We make choices. Every day. Hundreds of them. Most of the time we don’t think very much about the consequences of those choices. It’s only when those consequences come back to haunt us that we really stop to consider the choices we made.
I’ve made some pretty crappy choices in my life. I really should have been saddled with some pretty harsh consequences for some of those choices, when in reality I got away with simple warnings, or a light slap on the hand. I know how lucky I’ve sometimes been.
There are other choices I didn’t realize I made until long after the fact, choices that are now requiring some serious acceptance on my part.
One of those choices is a pretty major one. In fact, it may be the biggest, most important–certainly it has had the most impact–choice I ever made. I’m talking about, of course, the man with whom I chose to build my family.
Mi.Vida is the first and only man I’ve ever been with. I’ve written before that I feel like that handicaps me, because I have no other relationships against which to judge our own. Mostly I judge our relationship against what I see in romantic movies and Facebook timelines (both the epitome of realistic, I know). I spend a considerable amount of time wondering if I made a big mistake in staying with my man. Of course I love him, but I’ve seen enough friends break up for other reasons to know that love is sometimes not enough. And I wonder a lot if that is the case for us.
This discussion might seem cold and heartless, and in fact it is. It happens entirely in my head, miles away from the tangled emotional mess of my heart. It’s a pragmatic affair, taking place in the rational side of my brain. It doesn’t take any feelings into account, just facts. Sometimes that is enough to assure me it’s a useless train of thought, other days the very same fact convinces me otherwise. The truth is I don’t know, and maybe I’ll never know, if I made a mistake.
One of the things I’ve always been so impressed with in this community is how so many couples seem to come together to face the monster that is IF and loss. So many relationships actually come out stronger than they were before. Like diamonds forged from the tremendous pressure of the earth above, many couples seem to emerge from the dark tunnel of IF shining brilliantly; they are a united force to be reckoned with. They are indestructible.
I see it in the way they speak of, and to, each other. I see it in the enthusiasm with which they parent their children or in the grace with which they manage their childless/free life. I see it in their words and their actions and I am impressed. It seems to me that for a couple to become stronger under such difficult conditions, they must have tackled their problems from a place of respect and understading. They must have stood together, propping each other up, secure in the knowledge that they felt similarly about what they were going through.
Mi.Vida and I have never tackled the monster of TTC struggles or loss from a united front. We’ve never come together, we’ve never stood on the same page. Every decision was reached through painstaking negotiation and neither of us ended up very happy with the final result. Resentment remains. Resentment that people were pushed and pulled to get where we are today. Resentment that one of us can’t be happy with what we have while the other can.
This path we’re walking on is destroying our relationship. It’s not making us stronger, it’s tearing us apart. We want different things, or we don’t want the same things in the same ways. We don’t see any part of this eye to eye. We don’t understand each other and it’s so hard to get through this when that is the case.
I had dreams of what my life would be like; those dreams were tightly entwined in who I was and what was most important to me. The sun around which all my dreams orbited was that of having a family. It was ALL I WANTED in my life. I imagined the man I loved, the man I chose to build a family with, would feel the same way. I assumed we would both want children more than anything else. But then I didn’t find someone for many, many years and when I finally did, I was so afraid that he would be the only one I would ever find, that I looked past the fact that he didn’t want a family and instead of finding someone who did, I tried to make him someone who did. But he will never by that person. He will never want any of this the way I do.
That is what I wonder if I made a huge mistake. Can I ever really be happy with a man who doesn’t really want the things I want? Who is indulging me for a whole host of reasons, none of which feel like the right ones to me? Can we make it through this difficult journey when we feel so differently about where we are coming from and we are going? I honestly don’t know.
We already have our daughter and hopefully sometime soon, we’ll have another child as well. Maybe, when we’re past the building our family part of our lives, none of this will matter anymore. Or maybe I’ll want to try for a third child and Mi.Vida will say no and it will lead to our eventual demise. I honestly don’t know but it’s hard to walk through life wondering if I made the right choice, feeling anger and resentment toward myself, and my partner, for how hard our differences make this.
I just hope some day I’ll have more confidence in myself, my partner, and the choice we made to be together.