Not writing has now filled me with a million thoughts and for better or for worse, here's the latest installment from my disjunctive mind:
While enjoying a pile of magazines at Gate 32 on my way to LA, I read a really interesting piece in ELLE written by Corrie Pikul, titled "The Clock-Watcher." (February 2011) In it, Pikul talks about how confused she feels about not feeling a natural pull/desire to have kids and whether that's indicative of a woman who doesn't really want any kids.
'For huge cataclysmic life decisions, like getting married or having a baby, I think people do want to be taken over by a feeling. Otherwise, how do you ever figure it out? If you don't have that part of yourself that irrationally wants to go ahead with this, how do you make decisions?'
asks psychologist Daphne de Marneffe, PhD.
It got me thinking, did I ever truly feel that urge or did it turn into an obsession only once I found out I couldn't have a baby the old fashioned way?
I must admit I was never one of those kids who dreamt of her wedding day, of the white picket fence, the dog and the two gorgeous kids bounding across freshly cut grass. Having found the love of my life, getting married felt like a natural progression. Today, I couldn't imagine my life without him, but marriage itself is still not what validates our bond.
So when we decided to try to conceive, I don't recall any urges per se. Similarly to getting married, it was a natural progression of our relationship. We had moved out of the city because the underlying expectation was to start a family. That's what people do, right?
Don't get me wrong, being a mother is truly the most rewarding experience -- the clichés about parenthood are unfortunately truly, so I'll spare you. But this article has lingered with me for the last week. How much of our lives do we actually owe to undeniable desires and how much of it is just us letting the river carry us to the next big ocean?
There's nothing like coming face to face (or should I say ass-cheek?) with a 1 1/2" needle filled with a thick oil to make you think whether having a child is truly something you want to do. (Infertility treatments take commitment and test every aspect of your identity and relationships.) And yet, every time I said, "That's it! I'm done with this shit!" I found myself begging for more. Could we save some more money for the next attempt? Could I find some strength buried deep down inside of me to do this all over again? What if the next cycle is the one we've been waiting for?
What is it that drives us to take on such torture month after month if not for a genuine urge to have a child?
Many times my husband offered that we stop trying; that we had each other and perhaps that should just be enough. I know it hurt his feelings when I told him that was not an option. Having a child would be the only way to complete the circle and that I needed to experience motherhood in what ever form it came in.
A cost-benefit approach was never discussed, because, I believed at the time, that becoming a mother was the ultimate way to define myself as a woman and a wife.
It's probably a good thing that we don't make pros and cons lists for all the big decisions of our lives, otherwise, we'd probably be left devoid of what makes life meaningful.