… well not really, it’s just the beginning isn’t it? Because after all this – egg freezing, solo IVF with donor sperm, B appearing when I had given up on love and relationships, IVF as a couple, unexpected natural conception, miscarriage, and ultimately going down the route of IVF with donor eggs – we have our beautiful baby (who we obviously think is perfect in every way.)
I feel like this isn’t really the place for talking about my experience of birth and early parenthood – there are plenty of other places you can go for that – but I do want to say that my anxieties about how I would feel about having a child that wasn’t biologically mine seem, so far, unfounded. I’m not saying there won’t be stumbling blocks / anxieties / issues in the future. But – for now – this baby could not feel more mine.
And that’s why I think – for now – this is, if not The End, at least the right place for a substantial pause for this blog. When I first started writing it 8 years ago, I couldn’t have begun to imagine where the intervening years would take me. And honestly, that’s probably a good thing. I’m not sure I could have imagined having the strength and resilience to continue this whole thing if I’d had any inkling of the countless episodes of heartbreak – large and small – that have accompanied my pursuit of motherhood.
But, this is the point where I’m almost duty bound to say it was all worth it, right? And in our new parent bubble, marvelling at the perfection of this amazing and – to us – endlessly fascinating creature we’ve managed – with science, altruism, generosity, love, money and luck – to create, it does all feel worth it. For all that I’m sceptical about the human ability to configure a logical narrative structure to impose on random events to help make sense of things, I do look at B and our baby, and think that this is the way it was always meant to be, that I’m so glad it’s this unique combination of the three of us. (And, incidentally, I am filled with renewed admiration for my solo mum friends. Although I absolutely would have done it alone, I can see now just how hard that would have been.)
And the fact that I’m posting this on Mother’s Day is, depending on your perspective, poetic justice or grim irony. As I’ve written before, about being both pregnant and infertile, I don’t think, after everything, I could ever feel wholly smug mum about days like today. I spent too long on the other side for that sense of being on the outside looking in to just evaporate. And so the way that I think about it is complicated, for the me I was for so long, and for all the women in that position.
Similarly, while I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and generosity of family, friends and acquaintances, all keen to celebrate our baby’s safe arrival, and so touched by how excited everyone is, there’s something about it that makes me sad. Both B and I achieved so much in our lives before we became parents, but none of it was feted like this. I can’t imagine ever not being slightly discomforted by this fetishisation of motherhood, especially, this implication that it’s the pinnacle of female achievement. But maybe I’m overthinking it…
I don’t really know how to finish this post apart from to thank you for reading, whether you’ve been with me from the start or found me along the way. I started this blog originally because I couldn’t find anything for women like me back then who were freezing their eggs on their own. And, through this blog, I found like-minded women who were doing the same thing that I was, which made me feel much less alone, less like a freak who hadn’t managed to do things in the way that everyone else seemed to have. And I’m so grateful for every comment, every email, every message. I could never have anticipated how much support I would get from strangers on the internet…
Maybe I’m too mired in this world to see it with any perspective, or maybe my views are skewed by the fact that I live in London and have friends who have taken many different routes to parenthood, but to my mind, things have changed hugely since I first started writing. “Social” egg freezing is far more widely discussed, and I feel like there are more open conversations happening about IVF, solo motherhood and donor conception, underpinning the idea that as B once said to me, very early on, “there are lots of ways to be a family, we’ll find the one that’s right for us.”
Whoever you are, I hope you find the one that’s right for you.