Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You Asked

Alright Lori, you asked and (finally) I'm answering. Not that it's a difficult answer, though on some levels it is, but I wanted to do it justice.

Lori asked me why I'm 35 (well it was the day before my b-day, so now I'm 36) and no kids. The answer is I don't know. I'm not being flippant, actually quite truthful.

When I was really young I always saw myself married, 2 kids, dog, white picket fence - you know the suburban Disney fantasy. Into high school and college I wanted to get a degree, go to New York City, work on Wall Street, be a career woman and make some money (I even had a poster that had a picture of a mansion and all these amazing cars and said "Justification for Higher Education") - I was a yuppie in the making.

Not long after that phase I met Scott, 10 years older than I was and yet about the same maturity level. Neither of us wanted kids, he wanted to sail around the world and I figured I'd fly to meet him where ever he landed (not a big sailor). We dated for a number of years, working, playing enjoying our lives. Then we got married and spent some more years working, play and enjoying.

The new year's eve before I turned 27 my alarm clock (that would be the biological one) went off. I told Scott and he was less than thrilled. We had never planned on kids and now I was reneging on the deal. It took a while, but he finally wrapped his brain around it and decided maybe it wasn't the worst idea (this also coincided with his best friends adopting their first child).

But it wasn't a good time, we were trying hard to get out of debt and figured that it wouldn't be the best time to have a kid. So I stayed on the pill and looked longingly at any cute little bundle in a stroller.

We managed to get our spending and debt under control, but moved into a very small apartment to make it work. So I stayed on the pill, we adopted another cat and I would go look at maternity clothes for no good reason.

Then we got another apartment, but I was working full time and going to school full time. So I stayed on the pill, we fought a lot and I stopped going to friends baby showers.

Finally we bought our house here in Michigan, great neighborhood, good schools, huge yard, and a fence for a dog (it's chain link, but you can't have it all). So I went off the pill!

At that point we still had somewhat decent health coverage, so we had the preliminary tests done, just to make sure that the basic plumbing was working, and it was - so we got started trying. And now we've been trying for almost two years.

Of course, at this point, we should go back to the doctor and get more tests done, but not long after we moved our budget went in the tank and we had to switch to the most basic health coverage - if I get hit by a bus I'm in great shape, but if I want to go to the doctor or have tests done I have to fork over cash I don't have. So needless to say, testing is on the back burner.

Every month I take my temp, pee on sticks, check all my fertility signs, have uninspired sex (Scott likes to call it "Science Sex" or "Booty Duty" - that one actually cracks me up), then wait, pee on some more sticks, get my period, cry a bit then have some wine and start the whole thing again.

In the end, I'm not so sure how sad I really am. I love kids, but I love my life as it is. I love that I get to sleep in (or sleep at all), I love that I can come home late and not worry how much extra I have to pay the sitter. My friends and relations with kids tell me honestly that it is hard work and frequently a complete pain in the ass. I've had women say how jealous they are that I get to sleep in on Sunday or not have anyone interrupt them in the bathroom. I also know that I get tired of scrapbooking my cats and dog and nieces - or not being able to chime into a conversation with a bunch of moms as they discuss kid things. I know I'm missing out on certain things in life, but it doesn't make my life experience any less (that took me a while to be able to say).

Scott is adopted, and our dearest friend's kids are both adopted, so we've talked about adoption, but our options are limited by both age and financial issues. You can be any age or financial bracket to have your own kids, but to adopt you've got to be "pre-approved".

So we'll keep at it for a bit more, then hang up the basal thermometer and go back to being a normal couple and I'll enjoy other people's babies and kids and learn to be ok with it all. Maybe we'll get some more cats, that could be the answer...

Current Music: Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse


Catheroo said...

This is my favorite part: "I know I'm missing out on certain things in life, but it doesn't make my life experience any less."
And also, nothing against people with children, but they are missing out on experiences too. Doesn't mean their life is better, or yours is. Just different.

Bronwyn said...

This is a really good post. And totally honest. I appreciate that. Good for you.

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing. I think that it is great that you are content with whatever happens. I guess I shouldn't say "oh, I hope you get pregnant" (even though I kinda do) because then I am insinuating that life with kids is better, and I agree with catheroo, it's not better, just different.
I also admire you for putting your marriage as a priority over having children. I was not as good as you. My first marriage was childless and I couldn't convince him to have children, he said if he did, he would resent me forever for it, and if we didn't I would resent him forever for it. Not intentionally of course, but you can't help the way you feel. I hated to admit it, but he was probably right. That's not why it ended, but I'm sure deep down that had something to do with it.

for a different kind of girl said...

This was a very honest post. Like catheroo, I, too, was struck by how you say what you've experienced in your life is any less than a women who has had children. I have a friend who was married 15 years before she ever had children. I know she's a good mother and she loves her children, but sometimes she puts off the vibe that she had these children because she felt it was something she *had* to do and not so much because she wanted to because she was approaching 40 and felt like society was pressuring her to be a mom.

It's a hard choice, one that ultimately needs to be one the two of you agree on. If you two are happy, that's an important part to the core, because kids or not, you'll have each other to champion.

Just Laura said...

I have to say, I'm impressed. I think it is rare in life to find someone who is not only honest with themsevles but truly happy with their decisions. No regrets.

I wish you lived closer. I think we could definitely be friends. You know those kind who knock on the door as they're turning the handle and saying hello. =)

By the way, do you have geese that nest near your place during the summer? Family lives in Antioch, IL has a Canadian Geese couple who live on their deck and raise young. Every spring.

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