The Fertile Female encourages women to look to their dreams to determine what their subconscious might be trying to tell them. I have never been very big on assigning my dreams meaning. When I can remember them, they are incredibly strange. The only ones that seem significant are the ones I get when work is really stressful; dreaming I am a teacher who can’t find her classroom and is distraught that her students are waiting outside without her lets me know that shit at work is not great. But, of course, usually I already knew that before I had the dream.
My other big problem is that, a lot of the time, I don’t remember my dreams very well, if at all.
Saturday night I had a dream that I actually remembered when I awoke. Sadly I didn’t write it down right away and a lot of the details faded with the events of yesterday, but I do remember the gist of it. Mi.Vida and I were at a hotel and I wanted to have sex but things kept getting in the way. At first the room was really messy–or maybe it was the bed–I remember there just wasn’t the physical space necessary to do the deed. Then other things started getting in the way, though I can’t remember what they were. At the end there was another person in the room–I can’t remember who it was but I KNOW it wasn’t Isa or another child or ours–it was just a person who NEEDED us so we couldn’t possibly have sex. I woke up feeling really frustrated that one of the few times I was really in the mood, we couldn’t make it happen.
This post might seem like a classic TTC post, but I think it was actually about having another baby. I think there is a huge part of me (and I know Mi.Vida feels the same) that can’t imagine how we will manage with a second child. The last 2.5 years have been REALLY challenging in so many ways. And the last six months have just about done us in. The terrible twos are kicking our ass and I can’t fathom what they would be like with a newborn baby demanding the intense amount of care they require.
I honestly wonder if my body has been preventing a pregnancy because I’m so unsure that we, or even I, can handle it. Surely the fact that I didn’t try to do anything to help our odds for almost a year of trying has something to do with that. My ambivalence might be affecting things more than I realized.
Sunday I had lunch with an old friend, in my old neighborhood. As I walked around our rendezvous point looking for her, I saw a woman from my old street with her 3.5 and 1 year old girls at the playground. I stopped to chat and realized how haggard she looked. And I also realized that she had looked like that for the past year, since her second child was born. Actually, she looked like that when she was pregnant. In the past I was so bitterly jealous of her that I hadn’t really seen it, or chose to ignore it, but the truth is that woman looked like she had aged five years in the past 18 months. She looked like a sad shell of her former self.
After the chat I met up with my old friend that I haven’t seen since last May, at her wedding. As I filled her in with all that had been happening (she is actually really interested in secondary infertility as she is 37 and doesn’t feel she’ll be ready to have kids for another five years and knows how hard it will likely be to build a family then), I caught myself saying that it was probably a blessing in disguise that we hadn’t gotten pregnant yet because two-years-old had been really hard and financially, with the new house, we were totally strapped.
And that is when the meaning of my dream clicked for me. That was when I realized it wasn’t about my ambivalence about having sex but my uncertainty about whether we can handle a second child.
On the drive home I revisited our financial plan for having a second child. Originally I thought I’d take the year off, take Isa out of preschool (or enroll her in a co-op that cost significantly less than her current, full time preschool) and find a way to make $1-$1.5K a month in tutoring. The thing is, I haven’t been able to find ANY tutoring this year (one of the reasons we can’t afford treatments) and I feel much less (read: absolutely not) sure that I could make that extra cash, which we would NEED to pay for my and Isa’s heath insurance, my student loan payments and now the payment to my parents for the loan they took out to help us avoid mortgage insurance. If I couldn’t come up with that cash every month we would blow through what little savings is left and quickly be in danger of losing our home.
Last week I put in my letter of intent to return to my school district full time in the fall. It was a hard day for me, a reminder of the dreams that didn’t come to fruition in 2012. But since I’ve done that I’ve felt many moments of relief that I KNOW I have a steady flow in income next year, that I KNOW I will be able to pay my bills.
If we have another child, I would know neither of those things. If we have another child, money will become a very real and acute stress for us, on top of the other very real stresses of having another child.
Of course, there is always plan B, which involves my MIL retiring in January of 2014. At this point, even if I got pregnant next month (HAHA!), my FMLA leave would bring me to her retirement date, meaning we’d only have to figure out how to afford for three months without pay instead of eight, after which point I’d return to work and she’d watch our child full time. I have always assumed my MIL would be thrilled to watch our second child for a year and a half (by 2 years old, child care become much more affordable) but whenever I bring it up she says it better be my plan B, or she reminds me that she won’t even talk about that hypothetically. And fair enough. I certainly don’t assume my MIL will, or even should, watch our child for free. I just always thought she’d really want to, and that doesn’t actually seem to be the case. I don’t think I can bank on that anymore.
Now I’m not sure how to proceed. The rational side of me says these doubts are reason enough to put the brakes on the baby making train full stop. My heart says that we’ll find a way, just like we did when Isa was a baby (of course, my FIL stepped in and watched her for half days, basically saving our asses last year). For the first time in a long time, I’m considering stopping TTC all together. It’s a very uncertain place to be. All I am sure of is that I need to work through this ambivalence if I ever want to conceive, enjoy my last pregnancy, and make it through the newborn months with my sanity, and integrity, in tact. I have a lot of work to do.