Ambivalent? Me?

October 2, 2007

In a word, yes.

For some reason, I’m currently feeling a lot less sure that parenthood is what I want right now (I’m as surprised as you are). It’s actually for a few reasons. Would you care to hear them, dear reader? I hope you would, because I’m about to list them for you, probably coming off as terribly selfish and unbearably shallow and fickle in the process. Feel free to judge me harshly, as I am already judging myself:

1. My “new” body and its fashion needs: I’ve officially lost 20 pounds. My clothes are all too big. As I noted in my last post, I had to run out and buy a new pair of work pants because everything else is falling off me. I love this. I love feeling like my body is getting closer to looking its best, and as such I have a new interest in dressing said body up.

So… I’ve also been buying some other clothing-related stuff, like fancy handmade sweaters from tiny obscure boutiques in upstate New York, where we went last weekend to visit my in-laws, or like a pair of insanely (I mean, really really really REALLY insanely) expensive boots. I can’t even tell you where the boots are from b/c I am embarrassed and downright shocked at how much they cost, even if we can afford it, and even if typically I am willing to spend a lot of money on good footwear. It’s a long-term investment, after all. But these boots aren’t just good. They are the most beautiful, enduringly fashionable, well-constructed, subtly glamorous, straightforwardly sexy, yet totally-appropriate-for-nearly-all-occasions, downright perfect boots ever made. I mean, you know, in my opinion. Plus, they’re amazingly comfortable, and they fit me like the proverbial glove–that is, if that glove were painstakingly sewn by hand in super-buttery black leather, to my precise finger measurements. And whatever astronomical sum you think a boot like that would cost, you’re probably right.

Of course I plan to wear them all. the. time. to justify the expense–but pregnancy, especially the later stages, would pretty much render them unwearable. If their three-inch heel didn’t present a problem, then surely my third-trimester cankles and swelling feet would. Maybe it’d be better to wait until January to start trying again, and wear the hell out of my posh boots in the meantime?

1a. More on my body: Not only do I not want to gain all that weight back while pregnant, but I also have some fears about what will happen after a baby arrives. Will I manage to lose the baby weight? I have to say, regular calorie-counting and exercising has been like a second job! Verrry time-consuming. I know I won’t have time for all of that when we have a tiny infant to care for. Does becoming a parent mean that I’m doomed to return to my old ways and stay overweight?

2. My career and its complications: I’m up for a sabbatical next year, but if I get pregnant any time soon, the sabbatical leave will be a de facto maternity leave. This isn’t a terrible idea, especially since my university doesn’t currently offer any paid maternity leave. But it does make me a little sad to think that if that does happen, I will have missed the chance to get real work done on my second book while I’m free from teaching–a chance that only comes around once every seven years! Surely there’s a better way. Perhaps I can get a job in Canada.

3. The Fear Factor: Okay, and now the real deal. All those other things are true, yes, but I also happen to be terrified of starting down the ART (assisted reproductive technology, for the acronym-sensitive) road. For a million reasons–I’m afraid it won’t work for us, I’m afraid of what the hormones will do to my body, I’m afraid to give myself shots, I’m afraid of the constant trips to doctors’ offices and, generally, the involvement of the medical establishment in this whole process. Not because I don’t think it’s a perfectly legitimate way to start a family, but it just seems so… labor-intensive (ha! no pun intended). Not to mention expensive, although I think my current insurance covers us through IUI. But what if IUI doesn’t work for us? Do we want to pony-up the money for IVF? Could we even save up that much money? (Step one: stop buying expensive-ass luxury items like flat-screen TVs and fancy boots)

Urgh. The crazy thing about infertility is it completely takes away your ability to plan anything. I guess this is true of having children in general, but there are people who manage to plan their pregnancies. Lucky b*#ches. Honestly, I think if I could be sure that we would get and stay pregnant (naturally or via ART) sometime during my 34th year, which starts at the end of December, 2008, I would totally shelve this baby making project until then. More time to get skinny, build my career, wear my boots! With guaranteed parenthood at the end! What’s not to like?

But of course, because I can’t be sure–I don’t even know what “the problem” with us is yet, let alone whether it’s something that might worsen in the next year and a half–I don’t feel comfortable waiting any longer, even as I really could use more time to luxuriate in the very happy, healthy place G and I are right now*.

How much of a wuss move would it be to hold off on calling the RE for a little while longer? I just know that once we start down that road it’s going to be full-speed-ahead until we arrive at a baby one way or another. Of course, part of me feels that I’m taking a terrible risk by waiting, that I may regret it later–but part of me just wants more ART-free time. And/or boot time.

I mean, can you blame me?

partial boot shot

*as for whether G is really there with me–that’s for another post. Let’s just say that while he is hardly beating down the door to the RE’s office on my behalf (maybe because he still thinks it’s going to happen naturally, poor sap), he also feels older than I feel, and more ready to get this baby show on the road.


5 Responses to “Ambivalent? Me?”

  1. loren Says:

    Lovely boots! I cannot believe they’re comfortable! Congratulations on finding such a treasure! 🙂
    I understand your fears…if you and hubby are happy and content in just *being* right now, soak it up! Ambivolance is rare in TTC. Once you get the ART ball rolling, it doesn’t stop until it kills you or you get a baby. So take your time, and consider it when you can’tstand another minute babyless.

  2. Ariel Says:

    I am not ambivalent about the boots: they are beautiful, and your description of them is priceless.

    I definitely had moments of ambivalence about TTC. While we started the ART ball rolling right around the one year mark (at my husband’s urging) we progressed slowly, and didn’t start an IUI cycle for six months after the first consultation (which was over a month after my phone call). I was surprised to find that working with the clinic didn’t mean instant invasive treatment, but rather a couple months of diagnostic tests, consideration of non-IUI/IVF treatments, etc. None of this is to say “pick up the phone today!” but rather–if you did, you can still proceed at your own pace (I went months between IUIs). You can consider your contact with ART folks merely diagnostic, and make the decisions from there. You can wait until the end of the year to call, or to schedule a consult, or to start up the diagnostic tests. (My clinic did mention that their new patients peak in January). I know you feel the clock ticking, but it /is/ labor intensive and a general pain in the ass, and you need to feel more or less good about what you’re doing when. (That sabbatical bit is nothing to sneeze at either).

    P.S. I found ART easier to deal with when I was in indifferent. I was less invested, less emotional, had more shiny, interesting things going on to distract me if the news of the day sucked. Again, not to say you gotta start now, because you really don’t. You’re a spring chicken. And a fox. (Hmm…add a boat and some birdseed and you’re a one-woman logic puzzle).

  3. MN Says:

    I agree with the prior comment! Enjoy your life to the fullest. I know that being young doesn’t necessarily guarantee you time to wait but, really, you are VERY young in the whole scheme of things. I wouldn’t really trade my early 30s ‘ambivalent about TTC’ years away for anything! Take it from me ART is labor intensive and it can destroy you if you are not careful. Take care of yourself. It will work out in the end.

  4. cityprof Says:

    Thanks for the ambivalence-is-okay reassurance, ladies! All of your comments make me feel better about not rushing to the RE right away (even if I probably will consider making a few investigative calls in the next few… weeks? months? We’ll see).

    And thanks for the boot compliments, too–I wore them for the first time the other day at work and only love them even more now. 🙂 If the weather would cooperate more, by ceasing to be so unseasonably HOT, I could *really* get some wear out of them.

  5. Sue Says:

    Hi cityprof — I’m a 37 year-old Black woman living in Ontario, Canada and my first appointment for fertility treatment is next week. My 8 year-old was never supposed to be an only child. But, after years of trying, I’m ready to investigate what’s going on with my body. I’m not keen on getting pregnant anymore. I’m very selfish in my desire to move on when my little one goes to university. But I reasoned that I have to take charge of my health because no one else will. Fertility testing includes meticulous diagnostics and at least I’ll get some answers (or reassurance).

    I’ll keep reading and thanks for your honesty,


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