I want a baby. Now. More accurately, I wanted one a year ago, but when my husband switched to a new job (with it’s corresponding pay cut) we decided to put it off until we knew we could live on our new budget. However, I waited as long as I felt I could and once the budget was stable for a few months, I pushed the issue.
How did I know the time was right? I mean, our finances were balanced, but there isn’t exactly an excess of funds. We own a house, but it seems constantly on the verge of major calamity. We have a great family support network in our paramours, but they currently live far away and will soon be going through a massive move/job hunt/general transition as they relocate closer. So why not wait until after we found out for certain about the husband’s raise, or the foundation was repaired, or the rest of the family was settled in town? Because every time I saw a Facebook update from a friend announcing their good news I couldn’t bring myself to say congratulations; usually, the only thing I could think was “I hate you. IhateyouIhateyouaIhateyou.” and it took all the willpower I had to just not say anything. And every time a parent, cousin, or grandparent made an offhand comment about when we would be expanding the family I wanted to yell at them and burst into tears.
Like I said, I’m going a little insane. Because once we “stopped trying not to” it just got worse. I no longer had the vaguely comforting answer of “we’re tracking our budget and waiting to see if it works out.” Instead I would just stare at those well meaning family members in silence for a second and hope that they would move the conversation along before noticing my awkwardness. You see, I don’t want to tell anyone that we’re trying. Perhaps out of a superstitious fear of jinxing it. Or perhaps out of a much deeper fear of being embarrassed if they know we’re trying and it keeps not happening. Regardless of my motivations, I don’t want to talk about it. And so, I have no reply except anguish.
I remember when I used to greet my period with joy. I heard other girls my age gripe about being on their period, wishing them away, and I was confused becauseI knew these girls were also sexually active. For me, getting my period was something to celebrate. Sixteen and NOT pregnant. Unwed and NOT a mother. Of course that feeling ceased almost the moment we were married. I’m hardwired for maternity. The only thing that kept me from wanting a baby was thinking of the expressions on my Orthodox cousin’s faces. Sure, once we were married we still couldn’t afford a child, it still wasn’t a good idea. But, no longer fearing judgment and social scorn, my period post wedding was met with a mild mixture of apathy and ambivalence and nothing more.
Now, however, things have changed again. My response is perhaps even more emotional than before. My period is met with the many stages of mourning. First comes denial, “Maybe it’s not really starting. Maybe it’s just light spotting. You can get some spotting and still be pregnant.” Then there’s the anger, as things progress and become irrefutable. I want to punch the bathroom walls and kick the toilet and call all my pregnant acquaintances and easily made mothers and tell them how much I despise them. Of course the anger drains out quickly and the grief comes pouring in to fill the void. Tears spring to my eyes and and I just want to collapse onto something and sob (what a terrible idea to design female biology such that the revelation of such disappointment will always coincide with the time when we are most susceptible to emotional outbursts). Finally, of course, there is acceptance. “Obviously, this ‘not trying not to’ strategy is not good enough. Next month I’ll actually chart my cycle.” “Okay, this was the first time we tried the cycle timing. Let’s look into what else we can do, like figuring out what the temperature thing is all about.”
The acceptance phase gets me out of the tears, but it doesn’t help with the desperation. I constantly feel like I’m running out of time. I always expected to have a child by the time I was twenty five. The thought of not even being pregnant by the time I turn twenty six is heartbreaking. My mother reminds me that she was much older when she started having kids. My rebuttal is that I am well aware of that, as looking at her worrying about college funds and retirement at the same time is the very reason I wanted to make sure I started before entering my late twenties.
Of course, the major contribution to my desperate feeling is my boyfriend’s sons. There is about two and a half years between them and I watch them play together and entertain each other. I want my child to be able to play with them, too. Or at least to have a similar relationship to the younger one that he has to the older one. But if I got pregnant RIGHT NOW, he would be three by the time the baby was born. Every day I watch him grow older. Every day he speaks more clearly, masters a new skill and becomes more independent. With every clearly stated sentence I feel my window of opportunity slamming shut.
I want to get fertility tests done now. If something is wrong I don’t want to spend a year “trying” before we do something to fix it. Because the truth is, my husband and I haven’t used tangible birth control for years, but have never had an accident or “scare.” If you combine that with not getting pregnant promptly, I feel justified in worrying there’s a problem. And if there is, I want to know and deal with it now. Actually, I want to have known 8 years ago when my husband and I first started fooling around. Because the only thing that could have almost make this craziness worth it, is if I hadn’t spent so much of my youth terrified. How much less stress would we have had if we just hadn’t had to worry about it, ya know?
And that’s my tether to sanity. That annoying frustration of “if this is the case, I wish I’d know it then, damn it.” I keep bringing it up with sardonic amusement. Because with out it, there’s nothing to mitigate the despair.
And it’s only been three months.