I’m disappointed that this cycle didn’t work. I don’t want to have to wait months and months before we try again (thought I’m simultaneously very ready for a break from the emotional roller-coaster). I’m scared that we won’t ever have another kid. I’m angry that the age gap between Tadpole and a potential sibling is getting larger and larger. I’m jealous of the folks around me who seem to be getting pregnant so easily. But I’ve actually been handling the disappointment better than I had thought I would (even before the good news about insurance coverage). I think there are a number of reasons for this:
- There are times when it would be very comforting to have faith in a God who is arranging things just for us, a God who will provide us with the perfect baby at the perfect time. But I don’t believe in a God who manages our lives in that way. For me, there are too many horrendously awful things happening to people close to me and far away for that viewpoint to work. However, I do have a lot of faith in my little family. I’m proud of the work we have done so far to create the life we have now, with a cozy house in a funky neighborhood, jobs that sustain us in many ways, a good balance of family and work time, and a supportive community. Creating this life required hard work, creative problem-solving, and discernment about what is important to us. (And yes, I am aware that all sorts of privilege helped as well). I have faith that we will use these skills to find a way to have a second kiddo, even if it is not yet clear how or when that will happen.
- At the same time as I am holding onto my faith that we will have another kid, I am also trying to let go of my rigid ideas about when and how that should happen. I tend to be a planner. I’m a Myers-Briggs “J,” for those of you who follow such things. I write to-do lists. When I do something that wasn’t on my to-do list, I add it to the list, just so I can cross it off. I insist on having a paper planner, and have been known to use highlighters of different colors to demarcate hours that I intended to devote to various projects. I went into this TTC process with very clear ideas about when the best time would be for Roo to become pregnant and for kiddo #2 to arrive. In my head, there is an ideal age gap between Tadpole and any future sibling, and we are approaching the outer limit of that timeframe. But I am trying very hard to let go of all of that. I’m trying to remember that, while there would be downsides to having a bigger age spread, there will likely be plusses as well. It is very helpful for me to see families with larger age gaps, and to realize that it’s not the great tragedy that I imagine it to be. And other changes of plan that have also felt impossible (like having to choose a different donor for #2) might not be tragedies either. Clinging tightly to my vision of exactly what my family should look like is not terribly helpful when I can’t make things turn out that way.
- The biggest reason that I haven’t been overwhelmed by despair this week is that I did some thinking in the few days before the pregnancy test. I made a choice to not let my disappointment take over my life. I could spend the all of the time between now and when we finally have a second kid being bitter and angry and jealous. I’m certainly having moments like that, and I’m sure there will be many more of them. But if I let myself get consumed by those moments, I’ll be shutting myself off from all of the things that I do have right now. I have an adorable kid who can be such an engaging companion these days. I have an amazing spouse, who is just the right partner for me. I have a community of friends (including my invisible ones in the computer) who support me and listen to me through the ups and downs. I have no control over how much longer it takes us to get pregnant. But being angry and bitter and resentful is not a very fun way to live my life for however many months remain until we get there. I don’t want to be so involved in my disappointment about the life I don’t have that I miss out on the life I’m living right now.
Here is my plan:
There are still moments when I find myself jealous of the imagined bliss enjoyed by a pregnant woman in Target or thinking bitter thoughts when walking past a parked car with 2 car seats in the back (yes, I did do that the other day).
When I find myself in one of those not-so-helpful places I’m trying to let myself feel all of the longing that I have to hold a newborn in my arms again. I don’t want to deny that longing, or the grief and anger that goes along with not being able to satisfy that longing right now. But then I try to switch gears in my head, either reminding myself that we will find a way to have a second kid someday, or remembering something that is good about my life right now. It seems to be helping.
There are some days when I do better with this than others. I don’t pretend to know all about this. In fact, I would love to hear advice and input from those of you who have been in this trying-to-conceive business longer than I have.