longing to be a mother again

longing to be a mother on the Geoffrey & Grace blogIt is one of the most basic human instincts to want a baby, to want to raise a child. If you run into difficulties whilst trying to fall pregnant, how do you cope with that longing to be a mother, whilst getting on with life? Can you even begin to appease those deep rooted feelings of wanting to carry a baby, if you can’t get pregnant?

I have been writing this piece off and on all summer. Honestly it has been a struggle to write, as sometimes I have just found it too painful, which is partly why it has taken me till now to publish it. It’s an important subject to talk about though, as it is something that effects so many people’s lives, yet it is not touched on more widely.

I have had a very familiar conversation with lots of women over the last few years. In fact, the further I move into my thirties, the more couples I meet who want to have a family, or grow their family, but instead of being greeted by a bundle of joy, month after month their efforts are met with disappointment and difficulties.

As common as it is, why then do most of us suffer in silence? Maybe simply it’s because it is not easy to talk about, or because we feel like we can’t. Either way I have got to a point, where in order to move forward and feel better, I need to write about my experience in the hope that it helps me (and others) navigate one of life’s hardest trials.

Here is my story so far…

Those that have been reading my blog for a while will know that Bailey was ‘a long time coming‘ – 3 and half years in fact. Even though this is familiar territory to me, it is not any easier second time around.

Whilst trying for Bailey I put everything on hold, and found myself in the unhappy and unhealthy position of just waiting… With baby number two I was determined to do it differently. I made a conscious decision not to wait, to throw myself into life and all the opportunities that came my way.

However, back at the beginning of the summer through writing ‘big thinking and slowing down’ I realised that by saying ‘yes’ to all the opportunities, I was also guilty of doing that all too common thing of burying my head in the sand.

Slowing down this summer has forced me to do some soul searching. In fact one of the many positives of slow living is you are consciously making space to listen to what it is that your heart desires. But in doing so, first there has to be a willingness to listen to whatever may come, even if it is not what you expect or maybe even want to hear.

Honestly I have been scared to let myself ask what I really want, as I knew what would be whispered back at me. I did not want to feel that consuming and familiar ache of longing to be a mother all over again. I have been keeping busy in hope that distractions would occupy me until the month the test had that magic double line.

Although I do believe that I had good intentions, and that ‘keeping busy’ is a valid coping strategy, as it’s a form of self protection. The problem is, now I have been using it, just to avoid that yearning that I know will be there if I were to really listen, and this is just as unsustainable and unhealthy.

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind” ~ Caroline Myss

I constantly have to let go of a life that I had perceived for me and my family. Bailey will start school next September, so it is pretty unlikely that I will have two children at home at the same time (as I imagined I might). Friends have said that is no bad thing, either way it is the reality that I am faced with.

I know there are some people that don’t get to experience motherhood at all, and I am very very thankful that we have Bailey. It’s just we don’t quite feel complete as a family, it’s as if there is a little someone missing.

It’s now starting to effect other aspects of my life. By squashing what’s really going on, and hiding my feelings I am left empty, and that is bound to taint anything creative I do. Also in social situations I have been finding that I feel disconnected from my friends. I tend to be the one who asks the questions, so I don’t have to answer any. I know why I don’t want to talk about it… because it is easier not to. Why would you bring up something that leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable, and a bit like you have failed.

I am not sure how to process all of this, but I do know the time has come to stop ignoring that desire to be a mother. By avoiding it and telling it to be quiet, it will not go away.

Currently I am having to sit with this well of sadness that I have uncovered, which has been laying hidden for a little while now. I know in my heart, that I need to acknowledge my feelings, and experience them, in order to move past them, it’s just that is easier said then done.

I don’t know if it is a sadness that will always be there, or whether, like grief, you just learn to live with it because you have to. It is definitely the biggest lesson in patience and letting go. It’s really hard to surrender and believe that you are right where you’re meant to be, and that ‘all is good’, when that is not how you feel.

I hope if some of this sounds familiar to you, that you can take some comfort from the knowledge that you are not alone – I will try to. Perhaps together we can have courage to face what is deep within our hearts, even if we are at first greeted by sadness. We must try to find some peace from the fact that it is the best way to go on living wholeheartedly.

“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” ~ Rumi

Writing this has definitely helped me confront reality, and it was so much easier to write it all down rather than speak it aloud. Thank you for reading it. The picture above was taken at the weekend when I got to meet my new nephew – he is awesome and I will have to get my fill of newborn cuddles as an Aunty, which in itself is a pretty special thing.

 

I realise this is such a private subject to many, but it would mean so much if you felt able to share your experience, and I would warmly welcome any advice on how to get through it.

 

 

You may also like...

  • Oh Mel- my heart physically ached for you when I read this, I cant imagine what you’re going through. But I do know that you’re so brave for writing this and I’m sure this will come as a ray of light for many people feeling isolated by similar experiences. Sending love and warmth to you as you navigate this. x x x

  • RUTH LEE

    Thank you for sharing…..you are not alone, my story is so similar to yours. You have really encouraged me to talk more and also to share more with people I know who are struggling in the same area. This time around I throw myself into my life, try my best to keep moving forward and count my blessings, however my one deep yearning is to have another baby…. I truly wish I had some encouraging words for you but there are no words except I share your pain…. I know. Thank you once again for sharing xxxx

  • Oh lovely! I know how hard the longing is and hiding those emotions deep. I really feel for you and can empathise but taking time to sit with those emotions can be such a healing process, although I haven’t fully got there. I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for a belly of love for you and if not a full heart to heal xx

  • Cat

    Aww Mel, this is such a difficult subject to talk about and I know exactly how you feel. It took us a year to have Lucas and I always wanted more children. Being an only child myself I wanted my children to have siblings. Don’t get me wrong, I never felt at the time I missed out, it was more when my parents separated and divorced and I had absolutely no one to talk to and I miss that closeness to another family with unconditional love. (We’ve never been close to my husband’s brother and family so he may as well be an only child too).

    We had tests done due to our struggles but then it finally happened. I never really looked into the results of our tests as I discovered the lines in our pregnancy test shortly after.

    2/3 years down the line we started trying for another and slowly realised that just because it happened once doesn’t mean it will naturally happen again. I spoke to a friend who’d gone through IVF to have their only child… One day I was curious and asked them why they needed IVF. I was shocked to discover it was the same issues our tests had revealed. At this point I was both sad and happy. Sad, as I was pretty sure I couldn’t have any more easily and happy as I had a little miracle and didn’t need intervention to get him, well until the birth but hell that’s a whole other story!

    It still leaves a little empty space in my heart but it’s made me try to enjoy the time I have with my special one. He’s 8 now so we have given up plus I’m in my forties so it’s just something else that is against me.

    To this day I still get asked if I plan to have more? That was always difficult. Questions of ‘Do you want more?’ ‘You can’t just have the one!’ This did and still annoys me!!! Firstly what bloody business is it of yours and… Well there isn’t a second but people assume because you have one you can just pop them out at will. I had this a lot from family and it drove me crazy!! Thankfully I have grown a thick skin to this and rather than shying away and not really having an answer I now am a little more brusk and state we’ve tried for years, I’m physically unable to have any more and what’s wrong with having the one when he’s a little miracle that shouldn’t have been!

    I know you are grateful for what you have but it doesn’t stop the yearning, even years later, but you learn to accept it and move on and enjoy life as they aren’t around forever. I hope, and Hannah puts it so much more beautifully, that you get your dream and if you don’t then your heart will heal and get drunk on the love of your one and only. ?

    • Cat

      Sorry I’ve just realised what an epic response that was ?

  • Debbie

    Thank-you for writing this Mel, it’s such a heartfelt account I could sense your anguish and the desperate sadness I felt whilst trying for a baby came flooding back.My first, and only, baby was 7 years in the making. I felt very alone for so much of this time I didn’t want to burden anyone with my woes and there never seemed the right time to bring my struggles into conversation. I spent years crying at anytime I was alone and then painting on a confident smile as soon as I got to work or event. I have Robyn now and I feel blessed and only cry now when new mum tiredness kicks in!
    I’m not sure why we suffer in silence. We were brought up to be strong, independent women who could achieve anything if we worked hard enough. It felt like it was out duty to go out and show the world who we were, proritising career and experiencing the world over having a family.

    Good luck Mel, I enjoy seeing your photos and reading your blog.Maybe we could try and catch up, it’s been a long time xx

  • hels

    Mel, you put something so filled with a mixture of mind, body & soul so eloquently in this post. Such a sensitive subject & one that is wonderful you have shared. It must be tremendously hard. Your heart is full of love & it will continue to grow with every day, every beat. I hope you find strength in each of these days & sending you love x

  • Ali

    Thank you for sharing your story Mel… I never thought I would have any more babies after my first (was told I had a 1% chance)… 8 years elapsed until I found the joy of pregnancy again. Then, much to the amazement of the consultant, 15 months later at age 40 *boom* I was pregnant with Lucy. Please believe in miracles <3 xx

  • it seems like a lifetime ago, but I remember it all too well, that feeling of powerlessness. All our lives it seems we are told that if we want it enough it will happen. And then it doesn’t and we have to deal with where that leaves us. It took me years to persuade my partner to have a child and then I lost it very early in the pregnancy. I took time to grieve, then 3 years later I still wasn’t pregnant.
    All I can say is yes, it is hard and very like a bereavement in that you have to let go of what you imagined life to be and learn to live again in a new way. Once I had, I got pregnant.
    I hope you can work through your journey, wherever it takes you, and learn as I did, that joy can creep up when you don’t expect it to and life can surprise you. This too will pass, as my mum used to say.

  • Olivia

    my heart is aching. am so filled with admiration for you.. finding the courage to write this post, and then the bravery to be able to find the words to express all that’s been going on in your body, mind & soul. sending massive hugs XX

  • What a brave post Melanie. Thank you for sharing and starting a discussion that many of us find so difficult. As you know, it never happened for us. I’m 42 now and don’t think I could cope even if it did, given my cfs. I guess I feel that we’ve taken a different path and I try to focus on all the joy and happiness in that. I’ve been reading more about sitting with sadness and feeling it and not pushing it away. I do so hope that sharing this helps a little. One thing my Mum did that helped her when she was struggling, was to start a gratitude journal, and make a note of all the things she had to be grateful for that day; despite the pain, there was always something. Much love xxx

  • Laura

    Mel you are such a gorgeous woman & mother. I admire your honesty, this is close to so many hearts yet nobody speaks about it… We grow up desperately hoping not to be pregnant and we spend the rest of our lives trying to get pregnant. Pregnancy is a miracle that so many take for granted. I feel your sadness but don’t ever give up…. Keep positive… Your tiny dancer is just waiting to surprise you xxxx

  • Amy B

    Your post really struck a chord with me and there are parts of it that I feel I could have written myself, though you have written much more eloquently than I would have been able to. It took us 2.5 years to fall pregnant with our daughter (who is now nearly 3). I found the whole experience of trying to conceive very difficult emotionally and often struggled to discuss what was going on & how I was feeling with friends & family. I would often find myself having a cry in the loo at work after some well meaning colleague told me not to wait too long to start trying for a family (they didn’t know about our struggles). We now have a beautiful daughter who lives every day fully and we are so happy. But I long for another child and for my daughter to have a sibling; we pretty much been trying since she was born and each month I desperately hope we will get a positive result. I constantly get asked (by well meaning friends & colleagues) when we will have another & I always make some flippant remark such as “oh don’t think we can manage anymore sleepless nights” but I don’t mean that. I struggle to explain how I’m feeling as it changes all the time and sometimes I think ok our family is now complete but other times I feel a terrible longing for another child. Sorry to ramble on, I was just do grateful to read your post and wanted to share my thoughts (or ramblings). Thank you xxx

  • Dörte Januszewski

    Wow! Your post just made me cry…it was like reading my own story. The heart ache, frustration, anger, sadness, hope, guilt…trying to keep busy and not thinking about the one thing…I can relate to it. Coming to terms with secondary infertility is so hard {not sure if I ever can} It makes me appreciate and love my boy even more. He’s a miracle! It’s been five years of an emotional roller coaster and I’m not quite sure when it’s going to stop. Thank you so much Mel for sharing your story. It means a lot. Sending you a massive hug! XXX

  • Hi Melanie,
    I’m so sorry to hear of this struggle you are having. How wonderful though, that you have done this slowing down and listening and observing and feeling. And what a blessing it is that you have this wonderful blogging community to support you through this difficult struggle. I wish you and your family strength, love, and happiness.

  • Sarah

    Dear Mel, I just wanted to say thank you for your heartfelt words; they rang as true for me as so many others in these comments. I echo their sentiments, but also wanted to add that we were only able to have a child through donor conception, something that seemed inconceivable to me (if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun) but I now feel was pre-destined for us, for my daughter would not be my daughter if she hadn’t come to us in that way. I feel strangely evangelical about it as it gave us such happiness where only pain had been, so I take every opportunity I can to let people know about it. It’s all so hard to talk about, but like any wound it needs clean air to heal x

  • geoffreyandgrace

    Thank you all so much for your comments. It has been really touching to read a little about all your stories. Your support and kind thoughts mean more than you realise. Lots of love to those who are on a similar path. I really think if we can all try to talk about this subject when possible, that it will help to make everyone feel a little lighter. Melanie xx

  • Sylvia needham

    I know all about that deep sadness inside, feeling bereft and empty. After conceiving our first little girl came five years of nothing. You are not infertile you have had a baby yet it is month after long month, year after year of waiting, tears and aching disappointment, each time you hear of a friend or colleague who is pregnant. I remember bursting into hysterical tears in a supermarket after meeting a friend who shared her good news.. The longed for baby did arrive after some serious surgery. Keep heart and hope. There is no magic formula I can give you