It’s no big secret that the second a woman says “I do” her ovaries become public property.
The questions start being fired at you from all angles. Sometimes as you’re walking down the aisle (kidding, but seriously it’s probably happened before).
When are you having a baby? Are you thinking about having a baby? Why haven’t you had a baby yet? Let me know when you start trying! (I should point out that my husband is rarely asked this question, just me and my fallopian tubes.)
Often this line of questioning is innocent enough, but it’s still intrusive and at times infuriating, and quite frankly, not your business.
This particular question needs to become akin to asking someone how much money they make; who they voted for; or if they enjoy a bit of butt-play in the boudoir.
Considering the measures many couples go through to conceive like IVF, surrogacy and adoption, you would have thought society might have come to the conclusion that maybe it’s too personal to bring up in casual conversation, or upon first meeting someone.
I was at a child’s birthday party once and I was making polite conversation to some attendees about the cake; isn’t it beautiful, looks delicious, blah blah blah and out of nowhere a woman I’ve literally spoken to twice in my life looks me in the eyes and says “so, when are you going to start reproducing?” How did we get from cake to conception?
For all you know, I could have been having a tough time trying to conceive for the last 12 months (I haven’t), I could have recently miscarried (I haven’t), or maybe I just don’t want children (stranger things have happened).
But after two years of marriage, childless, and on the back of a severe period of chronic anxiety, that question stings more than ever.
It stings for many reasons. Because family planning for my husband and me is now not just about asking the question ‘are we ready?’
With antidepressants thrown into the mix more questions arise. Is it safe to be pregnant whilst taking medication? If not, will I cope without medication? What happens if I relapse whilst pregnant? What if things go horribly wrong and I let everyone down?
The other thing is, after everything I’ve been through in the last 12 months, taking a massive leap into parenthood is probably not the wisest decision for my recovery. Since the worst has hit, I’ve taken baby steps (so to speak) in getting my life back into the ‘normal’ swing of things. For example, I can now confidently catch public transport without feeling like death is upon me; I can spend the night away from home without completely falling to pieces; I’m sleeping better; I can be a bit more impulsive. But there are also things that I can’t do just yet because it’s too soon.
For us it’s not as simple as just agreeing that we’re ready to start a family, having a few bonks at the right time and hey presto. Spawn.
It’s going to involve a lot of health assessment. And potentially tough decisions. It’s not something I’ve discussed at length with my doctors but the topic has come up from time to time. The biggest issue for many women on antidepressants who want to conceive is that there is a lack of research into the effects of medication on the baby.
I want to avoid getting into the nitty gritty of taking medication during pregnancy versus not because I’m not a medical professional. I’m also not a wellness blogger pretending to be a medical professional. I just want all the facts laid out in front of me. And I know there are good arguments for both options with the ultimate result in both cases being the ensured safety of both mum and bub.
So now whenever I’m asked those types of questions my mind refrains from going to a happy place of newborn baby smell, snuggles and an abundance of love. It goes to cold and unfeeling doctors’ offices, psychology appointments, medication decisions, and the abyss of possibility that everything could go horribly wrong. Which scares the shit out of me.
Another issue I have is that no one talks about this stuff. I’ve never once heard an account of a woman’s experience of taking antidepressants whilst pregnant. And I’m not convinced that if I got pregnant tomorrow I’d be the only woman to go through this. Where are these warrior women?
So in future please think carefully before you ask these questions, because while it might seem innocent enough to you, the effects it has on an individual could be quite heavy.
I’m still not sure when I’m going to have children. Or if I’ll have children. I feel I have many more conversations ahead of me before I make that decision with my husband. Until then, I shall enjoy my sleep-ins.