Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Okay, it's official. We're off the fence and in the mud. Trying again.

Reasons why we're trying again:

For another chance at the privelege and miracle of parenthood.

To do the genetic tango. (Maybe we won't ever be champions, but we still want to dance).

Because never having kids seems too darn sad.

Because after two consecutive miscarriages, our chances are still at least fifty-fifty.

Because we both imagine the pleasure will outweight the pain.

Because we discovered that after entertaining all our grave doubts and heart-stopping worries, inexplicably, we still want to.

Reasons why we aren't doing any fertility treatment or tests (yet):

Because the doc says they only help half the time anyway.

Because insurance won't cover it until I've had three miscarriages in a row or a full year without conceiving.

Because I'm afraid of that slippery slope, throwing energy and money and raw emotion down a potentially very deep and unrewarding hole.

Because it would take powerful persuasion to convince me to take any fertility-enhancing medications anyway. (I almost never take any kind of medicine. Neither does A~)

Because I haven't lost faith in my body (yet).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On the Fence, but Leaning

Today's thoughts: I want to have a child. That sentiment exists, and I have to acknowledge it independently of the fact that I don't relish the trials of the first few years: financial strain, exhaustion, mindless chores chores chores, and loss of time to myself, to run, to swim laps, to write and read, and watch movies inappropriate for young children.

I asked A~ (my husband) if maybe, deep down, he really doesn't want to be a parent. He says he can't know, because he's never done it. He can only go on what others say about the burden and reward. "Seventy-thirty," he says, which is his assessment, from all he's been told, that the rewards outweigh the hardship. Even so, he could just as easily skip the whole project.

Sometimes his intellectual detachment bothers me, but I have to admit, seventy-thirty sounds about where I'm at on the question right now, too. So I guess that means we're going for it.

Of course, this is all assuming that my somewhat lesser chances of a successful pregnancy after two consecutive miscarriages will also fall into the Babies rather than the Not category.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Dilemma

My thought process about whether or not I ever truly wanted to have kids was somewhat stunted with my first pregnancy. I just wasn’t able to think about it clearly (I want to say “until now” but I’m not sure that’s true).

When I was seventeen, I made an unrealistic promise to an aborted soul that I would give her another chance to return. Soon after, because of emerging disillusionment about the mothering I had received, I had new doubts as to my own ability to properly mother. On one hand, I had already comitted to trying again one day, but I didn’t have a willing partner, so the point was moot. On the other, I didn’t think myself worthy of a child.

So now that I’m no longer questioning my worthiness and ability (I have a willing partner, and done some healing), now that I have two failed attempts under my belt and the ol’ clock a-winding down, I’m finally looking at the whole issue straight-on(ish), and boy, it’s still not an easy question.

A friend (J.) with a child via an unplanned pregnancy told me that, in a way, she's glad she avoided the whole family planning issue, because she expects she and her husband would have "talked ourselves in circles and would have never known the right answer." I can relate. I really don't know if I'll ever be sure. I don't want to enter into parenthood half-hearted, but I hate the thought of missing my chance. It's a real conundrum.

My husband is no help on this at all, by the way – he continues to say he could happily go either way. If only he desperately wanted a child, maybe then I’d ride his enthusiasm over my own ambivalence. Kids, after all, are so much work. And money. Don’t get me started on money. But on the other hand, I’m kind of glad he isn’t desperate for a kid, because that would freak me out.

As things stand, though, I can’t imagine us getting to the point of ever knowing for sure what we want. Just closing our eyes and playing pin the tail on the donkey, so to speak, may just be what we do, in the end.

One new development: I talked to my husband about taking on foster kids. It's something I've always wanted to do, babies or not, but he resisted the idea. Turns out, he didn't really understand how fostering differs from adoption. I explained, and now he’s kind of into it, actually. Surprise, surprise.

The Backstory

The somewhat condensed version:

At seventeen and a half years old, I discovered, unhappily, that I was pregnant. On one hand, the decision was easy: I was pro-choice, college-bound, and desperate to get away from my small-town upbringing and unhappy family of origin. On the other hand, the decision was not easy at all: I already loved the growing life within me, and my boyfriend would have been thrilled to marry and have kids. Everyone in our lives would have supported us, though at first there'd be a major scandal to live down. A very major scandal. I couldn't face it. Bottom line, I felt like I was doing the wrong thing, but couldn't consider the alternative.

I went to college, my boyfriend and I broke up, and then I dropped out and in and out of college, depressed. I did a lot of wandering around the country, supporting myself as an artist, craftsperson, musician, peer counselor, migrant farm worker, and all around odd-jobber. And finally, I went back to college at 31, to complete a degree in art.

Exactly seventeen and a half years after my first pregnancy, I found myself pregnant again. This time I was extremely happy about it. I had just married my love of ten years, and this was our first attempt at conception. But two months later, I miscarried. We tried again, but conception didn't come so easily this time, and I fell into depression. I regretted my teenage abortion, and everything else that had taken place in my life as a result of that decision. In the process of working my way out of that depression, I took a job as an abortion counselor.

And then I found out I was pregnant again. This one lasted one week longer than the previous pregnancy. I miscarried at eleven weeks, on Wednesday, November 9th, 2005, less than two weeks ago.

There you have it, the backstory in a nutshell.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


I'll tell you why: Because the clock is ticking down. Because I've had two miscarriages this year. Because I'm still not done processing the abortion I had at seventeen. And because I still can't decide, though I desperately fear missing my chance: Babies or not?

Also, because two nights after my last miscarriage (on Wednesday, November 9 — ten days ago) I sat up writing until four in the morning, and then got up and wrote some more. The result: a 9,500 word essay covering every facet of my dilemma. Apparently I have a lot to say.

The fact is, just about half (49%) of all pregnancies in this country are unplanned, and about half of those (24%) are aborted. (As soon as I figure out how, I'll put a link to the source of those statistics here.) What with so many of us warming up to motherhood later in our reproductive years, I must not be the only one rethinking the choices I made way back when. And I know for a fact that some of you contemplating abortion are worried about finding yourself in my position.

I hope that by sharing my experience both at home and at work (while guarding the privacy of those I counsel, of course), I can be of some use to other women struggling with their fertility, or lack thereof. And frankly, I also hope that some of you reading this — and I do hope there are some of you reading this — will share your thoughts and stories as well. I look forward to hearing from you.

So so so SO much more to come....