Sunday, 5 October 2008

Emma's Diary

Emma's Diary is a free publication, routinely given out to all UK women at their first ante-natal appointment, and seemingly designed primarily to hook them as potentially lucrative consumers of all things baby related. Among the numerous adverts for haemorrhoid cream, breast pumps and nappies, it contains factual articles on topics such as maternity rights and benefits, and exercise during pregnancy, as well as a week-by-week guide to pregnancy, written from the perspective of the fictional Emma.

By the end of Week 6, Emma has told all her family and friends that she is going to have a baby. In Week 9, she goes shopping with her mother for baby clothes. In Week 10, she has an argument with her husband over baby names: he likes Beth or Chloe, while Emma is convinced she is having a boy, and wants to call him Lewis or Cameron.

I find it difficult to relate to Emma's experience of pregnancy. Reading Emma's Diary, I feel as though I have been transported into a strange, parallel universe, where infertility and, in particular, miscarriage, simply do not exist. Is this publication simply describing what you are 'supposed' to feel during the first trimester? And why can't I too share in these unconditional feelings of joy and anticipation?

I feel guilty that I cannot whip myself up into a similar state of excitement. Measuring my own more complicated emotions against the fictional Emma's, I feel inadequate. If I haven't told everyone I know, and if I haven't as much as looked at a romper suit or thought about names, does that mean that I'm not happy enough to be pregnant? Am I in some way failing to 'bond' with my baby?

I am, of course, unbelievably thankful to have made it this far: every day of this pregnancy has felt like a blessing to me. But I cannot escape the feeling that the rug may be pulled from under my feet at any moment. For some reason, I find it very hard to believe unconditionally in a happy ending.

Tomorrow, I go for my nuchal translucency scan (I am having this done at the Fancy Private Hospital where I had my hysteroscopy, as it is not covered by the NHS). Where Emma would no doubt be looking forward to seeing her baby on the ultrasound, I have been playing every possible worst case scenario over and over in my mind. What if the foetus has stopped growing? What if its heart is no longer beating? What if the scan reveals that we are at high risk of having a child with a significant disability?


loribeth said...

"Parallel universe" is such a great way to put it. Our reality is so different from the majority's, it seems. I can never hear anyone chatting excitedly about their ultrasound without cringing & breathing a silent prayer. Good luck with yours today!!

J.J said...

I think your feelings are perfectly natural, and that it is unlikely that you are ever going to take this pregnancy 'for granted'. 'Emma's diary' sounds bloody awful.
Really hope the scan has gone well.

Shinejil said...

I think Emma needs to be replaced by the much more savvy, hard-nosed Janet, who knows that pregnancy isn't all rainbow, moonbeams, and shopping.

Personally, I think you'll bond with your baby, on your own terms and in your own time. We IFers have to live in the moment, because we know that bad things do happen to good people.

I hope the scan shows all's well!

womb for improvement said...

The massive majority of folk I know don't tell anyone until after the 12 week scan. And those that have told me before have scared me - its too early! Emma is no doubt written by a 60 year old male gynaecologist who is getting kick-backs from nestle and mammas and pappas.

Good luck with the scan. I really hope it all goes well.

s.e. said...

Infertility taints us and it is just not fair. But you are appreciating the miracle and you should not feel guilty.

It is not and will not be the same for us. And someday they may update Emma's Diary to reflect that.

I hope only your best case scenario came true today!