Monday, 29 December 2008

No kids at Christmas

Let's cut to the chase here - I'm infertile. I've been pregnant 3 times - once naturally with my first husband, and twice with medical help with my second husband. Two of the babies were flushed down the toilet, one was cut out and disposed of as just so much medical waste, along with one of my fallopian tubes (in other words, two miscarriages and one ectopic). I went through 3 rounds of IVF with two frozen embryo transfers in between. Thousands of pounds were spent with nothing to show for it except a three inch long scar above my pubic bone (to go with my collection of other scars from medical procedures - it's a bit like my own personal crazy paving...).

We don't really know why I'm barren although Polycystic Ovarian Disease plays a part - erratic menstrual cycle, weight gain, hirsuteness - I know, I know, I'm an irresistible sex kitten, don't all rush at once. Funny thing is, I never wanted kids when I was growing up, and would get irritated when quizzed about this at my annual visits to the family planning clinic - "oh, you're young, you'll change your mind". I was convinced I never would. The first pregnancy, in 1991, was accidental but I was surprised to find it not unwelcome. The husband at the time, though, was devastated and couldn't talk to me for at least a day while he 'processed the information'. Tosser. It was all about how it would affect him, never mind me. Imagine my surprise when, 9 years later, he happily became a daddy with his second wife - but that's for an entire other post.

Unfortunately I lost that baby at the same time as my father died (aged 55, criminally young, of a heart attack) - I miscarried at work and flushed it down the toilet. I knew what it was as soon as I saw the unusual lump and decided there was no point in trying to retrieve it as I couldn't see what purpose that would serve. So it went the way of dead goldfish since time immemorial.

Husband No. 1 and I split in 1993 and I married Husband No. 2 in 1996. Now, this man - I knew within my very soul - would be a perfect father, much more so than No. 1 ever could have been. We tried for a year. Nothing. Started IVF - got pregnant first time which ended in miscarriage. Second IVF failed. Third IVF resulted in an ectopic pregnancy in 2000. We stopped the medical procedures after all that. I couldn't deal with the emotional ups and downs not to mention the stratopheric costs anymore.

My realistic self reverted as soon as it could to my pre-wanting-kids state which was, frankly, the mindset I had had for the previous 36 years anyway. No biggie. Except it was. It really was. Sometimes. It - the childlessness - would lie in wait and ambush me at weird, unexpected times. I was walking through a local park, for instance, and decided to sit on a bench without really thinking that it was next to a very active adventure playground. That was full, FULL of kids. You'd think that, as soon as I'd realised this, I would get up and walk on but, oh no, something made me stay there and get more and more miserable, mourning my missing children, until in the end I was crying and had to have a stern word with myself about not allowing such rampant self-pity to sabotage me.

Over the years the sorrow has waned until I don't notice it anymore. Except sometimes. What I find now is there's stuff that happens that I would SO love to do but that would only work if I had kids. For instance, school nativity plays. I have friends with kids and have 2 nieces and a nephew but I have never once been invited along to any of their school things. Ditto school sports days. And christmas pantomimes. The same as parents, I love to see the kids faces and take pleasure in their achievements but the parents never seem to appreciate this. I have been collecting my friend's youngest - an 8 year old girl, smart as a whip, funny as anything but dyslexic beyond belief - from school, and I've loved doing it - I can almost pretend she's mine.

But, I'll tell you this, Christmas is not really a lot of fun if you don't have kids. What also doesn't help, as far as I'm concerned, is having a husband who loves the whole idea of a traditional Christmas (but obviously without the kid aspect) but won't consider spending it on a tropical beach anywhere - which is my idea of the perfect Christmas! Every year I say to him, "please, please, please, at some point in our lives, can we please spend Christmas one year somewhere hot?" He always laughs and never replies. Oh, look, I'm going to finish this posting now because I'm just ranting really. I doubt if anyone's ever going to read this anyway and I don't want to come over as being a miserable fucker but I need to find something positive to post about...

Maybe next year.


cj said...

I don't have children either, but I have the Christmas thing sussed. I'm the biggest kid about Christmas that you could hope to find; no genuine child could stand the competition. I'd be snatching their little stockings from the eager little hands by about 3am on Christmas morning, leaving them whimpering and presentless. I live and breathe Christmas for weeks before the day, (about 4 actually - can't stand Christmas adverts before the beginning of December. I mean, I love Christmas with a passion but I'm not bloody stupid).
I recommend reverting to a state of childhood wonder about the whole holiday. Works for me.

Anonymous said...

Me too - with the Polycystic Ovaries - isn't the hairiness SO wonderful? And I have the scar from the op to try and fix my tubey bits. Still could have been worse I spose.. I've been lucky about the childlessness - never seriously worried me. Would have been nice but, hey, you can't always get what you want. And I love Christmas, children or not :-) The best ones I have had were with friends - but that is because my family is a dead loss at celebrations!

And I reckon we should cry for our lost ones whenever we want..

Mrs Jones said...

Ms Cheese - I'm actually having laser hair removal at the moment, in deference to my future crone self. It's going to be bad enough being old and fat, never mind having a beard like Captain Birdseye so I've decided to do something about it. The vast majority of the time I'm perfectly content to be childless but every so often it just catches me out.