We don’t know each other, but I expect I know more about the inner workings of your mind than your closest family and friends.
I know about the times you have quietly cried yourself to sleep, when you’ve sobbed in the supermarket buying sanitary products because your period’s arrived again or the time you feigned illness because you just couldn’t face the world.
More than anything I know about the loneliness you carry in your heart.
And I wanted to say that I am sorry.
I am sorry that something that is so easy for most, is so hard for you.
I am sorry that your sex life has turned into a military operation with scheduled appointments. That something so intimate and private between you and your partner has turned into a clinical process with medical professionals dictating what you can and can’t do, invading your body and criticising you.
I am sorry that your postcode dictates what support you get from the NHS and when you can have it. I am sorry for the thousands of pounds that you saved or borrowed, has left you with nothing but an empty bank account and a broken heart.
I am sorry for every smile you have ever faked and ‘congratulations’ you’ve been compelled to give when another pregnancy announcement is plastered all over facebook.
I am sorry for the pain you’ve endured at every single baby shower, christening or children’s party that you forced yourself to attend at the expense of your own sanity to make someone else happy. Or for the one time you didn’t attend because it was just too god damn hard; where you were labeled as selfish and bitter because on that one day you couldn’t find the strength to pretend that you were ok.
I am sorry for all the moments when you want nothing more than to be happy for the people in your life who you love the most, but all you feel is jealousy, resentment, and sadness.
I am sorry that you are yet to experience the elation of seeing a positive result on the 1000th pregnancy test you have taken, and I am even more sorry if you ever felt that joy for a brief moment only to have it stolen from you too soon.
I am sorry for the times when your body cruelly tricks you. When you’re a few days late and your PMS symptoms feel a little different this month. When you dare to hope that ‘this could be your time’ but you’re petrified to take a test because you can’t face seeing another negative result.
I am sorry for the immense pressure this puts on your relationship. For the fear you carry that your boyfriend/partner/husband (with his perfect sperm) could decide at any moment that this is all too much and may one day leave you and procreate with another woman.
I am sorry for how much this journey has changed you. That something which was meant to be exciting turned into dread, fear and heartache.
I am sorry that you’ve lost so much time. Maybe you’ve even lost friends or family along the way too.
I am sorry for the things you’ve put your body through. From the countless tests and medical procedures to the harrowing process of pumping yourself with hormones to try and get your body to do the thing that it’s meant to.
I am sorry for eye rolls you receive when you say you’re trying alternative medicines. Whether it be herbal supplements, reiki, reflexology, acupuncture, fertility massage or whatever the latest ‘fad’ is. Because you believe you have to do everything within your power to feel like you truly gave it your best shot.
And my god, I am so sorry if you’ve done all of these things and you’re still left with empty arms.
I’m sorry for all the people who say stupid things or suddenly become fertility experts. The people that tell you to relax, stick your legs in the air and that it will happen when the time is right. Who say you should grateful for what you have, that kids aren’t all they’re cracked up to be or that there are plenty of children in the world who need adopting.
I am sorry that you’ve probably watched every single one of your friends start a family whilst you’re stuck in limbo. Caught between telling yourself that nothing comes easy and you have to work your absolute hardest for the things you want the most, yet feeling exhausted from the fight whilst life passes you by.
I am sorry for all the times you were silent as you listened to pregnant women moaning about how awful things are for them when you want to scream in their face that they should be grateful for the miracle they’ve been blessed with.
I am sorry for the times when you cried so hard for so long that you wondered if you would ever be able to stop. For the shame you feel that you have failed as a woman. For the guilt you carry because you can’t give your husband a family, your parents’ grandchildren or your sibling’s nieces and nephews.
I know you feel alone.
And I know that there are times when you feel so broken that you just don’t know how to carry on anymore.
But I also know that you are strong. Stronger than so many people in your life even realise.
You are graceful and despite everything, you are probably more grateful for the things you do have because you know how it feels when something is taken for granted.
And most importantly, I know that no matter what happens, even when you don’t believe it, you will be ok.
So in the middle of the night in those moments when you feel like no one in the world could possibly understand how you feel. Know that I am here, and I stand with you.
Love Hannah – a fellow Childless Mum.