T he day after my birthday I called a clinic and made an appointment to come and talk to them about choosing a donor and getting pregnant.
This courage didn’t come from nowhere. I want to take you back to start unravelling some of the events that led to this point.
In 2012 I went home to Australia for Christmas. I had three weeks off from my job teaching documentary filmmaking in Denmark, just enough time to make the trip worthwhile. I wanted to ground myself after a recent break-up and as I came to terms with the fact that really was I was going to try to have a baby on my own, and soon, before it was too late.
A couple of weeks after I returned to Denmark to work, I turned 38. This was the cut-off point I’d set for myself to start trying to get pregnant.
To understand how I got here, I want to take you back. As I approached 30, my mother underwent devastating treatment for advanced lymphatic cancer. She had two years of chemo and nobody thought she would survive. I had a mole on my arm that I’d been worried about for a long time, but a few doctors had told me it was nothing. It wasn’t. It was cancer. Stage two melanoma.
My mother had her stem cell transplant days after I had my surgery. I don’t think there’s been a worse week in my family, ever.
Then things turned around. My surgery biopsy results came back clear! Her transplant worked! It took some time to build her strength, but she went into remission! Now she has 4 grandchildren who adore her, who we’d had to accept she’d never get to meet. My perspective changed and things crystalized.
My father and step-mother came to Europe for a holiday just two weeks after my insemination. I hadn’t told them I’d had the first insemination yet so wasn’t totally sure how they’d react to this news. I didn’t feel that they were completely comfortable with my plan, but they weren’t against it either. They were the first people I spoke the words to with certainty: ‘I did the test again. I’m definitely pregnant!’ They were happy.
On our last day together, my step-mother handed me a gift. ‘For your baby’ she said. Tears welled in my eyes. My baby’s first belonging. Just three weeks since your conception Astrid… welcome to our family.
This is an independent production made by me, Sophie Harper.
Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for allowing me to record, and for the practical and moral support.
Music by Adrianna Krikl, LJ Kruzer and Dexter Britain. Clips from ABC TV profile of Diana Lampe on Stateline Canberra by journalist Catherine Garrett.
I’ll be releasing new episodes every two weeks wherever you listen to podcasts. Episode 3 will be out on April 28.
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