Good on paper

During my ultrasound today I was thinking about this whole process of infertility treatment and my feelings surrounding it. There is nothing like a little bit of soul searching and introspection while your legs are in stirrups and you are furthering your relationship with a wand that has had more intimate contact with you than your husband has in the past couple of months.

My current feelings are that I'm in over my head here. Factoring in the basics such as financial and marital stability, maturity, etc etc...it looks like I'm (technically "we", but as I'm talking about my feelings specifically) totally ready to have a child, but that is strictly on paper. In reality, I think I'm massively unprepared despite the great lengths I'm going to in order to make it happen. Add to this my doubt concerning whether I really want a child and I'm left extraordinarily confused and lost.

I'm 26 and have been trying to conceive for about 2 years. I discount about half that time since I knew that my PCOS would probably preclude me from conceiving naturally, so I consider the start of my Clomid experience last year as when we actively started trying. At the time I had no faith that it would work and hence I didn't really conceptualise that this treatment would lead to a pregnancy. It's still such an abstract thought for me that I never associate with myself. When I started down the IUI path in October it really started to hit me that I could get pregnant and oddly enough that thought terrified me. Because I never thought it would happen naturally or via Clomid, I didn't have to face my fears about pregnancy and actually being someone's mother.
I suppose the essence of this fear is that I still feel like I'm 16 years old. I don't feel as if I could possibly be old enough to bear a child and look after it. My favourite pair of shoes are 4 inch platform boots, I have a weakness for Jay-Z, curse like a sailor, and have a rather cruel sense of humour that has surely destined me to eternal damnation. How am I going to raise a child if I still feel like one? Sitting in the doctor's office today I felt so out of my element, just as I feel like an 8 year old playing dress up with her mother's clothes when I wear heels or apply lipstick.

Going back to what I mentioned earlier about my desire to have a child, I'm still in a quandary as to whether this is something I genuinely want, or if I only want to because I might not be able to. I have no qualms about admitting that I am profoundly bitter about having PCOS, and I think this has greatly coloured my perceptions on the whole issue. I'm furious at the provisions I have to make in my life to appear normal physically, and this is an expansion of that anger. It's very difficult for me to conceive (no pun intended) that most people have children with such ease and I have been given this difficulty for no apparent reason. I view infertility as just something else that sets me apart from these normal people that don't have to deal with this stuff. It sounds ridiculous, but do I want to get pregnant just so I can fit in?

I brought this up to The Dude when I started IUIs and he was most upset with me. He's so gung-ho on the kid thing that I knew instantly that I should have kept my thoughts to myself. I always knew he wanted children more than me, as he's much more receptive to the charming creatures than I am. He told me that only I could answer the question of whether I wanted children for the right reasons, and I know he's right. I just don't know how to go about it. I realise that this is something I should have thought about way before this point, but it had not occurred to me until it became feasible.

My mom always said, "You never feel ready to have a child." and I'm hoping that's all this is and that she was right.


Jen said...

I agree with your mother--I don't think anyone is ever truly ready to have a child. To me, it's a lot like jumping off a cliff, closing your eyes, and hoping that the parachute will open. Mare had a great post a few months back about how infertility makes us question our desire for children so much more than fertile couples do.

For me, it helps to remember my pre-wedding freakout ("Oh my God, what am I doing? Why am I getting married? Do I even know this guy?") and realize that it was just that: a freakout that ultimately was utterly, completely wrong. That said, that's where I stand with this--not that it's where you are, or should be. Good luck in puzzling through it.

MsPrufrock said...

Thanks Jen, your comment is very helpful. The wedding-related cold feet situation had not even occurred to me!

Nico said...

Having a platform-shoe-wearing Jay-Z hiphopping mom would be the ultimate in cool. Conformist parenting is so blah. Just because you don't see yourself in the volvo station wagon behind a white picket fence doesn't mean you won't be a great parent!