The value of support networks when TTC

I come from a large Irish family. 4 siblings, plus a wonderful Mam & Dad. On my Dad’s side of the family I have over 30 cousins (a standard Irish family!). 

There are a lot of nurses. My Mam & my 2 sisters are nurses. My Aunty is a nurse & my Dad’s brothers are all married to nurses. 

My Mam had 5 children, one of my sisters has 2 boys & my other sister has a baby too. When trying to conceive an unnecessary pressure starting building in my mind. Both my sisters had their babies within 2 months of trying. My Mam had the 5 of us. A hidden pressure developed in my mind. I was telling myself that I had to become pregnant immediately like they all did. Nobody put this pressure on me but myself. 

I have been told my whole life that I have “great childbearing hips” that I am “fantastic with children”, and I will make a “wonderful mammy some day!” I always loved hearing it but as I had no interest in getting pregnant during my 20s I always just smiled and laughed along with it. I then met my wonderful partner, bought a house and was ready to take that leap to use the “childbearing hips” my Mam always talked about. 

I believed that I could get pregnant straight away, however, for me it took 6 months. In that 6 months, I did not tell anyone that my partner and I were trying because I did not want them to know that unlike my family my body was not “performing” as it should. I told myself I was a failure month after month, and it was a lonely journey. I thought I would be judged and be told – “don’t worry it will happen eventually, just stop stressing”. Possibly the worst thing anyone can say while you are trying to conceive! I was the only one that thought I was a failure, it was an anxiety I had created for myself.

In saying all of the above, I did have a wonderful ending and I am now pregnant with a little girl due very soon. The only time that my family found out that I was trying for a baby was when I ended up having appendicitis as I cried down the phone to my sister telling her I thought it was something sinister. 

Reflecting back on that 6 months of trying to conceive, and keeping all my anxieties to myself I don’t know what I was thinking. I am so lucky to have a wonderfully supportive family, and I know that their clinical, lived knowledge and experience would have greatly improved that time for me. 

Here at Mabel we want to provide a space for women to discuss their worries and concerns in a kind, caring, and empathetic way.