Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'Sticks of Obsession' ...A guest post

How often do you hear of peoples conception stories? The tales of their struggles and triumphs? It's one piece in the large puzzle of parenthood that often gets overlooked. When a lovely lady I know confided in me that 'get pregnant' was on her to-do list, I knew her story would be one to share. Karen is a humorous, honest and well spoken woman...her words always make me smile, laugh and sometimes cry all at once.


Dr Google and the Test Sticks of Obsession
or, Trying to Conceive

" The universe really does love irony.

There are so many people out there who have spent years trying not to fall pregnant. Taking all precautions, taking no risks. Then as soon as you decide to stop trying not to and instead try to fall pregnant, the universe often says “What, you thought this would be easy? Yeah, nice one,” because in my head the universe can sound a little sarcastic from time to time.

I’m one of those people now. I am twenty-seven years old and have wanted a baby since I was sixteen. At least, that’s the age at which I started dreamily compiling a list of baby names in my diary. (I have moved on from that list, thank goodness, for topping the boy/girl lists back then were Ishmael Sebastian or Guinevere Elizabeth. Ahem.) If someone had told my sixteen year old self that eleven years later, I would still not have a baby, sixteen year old me would have replied “Yeah, nice one,” because sometimes I can be a little sarcastic too.

I am actually glad now that I waited to find the ‘right guy’ and I have been married to him for a year now. We have been actively trying to start a family for coming up on eight months and I’m here to tell you that it’s getting somewhat frustrating. I can break the months down into single words for a brief overview:

First Month:
Second Month: Anticipation
Third Month: Annoyance
Fourth Month: Frustration
Fifth Month: Obsession
Sixth Month: Anger
Seventh Month: Resignation
Eighth Month: Acceptance

Excitement and anticipation were a good way to start. Nothing really changed, but I paid a little more attention to dates. It wasn’t until the third and fourth month that things started to change. A vast multitude of tests began to be purchased. Dates were marked in a diary and on a calendar. And the dynamic of our relationship began to change.

It is inevitable that things will change once sex has a bigger picture, a goal to it besides the obvious. There are many husbands, boyfriends, partners out there who experience a moment in which they realise the woman they love is looking at them and seeing nothing more than a big, pulsating, fertile sperm. For my long-suffering husband, that moment came during month five, which if you’ll refer to your handy month-by-month breakdown, you will identify as the month of Obsession.

To set the scene, it was a Saturday evening and we were getting ready to go to the birthday dinner of a good friend. My husband was dressed, showered, ready to go and innocently playing some epic swords and skirts game on his PlayStation 3 when he heard the bathroom door fly open and I burst into the room. Freshly showered, hair and makeup done, and clutching an ovulation test in my hand. “I’m ovulating.” I announced. “Come on. We have to be out the door in twenty minutes though. Oh, and you can’t mess up my hair and makeup". My husband stared with undisguised horror at the creature his wife had become. He cleared his throat. “Wow, there’s that dirty talk again,” he said mildly. I suddenly heard what I had said, and in that moment I realised that my obsession had reached fever pitch and that I really needed to tone it down. We laughed together and I promised to stop acting like a crazy person or Monica from Friends.

Look, I’m not the only one to blame for my slide into Obsessively Trying to Conceive, though. I also lay a lot of blame at the feet of Doctor Google. It is too easy to imagine every tiny tweak, cramp or change is an early sign of pregnancy, type it into Google and receive confirmation. Thus sparking more thought cycles of oh-my-god-I-am followed by yet another expensive, negative pregnancy test that leaves you with nothing to do but screw up the instruction sheet and fling it defiantly onto the floor. Oh yes, I fell down the Google hole quite a few times.

Anger wasn’t a comfortable fit either. It’s a known quirk of the universe that as soon as you start trying to fall pregnant, you see pregnant women everywhere and they seemed to double in my Anger Month. As the writer Kate Jennings once said, “Envy is a grubby little emotion,” and it’s very true. That month was not a comfortable fit and I was glad to leave it behind.

Resignation and acceptance
are easier to deal with, but in their own way, harder to bear. My thoughts have turned more and more over the past two months to the baby we lost in 2010. It was quite soon before our wedding and entirely unplanned and in the brief period before the end I envisioned announcing it on our wedding day to our delighted family and friends. Some things are meant to be, and some things aren’t. I told my husband a few weeks ago that I was scared it would never happen. That I had been given my chance. That one of the most important things in the world to me has always been being a mother and that I had resigned myself to it never happening. His answer was blunt, but to the point and compassionate. “Don’t be silly. Of course we’re going to have a baby.”

I know he’s right, and it’s that knowledge that keeps me going. I have now relaxed a lot and have abandoned the obsessive testing and charting and ‘ovulation talk’ that he found so darn sexy and irresistible. I am keeping an eye on my dates, of course, but am letting things take their course. It is easier on both of us and all I can do is dream of that positive test, the joy, and all that will come after. I know it’s in our future.

Oh, and the evening before the birthday dinner? My hair and makeup did get messed up, and I didn’t even care. Sometimes you need to relinquish control and let the universe do its job, and let things that will happen, happen. "



  1. Great post, I will be showing my sister. She is going through the same thing ATM! Hopefully it will soothe her heart a little. Thank you xo

  2. Thanks so much for letting me share my ramblings on your blog again Nat! xx