What can you do when the only thing you want from the New Year requires better luck and good fortune rather than greater willpower and commitment? How can you make a New Year’s resolution out of something you can’t control? And yet how can you set yourself more achievable goals and aspirations when there’s only one thing that truly matters anymore?
These were the contents of my head on New Year’s Eve 2011. It was the end of another eventful and yet fruitless year, 2012 was looming large, and I had no idea what this new year held in store.
I felt only trepidation as I turned back the cover on the new calendar. Would one of these twelve months herald the start of new and exciting era: consultations with the early scan clinic, appointments with the midwife, shopping trips to Mothercare and meet ups with the local NCT group? Or would each month be dishing out only more of the same: consultations with new fertility clinics, appointments with counsellors, shopping trips to buy skinny jeans that I didn’t want to fit into, and meet ups with the local support groups that nobody wanted to join?
So much can happen in the space of a year, and all around me other people’s lives were changing so fast. The passage of twelve months can see a wedding, a pregnancy, a house move, a birth, a transition into parenthood and even the start of a new, baby-friendly career. Other people have this way of making it look So. Very. Easy.
And yet for some of us 12 months can feel like no time at all. Not when you account for the scraping together of finances, the waiting for the arrival of periods so that treatment can begin, the abandonment of cycles before they’ve properly begun, the unsuccessful thawing of embryos, the insufficient womb linings, the negative pregnancy tests, and all the other setbacks that can lead you right back to square one.
It is awful to feel at the mercy of the next calendar year; to promise yourself that you will enjoy life more and feel gratitude for all that you have, whilst knowing that in doing so you are only setting yourself yet another impossible task.
In the end, 2012 turned out to be the year that finally came good. Things got a great deal shittier before they improved, of course, with the familiar failures and disappointments, the obsessive research into new investigations and treatments and the seemingly relentless pregnancy announcements from family and friends. But at 3am on August 29th, I saw the sight that I feared I was never going to see. TWO PINK LINES. Shaky lines, since my hand was wobbling like a plate of jelly at the time, but two lines nonetheless.
I couldn’t have known it at the time but, in hindsight, 2012 was the first chapter of my journey into parenthood.
That was five years ago now, but I will never forget how it felt to be teetering on the edge of a year that I faced with such dread. And as we move into another new year, my thoughts are with all those people who felt removed from the party poppers and the prosecco and the midnight toasts to a ‘Happy New Year’ and who right now are bursting with long-held hopes and dreams, and heavy with the fear that those hopes will never now be fulfilled. For all of those people, here’s hoping that 2017 is the year that comes good for you; the year when your willpower and commitment will at last be rewarded, and when the sprinkling of luck and good fortune you’ve been waiting for will finally be heading your way.