In our first LGBT Baby Loss post, my wife talks about people’s quick and easy solution to our fertility and parenting journey – why doesn’t she just have a baby now instead. I’m so, so honoured to share her voice. You can read more about Leo, here.
Why don’t you have a baby now?
This seems to be a fairly straightforward question for a lot of people, when referring to our parenthood journey. I also have a uterus, and having never asked anything of it, we can assume until proven otherwise that it could produce a baby. So why don’t I have a bash at it? Seems an easy option to consider.
But is it really?
When Jess and I decided that we wanted to start a family, for me definitely, that vision had a pregnant Jess at its centre. It’s not that I was hugely against the idea of myself carrying a baby; it was more that I really wanted Jess to carry our children. I wanted to care for her, look after her and be there holding her hand during birth. I can’t really explain why I felt that way; it was just the way I felt.
Maybe if Leo had lived, I might have ‘had a go’ at getting pregnant. Maybe if Jess had fallen pregnant after our first round of IUI, I might have had the next cycle. But it took five attempts at fertility treatment for Leo to be conceived, and he never took a breath.
My eyes were opened to the struggle that a fertility cycle could involve. I no longer naïvely thought it would only take one attempt to bring home a baby. And I now knew the devastating truth that a healthy pregnancy did not always end with a baby to keep.
I also knew my wife. I knew how crushed she would be if I swooped in now and fell pregnant after one attempt. She had started this journey into creating us a child, and she would never be OK with me doing that for her. How could she feel a sense of redemption if I took away the option for her to achieve that?
It was never an idea that I gave any thought to. My role in this was to help hold her together, as well as myself, as we tackled another cycle of IVF. To be there when she miscarried. And to hold my breath alongside her for the 36 weeks that she carried Eli. In the words of the hobbit Sam – I can’t carry him for you, but I can carry you. (Slight artistic licence! But if you are a LOTR fan – you’ll know!)
If Jess had asked me to do the next cycle after Leo, I would have. But I know that she needed to do that herself.
Maybe in the future I might attempt to create a sibling for Leo and Eli, but right now, neither of us has the emotional strength to climb that mountain again. But who knows what the future might hold.
This post is shared as part of the #LGBTBabyLoss Blog Series. To read more, or to submit your own experiences, visit the LGBT Baby Loss Blog Series homepage here.