Archives for category: Big Picture

At the beginning, when I first found out about the pregnancy, I had a lot of big and deep questions about what this meant. Wait, I’m really going to be a parent? Wait, this is really real? Is this really real?

Strangely, as the questions about “realness” have been put more at ease, they were replaced instead with “how will I get through the rest of today?” With nausea and fatigue, my capacity to think thoughts about this pregnancy were reduced to the significant question of if there was any food I could contemplate eating. In terms of my time horizon, I could do ok at work, but beyond that I couldn’t really think beyond the next thing I would eat and if I needed to take a nap.

I guess the exception to this has been incessant internet searching about pregnancy. How on earth were people pregnant when there weren’t week-by-week things to look at and learn the babies current size? How else could you picture your little fig/lime/kumquat (and if you know those are in the wrong order, welcome to the club). Also if you’re a worrier, there’s lots of places to feel like your putting your worry. Exactly how many times have I looked up this study for reassurance after our 8 week ultrasound? Confession: a lot.

I guess now that I have a glimmer of feeling better, I’m realizing how many of these big questions and wonderings, I’ve been funneling into these small worries. Life is going to change and is already changing, and I’d like to be present for it rather than wasting my days in internet research. When you have the inside view on a miracle, you don’t want to miss it, right?

So I don’t know. Now that my body is allowing it, I’m trying to picture how to make space in my life for something deeper. Because these fears and hopes are real, and probably more important than figuring out stroller types this far in advance… Probably.

Hi, all! I’m readyformaybe, friend of mannacakepie, and new contributor to the blog. After a brief pause, my husband and I are once again trying to conceive. Looking forward to sharing our story with you and hearing more about yours!

I strive to be a moral pragmatist. I look at my life in very straightforward, practical terms, but I aim to do so with a strong sense of personal and collective responsibility. How very noble, right?

In reality, most of the time I get emotionally swept up into the same culturally based assumptions that many women like me—white, privileged, educated, with economic means—do. On my best days, I eventually am able to scrounge up the necessary willpower to resist them in small, subversive ways. A few days ago when our water heater broke, sending a deluge of rusty water through our bathroom ceiling, I was the one who told my husband he didn’t need to miss work; I could deal directly with the plumbers myself. They were nice as could be, but unsurprisingly, ended up calling me “Mrs. Husband’s Last Name,” and I didn’t correct them (I didn’t change my name when we married). We all have to pick our moments.

For a woman who is (a) trying to live into a spirit of mutuality in my marriage; (b) committed to work that promotes justice for women and girls; and (c) prone to too much overthinking, the notion of having a child is complicated. There is so much bullshit about motherhood that gets spread around, and wow, does it stink. Whenever I bring up my dilemma, so many of my friends try to reassure me that having a kid is THE BEST THING EVER. Don’t get me wrong; I see how much joy their kids do bring them. Last month our friends’ one-year-old stumbled successfully across the kitchen right to me, reaching with outstretched arms and a huge, drooly smile. It felt…amazing. But this kind of cuddly, warm-fuzzy experience surely is not enough to constitute a substantive reason for me to become a parent myself, could it?

My husband and I have gone round and round about the reasons we can come up with that favor us having a child. Not that we’re making some kind of “pros” and “cons” list, though it would not be unusual for us to do something like that. It’s more the realization that in all likelihood, this is the singularly most irreversible decision we will ever make. It will have a profound impact on our lives, but more than that, our decision to parent will have an enormous impact on another human being—our child. We take this incredibly seriously. And that’s something I do not hear people talking about. Why is that? Why are we afraid to share our deliberations about this huge life decision?

I recognize that not everyone has the opportunity to engage in this kind of deliberation. All kinds of barriers—poverty, lack of education, high fertility, entrenched cultural biases—stand in the way for many, many women. I also know that some people just know that parenting is something they want as part of their lives—in very much the same way I just knew I was going to marry my husband when I first met him. I’ve been waiting for this kind of definitive “yes” or “no” to kick in, but it hasn’t. But does that lack of gut feeling mean that I shouldn’t have kids?

One night I was talking about all of this with mannacakepie, and she shared that she could see my life as having two awesome, albeit different tracks—one with kids, one without. Somehow knowing that makes the decision easier (I can’t go wrong!) and harder (which one is “right”?) at the same time.

On a work trip, I met up with a friend for drinks, and we got to talking about my confusion about whether to parent or not. I was struggling to figure out a good reason to have kids when there are many other ways for me to bring goodness and love into the world—things I could do if I never had children. A moral pragmatist herself, she told me that her style of parenting her two kids is raising them “for the common good.” Maybe it was the vodka martini I’d just ingested, but I thought this was the most inspiring approach to parenting I’d ever heard. It wasn’t narcissistic or romantic. It was practical, yet visionary. Having kids can be about community, about providing a healthy environment for them to develop, about respecting them as their own people while teaching them about our shared responsibility to care for another. This was something I could wrap my mind around and say “yes” to.

I have no idea what the future will hold. My husband and I have just gotten back into actively trying to get pregnant, and I have all kinds of anxieties and fears about how that will go. But now I do know that if we become parents one way or another, we will strive to raise our children for the common good. That would be something amazing, wouldn’t it?

–readyformaybe

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Why am I including a random picture of flowers? Because there is no way to illustrate “wanting to have a baby” without including a random baby or disembodied pregnant bellies. You’re welcome.

I am thirty years old, and my husband and I are trying to have a baby.

This is a terrifying thing to put in print for the universe. Or the google-search bots, that I’m sure are already sending me diaper ads.

As I have been mentally adjusting to this “trying to have a baby,” one of the things I have found is how isolating it can be.

Now, for the record, there are really good reasons that I haven’t just announced to everyone that I know that we are considering creating another human being in the near future. For one, it makes people think of sex–for some people that is the only thing it makes you think of–like please stop raising your eyebrow like that at me. For some people, who I’m close to, I haven’t talked about it because I don’t want to get their hopes up if it takes awhile (Ahem, sorry Mom). And then there are issues around employment and what will happen on maternity leave, that means I’d prefer not to have this conversation with people where I work until things are more certain.

But the things is that this is a hugely major life change and transition–a change that is irreversible and hugely change a person’s life for the next several decades. And along with the excitement, there are feelings like “terror” and “what the hell are we thinking.” Plus the exhausting idea of entering the fear-pressure-chamber that is the expectations of female parenting–yeah, that will be fun… And in my searching for a community or information that connects to this current stage of life, I’m discovering that the options seem to be:

a) cutsified acronym-based information that doesn’t respect a person’s intelligence (I’m looking at you “What to Expect Before You’re Expecting”)
b) driven acronym-based websites, that focus on exactly how to time intercourse for optimal fertilizing. The single-eyed focus of “how to get sperm in at right time and wait for pregnancy test”–well they tend to fuel a certain type of crazy in a person. And don’t reflect much on the “why” or “what this means”
c) terrifying feminist literature. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good feminist read. But Naomi Wolf’s Misconception should be read only with caution if you are in a delicate state.

So here’s my attempt to avoid acronyms and find names. How can I name this moment between what I have known and what is coming next?

So Hello! Anyone else out there with me?

photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc