For the actual anniversary of my dad’s death, I went to Bath with my mum and sister. At the airport we were delayed, and we got a voucher for a free drink, and my mum had gin and tonic and I had a tea and I had to sneak away to call the GP and get the results of my urine test.
Oh my actual God, I'm pregnant! Crack open the champers! Oh no, I don't drink. And now I REALLY don't drink.
I know some women take like nineteen pregnancy tests when they finally get pregnant. Just to be sure. Just to keep checking.
I took one. It was enough. I figured I'd know soon enough if things changed.
So there we are, me and Jim, standing in the hallway at 9.30 on a Tuesday morning, staring at a little plastic stick, not quite able to believe our eyes...
All this stopping drinking, doing my bloody relaxation exercises and generally trying to be less stressed was actually pretty stressful. Sometimes I felt like I was getting worse, not better. I was trying so hard to do all of these things but I kept failing: running out of time, forgetting to do them, getting down anyway. So I decided I had to do more.
So I keep taking my tiny tiny pills every Friday, and telling myself that it’s not long until January, and the pills will work, and my tiny tiny tumour will shrink, and my prolactin levels will fall, and my periods will become regular again and then we’ll have a really good chance of making this baby and I'll finally be like all the other girls.
But I’m not entirely convincing myself.
What if it never works? What if it can’t be cured? What if I never get pregnant?
I found getting better from depression was a lot like climbing a mountain, something I hate doing. It seems pretty much undoable, but you plug away at it and eventually… you get a few metres further on than the place you started. Then the sun comes out and you think:
wow, it really is a lot nicer up here, those people were right to encourage me to keep climbing. Then you turn round and realise how big the mountain is and how far away the people on the top seem to be and you start thinking you’ll never get there. Then it starts raining and you slip in the mud and find yourself back at the bottom again.
Having the small-but-really-honestly-very-treatable-don't-worry tumour in my brain was the immediate cause of my non-pregnant life. But there had been something else getting in the way for the past few years:
A year ago today, I was going to stay with my aunt and sister. The anniversary of my dad’s death was approaching and we wanted to get together.
I remember packing my tiny bottle of tiny pills in my suitcase.
In November, I had sex with Jim. My period was due the next week, so I figured I had already ovulated and we had about zero chance of conceiving. Then my period was late. I can’t be pregnant, I said, I calculated this and I ovulated about two weeks ago.
Why don’t you do a pregnancy test? Jim suggested, pragmatic as ever.
I did a pregnancy test. It was negative. My period showed up two weeks later.
We kept having sex, and my period kept being late, and I kept getting excited and doing pregnancy tests and they kept coming out negative and I kept getting disappointed, and my period kept showing up late, and it was all a bit not really going to plan.
In January, I went to see my GP.