13 December 2006

The Voice of Fertility is not a Voice of Reason or Logic

Here's a little secret that I never told Primo. Ever since I was 14, I've wanted wanted to have at least four kids. My mom is the second of 5 and my dad is the ninth of 10. I'm the first of one. I come from a huge extended family that despite the physical distance, for the most part we're all usually happy to see each other at family gatherings, weddings, and funerals. Anyway, perhaps I romanticized big nuclear families, because I love being in a big extended family, but there it is. I want lots of babies. As an only child, four is lots to me. Heck, two is twice as many as I grew up with. Primo is the second of 3, with a 13 year age difference between him and his younger sister.
The Baby Wants are back and hitting me hard. It started around my birthday, when I hit the late side of my mid-30's. There's this little fertility voice (aka biological clock) in my head saying, "just one more...three is the magic number...babies are cool and they smell like love..." I've heard that voice before, but this time she started out loud, and hasn't quieted yet, despite the voice of reason that says, "now's not the time." It's sort of like having the proverbial angel and devil on your shoulder, except there's a fertility goddess on one shoulder (take your pick) and an IUD on the other.
And there's this other voice coming out of the body of the co-conspirator in the whole baby-making endeavor saying, "not yet...no more babies for now...I think we have enough." Clearly we are not on the same page. Too many voices!
Primo and I have never "tried" to have children, they just sort of came along when we weren't paying attention. Six weeks before our wedding, just before Rosemary Caine put the final stitches in my wedding dress, I found out I was pregnant. We never saw it coming, and I don't recall hearing the fertility voice. I was in my 20's at the time, maybe that's why. For a couple of years after Bea was born, we actively tried not to get pregnant, and I think Primo and I just figured we'd have just one. I liked being the only child. Primo liked having one, I liked having one, even though I had always thought I'd have more. But then the fertility voice started whispering in my ear, "how about one more, and if it's a boy, you can name him James...Babies are sweet and they fit better on your lap than dogs do..." Yes, even the fertility voice is not down with the name Jedediah. Why James? It would go well with my maiden name. (Think Ian Fleming).
With Ingrid, the fertility voice just whispered for several months before she got what she wanted. I like to think I'm pretty in tune with my body, and Primo and I had gone almost three years without a surprise, with me just "being in tune". (The "being in tune" method of contraception should not be confused with fertility awareness, which can be highly effective, so I'm told.) Then we hit a stressful spell in our lives. Our landlord decided to renovate our apartment and we had 10 weeks to find a new place. We decided to buy house in a seller's market. I stopped paying attention for just one month. We should have known. With Bea, it was the stress of getting married and the wedding dress being a done deal. We found out we were expecting Ingrid the same day we withdrew our a deposit from a 200 year old farmhouse fixer-upper in Bernardston, and put it on our needs-only-paint-and-paper downtown house that cost us about $40,000 more.

I really try to think about this logically. Ingrid's not even two years old. The idea of two kids under the age of two or two kids in diapers is not terribly appealing to me. Our house is near critical mass with all the sentient beings (2 kids, 2 adults, 2 cats, 1 big dog, 2 frogs). With another baby, I would have to quit my part time job, which maybe should be on the "pro baby list", except that Primo and I put in equal contributions towards the mortgage. I'm returning to my pre-pregnant-with-Bea body when I was physically fit, and as much as I loved my pregnant body both times, I really like not having a pregnant body right now. We no longer employ the "being in tune" method, we actually use highly effective contraception that require a visit to a women's health care professional to reverse. We made a conscious decision not to get surprised any more. And most importantly, Primo really doesn't want more babies right now.
None of it makes sense, and I guess it's not supposed to. Clocks run on their own, and there's that part of me that sees age 40 as some kind of deadline for procreation, and 40 is on the horizon. I still want to have another baby. Now. See, call me odd, but I liked being pregnant and giving birth. All or most of it: the morning sickness (which I never had much of); the funky food cravings (extra rare red meat--especially lamb, overcooked vegetables, extra smelly cheese like Stinking Bishop and La Clochette chevre, an aversion broccoli, strawberries, and chocolate); the bizarre dreams (nursing a dog, giving birth to things that aren't babies); the emotional roller coaster rides; the unwanted attention and invasive questions from total strangers; the naming wars (Primo will be happy to know that "Jedediah" is off the table, now that we have a dog named Jed); the sore nipples; the sore everything; the uncertainty of everything; the meconium and other pregnancy/childbirth-related fluids, and most of all, the baby who smells like love and fits on your lap better than a dog.
Well, venting makes me feel much better. I'll go back and read the logical reasons why not to have a baby now, and the "Primo doesn't want one" bit, and hopefully that will drown out the fertility voice for the next month or so.

Somewhat related link: Quiverfull
And on the other side of the spectrum, Population Connection (formerly, and more harshly known as Zero Population Growth.)

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