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.