Being a parent post IVF
Dinah and Ben talk about parenting post IVF.
Dinah and Ben's IVF treatment lasted four years until Dinah finally gave birth to their daughter Tallulah in 2010. In listening to this podcast series please bear in mind that Dinah and Ben's experience is not universal, it is their story. This podcast series is not intended to replace or replicate medical advice.
Being a parent post IVF
We talked about this you know many times, the time it took and those things and I think once the baby’s born the IVF stuff sort of disappears pretty quickly.
You definitely don’t think about it in the everyday life of bringing up the child but when someone asks you a question and you just scrape the surface, like for Ben and I both during this interview you know, getting upset to the point of tears it’s very much still there. You very much carry it with you and you know we’ve also talked about it, as much as I agree with what you are saying, you know you’ve got the child and you know, they are running around screaming, you think ‘oh my goodness, it’s such hard work being a parent’ but by the same token you know, I often find reflecting on my daily life with my child I remind myself to be very grateful and I don’t know if other parents who’ve conceived you know really quickly and conceive lots of children feel that. I will never know because that wasn’t my story but I definitely temper my own behaviour with her by reminding myself how lucky I am that she’s in our lives. I think for me it all comes down to expectations and I expected that my journey would end when I had the baby and in fact it actually starts and I remember the specialist saying that to us very, very early on is you know, “you won’t relax until you get that baby in your arms and then your journey begins” and it’s kind of true. We thought that once the baby was born we would be able to count all its fingers and toes and see that it you know cried and fed and things like that and relax and go okay, we’ve got a perfectly normal baby, thank goodness, you know, let’s get on with our happily ever after. In reality, that wasn’t the case for us. We had a very unsettled baby, it was a very little baby and she didn’t feed that well. She fed well in the end but you know, it was a long time before she actually learnt to feed in big doses so she could actually sleep well. She didn’t sleep very well at night at all. In the first eight weeks she would hardly sleep at night so we were sort of you know, getting you know, one hour at a time shifts of sleep and you know, that’s a very different experience to some other people who’ve had babies. You know, I know my brother’s just had a baby and I think it’s eight weeks old and it wakes once a night, I mean brilliant, perfect but that wasn’t our experience at all and we ended up – at three months we ended up in sleep school and I suffered from postnatal anxiety because I was so anxious to protect and I think Ben did to some extent as well, to protect and to look after and to nourish this precious thing that we had spent so long creating who didn’t seem to be – she was very little so she didn’t seem to be sort of thriving I guess as they say. It was great for us but I think that the gap between my expectations and Ben’s expectations as well of being able to look after this child and I guess with my background in terms of working with children I just had all this confidence that it would just be so easy for me and I had no concept of what the reality would actually be and the guilt that’s associated with that in that you know I took so long to conceive this child, how come I sometimes want to throw her out the window. You know, there must be something wrong with me. So it was tumultuous to say the least but she’s perfect so we are lucky.
Is there anything that you wanted to add to that Ben?
Again I reckon it probably comes down to the male thing of you know, I mean in a weird way, getting pregnant, you know, I didn’t have much to do with that but all I could do was support Dinah in that and then I think you know a really little baby, from a male perspective you know, you don’t have much to do with that either but you can just support your partner in that and so I think in a way it’s good, it all kicks into that male instinct of seeing what you can do to fix the problem and that might be, you know, taking the baby out for three hour walks while you know, Mum has a sleep or whatever. You know, whatever. So while you know it was difficult and stressful at least there was more practical things that you could do as opposed to the getting pregnant time where there was not that much that you could practically do to help. So it was difficult and you know, you are balancing work and not sleeping and driving to work and sleeping at the same time and you know, you are balancing all of those complex life things but I suppose you know, everyone that’s had a child is in that boat. So I found it difficult and stressful but in some ways you know a lot easier than the other part of the journey and I mean obviously she’s two and a half now but it’s still difficult and stressful and you know but in different ways than it was when she was two and a half weeks obviously.