The Darling Boy and I have finally made the decision we’ve been inching toward for many years now. After sitting on the fence and dithering for the last ten years(give or take), T and I have set a rough time line for having a baby.
If I’m being completely honest with myself (and with whomever may be reading this), I have to admit that I’ve never really not wanted children. Sure, there were those summer jobs with the Park & Recreation Department and various babysitting jobs that made me swear I would never have brats of my own (See how you feel after teaching arts & crafts to a group of 30 kids between the ages of 3 and 12; I dare you!), but my habit of compulsively buying used children’s books betrayed the truth. I want a child; I want to be a mom.
The urge hit me hard sometime between 1997 and 1998. I really wanted a baby, pretty much right exactly then. I think the “Monica wants a baby” storyline on Friends woke up the urge. That, and the adorable “Classic Pooh” baby items I kept seeing in stores. I bought some pregnancy books, to try to sort of prepare myself for having a baby.
Originally, the plan was that T and I would have a baby as soon as one of us finished grad school. That turned out to be me in 1999. Then, we decided waited until T finished grad school. Then, the bills started rolling in, and I couldn’t get a decently paying job to save my life (over qualified, doncha know). Then, T decided to leave grad school and get a job. Then, we basically got thrown out of our apartment but were saved when T got a job in Baltimore. Then, more bills started rolling in; I still couldn’t get a decently paying job; and we almost had our power shut off in the middle of winter. Of all the “never an ideal time to have a baby” times, that was the worst time to even consider the possibility.
Our time in Baltimore was an emotionally difficult one for me. I didn’t have really secure employment for the first two years of our three-year sojourn, and I was very aware of our (lack of) money. My dad died from prostate cancer, and I couldn’t imagine raising a child without Daddy in my life. I was pretty depressed November through March each of the three years we were there; I just didn’t react well to the cold, the dark, and the never-melting snow. I started to have doubts about whether or not I really wanted to be a parent. It seemed that every time I turned around, there was another article about the joys of non-parenthood, the pleasures of adults living for themselves, and the trials and pains of childrearing. Throw in the uncertainty of the world after September 11, and maybe you’ll understand the doubts, concerns, and outright fears I had.
Finally, after our worst, truly horrible, winter, T got a job back in Orlando: the city where we met and that has always felt most like home to me. My outlook on life improved; although I still had a hell of a time finding good, steady employment. Our financial situation, while still not good, now is at least secure and improving. I have a job that I love and which loves me back. It’s a very secure position, which isn’t overly dependent on any one market sector. I have some insanely generous benefits, and they’ve just given me a rather large bump in salary. I’ve been there just over two years now; I can be fully vested in my 401(k) plan in another three years. I have no reason to think they won’t work with me on my schedule.
Through the years, I would ask T to give me his thoughts on the whole parenthood thing. I admitted to being most decidedly undecided, but I didn’t really know where T stood on the issue. How much did he want children? Did he want them only because he thought I did? Would he be hurt or relived if I said I did or didn’t? He continued to state he was undecided as well. And we allowed our mutual indecision to carry us along for a while.
As a Christmas/10th Wedding Anniversary present, T’s present to me was a decision: Yes. Let’s start a family. Let’s make this final decision and work toward this goal. The fact that I was so happy I cried should tell you how much that meant to me. I hadn’t dared admit it to myself how much I wanted a child.
So, that leads me to where we are now. Over the Fourth of July weekend, T and I had some heart-to-heart talks and finally decided on a plan. At this time, T and I have decided that I will get off The Pill at the start of the year. We will start trying to have a baby in early April. After that, it’s up to biology.
So, having made this decision, which I’m very happy about, I’m still pretty damn well freaked. Is this the right decision?
First, I have to admit that I am fat. Not just pleasantly plump. I love food. I hate exercise. The rest is pretty self-evident. Considering that I’m over 35, can I have a “normal” pregnancy? My doctors have said there may be some complications but nothing to really worry about. Would I be better off losing weight? Almost certainly, but I don’t want to lose weight only to put it back on by getting pregnant. Also, I would be even older than I am now and still risk complications, including the chance of decreased fertility. You know, I’ve been on The Pill for over 15 years; I’m just concerned about getting pregnant. I’ll deal with the rest later.
Then, what if I actually get pregnant? Then what? What if the baby has genetic problems? What if it’s not “normal”? What if I have a miscarriage? What if…?
You get the picture.
And, of course, I still have doubts about my ability to be a good, or even reasonably not horrible, parent. I am not a patient, tolerant person in general. I don’t do especially well around sick people (ask T about it sometime). I spent most of my late childhood and adolescence taking care of my little sister, and I have greatly enjoyed not being responsible for really anyone except myself for most of the last 18 years. I mean, T is perfectly capable of getting his own dinner and bathing himself. I dislike the idea of setting an alarm on weekend mornings because we have to get ready for the little league soccer game. I don’t have any friends, and I’m not much of a joiner; how am I supposed to help a child develop healthy social lives? I hate putting down my book in the middle of chapter; what if I never get a chance to go on a good reading jag again?
Yeah, I’ve got doubts. I’m also ridiculously excited. . I’ve only told one other person, a co-worker, because I had to tell someone. I will tell my family when I go out there at the end of August; these plans will impact how much I’m able to travel to California to help with my grandmother. I hate to put extra burdens on them, but I can’t afford to fly out there three times a year if we’re trying to save money. I’ll probably let my supervisor know after the Christmas break.
So, that’s where we are. I feel like a nervous wreck, just waiting for time to pass so we can get on with it. (We need to pay a few things off, which is why we’re waiting until the end of the year.) I’m not sure how T feels about it. He’s not a super-expressive guy (unless he’s playing chess or watching football), but he seems relatively unflapped by this rather major decision. Not that I’m complaining; I supposed it’s better than having him running around like a crazy man, preemptively handing out cigars. Still, it feels like there should be more. I’m sure I’m just being insane. Welcome to my reality.
My emotions seem to be running really high, and I’m not sure if it’s normal. Again, we’ve only decided on a rough timeline; there are no physical issues yet. But, seriously, I started reading a book in which the main character’s girlfriend has a miscarriage in the opening pages, and I thought I was going to just fall apart right there. Good thing I was at work and reading on my lunch break. I’m just aquiver with anticipation. I can’t wait to see what I’m like when the hormones start raging.
So, to sum up: We’ve decided to try to have a baby next year. I’m freaked. I don’t think T is. And I don’t know what to think about any of it.
Any questions? Advice? Comments from the Peanut Gallery?