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The upside of TTC

 
Trying for a baby does have a few unexpected benefits, here’s where to find them.
By Adi Louw

Pic: Getty Images

Article originally in Parent24
Last night I got my period. Again. Ironically enough, I was in the bathroom, waiting for the results of yet another home pregnancy test, when I first spotted that depressing tell-tale stain.

I swore. I cried. I hurled the pregnancy test across the room.

And then – to give you an idea of how obsessive I’ve become – I crawled under the bath to retrieve the stupid test and willed that elusive second pink line to show up, even though I knew I was being ridiculous. Because I’d been so sure this time. And after that I did another test, just in case. And then, God help me, I did another, in spite of the fact that my period pains had started in all earnest by then.

I. Am. Losing. My. Mind.

Later, in a desperate attempt to keep from flinging myself off the nearest cliff, I made a list of all the positive things this whole TTC (trying to conceive) nightmare has brought into my life.

It’s not a long list, granted. But at least it got me through the night.    

1. I now have sex
For at least six days in a row every month. Enough said.

2. A deepening spirituality
As a kind of vaguely protestant-inspired, limp-wristed liberal humanist with strong atheist leanings, I don’t normally make a habit out of praying. But desperate times, as they say, call for desperate measures. And that’s not all.

Reasoning (and I’m obviously using the term loosely here) that it’s best to cover all bases when it comes to dealing with supernatural powers, I’ve also rubbed the belly of every pregnant woman who couldn’t run away fast enough, planted a rosemary bush under my bedroom window, got my chakras cleansed, stopped sweeping under the bed and consulted a psychic.

3. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

I am one of a very, very small group of women who have publicly admitted to having hated being the mother of a small baby. (Yes, I already have one child and I’m probably greedy to want another one so badly. But I can’t help it, dammit!) I hated the sleepless nights, the crying, the loss of freedom, the strain on my relationship with my husband, the breastfeeding, the getting fat, the boredom, the competitive mothers…

But that was then.

Miraculously, the past couple of years’ frustration has wiped my memory clean of all those negative experiences. It’s as if it never happened, or rather, as if it happened to a distant, rather incompetent cousin of mine whom I now feel vastly superior to and pity ever so slightly.

Today, all I remember of that difficult time four years ago is a soft dimply little body, that wonderful powdery baby smell, the cute giggles, those adorable first words…

4. My body, myself
For most of my life, I only ever really conceived of my body in terms of something that had to be thinner. My TTC struggle, however, has taught me that the female body is a miraculous thing, and much, much more than a mere object that needs to conform to some ridiculous ideal of perfection.

My body, I realize now, is far too special to hate and despise merely because it’s a little bit fat. It’s something to hate and despise because it won’t make babies.

5. Oh, to write one’s name in the snow
The first time I tried to direct a stream of my urine onto a centimetre wide absorbent tip without getting the ‘control window’ wet, I found it laughably, insanely difficult. I mean, come on.

Practice makes perfect, however, and roughly a hundred pregnancy tests and a thousand ovulation predictor kits later, I can confidently say that my stream now hits that little pad like it’s nobody’s business.

Wow. Bladder control. Now there’s something I didn’t think I’d see again in this lifetime.

6. Welcome to the dark side, young Skywalker
In my pre TTC life I used to be boringly vanilla flavoured: a ‘nice girl’ who never had unkind thoughts and only ever wanted the best for everyone.

Boy, did that change.

I now know what it means to be eaten up by jealousy when a dear, dear friend tells you that she’s pregnant. I know what it’s like to choose cheap gifts for baby showers out of spite, and how it feels to identify with the 13th fairy – the envious, vicious, evil one – in the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty.

I fight these feelings, of course; for heaven’s sake, I’m not a complete monster.

But it’s hard.

Which means – and now I’m finally getting to the upside – that it must build character. Which in turn proves, by my reasoning at least, that I’m actually a better person now than I was before.

So there.

Have you got anything good to say about the TTC stage?
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