How to be a mum in 2017 – infertility edition

After reading the below blog, and laughing so hard I choked on my tea, I just had to ask Cathy whether I could share her insightful, beautifully written, witty and totally relatable thoughts on how to be an infertile in 2017.  Be prepared to get your giggle on.  

If you would like to read more from Cathy, her blog is at cathyscribblesblog.wordpress.com.  You can also follow her fertility journey on her Instagram account Fertility Flump which includes photos of fabulous breakfasts and the world's most amazing hound.

The Preggers Kitchen Blog on infertility

Three Facebook friends have shared this in the last couple of days, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I agree with it. I get it, it’s funny. But I thought it needed a prequel.

How to be a mum in 2017 – infertility edition

1. Get pregnant.

IF YES progress to 2.

IF NO worry for a few months, then go to doc. Get told to relax and return when you’ve been trying for a year.

1a. Return to doc. Blood tests. Sperm tests. Referral. Waiting list. Get a bit older. Confide in friends and family. Be advised to relax.

1b. Reach top of waiting list. Show hoo-haa to many people. More bloods.

1c. Have dye pumped into Fallopian tubes – this may hurt a bit, and involve the words “I’m just going to inflate a balloon inside you”. Walk most gingerly for next 24 hours.

1d. You’re now 18 months into this adventure, time is ticking ho ho ho. Doc can’t find anything wrong. Proceed to IVF waiting list.

1e. “How exciting!” say your friends and family, who haven’t gone through this journey and don’t know what’s involved or that the success rate is 26%. Express some worry about your ability to mentally and emotionally cope. Awkward silence. Change subject to kittens.

1f. Pause to congratulate a friend or family member on the birth of their second or third child. Nod sympathetically at how hard the pregnancy/birth/childcare is. Push down insane jealousy, replace with guilt, and consider selling an aunt if only you could have morning sickness. Don’t stab them in the eye when they remind you that you don’t know what sleep deprivation is, or that ‘you’ve got all this to come’. Have you though?

1g. Find out what CM and BBT are. Plot them on a graph on your mobile phone every day. Learn new words like ‘luteal’.

1h. Try not to respond when people write on Facebook about how being a mummywummy is the best thing in the world. Don’t even comment when Andrea Leadsom says mothers are more fit to run the country than unmothers. Try not to respond when people complain about how hard it is being a mum. Try not to write rants like this one. Remind yourself that everyone is fighting their own personal battle. Be kind.

1i. Try to keep your relationship healthy and positive. Admittedly all your plans are now up in the air, and let’s face it that may continue to be the case for another five years. Try not to blame each other. Try not to withdraw into a self-protective bubble. Try to work together on a childless plan B, while remaining positive about plan A. Have difficult conversations about things like adoption.

1j. Look into the cost of private IVF, ‘just in case’. £10,000.

1k. Overhaul your diet. Give up alcohol, sugar, gluten and dairy. Eat an avocado every day. Drink pomegranate juice and eat walnuts, maca, pumpkin seeds and lamb. Lots of veg. But not raw. Lots of fruit, but not too much. Lots of nuts, but not those nuts. Lots of quinoa. Drink nettle tea. Eat lots of full-fat dairy while simultaneously eliminating dairy from your diet. Don’t eat cold food, but also don’t use microwaves. Good luck with the packed lunches.

1l. Start having acupuncture twice a month. Yep, that’s expensive. Then give up on your acupuncturist, four months of it didn’t work, and go to the Chinese doctor for more intensive acupuncture and some really strange and foul-tasting herbs.

1m. Have vitamins. Lots of vitamins. However many you have, you still don’t have the one someone just mentioned, so buy that too – it could be the missing piece. Take folic acid, then get scared by all the articles claiming folic acid is the devil, and switch to folate.

1n. Have a mini aspirin every day. Your friend has a friend whose dog it worked for.

1o. Drink red raspberry leaf tea to ‘tonify your uterus’.

1p. Don’t drink red raspberry leaf tea you idiot! It’s only for bringing on labour! No wonder you’re not pregnant!

1q. Wonder whether this is all your fault. All those years of dieting and overwork. Try not to stare at the woman with six kids who is smoking and shouting. Everyone is fighting their own battle, be kind. Even if you did have kale for breakfast and you’ve only smoked four cigarettes in your life.

1r. Maybe you don’t deserve a baby anyway. Not even one. You left it too late. Never mind that you didn’t meet your husband until your early 30s, that’s no excuse for not inventing time travel.

1s. A friend sends you an article about caffeine causing infertility. Bite her head off because you know that, you found that out months and months, maybe years, ago. Along with so, so many other things. Even when people try to help it feels like they’re saying ‘it’s your fault’.

1t. And this is where we’ve got to, waiting for our first IVF consultation later this month. OK, I admit it, I still don’t know how to be a mum in 2017.

1u. Buy some moonstone and rose quartz. Yes, we’re into crystal healing now. Go outside at full moon and let it shine on your skin, because that will make you pregnant. And rather chilly. Leave that Facebook group, it’s a bit too crazy.

1v. Practise visualisations and affirmations and emotional freedom technique. Do so much positive thinking that you convince yourself three months running that you’re pregnant, but you’re not. Realise that positive thinking, too, can be dangerous when overused. Decide to give your heart a break and cut back for a while.

1w. Leave your job. Go part time. Cut your salary by more than half. Surely now you can ‘just relax’. Meditate every day. Yoga three times a week. Just relax. Aren’t you relaxed yet? Well no wonder.

1y. Buy castor oil. Plaster it over your abdomen. Cover it with a teatowel and then a hot water bottle. This will surely get you pregnant. Do dry body brushing every morning before your shower. Your circulation is poor and there’s not enough blood getting to the womb, so of course it doesn’t know how to be a mum (in 2017).

1z. Stay positive. You’ve run out of alphabet and you’re still not pregnant, but stay positive. Don’t kill the stranger who asks if you have any children. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you find you’re avoiding friends who have babies. Be kind. This is hard, and people who haven’t gone through it really don’t understand, and you can’t expect them to.

2. Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Now… stay pregnant.

IF YES continue to 3.

IF NO return to 1, or progress to 4.
Bonus points for miscarrying at work. And remember, just relax and stay positive!

3. Congratulations, you stayed pregnant. 

Now you get to post things like this on Facebook! Have your baby, and heal, and be happy. It’s going to be hard sometimes, so complain when you need to. But never forget the struggle you went through. Be sensitive to those who are still in it, or who never did get their baby. Offer advice only to those who ask for it, and support to those who don’t. Remember that everyone’s life and journey is different and what worked for you won’t work for everyone. Love your little one and be grateful, always.

4. And then there’s plan B. 

At some point, when all of the above has been done and done and repeated, you might have to admit that it’s probably not ever going to happen. And it’s difficult to do the requisite positive thinking and just relaxing, while also gently preparing that alternative path so that it doesn’t just run off the edge of a cliff. We don’t know what our plan B is yet, but initially it might involve renting out our house and going into the wilderness for a while. Sorry, this bit isn’t funny, but it’s still important, and I’m glad to at least be able to start speaking about it.