Sunday, September 23, 2007

11dp3dt (and some Feelings)

Summer of 2005 was a rough one. I was studying for the bar exam, and was in an advanced state of self-pity. I was watching my life crumple up behind me - my freedom, my tendency to irresponsibility, my fondness for wild and raucous partying.

My career was to begin in a few short months, and those months were dedicated to studying how to master the King of All Standardized Tests.

I was tired. I was scared. And I was more than a little cranky.

Summer of 2005 was also our earlier-agreed-upon time-frame for beginning our quest for a baby. I was slippery when E would raise the subject. Wily. Had so much studying. Last few months of semi-freedom. Please, let's discuss later.

E broached the subject in earnest approximately halfway through the summer. I was shoulder-deep in my books and flashcards and misery. The thought of a screaming baby sapping every last drop of our energy sounded worse than forcefully embedding one of my highlighters deep into my brain via my ear canal.

So we had The Conversation.

The Conversation wherein I told her I wasn't ready. And my E, my sweet E, was so ready. Had been ready for years. She was angry and heartbroken and devastated.

It was a rocky summer.

This morning there is a neat little row of home pregnancy tests lined up in the bathroom, each with a progressively darker second line.

And I am excited.

I've been trying to pinpoint the meaning behind the shift in my feelings. I'm still excruciatingly, gut-churningly aware of the fear, very deep in my heart, that I will not enjoy parenthood. But I am less haunted by it today. Rather, I have begun to embrace that fear as something many, many people (perhaps more men than women?) experience, and yet they become loving and witty and wise parents who hold on tight to their own identities, the one they had their whole lives before this other person came along and mixed all kinds of shit up.

That this process of conception has taken so long has graced me with the opportunity to face up to my fear, to dissect it and call it by it's true name. Because at first it seemed like a deep-seated ambivalence towards children. They're boring. They have poor vocabularies. They are terribly self-focused. They poop their pants.

Then it transitioned into becoming repulsed by parents (bear in mind I live in NYC - there really is a problem with the parents in this city). Pushing their 8 year old twins in double-wide strollers, scowling at their nanny from behind their venti non-fat lattes as she unloads 90 pound boxes of Pampers from their Suburban double parked in front of their door-man buildings.

But, of course, I began to realize that these Park Avenue mommies are not the norm. Lots of parents maintain their identity and continue to care about important things (like, say, the planet Earth) even after their child is born.

And finally, I began to see it for what it was. Fear. I won't know what the hell to do. How do you raise a person? I am wracked with guilt when my poor dog doesn't get his hour of off-leash time. Imagine the guilt involved in child-rearing? Holy mother of god, I'll be disabled with a fear of fucking them up.

And strangely, that seems more manageable to me. Everyone is afraid of messing up this kid that is their one and true responsibility in this life. I'm just like everyone else. And hey, who doesn't like being a part of the majority once in a while?

So anywayz. These little positive pregnancy tests. They are rather thrilling. E obsesses over whether or not each day is darker than the next. This morning, bent over and squinting at today's and Sunday's tests, she proclaimed today's test to be certainly NO DARKER than yesterday's. She is a little fearful. Her broken heart from January's miscarriage is slow to heal. We are both still painfully aware of the number of things that could foil this fragile little pregnancy.

But her sleepy smiles are coming more easily and frequently. And yesterday, when I turned to her as I felt the warm weight of her palm on my shoulder, she was looking at me with green eyes shining -- "I really am pregnant." As if she still can't really believe it.

Her beta is tomorrow.


amy said...

thanks for sharing your story. i sometimes look at our 22 month old and can't believe she's ours. and then i say to my partner, we really did get pregnant, didn't we? it's crazy but i pinch myself often in utter disbelief that all of it is true. and believe me, i felt very scared and anxious about the prospect of being responsible for another human so totally.

while i was pregnant the grocery store was a very daunting place. seeing moms navigate the aisles with very demanding children made me want to run away screaming. in the end it has been the most incredible journey i've ever known. i hope the experience is similar for you guys.

i am procrastinating in a big way to start the process for #2. not looking forward to the chaos that will be more than 1 child...

rooting for you from hotlanta...

Anonymous said...

Lovely, lovely post GS. The Indian can relate to your ambivalence. For my part, I am now very thankful that the universe granted me a respite after the Bar and before rushing into parenthood. I am sure you are too. In any case, today, welcome to the journey. Love is radiating from the left coast. I hope you both can feel it. Scoutgjee

Carey said...

Just an FYI... after a certain point, the tests really don't get darker each day. I just thought I'd share that with you guys!! :) Good luck with the beta!!!

sfsueny said...

GS - I know you know this...but you don't have to be like any other parent you've ever witnessed - you and E will create your own parenthood & yes - it will be messy and intrusive and scary...but I also know that it will be loving and filled with wonder and laughter and so much joy. xxxS.

Trace said...

My hubby actually went through a similar transition. He desperately wanted to get his Ph.D. and I begged him to put it off so we could start a family (we need his health insurance mine sucks). We have had multiple discussions about still having fun and maintaining our identies after we have a baby.

But, when we were finally picked by an expectant mother (domestic adoption) he was so EXCITED! I remember him painting our would be nursery on Christmas Eve. Alas, it didn't work out and we are pursuing DI, but he is actually exited now. When we leave the fertility clinic he keeps saying that we will be a normal family (in our semi-abnormal way) and he never imagined it or allowed himself to imagine it.


infertilepediatrician said...

Don't you just love those tests and the darker lines - I know they say that the darkness of the lines doesn't mean anything but I love seeing them get darker.