Friday, June 4, 2010

When to have a family: what they don't tell you

We talked a lot about when we wanted to start a family.  We came to absolutely no conclusions, but at least we talked about it.  I take that back, we did come to a conclusion: that the time would never feel right until my ovaries were shriveled little prunes.  So we should just take the plunge, because most good things in our life we hadn't felt ready for. 

So we "stopped trying".  Which makes me laugh, in retrospect.  No one wants to admit that they're "trying" to get pregnant, because that's like admitting "We're trying to grow a watermelon in my uterua, then expel it through an orange-sized hole, and then raise it for 18 years in the prison that will become our life (who are we kidding, it's really 30 years these days.)  Partly because I think stretch marks are very "in" right now, and partially because our life has just been going too swell lately.  So instead we say "We weren't trying, but we weren't trying to prevent it."  Because to admit that we're crazy enough to WANT to turn our life upside down is ... crazy.  But I digress.

So we eventually "stopped trying to prevent". And that was our very half-assed way of making a decision.

But what I never thought about is what sort of family makeup I wanted.  How close in age do I want our kids to be (because an only child was not an option)?  Actually, I did think about it, and knew that I wanted them close in age. 

But you knew what never occurrd to me?  That to have children close in age means having two small children at the same time. It means that, when you are still recovering from the trauma that was growing-a-person-in-your-uterus you have to start thinking about doing it all again.  Except this time you've actually been there.  You know how much day care costs.  You know for a fact that you can't fit two car seats in EITHER of your cars without permanently implanting your knee caps into your molars.  So when your baby hits 3 months old and you realize if you want your children to be a year apart you better get pregnant TODAY and schedule an early c-section, you start to rethink things. 

In case you couldn't tell, I'm not totally speaking hypothetically here.  We've started to have these talks.  And I want my kids to be close in age.  I don't want to have to fight the biological clock.  But the idea of getting pregnant again right now is not appealing.  Some days the idea of having another little one, and additional chaos, makes me feel all fluttery and maternal, but some days it makes me feel stabby.  Right now those days are pretty evenly split.  It seems like the stabby days should be a smaller proportion before we commit.  Furthermore, I'm really enjoying my PhD program right now, I really see reasons I want to stay and finish, and I fear that having a second may make that impossible. I can justify continuing to work and pay for childcare for one child, but for two?  The math requires more credit-default-swaps, or some such creative accounting.  But I could be in this program for a long time yet, so maybe that's not enough justification. 

Ultimately, it doesn't "feel" right.  But when you're staring at 30 and still want to have a few more kids, do you ignore the "doesn't feel right" part and just suck it up?  Didn't we always say that if we wait for it to feel right we'll never find the right time?


  1. I SO wish I had the answer for you, but we are in the same boat (minus the PhD part...). Please let me know when you find a concrete answer to this puzzle!!!

  2. I am also right there with you. My girl is almost four months now. My husband thinks we should just go ahead and do it now to get it over with. I just keep on thinking of being pregnant and gaining more weight again. UGH! Why can't the stork just drop the second one off with us?

  3. Yep, I often wish I could skip the pregnancy part. Though it is a nice, 9 month cushion to adjust to your approaching reality.

  4. Haha just read the comment I left above. I found out I was pregnant the next month. So I did let my husband talk me into it. Now that I'm three and a half month pregnant I'm excited that they will be close in age and that we are doing it now, but I have to admit when I found out I was pregnant I was a slightly overwhelmed!!!! I did just hire someone to start coming into my home to watch my daughter because I was doing the math and it turns out it was cheaper than sending two of them off somewhere. I also work from home, so it's nice that I can sneak in hugs and kisses through out the day. It makes working all day a whole lot easier.

  5. How funny! Both of you who commented on this post are now pregnant. I can definitively say, though, that I am not.