I’m Conflicted

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.

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30 thoughts on “I’m Conflicted

  1. Sharah – I wish you the best. You will make the best decision for you regardless of all the reasons you have listed above. You do whatever will make you enjoy life in the long run. This is your decision as a couple

  2. No good words–just a hug. Because so much of what you fear probably will come true, though the other side is the fact that some of those fears won’t be realized and does that thought give you any strength?

  3. Of course you can’t help but hope for something you’ve never not wanted. That completely makes sense. I think the other things are fall into place (or don’t) as you go, but the big decision should be just about what the two of you want.

    I hope the time off has given you renewed strength and clarity.

  4. oh sharah. fuck is right. I’d be tempted to be furious (the wtf response), but I imagine you’ve had about a year to work through whatever you’ve been feeling toward him from before, which would naturally lead to such confusion.

    it’s normal to never let go of that desire — that longing doesn’t just go away. you only started coming to peace with it. I hope you are able to sort through it all and make the right decision for you.

  5. I think the work fears shouldn’t really be there. A lot of those big burly ex-military men also have families. Some of which probably also have wives who work. At least that’s what I’ve seen from my perspective. If your fears in that do come true… it’s time to find a better working environment.

    *hug* I’m sorry you’re going through all of these emotions again. I hope that soon you will find peace in whatever decision you guys come to.

  6. I could have written a lot of this myself, only I am the one changing my mind. I think we have decided to do IVF. Will write more later, I just wanted you to know someone else was in the same fucked up boat.

  7. *hugs* I’m sorry you’re being faced again with all of this. It all sucks and none of it is easy. It seems that no matter what we chose the path is never going to be straight and easy.

  8. I wish there was an easy answer for you. It isn’t fair and all of your concerns are valid. Wishing you guidance.

    By the way, the best advice I ever got about being frustrated over organized religion — It is a religion and not a cult. You don’t have to believe everything.

    Be kind to yourself.

  9. It’s so hard when you think your life is moving in a new direction, getting used to things, and then circumstances change & you find yourself back in the same old place again. It may be a good thing, maybe not. I agree with Deathstar — what do YOU want? Circumstances do change, but ultimately, you have to decide what’s best for you at this particular point in your life. (((hugs)))

  10. Sweet mercy, Sharah. What a head trip. I can’t imagine how your mind must be reeling right now. You must have whiplash.

    I don’t know, I don’t have any assvice. I’m thinking of you and praying for you and wishing you wisdom as you move forward. Whatever you decide, you know that all of us will be here cheering you on.

  11. dammit!

    IN NO WAY MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO STOP GRIEVING YOUR LOSS. Infertility still hurts, no matter what path you choose. If you choose to remain child-free, you don’t have to be magically okay. Just wanted to put that out there.

    (Sorry it took three tries to do it.)

  12. I say this with love, but I recognize the type: he seems to do a lot of unilateral announcing. I hope you’re able to talk with him and get your needs to count in the decision-making.

  13. I agree with Flicka,(all three times ;)) that deciding to embrace a child free life after IF does not mean you ever stopped wanting motherhood, nor does it mean you can’t continue to be devastated over it.
    My DH brings up being a parent someday still and it throws me into a tailspin every time.
    Obviously you guys have some talking to do. I am sorry that you are suffering with more turmoil just when you were starting to find dry land.
    Good Luck.

  14. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it sounds like you already know what you want: You want to stay on the path you’re pursuing now, the career you (I take it) enjoy, the life you’ve built beyond treatment, possible pregnancy, and all that follows.

    There’s nothing wrong with that. I feel much the same way, though my work circumstances are a bit different. It took me forever to be able to pursue treatment willingly, and there’s still some residual resentment.

    I’m with WaterBishop. And I’m sending huge hugs your way…

  15. Welcome to the eclipse.

    Just when you think you have it all figured out someone throws that curve ball in there that starts the eliptical movement all over again.

    I read some of your points–and you know what…it is NOT about your family or HIS family. This is a decision about YOU. This is scary enough when the couple alone goes through this…but to add the thoughts and feelings of the extended family makes it terrifying.

    Just remember what ever you decide it has to be right for you. If it is to continue on the I am done path FOR NOW then do that. If it is I want to try in December, January February…when ever do that. But what ever it is, make sure YOU are happy. That hubby is happy…and I promise the rest will fall into place too.

  16. In the end, its your life. As a couple you should discuss all these things…but, you know–a lot of those are actually in your control more than you know.

    When my husband and I decided to be athiests, we were comfortable enough to say that to our families–and they had to deal. We did tell them though, that we would inform our children of the various religions out there and that they could make their own choice in the end. That seemed to work for our families, as they felt they could “share” their religion with their grandchildren.

  17. wow, I mean wow, What every decision you make I am sure will be the right one. You are brilliant,witty, and amazing. I am sure it will all work out in the end, but wow.

  18. Gawd you’re in a rough place. I thought I was in one trying to decide to go again or stop, but deciding to go back – not only to treatment but to that girl, it’s terrifying, I get it. Cuz right now I feel like I’m finally starting to shake that girl loose, and I worry that doing one more will break her out fullboard. I want to get rid of her and move on. I don’t know what to say. Shit.

  19. I can so relate. Every sentence you wrote here represents how I’ve felt at one point or another along the way. I feel it deep in my gut, the conflict. I keep asking myself what do I need to find peace? For a long time my answer was “a baby” but not anymore. I know better now — the trade-offs are huge, either way. Honestly, there are no guarantees with anything in this life. We just have to do the best we can do, enjoy what we have, who we are, and be flexible. You have a lot to consider right now. I wish you clarity and peace, as always. 🙂

  20. It seems like deciding to do treatment or not do treatment is never a decision that’s never simply made and not returned to, but it’s something that seems to need to be decided again and again as circumstances change. It’s still just as hard each time it comes up.

    You’ve spent a lot of time envisioning your life without children, and that’s great, but it doesn’t mean you’ve given up your other dream. I really think you and Manly need to sit down with each other, maybe even with a third party to help you, and consider what kind of goals you want for the future and make sure you are both being honest with each other and are both communicating with each other. Your cliff notes could happen, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I hope you are able to come to some peace with this.

  21. The emotions tied up in IF run so very deep. I am extremely sorry that you are presented with this conflict now. I’ll be thinking about you and hoping that whatever you decide, both you and the husband are at peace with the decision.

  22. I’ve been staring at this post for waaaaayyyy too long. I agree with SL. He is a bit fond of the unilateral announcing, isn’t he? Time to take that boy out to the woodshed, the fucker. Marriage is about two people deciding together, not one just doing whatever he feels like.

    As for career or whatever, honestly, you can go back, or hire a nanny, or figure something else out, but please don’t let that stop you from getting what you want. Because if you really want a baby down deep and you only agreed to stop trying because of him or your job, you will regret it. If I never had my kids, and it was just me and my husband, based on his say-so….I’d end up hating him forever, because I always always wanted kids. I was never okay with being child-free, or even just having one kid. Just me.

    But that’s the key, you have to be comfortable with your own decision in your own heart. It can’t be because of external factors.

    It has to be your choice.

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