dresses and wax my legs (OW) and get excited about the holiday H and I are just about to go on. It’s just, I might cry at the drop of a hat. Hell, I cried when some chap I’d never heard of cried when he was given a gold medal on the Chelsea Flower Show. And I Compleeeeeetely Lost My Temper when we discovered the moths had got back in again and eaten a hole in my hand-knit slipper-sock (admittedly the stupid sock had been abandoned under the bed since Christmas because it had felted and I had to fight like a ninja to get it on over my heel, but still. I knitted it. Moth ate it. Now I have to Clean All The Things and spray entire bedroom with Moth Murderer TM). And, of course, everything beautiful makes me sad. The sunshine, the birch-trees tossing their heads in the breeze, the birds on the bird-feeder, roses, H singing, the neighbour’s baby. Everything I love is full of sadness.

This too shall pass, no doubt. And at least I am not feeling the horrible ugly depressed stuck-in-a-trench way I used to, and at least things still are beautiful. It’s just, I’m 37, and I want to have a child, and every where I look, slammed doors, locked windows, hoops to jump through (mostly very high, very small, and on fire), ‘no thoroughfare’ signs, paths being blocked off, bridges being dismantled. Eventually the only path left will be the one sign-posted ‘fuck this shit, I’m childless’. One day I will be OK with that. Today I am sad.

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24 responses to “The no-good bad sad unreasonable

  • Womb For Improvement

    I feel for you so much. Treading water whilst everyone around seems to have swum the river and finished this metaphor in a far more successful way than I could. Take care, have a wonderful break, read your books and get your legs out. xx

  • Dr Spouse

    Gentle hugs from here. Hoping there is a way through or over one of the bridges or doors.

  • Jane G

    I hear ya May. I will be 43 on Thursday, and I am still childless, and very sad about it. Hugs to you, and enjoy your break.

  • katyboo1

    Oh lovey. I wish everything was better. I wish I could wave endless magic wands in your general direction and that you could be blessed with armfuls of babies, because I do not know anyone in the whole world who deserves a baby as much as I think you do right now. I wish you weren’t sad. xxx

  • a

    Sigh. See, this is exactly why I try not to acknowledge my birthday. It’s not that I care about getting older. It’s about feeling like I should have reached some milestone or another and that life is passing me by. So I’d rather not think about it…at least in terms of age. Moment by moment, I can deal with it. In terms of age/birthdays, it’s crushing.

    Anyway, hope you and H have a wonderful holiday. And Happy Birthday anyway, because for me, 37 was a great year.

  • manapan

    Of all the triggers to have, your own birthday?! Way to add a slap across the face to an already unfair and sucky situation. I hope you have a fantastic holiday anyway.

  • Valery Valentina

    So sorry about the sadness and the nails. And the stupid moths.
    We have moths too, and they don’t seem to get the concept of denial.
    I have a little bag in the freezer with some cashmere (teddybear beige, feel free to dye), could I send that to you for you knitting new socks?

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    I am holding on very hard to the hope that I can, one day soon, buy the very nicest pair of small jelly sandals I can find for you. Am determined to

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    … Wa? Wha? I HADN’T FINISHED, YOU BASTARD PIECE OF BLOGWARE!

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    … am determined to hold onto my vision of you as gloriously and abundantly pregnant, and be all Mulder-like in Believing. Because I know how hard it is to think and believe those things for yourself – ohh, how I know – so I am doggedly being the vicarious hope repository for all the optimism that gets knocked out of you at around miscarriage number… I dunno… three? four? Because although I do see the fiery hoops, I also really think you have a solidly good chance of baby actually happening, despite the years of Stinking Bloody Awfulness complete with extra helpings of Period-hobnails and ultrasound-photo teeth-grittings.

    But. That is the FutureThen and this is the Now, and I’m so, so sad and sorry that your birthday comes with such a horrible undertow of Appalling. It’s swingingly rotten timing, too, and I wishwishwish I could change it.

  • thalia

    Even though it’s a long time ago, I do remember that utter hopelessness that just went on and on, even though it actually went on much less long than you have had to deal with. I wish that for the next birthday the situation will be very different. And I hope that the holiday brings some kind of hope.

  • kylie

    Hope you have a lovely holiday. Hope that you find your way through the pit of despair and the slough of despond.

    On the moths- that sounds like someone living close to you hasn’t dealt with the moth problem- so it keeps coming back (rathe like mice, and bedbugs and cockroaches). Pennyroyal apparently does wonders, but is bad bad bad for the whole remaining pregnant concept so should probably only be used in the event of total moth apocalypse.

    Enjoy the sunshine

  • Teuchter

    I’m sorry for your sadness (hug)

  • Betty M

    I don’t want you to be sad. As a firm non-believer in the various accepted methods of calling on of higher powers I am going to have to find some other method of getting the blasted universe to cut you a break. Hope you are having a lovely holiday and surrounding yourself with beautiful things. x

  • minichessemouse

    Oh gods I was one of the ones putting up ultrasound pictures on facebook. May I am incredibly sorry i look forward with great hope to the day that you can do the same. No your losses will never leave you, but you so deserve a child, a happy healthy child on whom to lavish love.

    All through this pregnancy i have been thinking of you, and how unfair it is that I have this, and you who want and deserve it so much more do not. Many many hugs.

  • Bionic

    It is all so fucking unfair, i can hardly believe it. I certainly can’t handle it.

    I hope you and H found some joy in your birthday despite the would-be-comical-if-it-weren’t-so-cruel attempts of the universe to ruin it, burn it, salt its fields and generally be an incredible asshole.

    Much love. Come here and I will get you so drunk on corn-bourbon juleps you forget, at least for a minute.

  • Anonymous

    What the Hairy Farmer said… So sorry about this ongoing (*searches for word*)… what shall I call it… Saga? Torture? Unfair situation? None are the word I’m looking for.

    But it’s unfair, it is unpleasant and it is ongoing and we all agree you’ve had your plentiful share of it.

    I wholeheartedly hope your fortunes change.

    Best wishes.

    K x

  • wombattwo

    I shall organise my reply into bullet points. Mostly because I don’t have the brainpower at the moment to construct lovely flowing paragraphs.

    1. Facebook is horrible. And it encourages people to be really quite insensitive. You can put anything you like on there; boast, show-off, and you never have to see or hear anyone’s reaction. You never have to see that other person’s face crumple, or that slightly stunned expression when they’ve just been kicked in the gut again. you don’t have to feel guilty because you just don’t know, and it doesn’t occur that although new life, for example, is a wonderful, joyful thing, it also carries with it a sharp edge of envy and jealousy and reminder of what isn’t, and what was lost. I don’t use facebook anymore, and sometimes I do miss it. I don’t miss the gut-wrenching, look at my uterus and its contents fuzzy grey pictures however.

    2. I would really find it amusing if you did post a scan picture of a polycystic satsuma on facebook. I bet that some people would be confused enough to say “oh my goodness, you’re having, what 16 babies?” Because what else could it be?

    3. It is unfair. Horribly so. I wonder what life would be like if the miscarriage and infertility burden was shared out equally. So, for example, it took everyone a year to conceive, and then everyone had to lose one baby. Perhaps then people would have insight, and they would appreciate their children more. J*r*my K*le might be out of business, but perhaps it would be better, and certainly fairer.

    4. I don’t have a vision of you as pregnant, unlike HFF, but I do have an unending vision of you with a small, blonde, female toddler trailing around after you, being joyously annoying by tangling your knitting and wiping chocolate all over the walls. I do really believe it’s possible. A friend said to me once that when you lose your faith, that’s when your friends and family should carry it and hold it for you. So that’s what we’re doing.

    5. I have never understood jelly sandals. I think they’re weird. But I should be delighted to buy you a whole bucket-full of very small ones.

    6. I cried once at a giveaway on Th*s M*rning. Because they were giving away 40 pairs of shoes, and it was a lovely prize.

    7. I really think you need an obligatory miscarriage kitten. Particularly one that likes torturing and killing moths. (Our hound is very good at doing the same to flies and spiders. Useful.) You could sell it to your landlord as an organic means of pest-control. Surely that’s better than lots of poison?

    8. Really hope you had a good holiday, and it was peaceful and restful and filled with good food and romance and really comfy beds. And also that you didn’t melt. I am considering buying myself a paddling pool and sleeping in it, which probably makes me slightly crazy, complaining about this, but I am hot! (especially as I complained about the cold when the temperature dipped to less than 20 in Australia). Pleasing me? No, there is none.

  • Emily Erin

    Sending hugs to you and hoping that your holiday is full of good things.

  • Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse

    Despite all the ambiguity surrounding the event, I wish you a happy birthday and send you wishes that the year before you brings open doors and unlocked windows.

  • Maria

    Hi,

    My name is Knoll Maria and I am a graduate student at Bar-Ilan University Information Science Department in Israel. For my final project, I am examining anonymity and self-disclosure in infertility blogs. The target population of the study are women bloggers who were or are going through infertility treatments and also blog about their experience. I am kindly inviting you to participate in this research study by completing the attached survey.

    The following questionnaire will require approximately 5 minutes to complete. Your response is very important to me. Your informed consent to participate in this survey is assumed by completing the survey and by submitting it. Participation is strictly voluntary and you may refuse to participate at any time. A copy of the results will be sent to you, if you choose so.

    Thank you for taking the time to assist me in my educational endeavors. If you require additional information or have questions, please contact by email.
    Click here to fill out the survey:

    • Anonymous

      Hi Maria — Your post raises some concerns for me and I will assume you went through huan subjects in research training before you posted this. Although the rules for research using the internet are changing, I would imagine that your home institution requires you to follow international guidelines for human subjects in research. At the very least, you should provide your Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval number here and provide contact information for an IRB representative in case any prospective participants have questions about the research project they do not feel comfortable raising with you.

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