Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Secret Fears

Inspired by a recent confession by Runny Yolk, I've decided it's time to open up about one of my big IF fears. I took so much comfort from reading her post, and being smacked upside the head once again with the YOU-ARE-NOT-ALONE stick. So this is in hopes that one of you (who maybe don't follow Runny Yolk) will get that same message: You are not the only one. I know that, because I am not the only one. See how that works?

A little bit of history here: until I was, oh... say... about 34? I couldn't stand children. Didn't really know any people who had them, wouldn't accept a table near them in a restaurant, generally cringed when confronted with them. I didn't even babysit as a teenager. Kids were my Kryptonite. I certainly didn't want any of my own, and I wasn't quiet about it. To this day, I still hesitate when presented with the opportunity to hold infants.

So why am I doing this?

I couldn't give you the date, but the moment is fixed in my mind like a photograph I've seen a thousand times. As I said, I was about 34. I was driving to work one afternoon (I used to work nights) and I saw a woman pushing her 1-2 year old daughter down the sidewalk in a stroller. There was nothing special about them, they were just an ordinary Mom and baby doing an ordinary thing. It was like time stopped and someone flipped a switch. I was open to a child of my own. Of course, I'm now racing towards 39 and no closer closing the deal.

I'm sure I've mentioned this here in passing, lumped in with a range of other fears, but I've been afraid to give it too much sunlight lest it grow roots and flourish. After more than a year jam-packed with failed fertility treatments, I finally came clean to the Professor last week about one of my deep dark What IFs. Damn that was hard, but luckily for me, he responded in true Professorial fashion and made me feel better on the spot. When will I learn to open up sooner?

Lately, I've been worrying more and more that the reason we haven't seen any success in our efforts against infertility is that I'm in it for the wrong reason. Obviously, the RIGHT reason is wanting a baby. But wait! I DO want a baby! Well, maybe I don't want it enough? Maybe that girl who didn't like kids is still hiding in there and sabotaging my efforts? Because, if I'm honest... when I think about reaching the point where we've exhausted our resources and our options and still not having a baby... it no longer scares me. It doesn't sound like the end of my world. I can think of plenty of good aspects to that situation.

When I shared all of this with the Professor last week, the first thing he said was "Good."

Also obvious, is the fact that this is totally irrational. I've been having trouble pinpointing my motivations for everything I'm putting myself through. I'll tell you right now that I still don't know. I'm just less worried about not knowing since I talked to the Professor about it last week. Maybe I'm deluding myself into a better frame of mind to deal with an ultimate failure at this task?  Whatever. I'll take it.

So if the "right" reason is wanting a baby and wanting to be a parent, then as they scroll across my mind's eye, my possible "wrong reasons" are as follows:

I want make the Professor a father, to give him the gift of offspring. This is a fact. No argument, and while not ideal, still a laudable reason.

I'm afraid to disappoint our families, who I know want grandkids. This is also a fact. Though I was never one to do something just because my parents wanted me to, this is an area where I'd rather not disappoint. 

I'm just stubborn and can't handle the idea of failing at something I set out to do. This is... close. But not quite right somehow. When I truly fail at something, I usually just blow it off. I am sometimes perfectly OK with not being good at things.

Perhaps a better way to put it would be: 

I'm just stubborn and can't handle the idea of failing at something I care about. That feels right. And there's something very important there. 

I care. 

That's a good enough reason for me.


  1. You know very well you aren't causing this, but even if you were, those are good reasons. Very similar to many of our own, I'm sure.

    And you forgot to mention if you aren't following Runny Yolk, you really SHOULD be ;)

  2. This post absolutely hit home with me. I want children with all of my soul but I also cringe at screaming toddlers in stores and get annoyed if I sit near a baby on a plane. I still have doubts of my own. Not doubts about actually wanting a child, but doubts about wanting it ENOUGH. Concerns that perhaps I won’t be patient enough or selfless enough or forgiving enough to be a good parent. Concerns that fester there in the back of my mind because EVEN THOUGH I do what children with all of my soul, perhaps part of me will hate giving up the freedom of being childless. And that part scares me still.

    Despite all of that, you are right - the important part is that you care. We care. This is important to us.

  3. I love this post, because I can relate. I often wonder if some of the secret reasons I'm having a baby are the wrong reasons, and as a result I'm being punished for them. One is not making my husband a father, and another is not having grandkids for our parents. But even more is the fact that I won't feel included in family/close friend circles without a baby. No, this of course isn't the main or only reason I'm having a kid, but it has crossed my mind. The important thing to try and remember is that those thoughts aren't what's causing this. Who knows what's causing this. But, in the end, my hope for me is that it makes me a better and stronger mother because of it.

    Thinking of you. And no, you are most certainly not alone.

  4. I used to think there was something wrong with me because I've always wanted to be a mother, but I can totally envision my life child-free. that seems wrong. I know it'll hurt & be hard to deal with & honestly, I don't know if my marriage will make it, since having kids has always been huge to both of us, but once I finally accepted that I would be okay & I could still have an awesome life, even if things don't go the way I want them to, I felt so much relief.

  5. Thank you for writing this.

    Everything you wrote, I have thought. I always wanted children, but still feel I don't want them *enough*. I doubt my ability to cope with a baby and I find my reasons for wanting one not good enough.

    Of course, my rational mind knows that there is no way these doubts could be contributing to our infertility, it's simply a physical problem.

    It still amazes me how infertility messes with our heads.

  6. sometimes i wonder that we're struggling because for so long, we didn't want kids. not that they made us recoil or anything, but it just wasnt on our radar, and one time when we did have a "scare" before we were married, we were praying the exact opposite of what we pray now!

  7. Did you crawl inside my brain or something? I could have written this post. Heck I think I DID write this post. Thanks for hitting me with "You are not alone" stick.

    If it were easy for us to get and stay pregnant we wouldn't be doing all this insane self-doubt stuff.

    All the same, it's good face your secret fears, air them out so they are no longer mental impediments to your success. Not that I think your thoughts are causing all this IF. I think it helps to be at peace, tho.

    I wish you and all of us peace.

  8. I wondered the same thing. Was there something in me sabotaging our efforts? Was it not working cause we are two religions? There is always something to worry and wonder about. I hope it comes true for all of your reasons.

  9. Only infertile women analyze their reasons for trying to have a child in such detail. We all do it, because it is such a difficult emotional journey that it's hard to understand why we put ourselves through it. Rest assured, all that matters is that it is what you want (for whatever reason), and that you do care. As for the saboteur within? Remember that people who don't want kids almost always get them anyway, it's a universal truism :)

  10. I think one of the worst things about IF is all the doubting, second guessing, flip flopping, and arguing you do with yourself. I have always wanted to be a mother and have never doubted it, but still go through the roller coaster of "If it's not meant to be, why am I putting myself through this?" sort of emotions.

    Anyway, I'm a brand new follower and look forward to supporting your journey!


  11. I'm not sure if you posted something and then got rid of it... it showed up in my reader. Just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you.