It’s been a while (August, last year, I can’t believe it’s been that long.)
I feel like you’re entitled to an update. (Thank you to those of you who emailed to ask how I was.) But the news is that there is no real news. At least no news about eggs, or IVF, or pregnancy. I’ve taken a break. Sorry, we’ve taken a break.
That pronoun has taken a bit of getting used to. That realisation that it’s not just me dealing with this big stuff on my own any more. Because that’s the news. The good news. He’s still here, we’re still here, and it’s great. And almost impossible to write about.
Partly because I’m never going to be someone who does public gushing about a relationship, even on anonymous blog. In my real life, I am not the type to post on social media about “this one”, “my bae”, “my fave” or similar (fortunately neither is he.)
But I’m also surprisingly superstitious. I guess I fear that feeling comfortable in a relationship, that publicly declaring that you’re in a good, healthy, happy relationship is hubris that will be punished by some unspecified higher power. But it’s good, we’re committed, we’re making long-term, life plans. Which sounds dull and pension-like and diminishes our relationship. It’s really not. It’s exciting, it’s genuine fulfilment of dreams stuff, stuff that has put a massive smile on my face. But I told you, I’m not good at writing about this stuff, so let’s just leave it at that.
And, of course, part of those long-term plans are about wanting a child together. And about the many ways in which we could do this. And this is where I find it difficult to know how much I should share. This isn’t just my story any more, these aren’t just my decisions.
I suppose what I can tell you is that, realistically, IVF is probably on the horizon. And that that slightly fills me with horror. And resignation. And exhaustion. Because this isn’t a couple going into IVF, both wide-eyed and full of hope that it’s going to be the answer. This is someone who’s basically spent the last five years going through egg freezing and IVF and it not working and, as a result is a bit jaded by the whole thing.
Someone who knows what the statistics were five years ago and knows what they are today. (And finds that pretty crushing if she thinks about it too much.) Someone who once talked about how using donor eggs might be an option if she were in a relationship, and is now trying to get her head around whether she’d be jealous of her partner for having a biological relationship to their child if she didn’t. (If you don’t already read Sophie Beresiner’s column in The Times on a Saturday, you really should — she writes beautifully about this stuff.) Someone who made a very good argument for doing IVF alone, who is now contemplating doing it with a partner. (A partner, it should be said, who is not wide-eyed or ignorant of the statistics.)
And I think this is something that I’ve written about before. Nobody has a perfect life. Having a partner or a child doesn’t mean you don’t have any problems, you just have different problems. And I guess I think I’d done a pretty good job of reconciling the problems that went with being single and wanting a child, and what would happen if I did have one, or didn’t have one, and now I’ve got a whole other set of issues to contend with, that aren’t necessarily better or worse, harder or easier, they’re just different.
So, for example, instead of wondering, as I did when I was deciding to try to have a child on my own, whether I would be enough, whether I’d always feel I’d shortchanged my hypothetical future child, given her a second-best life, I’m wondering if we end up not being able to have children together, whether I will be enough. Whether I’ve shortchanged someone who, because he chose to be with me (rather than someone younger and more fertile) has a second-best life, without children, that isn’t the one he wanted.
He knows all of this, we have had these conversations. I think it’s going to be fine. I hope it’s going to be fine, whatever happens. But, as ever, with IVF and fertility and all that stuff, it’s the fact that it all seems so random, and unfathomable, and uncontrollable. The fact that if you’re someone who likes planning, you can’t plan ANYTHING. Which is why, of course, we’re planning a skiing trip to Japan next year — surely spending a fortune on a long-haul holiday that involves non-pregnancy friendly activities and loads of sushi is guaranteed to get me pregnant, courtesy of that non-specific higher power, right? And if it doesn’t, well at least we’ll be skiing in Japan and eating sushi…