At my 6 week check-up this week my O&G brought up the issue of contraception. His advice? Our chance of unassisted conception is so low that “if it was me, I wouldn’t bother with contraception”. Huh? Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t honestly planning on starting the pill, messing about with condoms, or considering any other method to avoid pregnancy other than the inevitable exhaustion that comes with a new baby. But I expected my doctor to tow the party line and advise me that we should use contraception anyway. I was pleased on the one hand, but I discovered that I’m still not entirely immune to the sting from a reminder of our infertility. To be honest I guess I still haven’t entirely given up the hope of one day being able to give H the news of a genuinely surprise pregnancy, rather than us both knowing weeks in advance the exact hour I’ll be peeing on a stick.
After my check-up I went to the post-office, carrying Will in a sling. Behind me stood a pleasant woman in a burka, who admired Will and told me how lucky I was. I recognised that edge in her voice and didn’t want to her feel like she was the only woman in the world to whom motherhood didn’t come easily. Before I could decide whether or not to allude to the circumstances of Will’s conception, this conservative-looking woman standing in the middle of a very busy post office told me that she was about to undergo her second round of IVF. Maybe she just needed to get it off her chest – I myself have suffered from a pathological need to share information about our struggle to conceive – or maybe she too sensed that we had something in common. In either case, it gave me the opening to say that the baby she was admiring had been conceived with the help of fertility treatments and to sincerely wish her luck at the conclusion of our conversation.
I will probably never see this woman again, but I will always wonder if she achieved her dream.