She had imagined the scene differently. Alice, a British mother in her forties, told the pages of the Daily Mail her difficult journey to get pregnant, before seeing her dream of becoming a mother gradually turn into a nightmare. After a breakup at 35, Alice makes the decision to freeze her eggs at 36, then to have a child on her own at 40 thanks to a sperm donor, in vain. Finally, the woman finds love again and becomes pregnant with her companion before having a miscarriage. The couple then makes the decision to call on an egg donor, and 8 IVF later, Alice ends up getting pregnant for good, at 44 years old. Aware of her luck, the future mother is over the moon, and she gives birth a few months later to a healthy little boy.

But the euphoria of the beginnings quickly gives way to another feeling, much darker. “At the end of four weeks, what I felt watching this screaming baby, the baby that I had wanted so much, so much, the baby that I had invested so many years of my life in, and so many he money (approximately £100,000, or €115,000 editor’s note) to make it a reality, it was not wonder. It was resignation, resentment, horror and abject misery,” Alice recalled before adding: “And then I felt guilt-ridden. Guilty of having these unnatural, unmaternal feelings. Guilty that this poor helpless baby was entrusted to a mother like me and not to a better one. Guilty because I knew there were millions of women in the world who would trade places with me in the blink of an eye”.

Blame it on the deification of motherhood?

A feeling partly aroused by “the deification of motherhood”, according to Alice. “I’ve always hated this narrative, this idea that you never really know love, fatigue or any other emotion until you become a parent. The idea that, without a child, you’re just a fraction of the person you could be,” she explains before adding: “It contributed to the guilt I felt about of motherhood during those dark first weeks.” Today, Alice still cannot say that her life as a mother is “better” than her life before, but she assures that her son has “become a source of joy more than a source of distress”.

TESTIMONY I struggled to become a mother but today I feel like I have ruined my life

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Maria T.
Maria T.

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