A year and half ago, my husband and I tied the knot, after a 9 year relationship. 5 years of this was spent away from each other, whilst I was at university, during which time, I had lost my parents. Almost instantly, my focus switched from being a career girl, to wanting my “two-point-four” children, and a home complete with doilies and sheepskin rugs.
The medical world has never been a good one with accommodating family life, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that you are made to feel like some kind of pariah if you want one – especially at the early stages of your career. I think it’s due, in part, to the fact that Medicine is still very male-dominated (although this is all changing now we have more female graduates than male), and that there is this persisting, offensive mindset that equates dedication, success and capability with ambition and the hours spent at work. Perhaps in 20 years’ time, we’ll have hospitals and GP surgeries with creches, and part-time training posts with colleagues to job share with. At the moment, it’s merely a mirage, but I don’t let it bother me – I hold my head up with pride when I say, “my family comes first”.
Shortly after we married, we decided to start trying. I don’t know why I’d convinced myself that it would happen straight away. I’ve spent enough time in the world of Obs and Gynae to know that it isn’t the way with so many couples. But it’s what we’re designed to do, right? 6 months down the line, we soon realised things weren’t going that way, and we set the wheels in motion by visiting our GP. I think it’s fair to say that I’m a nightmare patient. They say “ignorance is bliss” – well the opposite is true, too. I know how long it can potentially take before you see a consultant in your desired speciality, and I know that there are plenty of hoops to jump through before you get to that point. I’m fortunate that my GP has the patience of a saint, and the ability to humour me. 8 weeks later, we were due to see a fertility nurse as a first point of contact to the service.
It is a fact that my own mind is my worst enemy. I think the term cognitive-behavioural therapists use is, “catastrophising”, the definition of which, according to Dictionary.com is,
What if? What if? What if? What if this happens? But then this might happen.. and oh my god, THIS could happen… If a drug company could create a pill to NOT to do this, I would pop them like Smarties and single-handedly keep them in business. (Your next project, Pfizer??)
I had convinced myself that we were at the mercy of a Nurse Ratched-like figure, who would tell us that, we’d have to wait another year before we could be seen as I’d not long stopped the Pill, or that I’d have to lose some weight first… and on and on it went. When I confided in a friend, what she said in reply made me feel utterly ridiculous – “This woman, who you’ve made to be some kind of monster in your head, is not going to look at you and say, “I don’t want this couple to be parents”, and anyway, Fertility nurses are the nicest nurses around – they’re like Oncology nurses. You don’t get nasty ones”.
She was right. Our nurse was wonderful in every kind of way. It was more of a history-taking/tick-boxing visit, and to organise what seemed like an endless ream of investigations for us both (much to my other half’s delight), that would take place over the coming 4 months. We’re just over half way through what seems like the longest 4 months of my life.
Why does time go so slowly when you’re waiting for something?