Thursday, November 21, 2013

The future state of the family

Decisions. I stink at them. A lot. I'm slow and indecisive about the big things in life. When I'm in charge and it matters though, I make quick assessments of what needs to happen and how to handle it and decide what's next fast. It's a skill I've honed because I know myself well enough to know how slowly I usually make decisions and I know my slow approach is impractical.

Anyway, family size. It's a sticky issue in PAIL land because, well, when families aren't easy to build it's hard to decide when you're done. Are you done after a miscarriage? Two? A failed adoption? After one infant loss? These are all totally fair places to say that it's enough for a lifetime and let it go and live with life as it exists then (child-free, one child, two children, fur babies, whatever it might be).

For me the worst part of infertility and recurrent miscarriages is the loss of control. It's all well and good to get pregnant but I was never convinced it would last until we had a baby in the room screaming with Little Monster's pregnancy. I was mostly convinced, yes, but not totally.

It's worse in my view to feel robbed of my choice, our choice, about when to be done building our family. I hate being cornered by a health  condition that's uncontrollable so completely. Most of health we have some control over. If you have asthma then you take your medications and avoid triggers. If you have type 2 diabetes then you can watch your diet, exercise, and take your medications. Infertile? No control. You can implement interventions or pursue adoption but there's little to control except when you step off the merry-go-round of treatment or waiting. The choices available if you're infertile are limited and unpleasant and don't feel like real choices because they don't actually offer more control of the situation. We don't have any embies on ice to consider but that sure adds another level of complexity - if you have some frozen, then what? Attempt another pregnancy if you can afford it? Give them up for adoption? And on what terms do you measure "afford" anyway? How much suffering is it worth going through in search of a child?

In my dream world we have 4 children. In this real world, there are currently two little girls frolicking and those three holes in my heart. But are we done? Is this it? Is there another baby or even two out there? Or no? I don't know. It's weird to be in a place where I'm planning the next 18 months of my life in excruciating detail and then thinking, "Wait. Does a baby fit in here somewhere? At the end? A year after that? Or... not?" It dawns on me that Little Monster will be the same age at graduation that the kid was when I started pharmacy school (within a month or two at least). That's pretty crazy to think about. Time flies, nobody is getting any younger, and the original idea was to have our third be a baby about now... so see how well that plan worked out...

Then we have been tentatively talking about adoption and because we'll almost certainly move when I get a job that adds to the wait. Is that necessarily bad? Probably not. I suppose at this point I'm in a place to get the spouse better informed on adoption and foster-to-adopt and all that jazz. Then we can figure out what we want to do once we have all our options really on the table.


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  2. This describes the place I am in right now so well. In my dream world there are 4 or 5 children too. My uterus just isn't going to do it though. So I debate constantly. When to try again. If we even SHOULD try again. I have it in my heart to be a foster parent, but my husband just isn't all the way on board with that yet. Do I continue with schooling or stop for awhile? Where do we go from here? I know in the end you will make the right decision for your family but it's just so hard waiting to see how things will go sometimes. Wishing you peace and good decision-making skills.

  3. I'm in a similar state of "what now" about family size...but we have the embryo to consider too, which like you said, adds a bit of complexity to the whole thing. It's so hard to put yourself out there, I have this gut instinct to just hug the kids I have as tight as possible and forget about the whole thing and end this ride on a good note, you know? And like you, I'm an either sit and stew about it girl then I eventually make a sudden, gut check decision. Best of luck with your family building decisions. it's so heavy. xo

  4. Ugh, it sucks that you have to worry about so many unknowns with if another child is even possible, much less the timing of it. *sigh* I'm sorry.

  5. I'm sorry you have to make these choices. :( Reaching a point where you feel your family is complete is such a privilege and a relief.