Being a parent is a privilege

parent sunset
parent sunset 

There are times during the trying-to-conceive journey when things seem unfair. It's not a question of feeling sorry for yourself, or being resentful or indignant – you just can't help but look at situations sometimes and wonder how things happen the way they do. It can feel like a cosmic imbalance.

I can totally understand how, for some ladies who have been trying to fall pregnant for years, being around others with babies, or others who are pregnant, can be incredibly difficult.

I’m not totally immune to these tough feelings. But I know that my hormone levels influence these feelings, and if I’m feeling raw, I give myself some space from things that might upset me.

But of course I've had pangs of longing when I see yet another pregnancy announcement on my Facebook feed, and I have had mild irritation when celebrities announce how "they weren't even trying" when they "just fell pregnant".

My genuine, heartfelt wish for anyone embarking on the parenthood journey is one of love, support and joy, and I just can't help but be excited when good things happen to people. Sometimes you need to take a step back to get some perspective, but generally I’m able to keep an objective view.

Having said that, there’s one instance where I find myself becoming totally incensed. It’s a rage so deep within myself I feel physically ill, and try as I might there is no way for me to control the anger.

It occurs every time I read a story about a baby or child being abused at the hands of the people who brought them into the world, who are meant to protect them.

That is something I just cannot reconcile. I generally avoid these kinds of stories because I know they anger me, but when I read news reports of two-year-old JJ Lawrence's murder, I felt literally ill to my stomach. The toddler’s mother’s partner was found guilty of killing him with a series of injuries so severe they make my skin crawl.

Perhaps worse than his physical injuries, I wonder how he felt; how confusing it must have been for him to be on the receiving end of such abuse and have no-one there to help or protect him.

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To me, the biggest unfairness is that for every infertile couple who’s in a stable, healthy relationship, who would give a baby the support, love and home environment every child deserves, you can read so many stories of children who suffer at the hands of their own parents.

The recent case of mothers offering Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins their babies for his own sexual pleasure is enough to make most people feel physically sick and filled with rage. How could they do it?  

I battle with it all sometimes. I think of the ladies in my support group who are undergoing IVF treatment, see their anguish and pain as they battle to fall pregnant, while those who don't seem to care one way or another about being parents seemingly fall pregnant at the drop of a hat then don't seem to care about their offspring at all.

One thing I have become truly aware of while trying to fall pregnant, and in sharing with others who are going through the same thing, is that parenthood is a blessing.

It is a privilege, one that should not be taken for granted.

Perhaps that’s one of the good things about waiting for your baby – you realise how lucky you actually are to be able to get pregnant and have a family.

I know there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. I know there’ll be good days and bad. I know we’ll make mistakes and will have to learn from them.

But there’s one thing I do know our child will never have any doubts about: they will always know they are loved and treasured and valued. That is the very least every child deserves.

- © Fairfax NZ News