Once thing that struck me reasonably late in my last pregnancy is the fact that just because I am pregnant, doesn’t take away my right to feel out of control and utterly at the mercy of my body.
We went on a family holiday for my mother’s 60th birthday. She invited her sisters and their kids, and all of our family, kids and all. A recipe for chaos if ever there was one.
During one evening, whilst lamenting the pain from my pelvis, the bloating, the sickness, the fainting, and the general malaise, I commented “I just want 15 minutes off”. My aunt – who was a headmistress before she retired, burst into tears and fled the room.
This made me feel like a worthless excuse for a woman. This precious, beautiful, magical experience that I had been given, and I was wishing it away. I was counting down the days until I wasn’t pregnant any more.
It’s made me quite angry since, on reflection. Just because I am fortunate enough to have a functioning uterus, does not sign away my right to feeling anything that I do. Just because someone else is suffering the crippling burden of involuntary childlessness, doesn’t mean they can write off the right to feelings that anyone else has.
I felt as if I had been silenced, chastised like a naughty schoolgirl, and reprimanded for being so, very ungrateful.
If my aunt had been crippled with pain from an unstable pelvis, constant sickness, debilitating nausea, had been fainting at random intervals, and unable to breathe properly for 7 long months with no let-up, and every day felt like she was going 10 rounds with a boxer by the time she went to bed, before having a broken night’s sleep to get up and do it again – maybe she would have understood. I was on my knees (mind you, if I had literally been on my knees, I would have been unable to get back up again. Oh, the irony…)
It’s not that I’m not grateful. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to those who are suffering infertility of any kind- but I think as a society we should question whether we should assume anything about one another’s lives. Just because I am in the fortunate position of being able to conceive and carry to term, does not mean that it’s easy for me to do so. Just as someone with only one child should not be automatically assumed to able to have another should they so wish.
Every person has a right to their own feelings, no matter how abhorrent or upsetting you find them.
There is no larger minefield, in my opinion than the emotions surrounding pregnancy, parenthood, childbirth, and infertility.
So whoever you are, and whatever your situation, I respect that.