I was planning on writing a post this week talking about how I felt a year after deciding that we were going to walk away. Technically, that decision came on our anniversary, which is in two weeks, but my last medicated cycle ended a year ago last weekend.
But this year, we spent the third weekend of September in a different city for a different event. And I don’t remember what we were talking about or why it even came up, but Manly said to me, and I am quoting, not paraphrasing here, “I’m surprised you haven’t wanted to go back to the doctor or try again already.” And a few minutes later after I stammered out some kind of answer, mind reeling as I’m trying to grasp what he was saying, “Well, do you want to start back after the beginning of the year — January or February?”
What. the. fuck.
I have spent the last year busting my mental ass to get out of that headspace. To reach place of acceptance and maybe even a little peace with this decision, which wasn’t even my decision to start with, which I had essentially no choice in, and no encouragement to pursue. In the space of about 60 seconds, he shredded all that and pushed me back off the cliff. Back in the water, but this time it’s not just icy cold and dark. This time I know exactly what is waiting for me.
I don’t know if I can do this again.
I don’t know if I want to do this again.
Because when I go back, there won’t be any easing into the world of ultrasounds and blood draws and cute little clomid pills and weensy trigger shot needles. If I go back, we’ll be picking up where we left off — IUI. Or IVF. Both of which, frankly, scare the bejeesus out of me. And as bad as they are, I’m almost more frightened of myself, of what I know I’ll turn back into. I’m going to become HER again. You know HER, THAT GIRL. The one who is constantly fidgety, mind wandering off during important conversations, wanting to blurt out intimate details of her reproductive status to strangers just to stop them from rattling around in her own head. The one who can’t stop fixiating on the am-I-pregnant-yet-what-about-now-now?-maybe-now.
I can’t go back to who I was a year ago when we decided to stop, or a year before that when I decided to go see a doctor, or the year before that when I was wondering if I was ever going to get my period ever again. I can’t be a happy chipper babydust newbie who plows ahead, never realizing that a) this might not work or b) holy shit this is going to be hard. And although I don’t talk about it much here, I’ve become much more educated in both feminism and atheism in the last year, both of which have changed my perspective on the social significance, if not the personal experience, of motherhood. If I were to get pregnant, I can forecast pretty closely what is going to happen to my career and to my social relationships. I’ve seen what happens when women in my professional life and in my social circle get pregnant, and it’s not exactly attractive to me. Want cliff notes?
- Manly will try to foist off childcare incidents that require missing work on me because my hours are more flexible. This will result in me being perceived as not focused on doing what is necessary to succeed and rise in my company. It will also result in my becoming highly resentful of him because our original agreement (when we married) was for him to quit his job and be a SAHD. That’s not possible now due to his position and income.
- As soon as I mention being a mother, my professional opinion will be written off despite my qualifications because I’ll be seen as “soft” (I now work with big burly toughman ex-military types).
- My relationship with my MIL and FIL and my husband’s extended family will start to dominate my calendar, leading to resentment from my parents because we don’t spend equal time with them (they live several hours away). It will also cause resentment from my BIL and SIL because they won’t have the only grandchild anymore and I know for a fact that my MIL and FIL will favor our child because we spend more time with them than BIL and SIL do (double that if we have a boy, who would be the first male grandchild) (actually triple that because Other SIL had a failed adoption of a beautiful boy who she helped raised for the first two years of his life and that’s not going to bring back good memories).
- We’ll be expected to start going to church, even though I am disgusted with organized religion in all its forms and highly suspicious of the idea of god anymore. Yeah, potential conversion to atheism. That’s going to go over real well with our family.
- There’s a good chance I won’t finish my Ph.D. You try studying for comps and/or writing a dissertation while you’re many months gone/expecting any moment/dealing with a small child.
So I’m conflicted. Because even though I realize all of the above, even though I feel like Manly betrayed me by giving me a false expectation a year ago without thorough explanation, even though we probably honestly can’t afford it at this point, I still want a child. I want a little boy or a little girl who’s half me and half him and all ours. I’ve never not wanted that. I’ll never not want that. And now I’m crying again. Fuck.