Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Not Pregnant

I am not pregnant.  Lest you think that this is some cutesy, backwards-day post of me announcing that I am, in fact, pregnant, I'll lay my cards out on the table right now.  Not. Pregnant.

But for a week, seven long days, I thought maybe I was.

Steven and I are of the nauseating sort that share the minutia of our days and thoughts with each other, so it was strange that I did not tell him.  But I'm good at processing my thoughts, and not so good at figuring out how I feel about my body.  Obviously.  So I quietly waited and calmly googled caffeine intake during pregnancy to find out if I could drink my morning coffee because dammit I wanted it.

I see the way that women tell their partners that they are pregnant.  With secret, serene smiles.  With meals full of baby carrots and baby potatoes and leg of lamb (which is weird - let's eat things that are like babies?), with tiny hockey jerseys, and I wondered, should I try something adorable and memorable?  When people ask, should I put on a big smile and say it was planned, or it's a surprise but we are so happy and excited?

       ...I would be pregnant along with people I love, I thought.  That would be nice.
       ...We could tell Steven's parents at Christmas time.  They would be so happy.
       ...I am married to the man I love, we like kids, we could make it work financially.
       ...This is God telling us that this is His timing, taking the decision out of our hands.

But there was no excitement in me.  Just dull dread and fear and confusion, wondering why I didn't want this and what was wrong with me.

I grew up wanting children, and I think Steven and I both assumed that after we got married, after an appropriate amount of time (whatever that is) we would slowly want to grow our family and decide it was time.  And, frankly, we haven't.  Which fills me with a whole different kind of fear and dread.

       ...My sisters and friends have passed me by.  Our kids won't play together.  We will           be alone.
       ...My 29th birthday is just around the corner.
       ...I've never been pregnant.  I don't even know if I can get pregnant.
       ...I am selfish to value my career and my lifestyle.
       ...When we finally want children it will be too late.
       ...Whatiswrongwithmewhatiswrongwithmewhatiswrongwithme.

There have been times that I wished for an unplanned pregnancy, because the weight of decision is just too heavy.

When the pain finally came, I didn't take my usual ibuprofen.  I let it wash over me as I sobbed out of relief and confusion and asked Steven, "Are we doing this wrong?"

Am I doing this wrong?

I know - I am certain - that everything will be fine, better than fine.  I know that everyone is different, that whatever comes we will handle, that we will live a full life loving the people around us regardless of who they are or how they get there.

But I fear that there is no rulebook for women like me, who grew up in the country but live in the city, whose body is willing but mind resists, for whom 30 may be the new 20 but their biology has not been informed.  Who are blessed with the luxury of control.  Who are firmly caught between two worlds of fulfilling adventure and ambition and having children. I know it doesn't have to be a choice - I see people who courageously live both - but it sure feels like it.

I got myself a fancy coffee and a croissant this morning, as a celebration or a consolation prize, I'm not sure.  I left my comfortable home with my amazing partner to arrive at a job that I care about.  I am very happy.  I just worry that I'm not supposed to be.

9 comments:

  1. Good one, brave woman. I feel you here. I am someone who does not want to have my own children even though I love children. Sometimes there is this tension that if you don't have kids, you had better do a whole series of amazing things. Write books, be well travelled, bust out a fabulous resume. But I whisper to myself and you: You're being you. You are enough.

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  2. What a post Shantini, thanks for laying it out there. I also wasn't sure I wanted a kids, and in fact went through a period of time when i was sure i wasn't going to have them. And then it felt right, and i wasn't scared. However...now that it's pretty much too late to change my mind because i have 2 amazing boys - i'm again sometimes not sure i made the right decision. I assume that in a world of little choice (either because of friends or family or culture) it is "easier" but in my world, one where i could have been whatever i wanted, one where i was super fulfilled in my life with my husband, one where i didn't live within constant feminine stereotypes and boundries, it has been hard. When you become a mom you gain an immense amount - i am forever changed and i like who i am - but you lose a heck of a lot too. Maybe you'll be like me and one day it won't feel weird or scary and you'll just start trying, or maybe that day will never come and you can celebrate it by doing upside down tequila shots in bali.

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  3. The world our parents raised to be a part of doesn't really exist. It's changed since the seeds of "what adult life should be" were sown. There are many people who find a way to life the life they were prescribed. There are some who even find happiness in that prescription. But for the rest, its this nervous tight-rope walk through the unknown, navigating the "shoulds" and "Shouldn'ts" looking for the path to happiness. As challenging as it is, would you want it any other way?

    Your life is yours to live. Your picture is yours to paint. Be proud of whatever you choose to colour.

    I enjoy the honesty of your words and I feel like your experience is more common than you probably understand.

    If its any consolation, I think your doing it right.

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  4. What great thoughts Shantini. I am so pro "you don't have to have any kids, or just have one kid, or have 10!" but I have never had the luxury or dread of making the conscious choice to have a child. All I can offer you is this. When people say that "you know" when you fall in love and that you found the right person did that apply to you and Steven right away when you were kids? Probably no. But later when you knew that you knew, You both were ready. So maybe thats what happens with a baby. Of course I got pregnant the old fashioned way, too much alcohol and not enough birth control so maybe I am the wrong person to advise, but you are ONLY 29, life is a journey, you have plenty of time to decide how you want if ever a family. And I believe your partner will feel the same. You sure are an amazing woman Shantini. ( its penny miller, not anonymous!)

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  5. I love the post! I think the only thing one should feel obligated to do is leavethe world a little better when you go. If you change your mind in a few years, cool. If you don't, cool. Our society is so focused on having everything NOW. Most of my friends in Europe are only now starting their families, in their mid 30s. The pace of life isn't go, go, go. They spent time getting educated, starting careers, travelling, finding mates and bonding with them and when (if) they felt ready to have a baby, they do. Your post reminded me of our dear friend Glynis and how she was quite sure that marriage was not for her, not anti-marriage. Thought it was great for some people but simply did not envision it in her future. But then Kyle came along and a relationship blossomed to the point where she did see that making sense for her. I also know another woman who planned on getting married but hasn't and she's now in her 40s and come to the conclusion that she never will. Whatever feels right to you and Steven is what is right for you. Be the best damn Aunt around! That is a very important job! And a title I still wear proudly! :)
    Danielle

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  6. You are right that women hide when they are pregnant. Even she are afraid to tell her pregnancy. Why you women are afraid? You need to tell it freely to your partner. It will be good for you or you can share with your family member.

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  7. Good one, brave woman. I feel you here. I am someone who does not want to have my own children even though I love children. Sometimes there is this tension that if you don't have kids, you had better do a whole series of amazing things. Write books, be well travelled, bust out a fabulous resume. But I whisper to myself and you: You're being you. You are enough.
    Jennifer Dominquez
    www.bebewellness.com

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  8. Great post. I hope that your information and experience are really important thanks for sharing. Actually pregnancy is a gift so every mom are really take care of yourself because she carry on a baby so I hope that your experience are really important.

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