Two years ago, I published one of my most popular posts: I’m 35 and I Don’t Know If I Want a Baby. People still leave (awesome, in-depth) comments on it, so I’ve decided it’s time for a follow-up.
Shortly after writing that post, my husband and I decided to go for it. We knew we didn’t want a big family (as in, two kids would be too many for us), but one child seemed doable.
After trying unsuccessfully for over a year to get pregnant, we both went to doctors to get checked out. Test results uncovered a fertility issue we hadn’t known about.
Receiving definitive test results was a relief. There is a diagnosed issue. I’d rather know about it than wonder every month why it hasn’t happened yet. There is no more ambiguity.
A fertility specialist told us getting pregnant naturally isn’t impossible, but the odds are very low. The odds are so low, I asked my husband to stop saying “If we have a baby,” because if we decide not to pursue an alternative method I’ve accepted it will not happen.
I questioned for many years whether I wanted a child or not, so I’m sure that helped me receive the news as readily as I did. I know it’s not the same for women who’ve known they wanted a child from a young age, or have pined for success for many years.
If you were to ask me how I feel today, I’d say I’m a little bit sad, but I am mostly resigned.
I’ve known about this for months now, so it is not fresh. It has sunk in and I’ve accepted it. I am disappointed but not devastated.
Family and friends have told me this situation seems unfair. We would make stable and loving parents. That may be so, but infertility happens to potential good and bad parents alike. We are not special. Just because we would make good parents doesn’t mean we deserve the opportunity more than anyone else.
I have moved on to thinking how my future will be different, now that I know my husband and I will likely remain a two-person family.
We could choose to undergo infertility treatment, but we’ve been told the only procedure with any reasonable chance of working would be IVF.
I know people who have been successful with IVF, and I know people who have gone through multiple rounds unsuccessfully. I’m not going to list my personal reasons here; rest assured this topic has been extensively researched and well thought out. My husband and I have had long conversations about it. I know what my options are and I choose to decline.
Adoption has made many families very happy. I recognize it is an option for us, and I’ve done some research (domestic and foster care), but that’s as far as I’ve taken it. I have a good idea of what’s involved and it doesn’t seem appealing.
While I don’t plan to change my mind about infertility treatment, I could possibly change my mind about adoption. It’s not something I want to pursue right now, but we may decide to revisit it down the road.
If I was going to have a baby, I wanted it to be easy.
You know what I mean: positive pregnancy test, expanding belly, morning sickness, maternity clothes, checkups, mood swings, purchasing a crib and stroller, healthy baby. That kind of easy.
I realize pregnancy is not easy, but it seems a heck of a lot better than going through infertility treatment before you can even start with the whole pregnancy business. It’s also more appealing than all the red tape, stress, and potential despondency involved with adoption.
In the meantime, we live our lives, we get a lot of uninterrupted sleep, and we do things like take spontaneous weekend trips to Toronto (complete with wind-blown hair) just because we can.
These are some books I’ve read over the past few years that I found helpful:
- Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, Meghan Daum. Excerpted essays from the book can be read here, here, and here.
- The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood, Belle Boggs. You can read an excerpt from her book here.
- Why Have Kids? A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness, Jessica Valenti
- All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, Jennifer Senior