Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Birthday gal

Some eighteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, now commonly referred to as PCOS. The young Doctor that told me this, on behalf of the Consultant who I was apparently 'under the care of', threw the words at me across the desk, told me nothing else and was reluctant to answer my questions. These days, I understand things are slightly improved, although I still wonder how many people actually ever see the Consultant! This off hand young Doctor told me in as rude and uncaring a way as he could muster that I had 'these ovaries' because I hadn't looked after myself and was overweight, and all it really meant was that I'd take up more NHS time because I may need fertility treatment. Nice. I got over it; I've been 'overweight' all my life. And he was right, as soon as I was told that I might be infertile, I wanted a baby! Eighteen months of medical interference followed. Mr Dunnit and I then decided that we'd put up with a life of foreign holidays and good jobs and nice cars and pension payments rather than endure any more. (You know, the standard consolation prizes that everyone offers after you've been married for 9 years and haven't had any children). It was grim and lots of stronger people than I can explain it. Less than six months later, oddly, after a bracing trip to North Yorkshire, I was pregnant. My baby is 16 years old today. Miss Dunnit, like all babies, is a miracle and like all babies, is a dream come true. And like all babies, she changed our lives. The world is a very different place through her eyes and I revel in her perceptions. I also revel in our friendship - indeed I treasure it. Especially since she hitched her star to a boyfriend's wagon and isn't all mine anymore.
We get a lot of enquiries and questions about having an only child. It's simple - we have one because that's what we've had! Over the last 16 years I have recognised a small swell of opinion that disapproves more of 'only child' families than the old disapproval of couples who opt not to have children at all..how the world turns, and how odd. Why does it matter? I don't know.
Oh and the life of foreign holidays, good jobs, nice cars and pension payments? We've had them, got them and made them. They are worth what we enjoy from them. Except the pensions. Don't expect to inherit, Miss Dunnit. Oh, and Happy Birthday Darling.


Fiona Whitehead said...

Oh Julia your post brought a tear to my eye - 20 years ago I was diagnosed with endometriosis and after coming round from surgery where they took a huge cyst off my ovary was told quite bluntly that I would never have children so they hoped I didn't want any. I did indeed want them and my husband and I had been trying for a year. Needless to say - I proved them wrong and have two wonderful children. Holidays come and go but children are for ever. I know the boyfriend bit is tough - but hang in there xx

Oh and Happy 16th Miss Dunnit!!

Milliesmarvels said...

Your post is lovely and made me teary too, how lucky your daughter is to have a Mum like you and you lucky to have her! I always wanted another child to add to my rowdy family of 2 boys but had to have a hysterectomy after a prolapse when I was in my late twenties so I count my lucky stars every day I have my 2 boys :-) My baby (10...) had his birthday yesterday.How time flies!
Happy Birthday Miss Dunnit!


Angie said...

What a wonderful story with such a happy ending ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS DUNNIT

It is true what you say about the way people think ... there was a stigma to no children and over four back in the 70's. One or two and you were conciderate of the ever growing population ...over three and you were careless or thoughtless. Now one is the number they deem selfish !!!! for loads of phsycological effects on the child lol. How trends effect us all. I dont think it is anyones business how many children you have yet I found myself questioning a young friend and her husband about why they didn't want to have children !!!!!!!I couldn't believe I was doing it.

Linda Elbourne said...

Happy Birthday Miss Dunnit!

Jo Power said...

Happy birthday Miss Dunnit
The doctors have just told me I have PCOS but luckily enough I have two lovely children and don't want more. If I only had one I would have been blessed no children and I would have been deverstated. xx

Carmen said...


What a gorgeous post. I remember when I just had dd1 and I wasn't happy with who I was with so I said that's it - no more. Wasn't prepared to bring another baby into an unhappy situation. You wouldn't believe the amount of negative comments I got about it... well you probably would actually. And this would be from people who knew what was happening - I considered their opinions selfish not mine. But there you go. Things happen for a reason and if I hadn't gone through that period I wouldn't have my wonderful dd and events wouldn't have led me to meet the fabulous man I'm with today. I do wish there were shortcuts in life sometimes though!

LadyBug said...

Wishing the lovely Miss D a very sweet Sixteen!!!

Jackie xxx said...

Oh Julia, you brought a tear to my eye. I too have one son, who means the world to us, and yes the look when you say you have one, is priceless. People always make me smile when they say "what! only one", as if it something to be ashamed of.But I, like you, feel truely blessed that we have our son, and treasure every moment with him.

Happy Birthday, Miss Dunnit. and Happy "Mother's Day" to you.

lisa said...

Ahhh what a lovely story. I too got quite teary!!! Happy Birthday Miss Dunnit. Sounds like you are truly treasured by your very proud Mum and I'm sure Dad.
We too have only one much loved DD and I know those comments you're talking about. We would have dearly loved another but nature knew best!!!! We are very happy as a threesome and shall continue to be so. Why spoil something that's perfect.


Lyn said...

Aww, bless you, and a big congrats to the lovely Miss Dunnit on reaching the giddy heights of 16.

Funny how common this sort of thing is - My mom had 4 miscarriages before she had me and was then told she could not have any more children, so I am not an only child by choice. And I had so many problems in my 20s I was warned that my fallopian tubes were scarred and the older I got, the tougher the scar tissue would become and the less likely I would be able to have children. Much to our pleasure, at age 29 and 32 I had my son, then daughter - I was officially an "old mother" apparently, according to the hospital!

Anne said...

Lovely story. Dreams can come true :0)

Happy birthday, Miss Dunnit! The best is yet to come!

stephanie (sissy dunnit) said...

great post .... happy birthday miss dunnit.xx

my5bratz said...

happy birthday Miss D!!!

where was the tissue warning?!? it's funny you say you've copped flack for having only 1 child..I get "looks" with 5...you can't please everybody..

as to the boyfriend...don't get me started bout when they hitch their star to someone else..soooo much easier when they're all ours ;0)

redsmudge said...

What a great post! Felt choked reading it!! happy Birthday to Miss Dunnit! I get flack from others for having no children, can assure it is not a choice I have made! They just assume it is!!!

Zsuzsa Karoly-Smith said...

Hi Julia! This was linked under your post today and just had to read it! I realise you wrote it seven years ago! We only have one child and wouldn't change it for the world! There are a lot of advantages to having just one child and not just financial - enjoy those advantages and don't worry about other people's perceptions. The world is overpopulated already - those who have two children sustain the problem and those with more add to it! At least we don't have to feel guilty for killing the earth.