It’s been coming up more than usual lately, and in multiple places. I’ve been catching (and voluntarily watching) more of the maternity and childbirth-related shows on the Discovery Health Channel. On the one-year anniversary of my “new” job, my Mom reminded me that now I’m eligible for family leave. Aaron and I talked about it over sushi a couple weekends ago. And now Dooce is pregnant with her second child. Not only that, but after doing a little math, I figured out that, when she announced her latest pregnancy on her blog, she was right about at the place in hers that I was when in mine I had the worst damn experience of my life.
Whenever I write about that experience, it seems like I really dance around the subject. I don’t often use the word “miscarriage,” or say that “I lost the baby,” but will instead refer to the emotions that surrounded that terrible weekend. You’d think that, almost two years after the fact, it wouldn’t be such a tender subject. But it is.
Despite the fact that I can’t get excited about subjecting myself to the possibility of that kind of tragic letdown again, it’s something that we’ll need to be thinking about relatively soon. We still have a few years yet before we need to really get on the ball, though. I’m 32½ right now — I’ll be 33 in April. We won’t be dipping into the *really* not-so-fresh ova until, say, the beginning of the next presidential campaign.
There are some things around the house that, if we’re going to get them done, will need to be done before we procreate. Like painting, and getting new carpet and flooring, and replacing the window in the green bedroom (a.k.a. the cat’s room, and someday to be Junior’s room). Other things, like getting the leak in the tub fixed and installing a new bathroom faucet and replacing the garage door, those things could potentially be done with a small human being in residence, but the cash flow we have now may no longer be in effect. There are also some personal habits of mine that will need to change, like my housekeeping, and my health and hygiene (e.g. I’m way overdue for a trip to the dentist). I also want to reach my goal weight (about 20 more pounds to lose) before going and getting pregnant.
When I contemplate this laundry list of pre-partum to-dos, it occurs to me that we might just be stalling. Finding reasons not to try again just yet. That’s a completely reasonable reaction, I think, for several reasons. Neither of us want to be in a place in our lives where we resent having had a child too soon, before we could discover who we were and experience the world and do the things we wanted to do. I don’t want to be driving the family minivan to soccer practice in another ten or fifteen years asking, “What if…?”
That goes both ways, though. I also don’t want to someday find myself pre-menopausal, without a child of my own, wondering what it would have been like to be a Mom.
Sometimes I feel like I’m too passive to be a Mom. Not responsible enough. Not selfless enough. But, every now and then, something comes up — say, Aaron turns pasty-white and clammy in the middle of a gaggle of people at the Ren Fair and needs to sit down before he falls down — and Responsibility Mode kicks in. And I’m reminded that I do have some innate something-or-other that can take hold when I need it to.
I’ve been easing myself back into the idea. The concept that the experience might actually be as joyous and fulfilling as people claim is starting to seem realistic to me.
But please pardon me if I remain stand-offish and skeptical for a while longer.