There is a property programme on TV in the UK called Location, Location, Location which hubby and I love watching. However, watching yesterday’s episode the presenter Kirstie Allsopp really annoyed me. Two couples were looking for houses, one a big family house and the other their first home together. Every house they went into Kirstie commented on whether it would make a good family home. Any spare bedroom was obviously a nursery and every additional reception room, definitely a play room. One of the couples had previously been renting a flash apartment in the centre of the city and loved the cafe and wine bar culture. So what did she show them? A four bed family home in suburbia. And on spotting that she might have been a little off the mark, she proceeded to convince the girl that it was definitely the right house for them by describing how she could be barefoot and pregnant standing in the huge family kitchen whist watching their other young children (none of which they have yet) playing in the massive garden!
This annoyed me so much that I commented to hubby “Kirstie has obviously never had any trouble conceiving”. All I could think was how miserable that young couple could be in that house. They would move in far away from their friends and unable to go out to a bar for a drink or to a restaurant without paying for an expensive taxi. They weren’t thinking of starting a family for a few years so would miss out on a lot of social times in the meantime and if they did struggle to conceive they would be surrounded by neighbours with children and every room in their house would be a potential nursery or playroom. Why could they not buy a house in the city near their friends and social life which would have space for a baby if they were lucky enough to have one and then move to the suburban ‘forever home’ when they actually had a child rather than in contemplation of a huge family which may never happen?
I think this is a prime example of the myth which is perpetuated throughout the media (and life in general). If you want a baby, you can simply have a baby!
A quick google search for some statistics shows that this is simply not true. 1 in 6 couples will apparently experience some form of infertility and 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Yet like most people, I honestly assumed (having had regular periods since my early teens, being a healthy weight and not being a smoker or heavy drinker) that as soon as I wanted a baby I would just have one! And in the (in my mind, extremely unlikely) event that I did struggle to have a baby, I’d “just have IVF” because this is portrayed by the media to be an easy miracle cure that is simple (not true), painless (definitely not true) and pretty much guaranteed (whereas statistics show it is generally successful in less than 30% of cases).
I think it is time for people to be more realistic about the difficulties faced by couples trying to conceive and for the “want baby, have baby” myth to end. Otherwise there are going to be thousands more couples like us who are completely blindsided and feel alone when they realise that the reality of trying to start a family is nothing like the myth they have been brought up believing.