Thursday, July 22, 2010

Overthinking

Anyone who knows me well would tell you that I have a tendency to over-think things.  I am not entirely emotionless, but I am much more logical than emotional and always have been.  I am more like a stereotypical man than a stereotypical woman in that I generally allow my head to rule over my heart.  I live my life in my head 95% of the time.

Given this fact about me, I think I am one of the last people who would need additional time to reflect upon choosing to become a parent.  When we started TTC over two years ago, both MM and I were mature, responsible, gainfully employed people who had had ample opportunity to live the selfish lifestyle of those who have no children.  We were both more than prepared to be good parents, so waiting longer to have a child would have been of no real benefit either to us or to our future child.

Seriously, for someone with a personality like mine, the best course would have been for pregnancy to "just happen."  I was, and am, more than ready to embrace it.  TRYING to conceive, even before we knew that it would take much, much longer than we thought and that we were infertile, is just not a good thing for someone like me.

When you introduce the possibility of having to spend tens of thousands of dollars (which you don't have in the bank) to become parents, it provides even more time to think and more to think about.  It's no longer enough to just think "Yeah, we'd like to have a child of our own."  Because of all the sacrifices you are going to have to make NOW, before your child is even conceived, you have to place a value on your desire to be a parent in a way that people who conceive readily do not.  Forget about thinking about how you will pay for day care or diapers or a crib. . . . now you are thinking about how you will pay for a CHANCE to get pregnant.  And inevitably--if you are like me--thoughts of "how" lead to thoughts of "why" and "is this a good idea?"

Before infertility, there was never a true doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a mother.  Sure, being the overly analytical person that I am, as well as being over 35, I dithered over the pros and cons more than perhaps the average person would.  But the ultimate outcome of these debates with myself was that I wanted to be a parent.

Someone on my Fac.ebo.ok friends list who is an infertility blogger recently posted the following as her status update:

"The feeling you have for your child is so indescribably deep and consuming that it must qualify as one of the few transcendent experiences in your plain old ordinary life. It arrives spontaneously. It is miraculous and supreme and irrevocable. It makes all things possible."  (Attributed to Karen Maezen Miller.)  

I love this quote because it very accurately sums up my reasons, and my husband's reasons, for wanting a child of our own.  We want that "transcendent experience."  We want to experience a miracle in our ordinary lives.


I think most people would agree that you can't put a price tag on a miracle.  What would one willingly pay for a transcendent experience?  Being able to experience something like that has a value which is not readily quantifiable.


At the same time, my logical self realizes that we have to be realistic about what we can afford.  It's a sad reality, but it's the truth.  At the very beginning of TTC, MM and I promised each other a few things: that we wouldn't let TTC ruin our relationship; that we would not go deeply into debt to become parents; and that we wouldn't let our emotions rule over our logic when it came to treatment decisions, if it came to that.

Let's face it, though.  As a wise friend of mine once told me, there is nothing logical about the choice to have a child.  It is a purely emotion-driven decision.  Any possible logical reason to be a parent can be outweighed by two logical reasons not to.


Yet another hard part about the waiting associated with infertility: too much time to think thoughts on which no one should spend a lot of time.

11 comments:

  1. This is very interesting. I think you're wise to look at things from all angles. Unfortunately IF makes us look at parenthood in a very different way. It's true that thinking of spending endless amounts of money to have a child is thought provoking. But coming from someone who spent $50K to do IVF and then adopt, I will tell you it was worth every penny. Having my son has changed my life. Now the question is- do we try for a second? This is a very difficult decision. However, I do not want to live with regret. Give my son a sibling or re-do my kitchen? This is very interesting. I think you're wise to look at things from all angles. Unfortunately IF makes us look at parenthood in a very different way. It's true that thinking of spending endless amounts of money to have a child is thought provoking. But coming from someone who spent $50K to do IVF and then adopt, I will tell you it was worth every penny. Having my son has changed my life. Now the question is- do we try for a second? This is a very difficult decision. However, I do not want to live with regret. Give my son a sibling or re-do my kitchen?

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  2. What a well written post. I too am more like a stereotypical male.

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  3. This is a faatastic post. Somehow you've been able to put into words all of the conflicting, ugly feelings I've been having in the midst of my WTF is going on phase. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.

    That being said, I'm sorry that you posting it comes at your own expense, meaning that I'm sorry you're dealing with all of those feelings, too. I can understand (heck, we all can...that's why we blog!).

    ICLW

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  4. I hate the waiting. I have spent/wasted too many quiet moments trying to figure out the answers. HUGS!

    An ICLW Visit from #107 (mfi, speedskating, strength)
    liddy @ the unfair struggle

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  5. So true. I've always wanted to be a parent and the further into infertility I go, the more I second guess. Maybe it's some sort of defense mechanism. IVF and IUI are out for us, and the majority of the reason is that we don't want to go into debt for only a small chance at a pregnancy. That kind of money spent on adoption would be much more acceptable but then the issue of the child not being biologically related and all the resulting emotions come into play for some people. Infertility really screws with your sanity - and the intense family/child focus of our society (which of course is understandable) only serves to roll it out thinner and thinner.

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  6. Hi S, visiting from ICLW. Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday.

    I especially related to your fourth paragraph--how infertiles are forced to really analyze our desire to have a child. F and I actually did this even before we started trying, not because we thought we would have to spend thousands of dollars, but because we feel that having children isn't automatic (however 'natural' it is for some people), that it should be an ethical choice. So, I have to disagree with your statement about deciding to live childfree as a selfish lifestyle. Maybe you were just using the term that's thrown around alot with sarcasm, an assumption about childfree couples, and I didn't pick up on it? Either way, I enjoyed reading this post and thank you for it. I hope your break from treatment brings a continued strength and peace to your journey.

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  7. It appears my throne of "The Queen of Overthinking/Worrying" is threatened!! I am the same way...really wished it just happened by complete fluke - but it didn't so I must accept that. Good luck with whatever decision you make.

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  8. jill, when I said we had lived a selfish, childless life, I was neither being sarcastic nor implying that the decision to live childless is necessarily selfish.

    By my statement, I was trying to capture the fact that prior to TTC, my husband and I had both had ample time to live solely for ourselves, in the way that only non-parents can. . . . so that the sacrifices which would come with parenthood would not be unwelcome.

    I suppose if we remain childless, we will go on living primarily for ourselves.

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  9. TTC can be complicated indeed. Whatever decisions you and MM make along the way is up to you two and will be the best choice for you two at the time. All the best to you. I believe you will reach your goal.

    As a side note, although I don't know you in real life- as you know I have followed your blog for some time. When you have shared about your career, thoughts about finances, your age, etc., I feel like DH and I might share a somewhat similar background as you guys. Throughout the 3 years of ttc we have spent A LOT more $$ that we would have liked- 3 UIUs and an IVF etc. We never expected or planned to get have gone through what we did. However, now we have our rainbow baby and it was worth every cent. Honestly we don't even think twice about it.

    Whatever you chose to do is understandable and it's YOUR journey. Big hugs to you!

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  10. You raise some valid logical points that I, too, have thought of just about every day. But for me, there is no logic when it comes to infertility, even though I am a pretty level headed person. I hope you come to a peaceful point in the road. I am working on it, myself.
    Hugs

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  11. I cannot even tell you how much I love this post. Or how much I can relate to it. So I'll just simply say... thank you for posting this.
    Happy ICLW!

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