Saturday, 7 May 2016

Out of Sync

Do other people feel as though their wishes and hopes and reality are often jarringly out of touch?

Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to "be a Mummy". I cycled through career options just as erratically as I have as an adult - artist, teacher, computer games designer, cat sanctuary owner. But I always wanted children, that never ever wavered.

It came to a head in my early teens when my half brother was born. The broodiness hit so hard that sometimes I'd cradle my raincoat as though it was a newborn, pretend I was pushing a pram to school when nobody was looking. Most teenagers are past the point of playing pretend, but I wasn't. I became fascinated with the topic of teenage pregnancy. It's probably why I was so easy to persuade to not-try, not-prevent a baby at nineteen years old.

I'm still fascinated by teenage pregnancy even though I'm grown up and responsible and married now. Furthermore even though I'm actually informed about what it's all like now, we have actually decided to do the grown up married thing and decide to have another baby. I had some weird conflicting feelings about that, but I'll write about them another time. That initial confusion was quickly surpassed by excitement and curiosity about the great process known online as "TTC" - trying to conceive, but of course with the vast amount of information available on the internet, it actually translates to something of an elaborate research project with the subject being your own body. I love a good research project, so this is right up my alley. I didn't want to get into all of the specifically timed sex and such like that, but things like working out when you've last ovulated and what position your cervix is in and all of that, it might not appeal to everyone but I find it fascinating.

So, I was somewhat surprised and felt slightly short-changed to find I was pregnant on the first cycle.

It was a short lived pregnancy, unfortunately, and what I am left with is a taste of what it would have been like. For those two weeks I felt constantly hungry, forcing me to eat properly for the first time in years, and tired, body-exhausted, the kind of tired when you feel like you've earned it. I slept. I ate. I felt my body stretching and making space and preparing and I was struck by how happy, calm, peaceful and normal I felt, in a way that I haven't felt in years. My body just seems to work properly when it is pregnant, like my faulty brain doesn't get to control the basics any more. I'm not sad about the miscarriage, it was the best outcome of some really shitty outcomes, but I do miss being pregnant and feel impatient to get back to the TTC cycle if not to be there already.

So I am also currently on a hormone rollercoaster. The websites warn that if I try any kind of tracking right now it will literally be all over the place, and that my body is flooding with mass doses of different hormones as a kind of flushing effect to get my cycle back to normal. I may be a little more maudlin than usual. In some ways I'm weirdly enjoying the opportunity to observe what is happening.

But anyway, to get back to the topic I originally intended to address. I always wanted to be a mother. My body, as well, seems to crave that state, and I know for a fact that if I hadn't done it, I would always be hanging on the sidelines wishing that I could, waiting, and it would have inevitably happened. I love being part of the "club" of parents, I love knowing what it is like to be there. I like having a topic of conversation with anybody else with children. If I can take my experience with my son as a given, which I suppose I can't, but if I do just for a moment, I know that childbirth makes me feel like a warrior and that I love the newborn time because I can completely follow my instincts and everything just works. Unlike the rest of the time.

I miss that, and I am looking forward to all of it again. But today I took my seven year old to the park and I just wanted to sit there on my phone. (To be fair, he was quite happy with that). He asks me to play board games and I just feel my face dropping as I reject this again. We did read a book in bed this morning. It was boring. Sometimes I wonder why everything is so out of sync here? I have this image of what having a family is like and I don't actually do any of it right anyway. We rarely if ever eat dinner together. In fact our usual routine is three completely different cobbled together offerings based on speed eaten in front of our respective screens. My lovingly crafted menu plans (when I remember/bother to make them) fall apart immediately.

I don't know. I mean, our family works for us and it looks the way that it does and obviously nobody has the chocolate box lifestyle in real life. I just wish that I was more on top of the things that I think matter sometimes and it confuses me when I want this so much and yet I dislike it a lot of the time. I would be completely miserable if I was childfree but the lifestyle would suit me so much better. It just doesn't seem to make any sense.