Head F*ck

I sat in the chair in the hallway, leg vibrating, eyes shifting nervously. I turned on my phone and entered the passcode clumsily, messing up on the first try. I loaded my reader but there were no new posts. I scrolled quickly through my FB feed but there was nothing I hadn’t already seen. I checked my email but there were no unread messages. I finally went into my Photos and just scrolled through a set of shots I took that morning, my son smiling back at me in thirty almost identical ways.

One minute. Two minutes.

I put down my phone and stretched my neck. It cracked loudly on one side and then another. I rummaged through my purse, not looking for anything really, just trying to kill time.

This is silly, I thought. Why are you so afraid? You only asked to put your mind at ease, but you already know the answer.

But what if that is not the answer? What if?

The nurse swung around the corner and smiled. The test is negative.

I take a breath, a gasp really, and put my phone back in my purse. As I stand up to leave I realize my heart is pounding.

Thank god it’s negative. I repeat over and over again. I shove my hands in my sweatshirt pocket to keep them from shaking.

*  *  *  *  *

The Thursday before we left for St. Louis I felt really bloated, crampy and emotional and I realized my period had been due earlier that week. When I say due I mean, it had been 24 days since the first day of my last period and my cycles are generally 20 days long. With the bloating and cramping, I was sure my period would come the next day. It didn’t. Eventually I lost the bloat and stopped feeling crampy and my period still didn’t show. On Friday night I tore the scar tissue from my first labor, creating an open wound. I made an appointment for Monday morning, just hours before our flight boarded.

I was super busy all weekend packing for our trip, but I was constantly aware of the fact that period still hadn’t shown. By Monday morning it was CD27. I almost never have cycles that long without changing my diet, adding supplements and getting weekly acupuncture treatments. Still, this was only my third postpartum cycle, plus I’d been on the stressful trip to Disneyland right around when I would have ovulated, so there were two likely, non pregnancy-related reasons my period was late.

We had also been very careful that month, just like we always are. We had used protection the two measly times we had had sex. There really was no way I could be pregnant. And yet, that is exactly how I felt the month we got pregnant with Monito. After that random week of BCPs messing up my cycle, I wasn’t even sure I ovulated that month, and if I had it had happened FOUR DAYS after we had sex. I was sure I wasn’t pregnant that month, but then I was. Now, again, the uncertainty weighed on me.

I haven’t really written about it here but I am so thankful for that “surprise” BFP. That was always a dream of mine, to get a surprise positive pregnancy test, but since we never had unprotected sex when we weren’t officially trying, there was no possibility of that. In the months while we were trying for a second child a substantial (it felt to me) number of IF bloggers I read announced surprise BFPs and each one was like a sucker punch to the stomach. I wanted that so badly and I knew I would never have it. We would ALWAYS be trying until we got pregnant and we’d never leave a third child up to chance. I had missed out on something that seemed so incredibly magical.

But then I did get to experience that, in a way, because we hadn’t really been trying that month and I really didn’t think there was any way I could be pregnant, and then I was. And it was amazing. And I’m so grateful I got to have that experience, of getting pregnant against all odds, when I we hadn’t had timed sex and I hadn’t been tracking symptoms throughout the 2WW. I was just waiting for my period to come so we could finally start trying again after our shitty diagnoses and my HSG. I never in a million years thought we might be pregnant.

That surprise pregnancy was a gift, one I never took for granted. But now I realize it also instilled something else in me: the thought that I might get pregnant even when it seems impossible to me. I can’t tell you what a head fuck that is, after years of perfectly timed sex NOT resulting in a pregnancy, to be worried that protected sex might somehow result in a pregnancy. It feels like a cruel joke.

It’s also a head fuck to not want to be pregnant. Especially since *I* would like to be pregnant, but I know my partner would not. We’ve had some painfully difficult conversations about having a third child. The “A” word came up and it’s clear that our differences of opinions on what we’d want to do if I did end up pregnant again could lead to the end of our marriage. Every time I wonder if I might be pregnant I’m faced with the reality that another child, one I would whole heartedly welcome into the world, could destroy my relationship. I am reminded that my husband and I feel so differently about this that we probably couldn’t find a common ground. It sucks to have that possibility invading my thoughts.

That is why my heart was racing and my hands were shaking, not because I was so relieved not to be pregnant, but because I was so relieved not to have to face that reality. I was so relieved that I didn’t have to have that heartbreaking conversation with my husband, the conversation that might dismantle our life together.

I hate living this way. I hate that there is a chance and that I have to fear it. I hate that my body is just fucked up enough to make late periods a probability, but not common enough that I can shrug them off. I hate that our diagnoses make it almost impossible for us to get pregnant, but that there is always a chance, no matter how small. I hate that I’ve never gotten pregnant without drastically overhauling my diet, taking tuck loads of supplements and getting acupuncture for months, and yet I’ll always assume that it might happen, that anything is possible.

I picked up a brochure for the copper IUD at the doctor’s office that Monday. Mi.Vida is planning on getting a vasectomy but I doubt it will happen any time soon. I don’t really want it too, to be honest. The finality of it scares me, it shuts a door that I’m not ready to be closed. In the meantime I might get an IUD. My NP suggested Mirena, since my cycles are so short, but I hate the idea of putting hormones into my system when there is another way. I’m going to research both options and I’ll probably give one of them a try.

Getting an IUD feels like putting a bandaid over a gaping wound, but it’s a step in the right direction, or it’s a step in some direction anyway. And I need a direction right now, because I can’t stand being in this place, where my current mindset seems to disrespect our past struggle. I can’t stand not wanting to be pregnant, when that’s not really how I feel. I can’t stand holding my breath and hoping the test comes back negative when I prayed for a positive for all those years. It’s just too much of a head fuck and I don’t want to deal with it. So I need to create a world in where I know it’s not an issue, and hopefully later I’ll be more prepared for the finality of actually letting go.

{In case you’re wondering, my period finally showed the following Thursday, on CD31. Took long enough.}

What are your current or future “birth control” plans? Do you think it will be hard/is it hard to be in a place that is so different from actively trying? Are you and your partner on the same page about when your family will be complete?

My “Great” Relationship

Evidently I have a great relationship.

I don’t recognize it as such because I’ve never been in any other relationship, so I don’t realize how good I’ve got it.

This is what my therapist hypothesized yesterday, at the conclusion of our hour-long session.

I am willing to entertain this hypothesis because she’s right, I’ve never been in another relationship and it’s entirely possible that I DON’T realize how good I have it, because I don’t know what a truly “bad” relationship looks like. I don’t even know what a decent relationship that eventually won’t work out looks like.

Not having been in another seriously, long-term relationship is one of the great regrets of my life. I worry it will cause me lasting unhappiness.

Here’s the thing. I know, on an intellectual level, that Mi.Vida love me. He is clearly committed to our family and marriage. He has grown immensely over the past six years, and has finally arrived a place where he participates willingly (and with minimal complaining), in all the many aspects of our family life. The truth is, he has a better attitude about all his responsibilities as a father now that we have two kids (and he has more to do both with the kids and around the house and less free time to enjoy) than he did before when he had significantly fewer responsibilities. I didn’t really believe he’d ever get to a place where he handles the mornings with Osita without dumping the resulting stress on to me, or that he’d take ownership of dishes duty and general kitchen clean up (every night, always) without me ever asking or even suggesting it. And while he does sometimes get stressed, and walks around emitting his toxic stress waves all over the house, he never lets his “woe-is-me” sigh pass his lips when he feels put upon, he just gets up and gets it done.

These are all huge, MASSIVE improvements and they help me to feel more confident in our relationship than I have in a long, long time. I have other reasons to feel confident in our relationship. My therapist (who has met Mi.Vida in the ten or so sessions we’ve had with her over the past five years) enumerated the evidence I have that Mi.Vida loves me and is committed to our marriage:

1. He has gotten a better paying job to provide for his family.

2. He helps around the house and has a good attitude while doing it.

3. He is a great dad and is loving and affectionate toward his kids.

4. He enjoys sex and has no trouble “preforming.”

5. He talks to me.

6. He exudes love for me.

She says numbers 3-5 are especially important because men who are unhappy in their relationships have a hard time being involved fathers, performing consistently during sex and talking to their spouses. She mentioned that whenever she saw us, before and after our sessions with her, we were always talking to each other. She says that most couples who come to see her just sit in the waiting room silently and rarely utter a word to each other. It’s true that we rarely have that problem…

So there are all the reasons I should KNOW that my husband loves me and that our relationship is strong. So why do I doubt it? Why do I worry that we won’t make it in the long run? Why don’t I feel as loved as that list demonstrates I should be?

I honestly think it comes down to the fact that Mi.Vida just doesn’t touch me. He so rarely shows me love or affection with his touch. He almost never initiates hugs or kisses, let alone snuggles me. And when he does cuddle me, it quickly becomes clear that he’d like it to evolve into something else. Most of the time I’m waiting for it to become something else, so I can’t even enjoy it. I just want to lie in bed next to him without having to have sex three minutes later. Is that so much to ask?

Physical touch is my love language. Mi.Vida grew up in a family that does not hug much, if at all. It’s just not something that he does. I’ve mentioned it SO MANY TIMES, told him that I NEED him to hug me, but he just doesn’t do it. He may try for a few days, but it never lasts, and eventually I’m left feeling like he doesn’t love me.

It might seem crazy, that I could doubt that my husband loves me when there is all that evidence enumerated in the list up there, but truly, without physical touch it’s like I can’t register any of it. As far as I’m concerned we’re partners or co-parents, but not husband and wife. And honestly, I worry that if this keeps up some day I’ll meet a man who does show me physical affection and I’ll be so drawn to it that I’ll do something I’ll regret. I can’t believe I’m writing that, but it’s true.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I feel like I’ve had this conversation with Mi.Vida so many times and nothing changes. I don’t know how many different ways I can say it. I don’t know how I can make him understand. I’m sure he thinks that he is doing PLENTY to show me how much he loves me, and while I can rationally see where he’s coming from, emotionally it just doesn’t register at all. I can’t help that I don’t FEEL like he loves me, even if I KNOW that he does.

It’s funny because my therapist said that it’s clear Mi.Vida “exudes” love for me. Another friend has used that exact same phrase, “exudes love,” when describing how he acts toward me. I’m assuming it’s true, because they are both intelligent women who know me well and have witnessed Mi.Vida during important moments in our relationship and yet, both times I was shocked that they said that because honestly? I don’t feel that love being exuded at all.

I don’t know. I feel like something is wrong with me. I feel like this is all my fault. I worry that I don’t realize what I have because I’ve never been in a relationship before. I want to retrain myself to register all the things Mi.Vida does to show me how much he loves me, but I just don’t know how. It’s like rewiring my brain… I’m not sure it can be done.

And I’m not sure his can be rewired to take a moment every day to really stop and hug me.

If neither of us can change, what will become of us? He doesn’t seem to be able to show me love in the way I understand it, and I can’t seem to register love in the way he shows it. Are we doomed to a mediocre marriage? Will we eventually get divorced? Why is intimacy so hard?

How do you know that your partner loves you? Do you feel your past relationships are important in helping you recognize what is good about your marriage/relationship now?

Loves You Madly

This floor has a lean
It gives to the side,
Where marbles and water
Roll and collide.
In the fashion of something
You think couldn’t fall,
The floor tricks your step,
Throws you to the wall,
Loves you madly
So madly
Madly 
Loves you madly

— “Loves you Madly,” Joe Henry, Tiny Voices

There was something else about the book What Alice Forgot that really struck me and made me think, and that how madly in love with her husband she was. A recurring narrative in the book is her disbelief that she and her husband are getting a divorce, because they had been so “besotted” with each other at the start of their marriage.

One of the first things I thought while reading the book was: I wouldn’t be all that surprised if I found out that Mi.Vida and I were getting divorced. That might seem horrible to say, but it’s true. I’m a realist (or at least that is how I see it) about marriage and my relationship. I have seen incredible, strong, mutually loving relationships broken or worn down over time. I don’t just automatically assume mine will withstand the trials of parenting and long term commitment better than others have. I hope it will, but I know that things happen and marriages fail.

Having said that I’m willing to work hard for my marriage. I already have worked hard for it, and I believe we’ve come out of the last seven difficult years of disagreement, loss, struggle, transformation, more struggle and parenting stronger for all we’ve been through. We’ve been to the brink a few times, and we needed professional help to step away from it twice, but we’ve remained committed to each other. I think we have as much chance as any other couple to make it for the long haul.

And yet… I wouldn’t say we’re madly in love. I don’t think we’ve ever been madly in love. Is that an awful thing to say? Or is it awful that I married someone I wasn’t madly in love with?

I love my husband, please know that. I absolutely love him with all my heart. We’ve been through so much and I know he loves me and cares for me greatly. He respects me, he appreciates me, I would even say he cherishes me. And I do the same to him. But do we adore each other? Are we besotted? (That is a word that is specifically used in the book.)

I spent my late teen years and the first half of my twenties looking for a relationship, or rather, wondering why I couldn’t find a relationship. So when Mi.Vida showed some interest in me, I was quick to invest myself fully in the possibility of a meaningful connection. I loved him, absolutely, but I wasn’t madly in love with him. I had never been in another relationship so I made a lot of assumptions, about whether we were right for each other, and whether we loved each other enough.

I wanted us to be right for each other, I wanted us to love each other enough, because I was approaching my late twenties and more than anything (even more than a good marriage) I wanted children, and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to have them. So I pushed. I pushed for us to commit to each other. I pushed for us to have children. We never had that honeymoon period where it was just us, committing to being with each other and our relationship. We dove head first into making it about adding someone else to our family.

We committed to each other by having children, or trying to. I will admit, it’s not the best way to do it (having said that I’m really glad we did because with MFI and DOR (at 33) we probably would have struggled a lot harder to have kids had we waited) and I think our relationship suffered for it (the loss and struggle didn’t help). The last few years have been hard, and while I think it has strengthened our commitment to each other, I don’t know what it’s done for the “love” we feel for each other.

So I wonder a lot, do we actually love each other enough? I think we do, but it’s hard to know. I think one thing that stands in our way is that we both express love, and feel love, in different ways. In fact, the way I need him to show me love is one of the things he’s least good at, and the way he needs me to show love is one of the things I’m least good at. It’s like we have to fight an uphill battle just to make sure the other person knows we love them.

My “love language” is physical touch but Mi.Vida didn’t grow up hugging much. He rarely touches me physically unless he “wants something” from me (or, even if he’s trying to simply show me physical affection, he ends up wanting something from me). This drives me crazy, because even when he does hug me or cuddle me I’m always waiting for him to take it to the next level. It’s like his love comes at a price.

Mi.Vida’s “love language” is quality time, which I’m crappy at because of my ADD. Sitting through a movie (especially some of the weird, independent films he picks) is a real challenge for me. I want to be folding laundry or doing SOMETHING while we sit there for two hours (at least most of the time). It’s hard for me to just sit still and watch something.

We’re trying to get better at these things. Mi.Vida is working on just lying next to me and holding me, without trying to take it to the next level. I asked if we could not watch TV while we eat but actually talk to each other and that has been really nice. The funny thing is, when we both get that from each other, we have the capacity to take it to the next level more, which means more sex and feeling closer as a couple. There is a way to make it work, but it takes, well, work.

I guess I assume that if we were madly in love with each other we wouldn’t have to work so hard, we would just know, organically, how much we loved each other. Or maybe after you have kids that mad love has to tone down its intensity, and eventually requires work? I honestly don’t know, I’ve never felt it before. I suppose I’m banking on the idea that while mad love might fizzle out, the slow steady burn of our love could stay lit for a long time, especially if we keep stoking it.

Have you ever been madly in love with anyone? Are you madly in love with the person you ended up? Do you think mad love has a greater, or lesser, chance of lasting?

The Non-Fight Fight

I was in the middle of a post tonight when Mi.Vida and I got into a… fight? I’m not even sure what it was. Voices were not raised. Anger was not expressed. And yet I walked away from it emotionally exhausted. Of course I was already exhausted to begin with, which is probably why it never evolved into a real fight.

Sometimes we’re too tired even to fight. And those are the times I really worry about.

Our little… discussion, was about television. Such a dumb thing to “fight” over and yet, it’s basically the only thing we share outside of our children anymore. As such, it’s actually really important. So when we’re feeling like we can’t find any common ground when it comes to TV/movie watching, (and my inability to sit still and watch a whole movie starts pushing a wedge between us), it’s actually big, important stuff. I mean, if we can’t hang out in front of the TV effectively, we’re pretty much fucked.

This weekend was hard. Monito isn’t sleeping well because he has cold. Osita has the same cold and is an emotional mess because of it. Mi.Vida and I are exhausted from the lack of sleep and the constant attention our kids require. We muddled through the weekend, and did a pretty decent job of it. I even patted us on the back during dinner Sunday night for not going after each other despite so many opportunities to do so.

Maybe that is why we imploded over television, because we couldn’t keep all that tension bottled up any longer.

I don’t know. It just sucked. Sometimes I hate those cold, rational fights more than the big blow ups. There is something in the deliberate, calculated nature of them that makes me feel hopeless. If we can’t even conjure the energy to get passionate about the things that are important to us, is there anything left between us?

Or maybe we’re just better at fighting, and so we don’t lose control. On the one hand, I appreciate not regretting anything I said or did, the tone in my voice, etc. On the other hand, I feel more depressed after the cold fights than I do the firery ones. Maybe they just take some getting used to.

One thing I was proud of was recognizing when my own shame was rising up, making me want to say things I would have regretted. The fact that I can’t sit still for an entire movie, and that I struggle to follow even one hours TV programs that I want to be watching, is definitely a cause of shame for me. But I recognized that even before Mi.Vida brought it up (I knew he’d mention it, he always does) and I kept myself from jumping on him in an attempt to hide my shame. I guess in that way, the fight was a success.

Anyway, I’m sure we’re just tired, and eventually it will be okay. Life with two kids can be really hard, and some days are more challenging than others.

I just hope we get some decent sleep tonight. It’s going to be a long week at work, I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

Do you find you and your partner having “cold” fights? Do you prefer them to the more heated blow ups?

Conscious Uncoupling

I will admit to not following Gwyneth Paltrow, or her brand Goop, enough to hate her, but I will also admit to clicking on quite a few articles about her recent “conscious uncoupling.” As a linguistics major, I find semantics and word choice really fascinating, and I was very interested in the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow seemed to have invented a new phrase to stand in the place of “divorce”; clearly she wants to change the way she, and others, view the dissolution of her marriage.

I don’t begrudge her that, nor do I begrudge her request for privacy during what must be a difficult (even if it is conscious) time. I do smirk a little at the whole thing. The phrase itself, the announcement on her website, with the airy, sunlight photograph below said announcement, the bazillions of articles that have been written about it. I get what she is trying to do. And I get why so many people hate it (hate her for it?). Mostly I just found the whole thing mildly amusing–not thought-provoking, just a diversion.

That is, until I read the actual article about conscious uncoupling on her website. Under the announcement, if you scroll past the beautiful photograph, there is an piece (with a significant word count) in which two doctors give us a little lesson in human history and social science, explaining what conscious uncoupling is, and can be.

The article explains that our definition of marriage as “until death do us part,” is antiquated. They argue that until 100 years ago, our lifespans were halved; being married to one person until you’re 47 is one thing, sticking with one person until you’re 78 is quite another.

During the upper Paleolithic period of human history (roughly 50,000BC to 10,000BC) the average human life expectancy at birth was 33.[i] By 1900, U.S. life expectancy was only 46 for men, and 48 for women. Today, it’s 76 and 81 respectively.[ii] During the 52,000 years between our Paleolithic ancestors and the dawn of the 20th Century, life expectancy rose just 15 years. In the last 114 years, it’s increased by 43 years for men, and 48 years for women.

I will admit, I found the statistics rather shocking. I knew our longevity was greatly increased, but I don’t think I realized by how much, or how quickly. As I read the rest of the piece–getting significantly lost during the long winded bit about giant insects and exoskeletons–I wondered quietly if they had a point. Is it asking too much that we stay married to the same people for 30, 40, even 50 years? If so, what does that mean for the institution of marriage?

I’m somewhat ashamed to say it, but I didn’t get married this past January assuming that my partner and I would make it for the long haul. My commitment to him was to do my best to nurture our relationship. I would love for us to be happy together for the rest of our days, but I don’t presume that will be the case. I could see us growing apart, succumbing to “irreconcilable differences.” And I don’t really think I’d see our marriage as a failure if it ended some day.

And that is really the whole point of the article, and the idea behind “conscious uncoupling.” If you view your divorce as a failing (on your part, or your partner’s), you come to the dissolution of your marriage with shame, anger and resentment. All this negativity will make it hard for you to stay present and make the best choices for yourself and your family. But if you don’t view your divorce as a failure, if you accept that humans were not meant to spend the entirety of their now long lives committed to just one person, you can learn from your partner (and teach them in turn) and you can come out of the process of “uncoupling” more whole than you were to begin with.

I’m not saying I agree with all this, but I find it interesting. I want to think more about it. I want to consider the possible implications. The article suggests that changing the way we think of marriage could be renewing, and maybe it could be, if we thought about it in the right way.

The idea of being married to one person for life is too much pressure for anyone. In fact, it would be interesting to see how much easier couples might commit to each other by thinking of their relationship in terms of daily renewal instead of a lifetime investment. This is probably the reason why so many people say their long-term relationships changed overnight, once they got married. The people didn’t change, but the expectation did.

I don’t think my expectations changed much when I got married. I’ve always been a realistic person. Some might say, pessimistic. When such a large number of marriages end in divorce, I don’t presume to be half of a more perfect union than so many others. I do like that idea of a “daily renewal,” and might try to think about my own marriage that way. Lord knows that the weight of “forever after” can feel crushing at times.

Honestly… I have a hard time writing about my marriage. I believe the parameters of socially acceptable discourse on marriage is narrow: We are invited to speak glowingly of our partners, and simultaneously encouraged to vent about the ways in which they frustrate, or even disappoint us, but anything veering outside of those two topics is frowned upon.

There are times when I wonder how much I love my husband, if it’s “as much” as other women love theirs, or if it’s “enough” to keep us together for the long haul. I have never been in another relationship, so I have nothing to judge my love for him against. I know that I love him, but I also know that it’s not the kind of mad love that is written about in books or portrayed in movies. Does that kind of love exist? I’m assuming so, or it wouldn’t be the subject of so much of popular culture. That’s not to say I believe everyone experiences it, or even believes themselves to. I guess I’m just not sure of what I’m experiencing, and that makes me wonder where we’ll end up.

The only thing I am sure of is my commitment to my husband. I may not know how to quantify or qualify my love for him, but my commitment to making a life with him is very, very strong. I’m nothing if not committed (some may even consider me stubborn) and I have every faith in my desire to make our family work. I hope we’re together, and happy, for as long as we can be, as much for my children’s sake as for my own.

I guess only time will tell if conscious uncoupling is in our future, and if it is, whether or not I’ll use that term.

What are your thoughts on “conscious uncoupling?” What do you think about society’s view that marriage should be a lifelong commitment? 

Final Steps

My son is 12 weeks old today. It’s not lost on me, how fast he’s growing up, how quickly this time is flying by. I want to linger at every milestone, I want to savor every moment of his baby-ness, because I know I’ll never get this again.

I think about it a lot, the fact that Monito is my last child. Most of the time I’m okay with it, I feel a lot of peace about the fact that we won’t be having more children. The fact of the matter is that we probably wouldn’t have had another child anyway, even if our secondary infertility didn’t made it impossible. I wanted a third child but Mi.Vida never did and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to win that argument. I have written before that I’m actually thankful for the fact that our secondary infertility helped us avoid a situation that might have been fraught with anger and resentment, and I still feel that way. Mostly I’m just so thankful that we were able to have a second child at all, I’m able to stay in that place and not feel too sad about the fact that we’re done building our family.

And with two kids kicking our asses so thoroughly, the pragmatic part of me doesn’t even want to consider what having a third child would entail.

All that is to say that most of the time I feel really at peace with the fact that our family building journey has ended. I’m incredibly thankful that we ended up with two children; I was so far down the road to accepting we’d probably not have a second child that a part of me still can’t really believe we have a son at all.

Of course, my son is only three months old. I don’t really know how I’ll feel when he’s one or two and families we know (or bloggers I follow) with two children start having their thirds. I’m sure when that happens I’ll have second thoughts, feel regret, wish it were at least an option for us to consider. But it’s not. I’ll be 35 before we could even consider having a third kid, and if my diminished ovarian reserve was an issue at 33, it will be even worse once I hit advanced maternal age. Really what it boils down to is I don’t have it in me. I don’t have it in me to fight for a third child. Maybe, if I magically got Mi.Vida on board, we could make it happen, but I don’t think I’d have the resolve to push us down that path.

So it’s over. We’re done. And we need to think about birth control. I hate being on the pill, or any kind of hormone therapy, and Mi.Vida respects that. I’m not really interested in an IUD and we both aren’t big fans of condoms. So now we have to decide, who is going to take the plunge. Who is going to go in and guarantee that we’ll never get pregnant again.

It will most probably be Mi.Vida. He’s actually really keen on doing it. The thought of never having to think about getting pregnant again is a huge relief to him. I can’t really blame him. Even when we were trying to get pregnant, the whole ordeal was fraught with pain and loss and misery. And if we were to get pregnant again it would probably drive a deep wedge between us. So taking definitive steps to ensure we don’t have anymore kids makes a lot of sense (though it seems so strange to have to take definitive measures–if we couldn’t get pregnant when we want to, why would get pregnant now that we don’t?!).

And yet it’s hard for me. The finality of it. Knowing after that, we REALLY won’t ever have another baby. There is a part of me that loves the idea of just having unprotected sex and always assuming it would never happen but secretly kind of wishing that it would.

But that isn’t a responsible way to live one’s life, especially if both partners don’t want another baby. I do recognize that getting Mi.Vida snipped is the right thing to do. But my heart has a hard time accepting it.

I feel like I keep saying the same things, with different words, circling the issue without getting any closer to it. And I suppose that is how I feel, too. I can’t get to the heart of this yet because I’m just not there. I will arrive at the center eventually, but it will take time and space to do so. The reality of it will probably hit me again and again, as we make the final decision of who will get it done, as Mi.Vida has the procedure done, as friends add third children to their families. I wonder if I will ever officially arrive at a place of acceptance and understanding. If I do, it will probably take a long time.

Until then, I’m going to focus on what we have and how lucky we are to have it.

{There is a whole other part of me that thinks MV getting a vasectomy is a terrible idea. I’ve actually told him that he shouldn’t do it because he may leave me some day and end up with someone else who wants to have babies and then he’ll regret getting it done. He thinks I’m totally INSANE for thinking something like that, but after reading the blogs of women who are dealing with vasectomy-related infertility, it’s not something I think about.}

Are you done building your family? How do you feel about it? Did you take definitive birth control measures or do you trust your infertility will do that for you?