Me and my monkey baby



Stuck at the airport recently I thought I’d kill time catching up with a few  dear friends on skype who I’d not been in touch with for a few months.

Whoa Nelly! Was that a bad idea.

First stop H, in London. Balancing her beautiful toddler son on one knee,  she told me she’d been sick over the whole of a really bleak winter. “The  whole winter?” I asked, incredulous (and naive). That sounded terrible.

It wasn’t terrible, it turns out, it was morning sickness.

Over to friend number two, T, also in London, and due to strange working   hours and time zones we hadn’t spoken for aaaages.  Which is why I didn’t  know that she is seven months pregnant with her first child. Thanks to the fabulousness of skype, I got to see the baby bump and everything.

A few days later two cousins had their first babies within days of each other (they’re not married to each other, I hasten to add. That’s not how it is in our family… just two cousins from different branches of the family who happened to welcome their first children around the same time.)

And then there is this parade of beautiful actresses, models and celebrities who keep announcing pregnancies and popping out babies with no concern for the feeling of us mere mortals stuck in trying-to-conceive world. Kate Hudson, Victoria Beckham, Penelope Cruz (with Javier Bardem no less), Princess Mary, that model married to Orlando Bloom. Etc etc etc.

Is it just me, or has 2011 brought with it some kind of fertility overdrive phenomenon? Surely this is more babies than normal?

The closest I have come to a baby recently is a baby orphaned spider  monkey, Herve (left), who attached himself to me when I was stuck in the  Amazonian wilds last week. Herve spent a happy few hours clamped to me  with his  face in my armpit. Attempts to extract him were futile – as his  hands were  pulled free, he held on tighter with his toes and prehensile tail.  When it  was time for his bottle four of his older monkey friends (there are 15  monkeys of various breeds living on this private reserve where I was staying,  who roam free but are used to humans) climbed aboard to try  to have a swig.

After a full-scale monkey mugging I was covered in milk and mashed  banana and desperately in need of a shower. Herve was clinging on for dear  life, and my cunning plan of popping him in a blanket while I took the  shower proved to be not so cunning after all. Any human mother probably  could have told me that. I ended up enlisting help to pry him off me, and Herve went screaming into his blanket with dark reproachful eyes.

I crept by later after a cool refreshing shower in my only remaining clean dress, but Herve sussed me out, bounded from his blanket with a very disgruntled stream of chatter and attached himself to my cleavage happily. It gave me a glimpse of what motherhood must be like at times – lovely but uncomfortable and distracting – although at least with a baby monkey you attach it almost anywhere and it will do the work required to hang on, leaving you able to write strange blog posts to publish into the ether.

Anyway, despite the little lesson Herve gave me in the awkwardness and dedication required to tend a helpless baby, I felt my insecurities and fears rise to the surface. As I was congratulating my friends and relatives respectively I felt sincerely happy and pleased for them. (Not so for the celebs, for whom I just felt blinding unadulterated jealousy)

And now my inner child/demon/jealous person is once again raging: “Why is everybody having babies, but not me?! Maybe I will only ever have monkey babies, like a cut-rate Jane Goodall. Why me?! Why why why!”

Patience has never been my strength and it’s been more than a year now of trying, in the knowledge that my store of eggs is dwindling fast. It was really never meant to be this hard! And I say that knowing that so many people out there have been through far worse – I haven’t even begun with drugs, IUI, IVF and all the other treatments that are possible. I am hoping a laparoscopy might clear the way. And in the meantime I guess I’ll go visit that acupuncture guy my friend recommended.

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