What would you do?

I’ve written a couple times about how Monito has had a hard time eating. When he turned 9 months old (earlier this month) I emailed his pediatrician and told her that he still was only eating about an ounce (usually less) of purees at a sitting and would put a few foods (mostly just buttered toast) into his mouth and gum it around for a long time, but couldn’t seem to swallow it. Either he’d accidentally spit it out, or eventually I’d have to go in and get it.

She wrote back immediately, declaring it was “time to get some help,” and referred me to an OT. I now have an appointment on August 6th.

Except in the past week Monito seems to have turned a corner because suddenly, he can eat. He will take 2, sometimes even 3 ounces of purees at a sitting (only a few different purees, only fresh purees if I mix them with the store-bought stuff and only stuff with the smoothest textures). He can put cooked carrots, or beans, in his mouth, gum them around and eventually swallow them. He’s still pretty picky but he’s willing to put more than just two or three things in his mouth and he doesn’t automatically spit new stuff out the minute he tastes them. He went from a baby who seemed to have real eating difficulties to a baby who is just picky and a few months behind. I’m even phasing out two bottles he has been only somewhat interested in and “replacing them” with solids. (I quote “replacing them” because he was only taking 2 ounces for those bottles most of the time.)

So the question is, do I keep that appointment on August 6th, just to make sure he’s where he needs to be and I shouldn’t be doing any special work with him? Or do I just cancel it and assume he’ll be fine moving forward? What would you do?

To thank you in advance for your advice, here is a picture of Monito, gnawing at his first burrito. He actually got some rice and beans in his mouth! And swallowed them! (I had to fish out a ton of tortilla though, and he was NOT happy about that.)


The P Word

Earlier this week I employed the P Word in my posts about the “breast is best” campaign. Privilege. It’s a hot button word these days–you see it everywhere. In 2013 the term “check your privilege” blew up on social media, when people started using the term to remind others where they come from, that their position in society might make it difficult for them to understand where someone else is coming from.

In December of last year, Schrodinger’s Catbox wrote a two part installment on fertility privilege that I found very fascinating, and I think anybody in the ALI community could relate to. I was also impressed with her understanding of privilege. Here is how she defines the word:

Privilege is any societal advantage you hold because your skin color, your gender, your sexual identity, your able-bodiedness, your age, your class, your education, your language, or your religion are accepted and prioritized by dominant culture. Privilege means that there are benefits you enjoy – whether consciously or unconsciously, and that part’s really important – because of something about you that society values more than something else. Frequently these are things you were born with, or into. People get very upset when it is pointed out to them that something that is not their “fault” carries implicit potential to harm and dehumanize others. This is usually the place that most folks shut down and say, “I didn’t own slaves, so I don’t know why Black people are so angry at ME”, or “Hey, things are hard for me too!” or “Some of my best friends are (fill in the disenfranchised identity blank).” It is uncomfortable to confront the ways in which we unintentionally contribute to suffering.

She goes on to itemize the privilege “she inhabits,” including being white, educated, middle-class and straight. Of course, one kind of privilege she does not enjoy is “fertility privilege,” a term she created herself to describe what it’s like to walk through the a fertile world as an infertile.

If I try to talk about the differences between my body and those of people who can reproduce, my experience is often patronized and minimized, even by thoroughly well-meaning people. I am told that someday, I might just be normal. If I just have hope. It’s like telling someone with cerebral palsy that they should just buck up and one day they’ll shake it off. Or that really there’s nothing different about me, I’m just like everyone else, which is essentially telling me that the thing that makes me different is so aberrant and intolerable that you can’t even allow yourself to see it.

I’m quoting these passages because I would venture to guess that most of the people who read this blog inhabit some forms of privilege, but that we may not realize it. My assumption is that most of my readers are educated, middle class women, who at the very least have a stable internet connection and the time to read my blatherings on a regular basis (and having the time to waste on this blog signals a significant amount of privilege in and of itself 😉 ). In fact, I assume a significant number of you inhabit most, if not all, of the privilege that I occupy. And lord knows, I enjoy an extensive amount of privilege.

Seeing that many of us are quite privileged–and probably spend a good portion of our lives taking that privilege for granted (because that is one of the tenants of privilege, that it is overlooked by the people who inhabit it)–I think it’s valuable to identify with a way in which we are not privileged. And since most, if not all of us (I’m not sure what the reproductive histories are of the many, many women who read but never comment) are part of the ALI community, we can all recognize “fertility privilege” and understand what it feels like to NOT identify with that particular advantage.

As I mentioned before, in my posts a few days ago, I referred to women who enjoy the privilege of a positive breastfeeding experience. I used the phrase in passing, to make a point, but I realized later that I didn’t examine that idea in the way that I should have, and I was especially remiss in neglecting to acknowledge my own breastfeeding privilege, of which I enjoy plenty.

I mentioned breastfeeding privilege in my previous posts because it seems like most (but definitely not all) of the women who defend the “breast is best” rhetoric have experienced success in breastfeeding (and I don’t mean specifically on my posts, but anywhere the conversation takes place). That’s not to say that many of them did not struggle significantly to get to a positive place (and I am absolutely not trying to belittle or disregard anyone’s struggle to achieve a successful breastfeeding experience), but most of them ultimately achieved a rewarding breastfeeding relationship that they enjoy, if not cherish (and at the very least appreciate). I think it’s hard to understand how damaging the “breast is best” rhetoric can be if your experience has ultimately been positive, or at least advantageous.

Of course, people could argue that I have been successful in breastfeeding, because at 4.5 months old, my son is still exclusively fed breast milk. And those people would be right. I enjoy all sorts of breastfeeding privilege. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be breastfeeding today. I have the choice to continue providing breast milk for my son, and at the foundation of that choice, is my privilege.

Here are some of the breastfeeding privileges I inhabit:

– the time and resources to work at my breastfeeding relationship with my son, and eventually exclusively pump (including almost four months of maternity leave)

– access to lactation consultants and La Leche League leaders.

– access to treatments for breastfeeding-related maladies like thrush and mastitis (including health insurance to cover my hospitalization due to mastitis and the antibiotics used to treat it)

– the education required to research and advocate for myself

– a (more than) ample milk supply

– a good quality pump

– a schedule that accommodates exclusively pumping

– the financial resources needed to purchase pump parts, nursing pads, nursing bras, and other breastfeeding accoutrements

– a husband who supported me during my breastfeeding difficulties and continues to support me in my commitment to exclusively pump

– the ability to stay off my non-breastfeeding compatible medications for an extended period of time

{I’m sure there are more that I’m forgetting, or don’t even recognize. That is the thing about privilege, it’s so easy to look past it, to not even acknowledge it’s there, informing everything about our experience.}

Yes, I enjoy a great deal of breastfeeding privilege, but there is much breastfeeding privilege that I don’t enjoy. In the end I toe the line, the razor thing line separating breastfeeding success and failure. I am able to provide breast milk for my son, but I do so at (what I deem a) great cost to myself. (I also am not able to provide breast milk in a way that is recognized as positive, or even “normal” by society). In order to feed my son breast milk: I endure constant physical pain, and discomfort; I deprive myself of medications that allow me to function in a way that feels normal; and I sacrifice huge amounts of time to pumping. Absolutely no part of my breastfeeding experience is positive, except for providing my son with breast milk. I have just enough breastfeeding privilege that it’s assumed I will continue to provide breast milk, even when doing so makes me unhappy. In the eyes of the majority of LCs and LLLs who espouse “breast is best,” my suffering is not ENOUGH to warrant me quitting. Providing my son with breast milk is more important than sparing myself physical, mental and emotional suffering.

So that is why I take issue with “breast is best.” But I understand why other women support the “breast is best” campaign and worry that studies like the one I celebrated might damage its message. And ironically, I think their concern comes down to privilege as well, but in a different way. What those women want (at least the ones who are not militant lactivists who think every woman should breast feed, no matter what challenges they face), is for as many of the privileges that are now required for women to have successful breastfeeding experiences, to not be privileges at all, but basic rights. They want adequate maternity leave, access to breastfeeding support or the assurance of space and time for pumping at work to not be privileges, but rights, rights that all women have. They want women to have the choice to breastfeed without prejudice, just like I want women to have the choice to not breastfeed without prejudice. Ultimately we want the same things, we just see them through different lenses–different lenses of privilege, in fact.

There will always be some form of privilege inherent in a successful breastfeeding experience–the privilege to have a milk supply that meets your baby’s demands, the privilege of having a baby who can learn to latch and suck productively, the privilege of not requiring medications that are unsafe while breastfeeding, the list goes on and on. But there are even more privileges that don’t need to be privileges at all. Those privileges, like access to information, support and resources, are what the “breast is best” campaign was created to break down. So while I may not support what the “breast is best” campaign has become in my area, for women like me, I will “check my privilege,” and hope that we can stop fighting with each other about which is best–breast milk or formula–and work to create a world in which not only the privileged get to choose how to best feed their kids.

Do you recognize your own privilege, and the ways in which it informs your understanding of the world?

There’s no scrapbook for that

I’m not sure if I’ve been inspired by the BAZILLIONS of bloggers in my reader feed who are participating in the Who Needs It Declutter Challenge or if I’ve just hit the wall at my own, shit-strewn house but I have decided that I’m using these final days before I go back to work to try to cull through the crap and make sure that ALL THE THINGS HAVE A PLACE because right now, it seems a good deal of them just float around on counters or the floor, never ending up at a final destination.

If I can’t find a place for something?! I will THROW THAT SHIT AWAY.

So I’m spending the precious moments when my son is asleep during the day, or when my in-laws are kind enough to take him, and tackling problem areas in my house. Today I finished Monito’s room, where I got rid of all his 0-3 month clothes, a bunch of baby blankets (seriously, we’re never going to use the 15 we ended up with–and where did they all come from?! I’ve never bought one in my life!) and other random things that just lay around without a home. I also did the three plastic junk drawers in our kitchen, which were so disgusting they had to be emptied and WASHED. Gross.

Tomorrow I’m going to tackle Osita’s room, which shouldn’t be so bad as I’ve been doing it in bits and pieces since before the baby was born.

The big one will be our room, where shit just accumulates on the floor as if by magic. I am going to be really harsh about throwing shit away in there. If I don’t have a good place to put it, OUT OF SIGHT, then it is going in the trash. I don’t care if some day I regret throwing it away. THAT SHIT NEEDS TO GO.

So as I was culling through the crap today, I came across a small folder with our infertility paperwork. There were A LOT of papers in there. More than I expected. More than I remembered. There were lab requests and lab results and SA scipts and SA results and informational packets and bills and all these pieces of paper with medical evidence suggesting we wouldn’t have another child. I remember looking at those pieces of paper, all the medically significant numbers they held, and realizing that they stated, pretty damn clearly, that our family building days were over. We couldn’t afford treatments and even if we could, with those numbers? It would be insanity to throw a couple hundred dollars at the effort, let alone tens of thousands.

Holding those papers, I felt the finality of my belief that we weren’t having another child. I could see those thoughts so clearly, I was just so sure we were done. And it was everything in that folder that convinced me.

I started at the folder for a long time and then texted Mi.Vida, asking him if I could recycle it. He quickly responded with an unceremonious, “yes.”

And with that, I walked into the kitchen and dumped the folder into the recycle bin.

Not five minutes later I came across a file with a stack of unused BBT charts. I thought Osita could draw on the backs so I threw them in with her art supplies and that’s when I realized that at the bottom of the pile were my charts from way back when I was trying for my first pregnancy, before I even joined FertilityFriend and started charting online.

Leafing through those charts really took me back. Tracing my fingers over the dark scrawls, remembering how desperately I marked every temperature, recorded every symptom, wondering WHY it wasn’t working, why I wasn’t getting pregnant. Looking at those charts now I see so many patterns that eluded me when I first started. How could I not see how short those 20 day cycles were? How did I not realize they signaled a rapidly declining ovarian reserve and future infertility?

As I glanced at each terribly short cycle, I finally came across an incredibly long one. The jagged line marched all the way across the page. When did I ever have a cycle like that? I wondered, confused. And then I realized. It was the cycle of my ectopic pregnancy. I kept taking my temperature every morning, for weeks after I got my BFP. I just wanted the reassurance that I was still pregnant, that things would be okay. I took it all the way up until the day I started cramping and bleeding–two days before I landed in the ER and found out my hard-won pregnancy was ectopic.

Staring at that BBT chart I was flooded with emotions. It was like I could feel the weight of each one of those days, so simply recorded as a tiny circle traced around a specific number, each one of those markings representing an anguished 24 hours of elation, uncertainty, and terror. I thought about the girl who circled each one of those temperatures, tentatively assuming all would be well, despite being so scared something would go wrong. Each day she made a small circle and hoped so fiercely for the best. I felt such sadness for that girl, who didn’t know what was in store, who didn’t know that her silly temperature taking could never keep the horror of losing her pregnancy at bay.

After many long moments of reliving those days, I took the BBT charts I had used and stuffed them into the recycle bin, right next to our RE folder. In so many ways, it felt wrong to throw those things away. They are tokens of a terrible, but important and transformative, time. Shouldn’t I save them, as a reminder? Except I don’t need them any more and I want, no I NEED, to get rid of everything I don’t need. There isn’t space in my life, not physically or emotionally, for stuff I’m not using. And thankfully, I don’t need BBT charts, or my infertility history, anymore. And frankly, I don’t really need the reminders.

I found those papers in a book shelf in our hall, the same book shelf that houses all our photo albums. Those papers were right above Osita’s four photo books, the memories of my college days, chronicles of vacations we’ve taken in the past. Those books are chalk full of papers, little memories folded into the scrapbooks of our lives. But there are no scrapbooks for infertility and loss. It’s not appropriate to fold the BBT chart from my lost pregnancy into Osita’s first photo book, or even the book from my successful pregnancy. That loss was separate from those happy times. It paved the way to them, but it shouldn’t be included with them. And our infertility does not define my son’s birth. That folder doesn’t have a place in his keepsake box, already brimming with cards of congratulations, the plaque from his hospital bassinet, our labor and delivery bracelets, the first onsie he wore. Again, those memories paved the way to our son, but their legacy isn’t something I want to take up space in the box where I store tokens from his life.

I chose to throw away those pieces of paper but I know I can never throw away the memories they provoke. And I wouldn’t want to even if I could. I wish I could say that throwing them away were symbolic, that I felt lighter after doing it, but I didn’t. Those dark places are still there, in my heart, and dumping some papers can never lighten that load.

But it can get a bunch of paperwork out of my book shelf.

What do you do with the keepsakes of your pain? Do you keep them or throw them away?

Not a good friend

So it turns out I might not be a good friend.

I’m not really sure at this point. I’m looking into it. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I might not be a good friend.

I’ve suspected it for a while now.

Actually, what I suspect is that I might not be an easy person to be friends with. I might have high expectations. They might be so high as to fall beyond a normal mortal’s reach. I might expect people to understand things they could never understand, to know what to say in situations where words just can’t help, to support me when I’m not even sure what that support should look like.

I used to consider myself a good friend. I felt I was “there” for people and I really appreciated when people were “there” for me. I was appreciative of my friends and I always, always apologized when I fucked shit up. I thought I was a good friend and I believed I had good friends.

And then, one by one, my friends fell by the wayside. Actually, I pushed them by wayside, because… well because of a lot of things, most of which I have a hard time articulating. I suppose it came down to expecting something, feeling hurt and disappointed when that something wasn’t offered, and finally, refusing to make myself vulnerable by expecting anything from them ever again. When you don’t expect anything from people, it’s hard to define their relationship with you.

Of course there were things that came between me and my friends, things that made it harder for me to give what needed to be given. Things that made me need more than most people were willing, or able, to give. First it was depression, which pushed a wedge between some friends and tore gaping holes between myself and others. When my best friend from high school was unable to understand my depression, and ended up saying the absolute wrong thing, I showed her the door (literally) and never opened it for her again. We never really talked again after that.

Once my depression was under control it was infertility and loss that started to come between me and my friends. After my ectopic, my friends never seemed to know what to say and I didn’t feel they were there for me in the ways I had hoped for. I told them about this blog, in hopes that they could better understand what I was going through. I ended up regretting that invitation very much, as first my friends took offense to things I wrote and later I took offense to their responses to my posts. At this point I’ve asked them to promise me that they won’t read my blog anymore and I believe they have kept that promise. At the very least I know that they can’t bring anything up to me without admitting they read it when they assured me they wouldn’t.

Yes, when my friends weren’t there for me in the ways I wanted–and needed–them to be, I pulled away. It just hurt too much to want a certain kind of support from a friend and find it completely lacking, so I decided that I would stop wanting anything from them at all. Except when you don’t have any expectations of someone, it’s hard to invest in them. The friendship becomes futile.

Lately though, I’ve been put into positions with some of these same friends, where they’ve needed support and I’ve found myself unsure of how to give it to them. Recently a friend had a really bad blow at work; she has worked for a politician for over ten years and said politician had run for a big office and not only did this politician lose but lost by a landslide and I knew my friend would just be devastated (as she would be losing her job) and I wanted to reach out to her and I didn’t really know what to say. So I called and I tried to reach out and there were so many points in the conversation where it was clear that I was saying the completely wrong thing and I felt so bad because I knew I was bungling it all up, and I started to kind of shut down because I didn’t want to mess up even more. Since then I’ve wanted to ask her how she feels about all of it, kind of check in on her, but I’ve been too scared to say anything because I don’t know if she wants me to, so I just wait and hope she’ll say something first and assume that if she doesn’t that means she doesn’t want to talk about it.

And then I was thinking that maybe that is exactly how my friends felt after my ectopic, or during my struggles with secondary infertility. Maybe they didn’t bring it up because they didn’t want to bungle things, or didn’t know if I wanted to talk about it, so they just didn’t say anything at all, expecting that I’d bring it up if I needed to. Except I never did bring it up, either because I was also worried they’d say the wrong thing (and make me feel worse) or I thought they didn’t want to hear me talk about it any more. It was a really eye opening for me and it made me wonder if I’d been pushing my friends away for the wrong reasons, if I’d been holding them to standards that I myself couldn’t live up to when the tables were turned.

In the past years I’ve met some new friends I’m desperate for these relationships not to implode like the other ones have. I’m hoping that I’ve learned from past friendship failures so that I can make different decisions this time around. If there are every misunderstandings or hurt feelings I’m trying to invest MORE into a friendship instead of stepping away from it. It’s hard to make myself even more vulnerable if some part of me feels threatened, but I’m starting to see that stepping away to protect myself is what leads to the eventual destruction of my friendships.

At the same time, I sometimes wonder, how am I supposed to know when to hold my friends to my expectations and when am I supposed to let things slide? I guess I have to take things one issue at a time, feeling out each situation and deciding how to handle it. When I’m not sure what to do I’m trying to sit with my uncertainty, to not respond rashly in a way I might regret. I figure that I should put some time between myself and a situation that I’m unsure of, I can better determine how to proceed.

I have to admit, it’s been difficult to realize that maybe my faltering friendships are my fault. While I know that stepping away from some friends was the best thing for me at the time, I wonder if I was too quick to leave other relationships by the wayside. At this point I know there is no point in regretting the choices I’ve made, I just want to make sure I learn from my mistakes so that my current and future friendships don’t share the same fate.

I want to be a good friend and it’s alarming to realize I might not know how to do that. I hope at 33, I’m not too old to figure this shit out.

How do you determine what to expect of your friends? Have you ever felt that maybe you’ve expected more from a friend than they were able to give?

Archival Perspective

This is my 1200th post, so I suppose it’s fitting that it is basically a tribute to this blog, and the perspective it affords me.

I was recently reading through my December 2012 posts, trying to figure out exactly where we were in our secondary infertility journey at this point last year, when I came across this post about how hard the “terrible twos” were treating us. It’s not that I forgot any of the specific challenges that we faced, but I think I did forget how their cumulative effect was wearing me down to the point of absolute defeat.

When I write about how hard this transition is for Osita, I forget how much harder last year was, in general. Maybe some of what Osita is going through right now is not entirely related to the arrival of her brother. I mean I’m sure some, if not most, of it is about becoming a sibling, but it’s also possible that some of the issues she’s having is just about being three.

Reading this post, I’m actually very thankful that it took us as long as it did to get pregnant and have a second child. When I think of how difficult it would have been to parent a baby while dealing with my daughter last year I shudder. I also probably would have thought that all her issues then were about becoming a sibling when in reality, just being two years old was pretty rough for her, and us. I’m so glad I never have to worry that all the hitting and self-harm was not about being a big sister at all.

I’m also glad that I wasn’t holding a baby when she was doing it.

This Too Shall Pass

What they say is true. Having a second child is both easier and harder than having a first. The baby stuff is easier. It’s not all new; you know what you’re doing (or you eventually remember). I’ve been very lucky because Monito’s disposition is very similar to Osita’s. He doesn’t sleep as long but he’s pretty chill and he breastfeeds very quickly. Mothering him is not so different from mothering Osita, so I usually feel like I know what to expect. That makes it seem pretty easy.

Of course it’s actually much harder because mothering a newborn is only a small part of my responsibilities. In fact, the mothering a newborn part takes a backseat to mothering a preschooler, most of the time. What is really difficult is manage both, especially when I’m alone. A preschooler’s needs are always contrasting with a newborn’s; if I’m doing something for one of them, I can’t be doing much for the other. There is a lot more crying than there was with one kid.

And yet, that has it’s benefits as well. You know how a lot of people claim that second babies are more “chill” than first babies? I think a lot of that is because they have to be. For example, sometimes I HAVE to put Monito down in a chair so I can deal with his sister. A lot of times he eventually gets fussy, but I can’t get to him and have to let him fuss or cry for a bit while I deal with Osita’s needs. 90% of the time, he stops before I’m able to get to him; usually he just goes to sleep. If he were my first child I’d have picked him up long before he’d be able to fall asleep. I’ve even started putting him down on purpose when he’s drowsy and the majority of the time he falls asleep then too. Part of being able to do that is I’m more in tune with his cues because I’m better at recognizing and reading them, and part of it is most of the time I just can’t rock him down like I would have with a first child. I’m also way less inclined to pick him up at the first sound of fussing. He does a lot of “sleep fussing” (as we call it) and I never pick him up unless his eyes are open and it escalates to crying. As a first time mom I’d never have had that kind of patience, but this time around I know every sound doesn’t warrant a response. And sometimes, when I think it does warrant a response, I can’t do anything about it anyway. It’s clear he’s going to teach himself self-soothing way before his sister ever did. So yeah, he will seem a lot more “chill” than Osita was, but that may be more born out of necessity than his actual disposition (although I’m sure some second babies wouldn’t self soothe in the ways he does and I KNOW I’m very lucky that he’s willing and able to do that).

So yeah, parenting two kids feels infinitely harder than parenting one ever felt, and yet dealing with my newborn feels a lot easier. I think what helps the most is knowing that whatever is hard won’t be hard forever. The first three and a half years of parenting definitely taught me that in a big way. And while people can TELL you that is the case, and you may understand it in your head, there is something about LIVING it that helps you really believe it. Dealing with thrush this time around has been super annoying and painful, yes, but I’ve also dealt with it a lot better because (a) I know what to expect and (b) I know that eventually it will go away. I know that this too shall pass, and while there have been times that I’ve broken down in exhausted panic and cried because it hurts so bad or it just plain sucks, most of the time I just end up sighing and reminding myself that it will get better some day, even if I can’t imagine it right now.

As you know our whole household has been sick, A LOT, since baby boy came home. Mi.Vida has had this horrible hacking cough for weeks and Osita has had it even longer. I finally got it this weekend but mine seems to be a less virulent strain (or my immune system is better–and after ten years of teaching I tend to believe that is the case). Mi.Vida is starting to get really down about his cough, it’s driving him crazy, giving him headaches and just making him all around miserable. On the phone today he kept repeating, “I’m going to be sick like this forever. It’s never going to go away.” I tried to remind him that this too shall pass, just like my shitty thrush would go away, just like the last month of my pregnancy finally came to an end, just like horrible things usually do get better over time. He didn’t seem very convinced, but I was surprised by how convinced *I* was of my own words. I guess I really have learned something in these past 3.5 years of being a mother.

What Marriage Means

Mi.Vida and I have been hashing out what we plan to do about our wedding in January. I would like to invite about 30 or so people, all friends that live close by, while he wants to stick with our original plan of just the immediate family.

This conversation has me thinking a lot about marriage and weddings and what they mean to me. I think that maybe our contrasting preferences concerning the wedding have their roots in the different ways we view marriage as it relates specifically to us as a couple.

Mi.Vida has told me that for him, getting married is all about the legal protections the institution provides us. He doesn’t feel it adds anything to our relationship or our commitment to each other. I don’t believe that means he doesn’t love me, I just think that marriage does not, in any way, solidify that love in his eyes. His commitment to me is just as strong whether we have a marriage license or not.

I absolutely respect Mi.Vida’s feelings about marriage; I don’t think it would make much sense for me to get all upset about it when I was willing to forgo marriage before we had children in order to stand up for other beliefs we held. And honestly, my brain agrees with him. I don’t see how getting married will bring us any closer. What we’ve been through in the past four years–the frustration of failed TTC attempts, our ectopic pregnancy, the birth of our daughter, the transition to parenthood and our secondary infertility–does a lot more to prove our commitment to each other than signing a marriage license ever could. I also believe having children with someone is as big a step toward commitment as marriage, especially since children require you to stay in each other’s lives no matter what happens.

So it’s not like I believe our relationship requires the commitment of marriage to remain strong. I guess I just think this is a good opportunity to re-commit to each other in a deliberate way, especially at the end of such a difficult time in our lives. If this baby boy arrives safely, we’ll have the massive hurdle of family building behind us and the very real challenges of parenting two young children ahead. I would love for our wedding to be a celebration of what we’ve accomplished and a reminder that we have the strength to not only survive, but thrive, no matter what lies ahead.

As an extrovert, I also love the idea of sharing all of this with our loved ones. I want to stand in front of our family and friends and recognize where we’ve been and where we’re going, to declare our love and commitment for each other. It’s not that I feel we need witnesses to make it official, but I think it would be nice to include them.

We do plan to have a party this summer and it will be then that we invite ALL our friends and family from around the country. I know that no matter what we decide for January I will eventually embrace it. And I actually appreciate that our divergent desires on this have forced me to really figure out how I feel about my own marriage and wedding. If we easily agreed on what to do I might not even recognize why I wanted to do it. Now, at least I know, and I think that will help me to accept whatever ceremony we end up choosing.

Was your wedding a reflection of you felt about marriage? Do you think it would it mean the same thing if you had waited as long as we have?