In theory, trying to conceive, also known as TTC, should be fun. Often, this process involves sex, (which I love) and the excitement of potentially creating a life (which is mind-altering). In my reality, the TTC experience has been a bumpy ride. See, when you're trying to get pregnant you parse apart everything in your life. You take inventory to see who you are, what kind of mom you think you'll be, and you see your body in a whole different way. And, in the end, trying to conceive made me face my abusive relationship with alcohol.
There. I've said it. I don't feel better.
I grew up in a time when the dangers of drinking were well-publicized; I even did a book report on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the spectrum of abnormalities drinking when pregnant can have on your baby's health. So, it wasn't "news" to me that when I was planning to have a kid, I'd have to stop boozing. That was easier said than done, however, and the difficulty I faced made me feel tremendous shame. I felt inadequate as a potential mother and as a woman. I felt like a jack hole of a person because I was annoyed that I'd have to give up drinking to get pregnant. I also grew up at a time when feminism taught me that it was important to put my needs first. But what about my need for alcohol? That didn't count, and I knew it. I wasn't happy about it, but I was also kind of tired of feeling ashamed for drinking all the time.
To be a good mom, I've decided I need to fully love and accept myself first. When I confronted my abusive relationship with alcohol I realized that all the things I was drinking to forget were worth remembering, because I could handle them. I also realized that alcohol wasn't fixing me; in fact, it was making my life harder. From hangovers to public embarrassment, to dangerous situations with men and sex, drinking made it difficult for me to take care of myself the way I needed to. I knew that if I couldn't take care of myself, I was not going to be able to take care of my baby. So, though this might not be your typical TTC story, but it's mine and in the end I'm grateful that TTC made me realize the following things: