As I approach the end of the “danger zone”, AKA the first trimester, I feel more comfortable talking about the beginning of it. Though I’m still semi-convinced that I will jinx everything. It ain’t easy being a paranoid freak. Anyways…
I probably shouldn’t have been as surprised by this pregnancy as I was. It was, after all, something we had tried for. In the context of babies though, I’ve come to learn that the concept of trying requires some clarification. We tried in the sense that I stopped taking the Pill (oh how I still miss you, Tri-cyclen) and wondered what the hell was wrong with us when nothing happened. Nothing except horrible skin, a stubborn (and practically instantaneous) 10 (okay, closer to 15) lb weight gain and near-constant cramps and lower back pain, natch. Plus, my mood was awesome (ahhhahahahaha). But we didn’t try in the sense that a lot of people we know did, involving things like fertility specialists, clomid, hormone shots, IUI and IVF.
The furthest I ever went was using an Ovulation Predictor Kit a few times because after 18 years on the Pill, I wouldn’t have been surprised if my ovaries were just refusing to get up off the bench. But since I appeared to be ovulating, I ditched them because those devil sticks will ruin your sex life, if not your whole life, faster than you can say, “ugh, we have to do it again because I’m ovulating.” Seriously. It’s awful.
Eventually, we kind of gave up on the idea. And that was actually totally okay. We have a pretty sweet lifestyle and I was never desperate to be a mom. Nor was Andrew desperate to be a dad. It was a “nice to have” not a “must have” on both of our to-do lists.
And frankly, if there were an easy way around the whole pregnancy/labour thing (e.g. if adoption wasn’t the logistical nightmare I’ve heard it is these days) I would have chosen that route in a heartbeat. I never longed for the experience on a biological level. Even when I was irritated with not getting pregnant in a snap, I realized that it bothered me more that I was failing at something than that I was missing out on a baby.
I do know women who genuinely, deeply, wanted to be mothers—like my friend Kristyn—she was made for it. But for the most part, I always suspected that a lot of people who want babies, want them because their lives are kind of boring. Sorry, not sorry. Having children is great, but there are many ways to live an awesomely fulfilling life, and having the money, freedom, time and energy to do what you want, whenever you want, is pretty fucking great too, so long as you’re taking advantage of it!
So as excited as we are, the first words out of my mouth were, “well, holy shit.” Followed by several hours of shitting bricks and mental recalibration. Because as awesome of an experience as I know it will be, it also means a lot of sacrifices and compromises. The vacations, the kind of house we can afford, the late dinners and the runaway evenings of too many beers. My body. At 35 I don’t expect it to be easy to spring right back to tip-top shape. Especially when I couldn’t even get my ass in shape before I got pregnant (Tri-cyclen, I REALLY miss you).
I’m not ashamed to admit having mixed feelings about all of this. I think far too many women walk around acting like they are 100% happy about everything, all the time (because god forbid someone thinks they are a bad wife or mother) and then we wonder why there are so many of us struggling with depression or anxiety and battling addictions behind closed doors. If we could just admit that ambivalence, second thoughts and internal conflict is normal and healthy, we’d all have to be better off. And if my kid reads this one day? I’m good with that. He/she will know that they are unconditionally loved, but I also want to teach them that even the happiest of situations can cause fear and doubt. That’s fucking life, kiddo.
Sorry that these last couple of posts have been kind of heavy. The regular jackassery will resume shortly.