The story behind the story

The story behind the story

So we had a baby.

Why does it feel like an apology should follow? An explanation perhaps? A sheepish shrug of the shoulders and whispered tones.

I had a baby but it wasn’t straightforward. The statement sounds so simple. It doesn’t detail the years of hoping and ‘trying’, the tests, the numerous doctor’s waiting rooms, consultants, nurses, more tests, the letters in the post confirming your heartache, probes {oh the probes!} and the journey.

The journey to wanting life to be much more than waiting for a child. Discovering a new view. A life lived as it is, in the present. The shadow of the longed for child growing smaller as new experiences, hopes and dreams are allowed to flourish.

When I say I had a baby, I want to tell you everything.

How I was overwhelmed by gratitude but also confused. Why us? Why now? How I agonised over telling our ‘news’ to those I knew it would hurt. Remembering every single pregnancy announcement I’d ever been given. Every scan picture I had ever been ambushed by. And praying, ‘Please don’t let me cause that pain’. Knowing that I may not be able to prevent it.

When I say we had a baby, I want to pull out my photo albums and show you the people we were. Like children playing weddings, those photos make me smile and weep. Our eyes glisten with a million hopes for the life we are embarking on. The adventures we will have. The children we will bear. And I long to sit those two down and warn them. Protect your hearts. Be prepared. Life doesn’t go to plan. But there is so much joy to be had. Don’t limit yourselves. Dream bigger. It will take you time. Life won’t look how you imagine it. It’ll be different but the same. Perhaps better.

When I say we had a baby, I want you to really know who ‘we’ are. Not just Elis and I. The we is wider. It took doctors for us to have a baby. And one lone donor who gave us something we cannot repay.

But before that it took an army of warriors to stand with us, strengthen us with their prayers, be patient with us, go on adventures with us and let us be as we were.

Those people with willing ears for listening, open hearts for empathising and gracious lips for encouraging helped us to that place.

That place of peace where we sat on cold hard steps and prayed, ‘Not our will but yours’ and hoped we meant it. Longed to mean it. Attempting to relinquish that desire to be parents if it wasn’t meant to be.

So we had a baby. Each gift and congratulatory message humbled and embarrassed me. How do I do this parenting thing? Why does no one talk about that weight of responsibility which will stop your heart and take your breath away?

And now, I have this baby. He is so loved and I want to share him. He isn’t just ours. He belongs to all those who wept with us, dreamt with us and hoped when we had none.

So, when I say we had a baby, I want to tell you everything. That I don’t know how to be a ‘mummy’ just yet. That I feel like a fraud fumbling in the dark. A counterfeit parent. That I feel sick at the idea of joining ‘groups’ since they’ll soon see I’m an imposter. My ability to talk babies is lacking. How do I tell them everything without telling them too much?

This story behind the story still needs telling. How I got to this place. There is beauty in the details.

If I have a story behind a story then surely others do too.
I’m ready to hear them.
Are you?