Sunday, October 3, 2010

The elephant in the room (part 1)

 My road to reproduction was not straight forward. For many years (10?) I was completely undecided as to whether I wanted children. For as long as I could remember I felt that far too many people reproduced simply because they could not imagine doing otherwise, a reflexive act or even worse simply because it was expected. I was very ambivalent on the whole topic of having children. But then again it didn't really matter because I was a student, then I was single, then I was a single student... but as time passed I wasn't a student anymore and as more time passed I had a sense of financial security. More time went by and I wasn't single anymore but still I struggled with trying to figure out how I honestly felt about having children. I remained ambivalent and completely frustrated by my ambivalence; I felt that I should have a feeling one way or another.

For 3 years I involuntarily spent time each and every single day trying to figure out if I wanted children; my mind would inevitably wander over to this puzzle and try to reason it out. This decision seemed so obvious to others and yet I could not figure out how I truly felt. Then things shifted, subtly... now when I probed my feelings I realized that I wanted to want to have children. More months passed and I realized that now my want was no longer once removed. I wanted children BUT I couldn't figure out why. And that bothered me. I felt that I should do something as monumental as reproducing unless I had a clear sense of why. I felt I should be able to finish the sentence: 'I want children because..." More time went by. I realized I wanted children in a visceral and instinctual way that could not be boiled down to clear and rational reasons. My "reasons" were mushiness and goo and deep yearning and finally, finally I realized that was OK. Perhaps after all, this huge, life changing decision did not have to be level headed, analyzed and understood... perhaps I could go with the mush and emotion.

So we started trying and started failing. As an aside, it was at this time that I actually read my first blog - an infertility blog. Just as there is a vibrant, supportive community of runners, mommies and running mommies out here in blogosphere, there is an amazing network of infertile people who cheer each other on,commiserate, exchange information and offer virtual hugs. I was truly touched by some of the aching humanity I observed as I lurked on this network of blogs. Back to my own story, eventually with a little help from medical technology, we got pregnant and the result was, of course, La Cocotte.

I've previously declined to write about what a joy and wonderful life change La Cocotte has been because I truly feel it is beyond my limited gift as a writer. While I don't mind not doing justice to a marathon race report or a description of a great running route, it bothers me to fail so miserably to express the fullness in my heart that is La Cocotte. Having her is so very much more wonderful than I ever imagined it would be. My one English nickname for her is Goodness because I look at her and that is exactly how I feel. She is pure, untainted goodness and I will never, ever be finished being grateful for her existence.

The end.

Or is it?

Slowly I can feel the old obsessiveness and indecision creeping back in as I ponder the inevitable question - do we make another?  In the past year I have found myself mulling this over. Now that I am fertile again (took 13 months!!) there is a new layer of perceived urgency to the question. And there is urgency on other fronts as well. There are many factors in my life and philosophical outlook that speak both for and against. I will have to leave this unfinished post here for now - unintentionally symbolic of my current thinking on the topic: unfinished. I'll be back to mull this over more.


  1. Isn't it great that you have options to think about? Now... I'm off to the "Chubby Chicks Run Too" blog to see if I saw her at this week's race.

  2. This is an interesting post. I am currently in that "single student" phase and I am kinda taking it for granted that if I wanted I can have children. But the truth is that one does not know until one tries, right?
    I wish I could have a child now before I start working. Well, not now like now, but get pregnant now and have a child next summer right after I graduate, be home with a kid for few months and then start working my first job. I know I might imagine it way too easy. But I think that once I start working it will be so hard for me to find time and everything to have a child.

  3. What a great post. I got distracted before I could write my comment right after I read it, but have continued to think about it. I am wondering if you would prefer I give my real opinion or if I should write what I am supposed to say? ... Okay, I figured at least the former would sound more enticing. If you feel like getting pregnant again and your husband feels the same way, don't wait. You may regret it. You are more fertile right now than you will be a year from now. No pressure ;). But then again if you wait, it'll probably work out, too. I just thought you wanted my real opinion.

  4. now, that sounds, very, VERY familiar! Except I was never sure I wanted kids... I just figured I probably would not want to be childless at 50... so in the end, we took the plunge, and I thought that, not being a total monster, I would love the little one if and when it would appear in our lives... and guess what... I did! (phew)... so much so that, like you, I feel there is no way I could even start to describe how strong my feeling for him is...

  5. Well, if you decide to go for number two, sounds like from post after, you're not into it but I will have lots of excellent baby things to recycle back to you by then!! haha! Miss you big time and quit working so hard!!! baci baci.