Guilt, Infertility and Threenagers

Tracy and her daughter
Tracy and her daughter
Author Tracy Buchanan endured years of infertility and IVF before she became pregnant. Now, mother of a "threenanger", she finds herself at times consumed by overwhelming guilt.

I struggled for five years to conceive my daughter. It was a battle I fought while also trying to get published, the dual desire to have a baby and a book deal leading to a whirlwind of emotions. I wrote about it here on Mumfidential.

One emotion that took a backseat was guilt.

But boy, did it rear its ugly head when I had my little girl, especially now she’s three… and a classic “threenager”.

Guilt plays a role in every mother’s life, much of it unfounded.

It just comes part and parcel with all those other emotions: love, frustration, elation, sadness. Just a few on a list of many. But for mothers who struggled to conceive their child, the guilt is compounded.

You spend so much time dreaming and wishing for a baby; years of getting poked and prodded by doctors and nurses, changing diets and lifestyles, reading countless books and blogs.

You never really quite stop to think about what comes next.

Not properly. Pregnancy and having a child becomes this hazy rainbow in the distance that you’re desperate to grab.

So when it happens and with it, the harsh realities of parenthood come along for the ride too, the guilt can be all-consuming.

How dare I feel frustrated and resentful or tired and angry at my little girl when I battled so hard to have her?

This is especially true as my little girl reached this challenging but utterly hilarious ‘threenager’ phrase.

Now she’s found her voice and her sass, it’s literally like living with a mini teenager in the house.

Sulks and strops. Hand on hip attitude. Crying about the state of her hair.

Nearly four years on from when I gave birth to her and many more since I started on my IVF journey, I sometimes imagine my old self, desperate for a baby, watching as I tear my hair out when my daughter refuses to get changed for pre-school.

I imagine the old me shaking her head, tutting, telling me I ought to be more grateful. And again, the guilt surges.

But then my daughter suddenly forgets her strop when a Trolls song comes on the radio and she’s twirling around the room with just her mismatched socks on.

And I know the old me wouldn’t judge. She’d understand.

So I grab my little girl’s hand and dance with her, guilt disappearing. Getting her changed for pre-school can wait…

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