The hardest job in the world

No-one is disputing the undeniable fact that parenthood is tough. You don’t get to sleep, go to the toilet by yourself, or hold a conversation with another adult, and you usually have something wiped on you. This creates something of a paradox, since every parent I know swears that they wouldn’t change a thing, and it’s totally worth it. And yet they also complain.

I know from my experience of teacher training that worthwhile things can also be hard, make you cry and wring your hands and wish for the life before. And still you don’t stop it.

My problem is, I literally don’t know what I’m missing. I understand that the love you feel for your child overwhelms you; you didn’t know it was possible. You had no idea that you had that much love in you; to give away, selflessly. I understand it, but I don’t know it. I can only have faith that its true.

There have been times when I’ve felt like the worst, most selfish and unpleasant person that the earth ever spawned; I couldn’t type here the uncharitable thoughts I’ve had about parental complaints. The sweetest, most kind friends are made my tormentors with their bumps and their baby showers. I don’t like to be caught out. I need to know when a brave face might be required. It’s a bit like running in to an ex with a beautiful, successful and intelligent wife in tow, when you’re picking up your dog’s poo and in need of getting your highlights done. It makes you feel bad when you weren’t braced for it.

I actually find pregnant women more difficult to deal with than actual babies. This is probably because, in my mind, being pregnant I have had and lost, but the whole messy business never got near to a sniff of a T.H.B. (take home baby) of my own. I am actually starting to wonder if those sex education lessons got it all wrong after all; does pregnancy really lead to babies?

I’m not awful enough to really think that other women don’t have their own genuine fears, problems, aches and pains. But who knows what to say to the one with her bloodied nose pressed up against the nice clear social glass? With those I know well, its: ‘How are things with you?’, ‘Oh, you know. Nothing yet.’ Sometimes, in my head (and once out loud) I shout ‘You can’t out-complain me! Your baby is alive and mine is dead!’ And yet, however angry and bitter I feel, I try not to show it, because it’s not their fault that this is happening. And, there’s every chance that they’ve been though scary and sad times too, and maybe they don’t talk about it. The statistics tell us it’s quite likely.

And that’s why I like to keep work at work, and I carefully choose where and with whom I socialize. Got to keep up the act. Sometimes, I go where I know a pregnant friend will be, and I’m fine. Until, that is, we get to the invisible window and my mummy friends walk on ahead and leave me peering though wondering what it might be like on the other side.

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15 thoughts on “The hardest job in the world

  1. Touching. Especially this:

    “Sometimes, I go where I know a pregnant friend will be, and I’m fine. Until, that is, we get to the invisible window and my mummy friends walk on ahead and leave me peering though wondering what it might be like on the other side.”

  2. “And, there’s every chance that they’ve been though scary and sad times too, and maybe they don’t talk about it. The statistics tell us it’s quite likely.”

    This.
    For years I thought when I did eventually ‘hold on’ to a pregnancy I would never complain and would embrace everything.
    Sadly I now know judgement from another angle … everyone ELSE has an opinion on how I should feel (e.g. no wincing if I brush my clexane-bruises against something… I should be grateful… well I am but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt!).
    I feel simply awful about the idea of whip-rounds at work or just being seen in the street or obviously at the hospital by the wrong person.

    Even when your body somehow manages to overcome miscarriage (…so far so good she says for fear of jinxing things…) it is still messing with your mind.

  3. I know how you feel, I’ve been there myself.

    There is hope (I know I sound condescending) but ive had 6 MC and at one stage I really thought I may never have children.

    I now have little girl that is 2 and a little boy 5 months. It’s been hell on earth to get them.

    Although I don’t think I could try for anymore as the heart break of MC’s is too much for my partner and I to go through again.

    I wish you all the best and hope one day you will get your baby xxx

  4. So sorry for your losses. I had an ectopic pregnancy, 5 miscarriages and spent 7 years ttc before a successful pregnancy. I remember how it feels. When the pregnancy did finally end up with a baby (well, two, I had twins), I was so shocked and surprised. And I found it REALLY hard. Impossibly hard. I thought I was cracking up. I didn’t feel like I could complain though, having been so fed up with all the parents complaining when I was thinking “I wish it was me with all those baby things to complain about”.

    I wish you all the best with your journey and hope very much that it won’t be long before you have lack of sleep etc. to complain about yourself. 🙂

    “Courage does not always roar like a lion. Sometimes it is the small voice that says ‘I will try again tomorrow’.

  5. Thank you all so much for your kind comments. It’s a cruel world that we even have to worry about it. So nice to hear of some happy endings. I’m quite normal (most of the time!), but the dark thoughts do sneak in sometimes.

    • Hey, onemoretime.

      In my experience the dark thoughts are COMPLETELY normal.
      (Gosh, I hope so….. for 7 years I had little else but dark thoughts about other people’s pregnancies and how I wished it would be me :))

      And as for my ‘friend’ who called me in tears after the first month of ttc and not being pregnant (she knew we had been ttc for 4 years at that point) because ‘I would understand’ – dark thoughts didn’t really cover it. (it didn’t help that she was actually pregnant that first month as it turned out).

      • Thanks, Jo.. People are funny, aren’t they? Yes, there are dark days, but thankfully, there are also some amazinf times, too. Just got to keep moving forward. Best wishes.

  6. I didn’t want to read this, because i didn’t want to feel sad, clearly i decided that understanding was more important.
    I think you could shout a bit more (if you like), most women what ever side of the glass would want you to.
    Ill be more thoughtful with my moans

    • As someone pregnant after multiple losses, please DON’T repress all of your complaints. Be sensitive, but do not feel you cannot feel what you feel in case of offence – to be honest during the bad times seeing a bump might trigger a tear but that was MY sadness not the cruelty of any other person if you see what I mean?
      I mentioned up in the comments – people (not fellow miscarriers, others who like to stereotype) expect me now never to complain and to be like a grateful little “Tiny Tim” type character, which makes it very hard to forget why they expect that and makes it worse in a way. Constantly being told how to feel.
      The dark times are our dark times – it doesn’t mean we think “shut up and be grateful you don’t have what I have” – it’s a sadness which cannot be avoided for us.

      • Thank you for your comment. I know how scary it is to be pg again after mc, and I’m so pleased yours is going well. I can imagine its still difficult when things are going well, because of all you’ve been through. Other people’s advice isn’t as helpful as they think it is. All the best for your pregnancy. 🙂

    • Thank you, Shelley. I guess everyone is fighting their own battles, and no-one means to make others feel bad. Got to temper the ‘grr’ with a little ‘get a grip’ sometimes 🙂

  7. Thank you for putting into words what many of us can’t.

    One of the hardest things I remember was people saying that so and so had x number of miscarriages and then they had a miracle child. I could never even begin to imagine the pain they must have gone through and never thought we were strong enough to get through any more (I had 3 miscarriages in total) but we kept on and it did happen.

    I only hope you don’t have to experience any more pain and hope you get to have the child you’ve always long for. We truly appreciate what a joy our son brings to our lives every single day.

  8. This is such a moving and honest post which I can really identify with. This time can sometimes be lonely and confusing – which is why reading experiences like yours can often be the only way other people can understand or fell supported. I was in an incredibly dark place when I experienced both of my miscarriages and despite the fact that I have 3 daughters now – I still think of those babies that I lost. I wish you strength and health.

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