Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Life after the happy ending

Susanne opens up about her life after a very longed for baby finally arrived. Thank you Susanne!

So, what’s life like when you have longed for a baby for so long, have gone through so much heartache, so much pain. When your life was consumed for years by the longing for a baby.
What’s it like when you finally have what you wanted all this time? It’s not something I ever thought about before our daughter was born (you can ready my story here if you haven’t already).
And then there she was, and she was beautiful and it was amazing. And then - and I can’t remember when I first noticed something was not right – my husband changed. Finally, about 5 months after she was born, he was diagnosed with depression. He had been there for me all that time, had kept it together, stayed strong for me. It was as if once she was born, he knew I was ok and he fell apart. I won’t go into detail, but anyone who has experience of living with someone with depression knows it’s very hard. He went to get help and started his road to recovery.
At the same time he was diagnosed, I got an offer for a job. I’d always planned to leave my old job after I had my baby, and I was truly lucky with the opportunity I got. It was a strange time – on one hand, I would have loved to be able to stay at home (we couldn’t afford it), on the other hand, I was looking forward to getting back to work, simply to get out of the house.
So I started the new job and threw myself into it. After years of being consumed by the longing for a baby I felt I had been defined by everything that happened to us.  I felt I was simply “the girl who had 3 ectopics”, our story, our road to our happy ending was my only identity. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret being so public about our story, as so much good has come from it.
But starting a new job, with new people, who got to know me as ME, not as “my story” was so refreshing, it was so powerful. People didn’t look at me and think of me as the girl with 3 ectopics, they looked at me and saw someone who was great at her job. I did, of course over time share parts of what happened with my colleagues, but it wasn’t what defined me. Throw a bit of a social life with the colleagues into it, and that was what kept me going -  any new mother knows working full time (with all the guilt that comes with it) and having a baby at home is challenging. Throw a husband recovering from depression into the mix and you can imagine how difficult it was.
I absolutely adore our daughter, she’s 2.5 now, changing every day, and we have so much fun. I enjoy the time with her so much. I also enjoy my work, I’m good at it, and I feel there are opportunities for me I never thought I could have. It took me a long time to forgive myself for that – I spent so many years longing for a baby, I felt I should want to spend every single minute with her. I felt I had no right to complain when it was tough, so I kept going, tried to do it all myself.  Well, guess what – it catches up on you. You can only go for so long until you, or those close to you realise it’s getting too much.
When you are in the middle of your journey, and all you do is cling on to hope that it will happen for you, you don’t think about what happens afterwards. When you first find out you are finally pregnant, and everything is going as planned, you get more and more excited the closer your due date gets. You don’t think about what happens when the baby is born – you expect to be deliriously happy and for your life to be suddenly complete. And in a way, for a while it really was like that. But then normal life resumes, and for me  - for us -  that was a bit overwhelming. Finding your identity again - realising you are not just a mother, but also still a wife, a friend, an employee, an auntie etc etc – it can take time.
So now I make sure I have time to myself and I don’t feel guilty for enjoying my job with the odd night away. And I know I’m a better mother for it. Thankfully my husband has fully recovered too.

Life is good, and with any luck, in a year or two we might be in a position to see if one of our frozen embryos can grow into a little brother or sister for our daughter. Who knows what life will bring.