We got married two weeks after I turned 23, 4 years ago tomorrow. We had romantic notions of my being pregnant at our wedding, either announcing the wonderful news to our nearest and dearest there that day or even having a big old bump in the photos to show our son or daughter when they grew up, ‘look, that’s you! There you are!’ we would say, the memory of the day linked inextricably with the joy of being pregnant, the excitement at the prospect of meeting our child shining from all the pictures. Tests are being conducted, appointment schedules drawn up – yes, it’s taking a while to conceive but we won’t actually NEED extra help. We’ll have our baby when we marry, no matter how tiny they are.
It wasn’t to be.
We honeymooned in Paris. A honeymoon baby! How perfectly beautiful, being able to tell our child that they were conceived in the most gorgeous city in the world. When they were old enough to not be completely grossed out by that fact, obviously. The tests continued on our return. The needles are just a formality. We know we’ll be looking at that positive test soon.
It wasn’t to be.
6 months or so of loving our life, flashing our wedding rings, booking to go places as Mr & Mrs Alsopp. Not worrying about the tests and the schedules and the needles because don’t you know, when you don’t think about these things, when you just relax, it happens! Go on holiday! Book a spa day! Have another glass of wine – it’ll happen before you know it.
Or, it won’t.
The 18 months that followed were dreadful. Dark, worrisome, full of night terrors and fear and guilt. The newly-wed glow snuffed out, the carefully relaxed facade shattered. It will never happen, I can’t give you what you want, I can’t give me what I need. I’m sorry. Go, leave me. How did the universe get this so wrong? I’m meant to be a mother I’m meant to be a mother. We are meant to be parents. We will never be parents.
Or, we will.
In an ideal world, we’d have conceived first time. Had our baby with us in our wedding photos. Or had a beautiful baby born 9 months after our wedding, maybe their middle name would have been Paris? (Maybe not.) Conception would have been easy and joyous and hold only happy memories. But what would have become of our marriage in that ideal world? Because I know for certain, in the deepest recesses of my heart and soul and brain that our marriage is as strong and incredible and full of love as it is because of that less than ideal world we inhabited for so long.
It turns out, that the ideal world is this one. This world, with my brilliant, flawed, incredible husband, our tempered marriage and our beautiful daughter conceived with the help of all the tests and the appointments, the needles, knives and pills. In an ideal world… yes, that’s where I am.