This week I thought I’d bring you some nice news. And before you think it – no I’m not pregnant. But three other people are…
As some of you may know, last year I started an interview series called the Fertility Proust Questionnaire (based on the Vanity Fair Questionnaire of the same name). My version features women who haven’t had the children they long for and gives them the opportunity to dream how they hope it might be. But the word I’ve omitted is ‘yet’ – haven’t had the children they long for ‘YET’. Because the nice news is that three out of seven of my interviewees are now pregnant – Naomi aka Mindful Muma to-be (who now definitely is); Barren Betty (now with Baby Betty) and Kiftsgate (named after the Kiftsgate rose which is now well and truly blooming!). So maybe my Fertility Proust was a lucky omen. Maybe I should answer the questions myself!
But one of the things I particularly admire about these three women is although they’ll get to finally do the things that mummies do (like feed the ducks and read the books they loved as children all over again) I haven’t got any sense that they’ll forget where they’ve been or those who are left behind. And that is something special in a woman, and a mother. Because if you’re infertile your relationship with other mothers can often become strained. As your lives divide in different directions, it creates a wound that can be difficult to heal. Generally I try to avoid using clichés (ie. it’s ok to write about wounded heels but not about healing or non-healing wounds) but I can’t get the image out of my mind of two women staring down at a bleeding gash, shrugging and saying ‘so what do we do that about that?’
However, one of the most special things about writing my book has been the new connections I’ve made with some wonderful women who are mothers but seem to instinctively know how to show empathy without making you feel excluded. Women like Joanna Norland (writer of the blog Mums Write) and Dee Armstrong (of the Natural Fertility Centre in Edinburgh) and the award-winning financial journalist Donna Ferguson who I did an article in the Guardian and then an interview on Share Radio with about the costs of IVF. Not only is Donna one of the most sensitive mothers I’ve ever met, she’s also a journalist. Now that’s got to be a double win!
So I dedicate this blog to the mothers who are and who are yet to be. Thank you for your understanding – on behalf of everyone who knows what it feels like to be me.