GLUM MUMMAS I How's Your Dog?


Having spent a lot of time with my friend who has recently been through a miscarriage (her second) followed by intense IVF, that subsequently failed, I really feel her pain.
Not indirectly from the above, but the way people treat her situation.

Do you remember the scene in SATC Movie 2 where Carrie and Mr Big are sat at Stanford & Anthony's ostentatious wedding and a couple at their table ask when they intend to have kids?
'It's just not for us," Carrie says.
'So it's just going to be the two of you?" the female says, her voice dripping with pity (I'm not quite sure this is the exact quote, but something along those lines and she was definitely patronising and disapproving).
But what if it wasn't 'for us', and that was just a facade.
It wasn't. But what if?

Imagine if Carrie was one of those mothers feeling a failure and judged for having to resort to IVF (obviously there is absolutely no reason to feel that way) and had retorted; 'Actually you nosy bitch, we've been trying for the  last five years. I spend practically every day looking at babies, praying that one day I'll have one of my own, and now you've gone and spoilt this evening for me - mazel tov!'

*downs G & T*.

What I'm trying to get at is that we've all fought our own battles to get to motherhood and don't need others judgement on top of that.

Some have it easy to conceive, yes, but then they're the ones who probably spend the entire nine months honking up, or with cankles the size of Hilary Clinton (soz, Hils). Then becoming irascible old moos while inhaling prawn curries slopped over chips to ease the sickness - because that's normal to feel better, right?
It would be nice to think that was their penance for falling so easily - but every one of us has been tested along the way regardless of conceiving, pregnancy, bump or child and it's never cool to be jealous, right?

Prior to my son, I miscarried. I lost the plot, I became a recluse. I eventually met someone new - and he was born a year later. Obviously it was all too soon for us - because we're now separated. I didn't even know I had fallen with him, and when they say it's when you're most relaxed or not thinking about it - well there we go.

As my gin friend I formerly refer to forgoed her favourite past time in favour of fresh mint tea (I thought it was only fair I join her and quite frankly think we've both had a skinful of it now).
I watched her body put into an early menopause to produce the healthy, strong eggs she needed. Her already ample bust ballooned, night sweats ensued, tears, anger, frustration followed - and there was nothing I could say or do to make it better.
But through it all, she had so much time for everyone else, including me - and children, and kept a cool exterior throughout. I became fiercely protective.

Why do we fight our motherhood battles alone? Why don't we open up and stop all the awkwardness and bashfulness - it's a painful and uncomfortable subject whether someone wants or can't have a child, but the likelihood is, you call out to one of your sista's - she'll holla back.
It's something we can all resonate with -  every single one of my new found friends had experienced miscarriage or IVF - even both. For those idiotic few who are so wrapped up in their own pregnancy  - perhaps our honesty of what we're going through would put paid to the ignorance.
It's so easy to be caught up in a baby bubble with all the excitement. For you, it's just a picture on Facebook, for someone going through IVF it's a knife through the heart each time.
She's very open about her journey - and how it's on hold for a while. It's intense, people need to know why you may not be yourself at times.
Like I said before, there's nothing to be ashamed of - it just seems every else makes a big meal of it.

A few weeks ago we spent a day with her rosy-cheeked earth mother chum recreating a bus scene; by this I mean lining up seats in the middle of a cafe in front of everyone while she (the friend) jovially bellowed wheels on the bus. I begged gin bud not to see her again, or at least for a while - for my own sanity too.
I'm surprised she didn't cry, because I wanted to out of sheer embarrassment.

Then come the invites for birthday parties with the side note of: 'But I can imagine you don't really want to come to a children's party as you don't have any of your own.' For FUCK sake, least said, soonest mended, eh?
A social event is a social event - they're a really nice couple so would feel as comfortable dancing to a Take That tribute band with cheap chardonnay as they would to Peppa Pig, some party rings and some fizzy pop. Why just presume it's NOT their scene? It always has been and always will be - with or without child.

The two of us sat through a meeting the other day, a heavily pregnant woman chatting about herself and hypo-birthing yada yada, her perfectly coiffed chelsea blow-dry, tan, bump, cashmere clothing - then she looked us both up and down, found a middle ground with me as I have a two-year-old. But my friend? I am sure she guest-i-mated her age as mid-thirties, asked her if she had kids, then automatically filed her into the 'doesn't want them' and Carries-wedding-guest-friend reaction and carried on wittering to me. I was FURIOUS.
Again, an ignoramus presumptuous idiot - which resulted in me apologising on her behalf as we left the coffee shop (thank fuck she paid for our fresh mint tea).

Why is it SO hard to ask someone you know is going through IVF - are they ok? How is everything - what have they been up to? It's ok they won't make you feel uncomfortable and start wittering on about they've had more prods pokes and pricks than Helen Wood (Rooney's bit of strumpet/BB Bitch) in the last month. But likelihood is they'll appreciate you're thinking of them, if they don't want to talk about it - they certainly won't.

I remember a few years back when a colleague was going through IVF - there was salacious gossip stirring around the office like it was some dirty secret - and I felt terrible for her. She's the one laughing now - she has three beautiful boys.

So next time you ask someone childless how their dogs are, realise how insular you sound...


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