April, not quite as cruel as May

I was standing under a tree in the sunshine this afternoon, drinking coffee, watching a robin being pert among the bluebells, and I was horribly, horribly sad. Doesn’t seem quite right, does it?

I am blaming it, for moment, on this being the anniversary of That Cycle, the one where I got pregnant for the first time – so exciting for an infertile girl! – and then miscarried (on my 33rd birthday. Did I mention that? Well, I shall mention it again, because it fucking sucks).

It has been three years, and I have had several miscarriages since, and none of them have ever hurt as much as that first one.

Dear internets, on days like today, I really don’t think I’m ever going to have a biological child. And I feel I am denying H the chance to have a biological child. H says he’d rather have me childless than someone else and half-a-dozen darling babies, and that somehow makes me feel worse. I sometimes don’t think I deserve an H. Not just because I’m infertile, but also because I am just a little useless, one of those stereotypical over-educated under-achievers (I have three, count ’em, three degrees. I get paid less than a bus driver. Yay higher education). I’m also a shit house-keeper, I’m untidy, I occasionally clean the bathrooms or do laundry but I never iron, and even though I’m technically the better cook H does most of the cooking these days (this last is because every time the fog of despair and misery that makes me nearly non-functional for a good couple of months after each miscarriage starts to lift… I miscarry again. But still).

I strongly feel that if I’m not going to have motherhood to be getting on with, I ought to be doing something else worthwhile with my life. Ideally, in Magic Rainbow-Farting Unicorn-World, I am a mother and I am doing something else worthwhile – feminism, you see – but this is Britain in 2011 and I haven’t seen a unicorn of any kind of trumpery for years.

And I’ve got myself stuck. I’ve been working at Current Place of Employment about as long as I’ve been trying to have a child. While I was waiting to have this benighted child, I upped my qualifications and got a promotion. I have worked this more senior role (still paid jack-shit, oh the joys of academic support) for three years, nearly, and I am bored now, and completely out of promotion prospects unless my boss runs away to Chile with an acrobat, but, dear internets, I have earned full maternity leave now, and Current Place of Employment are being angelic about my deteriorating health issues; and no employer in their right mind would take me on as I am now, and the economy is in crisis, and every academic library in Britain is down-sizing and I daren’t leave.

I think it is this that really boils my piss (oh, how I love that phrase. Thank you again, Anonymous). Infertility and recurrent miscarriage has, yes, obviously screwed over my plans for a family. But it has also screwed over my plans for everything. Everything. The career risks I didn’t take because I was trying for a family have become the career risks I can’t take because my health is too fucked, and I daren’t lose my benefits just in case (horrible cretinous mind-fuck in and of itself, that one).

I can honestly assure you all, and H, that this is not how I intended to spend my 30s.

So, no doubt some of you are wondering why don’t I just leap forth, live my life, do my thing, take my risks?

Because, to do so, I’d have to let go of that last shred of hope and retire the Cute Ute. I’m serious. All that work I missed for health reasons? My record is marked. I’d have to be able to assure a future employer that I would not be taking a week in every four or five off. Would you employ someone who disappeared at irregular intervals for days on end? No? Didn’t think so. And, before you all start ranting about employment law and what have you, I’d need to be strong enough, and healthy enough, physically and emotionally, to move on, and to do that, yes, I’d need to retire the Cute Ute. Even if I was going to go self-employed/free-lance again. Especially then – no sick pay, remember? To do anything new and brave I’d need to have no more periods from hell. No more anaemia. No more persistant, tiring pain, for days and weeks after my period has ended. No more migraines. No more miscarriages. No more grief, no more depression.

It’s a big ask. A life for a life kind of ask.

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16 responses to “April, not quite as cruel as May

  • Anonymous

    Sorry you are reflecting so negatively and hopelessly looking forward. I am also sorry your piss is boiling – but thanks for the mention! (I should sign in). I hope this phase passes quickly (Not meant in a ‘pat on the head’ patronising fashion). I wonder if you found my emails? If you do want to connect, you can get me at allexx 74 at hot male dot com. (In case email plugs are not allowed). We have a huge amount in common. But maybe you don’t need anyone with the same issues to talk to. I would understand. Though, I feel strangely guilty to say – I did get lucky three times. So maybe, right now – you would rather avoid me. I hope you get some good rest over the four day weenend. Warmest regards.

  • BigP's Heather

    I understand needing to hold on to whatever shred of hope you have, as little and as tattered as it may be. Hold on as long as you need to.

    Whatever you decide, I’m here cheering you on.

    I agree, H is fantastic – but so are you!!! Don’t dismiss your wonderfulness.

  • a

    First of all, you are not denying H the opportunity to have a biological child. You and he chose to spend the rest of your lives together – that’s what marriage is. You didn’t decide to spend the rest of your lives together IF you had children. You may have had certain expectations, but the only thing you both agreed to is to be together until one of you dies (or beyond, depending on beliefs). So stop that line of reasoning RIGHT NOW.

    Secondly, maybe it’s just the time of year. Or maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what you want to do with your life. But mostly, it’s probably just grief for your first baby – your Pikaia.

  • Laurel

    Hmm, agreed with a.

    Some of it may also be just the general age. I think mid-life crises start a little early these days. At the mid-thirties the life ahead starts to look a little shorter or more limited for the first time. And then there’s the general economic atmosphere, as you mentioned: times are tight and we can tend to take the restrictions that puts on our lives as our own responsibility when really it’s not in the least under our control. This is not to minimize the very real and painful sacrifices you’ve made, but only to say that they are taking place within a larger context of notable significance to your choices.

    But, yes. Give it a month before you make any big decisions.

  • Illanare

    Agree with a and, having no better words, am just sending hugs and love.

  • wombattwo

    I bet you anything you like H doesn’t think you’re useless. He loves you, for what and who you are, and any untidiness etc is all just part of that. Regarding the infertility/miscarrying, I get the guilt, really I do. I watch Mr W with children and it breaks my heart that I haven’t been able to give him that, and I feel awful. I think guilt is natural when it’s somebody you love. But I think H will think you have no reason to feel guilty.
    If you switched it round, say H had no sperm and that was the reason you couldn’t get pregnant. How would you feel then? It wouldn’t change your love for him, if anything you’d probably love him even more because of it. He might feel guilty and you’d hate that he felt guilty, because you wouldn’t blame him at all, it’s how he is, and he is your husband, the most important thing in your life.
    Of course, I feel all this is easier to accept if it isn’t you that’s causing the issue, but I think H will feel dreadful that you feel so guilty. Do try to believe him; when you got married, and admittedly I don’t know where you got married or the vows you said but I’m sure it will have been something similar to “all that I am, I give to you, and all that I have, I share with you.” From what I know of H, from this blog, he adores you beyond measure.
    As for retiring the cute ute, well, it’s a big temptation to be pain-free every month, I’d imagine. But a huge step to take. No advice on that one, I’m afraid, you have to do what’s right for you, whatever that may be.
    But hugs, lots of them.

  • minichessemouse

    *hugs* oh May, i know it can be so easy to see the downside of everything but try and find that little spark, that glimmer of hope (and i know hope is a bitch)

    Your H loves you, I am sure of it, he wouldn’t want you to be guilty over something that’s not your fault (he shares that with my S I think)

    many many many hugs.

  • Lilian

    I agree with a and everyone else. I have no advice to give (sorry), but sending my love to you and H.

    L x

  • Bionic Baby Mama

    you’re right: H would no doubt be SO much happier with some tidy fertile-myrtle. can you imagine anything more fascinating than living with someone who, instead of having a quick wit, a well-educated brain, and wide-ranging interests, is really, really good at ironing? me either. you’ll just have to come live with me, instead, and we can make bitterly funny comments about H’s new bimbo over tea and cake. oh, he’d rather keep you than live with a nitwit from the soap commercials? sigh. maybe he could lend you out on occasion and we can not iron together.

    i am sorry the memory/desire tango has you crushed in its teeth like a rose of bad metaphor. it’s so much worse to feel bad when the world is all happy! springtime! fuck robins, anyway. do they have awesome blogs and teach us words like “twat-weasel”? no they do not.

  • Amy P

    What everyone else said.

    *hugs*

  • twangy

    What a bloody awful bind to be in. I do sympathise greatly. I hate being the “broken” (and non-ironing) one too, but over time, for my own sanity, I had to realise that this is not my fault, any more than any other horrible disease. It just isn’t.

    Reverse the situation and I would choose to stay with him. And, for me, marriage is that choice made afresh every day, in the attempt to live well together. It’s not for me to second-guess or preempt, it’s for me to trust his judgement and have respect of his autonomy.

    Work in progress, obviously. Ha! And sigh. I like what Bionic said. So clever! Also wombattwo. Very good!

    Many hugs.

  • Jane G

    I’m really sorry May, wish I had more words than that, but I’m feeling quite spent myself these days too. Hugs xx

  • Womb For Improvement

    H is used goods now anyway.

    I know what you mean about being stuck. Whilst I don’t have the sick days to contend with I do have a very attractive maternity package dangling just out of my reach. And, Goddammit, I worked at my place for seven years. a colleague who started just after me is currently on her third maternity leave. I’ve fucking earned it.

  • MsPrufrock

    I lack the ability to say any meaningful words for posts like these, and even if I didn’t, everyone else has left some wonderful comments already anyway.

    I might be reading blogs less than sporadically, but you are in my thoughts on a regular basis. That sounds far more obnoxious than I wanted it to.

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