My fertile cousins

December 16, 2007

Hey, remember how I just said my 90-year-old grandmother has fourteen great-grandchildren, but would probably have a few more before G and I got a chance to contribute one to the family? Well, turns out I was more right than I knew. Two of my cousins are pregnant. (Cue dramatic music: dun-dun-DUHHHH!) Actually there is more drama in the first situation than the second, but they are both “oops” pregnancies.

Cousin #1 is nineteen, or possibly twenty, and she dropped out of college after two semesters to move in with a random guy (described by my mother as “some thug”) who then deserted her when he found out she was pregnant. She has now moved in with her estranged father, who is widely understood in my family as a deadbeat, sort of shiftless type, as he left my aunt when my two cousins were young and never ponied up child support for either of them. My mom also claims that his regular M.O. is to sponge off of women, and that he never has an apartment or house of his own, but I’m not close enough to the situation to know if this is true. Either way, not ideal circumstances to bring a kid into the world. But nonetheless, ready or not, I’m sure she’ll have a beautiful, healthy baby in about six months.

Cousin #2 is one of my favorite cousins–she and I were very close when we were younger. She and her husband already have two gorgeous children, a little boy who’s 7 and a little girl who’s 5. She’s one of the few cousins I have who waited until she was married to have kids, who “did everything right,” so to speak. I always knew that she really wanted three kids, but her husband was against it–they’d had a boy and a girl, they were perfectly spaced and perfectly healthy, and two kids was still manageable and affordable, while three kids, in his opinion, might not be. Suddenly, right before she’s poised to go back to work full time, as their youngest is turning 6 and starting first grade next fall, she turns up accidentally pregnant.

Needless to say, her hubby is ambivalent, but they are, of course, going forward with the pregnancy. She’s always wanted a third, so of course she wants to keep the pregnancy, but termination is not an option for them anyway, as they’re both highly religious and in fact he is a minister. They’re great parents, and I know baby number three will join a wonderful, loving family, so I’m actually quite happy for them, but sorry that my cousin has to deal with her husband’s relative lack of enthusiasm. I’m sure that’ll pass, though.

Anyway, since I recently read one of Julie‘s posts on the Redbook Infertility Diaries, about the trickiness of pregnancy announcements for infertiles, I was thinking about my infertility in relation to these two pregnant cousins. Honestly, neither pregnancy makes me feel bad–I mostly feel worried about my younger cousin, and as far as my favorite cousin who is pregnant with #3, I really just feel happy for them. I’m sort of surprised by how NOT depressed I feel, but this is in part because my cousins live so far away, so I don’t have to go through every detail of the pregnancy with them. The other thing is that no one in my family except my mother (who has been sworn to secrecy) even knows about the struggles G and I have had to conceive, so I don’t feel that anyone is tiptoeing around me or keeping things from me.

Still, the prevalence of “oops” pregnancies in my family does return me to the mystery of our infertility. Given that even young, perfectly healthy people only have about a 20% chance of getting pregnant in a given cycle, I am downright AMAZED that anyone gets pregnant, ever, let alone by accident. But my whole family–and most of my friends, who also are partial to the “oops” pregnancy–seem to have no problem. What are G and I doing wrong? More to the point, what is wrong with us? Right now it’s more puzzling than upsetting.

In any case, G and I are still in line to add to the great-grandchildren–I guess now we’ll just be adding #17 (or #18, or #19, or #20…) ¬†instead.