It seems like one of the elements of coping with this is finding a way to live in your life, in the moment, without focusing all of your attention on reproduction. Considering that for 30 years I did just that every day, this is surprisingly hard to do. For women at least, the second you decide to start trying, it becomes a huge part of your life, your thoughts, your day-to-day. And I was never even particularly baby-centric, it’s just a huge change in your thinking. When you make plans, there is suddenly someone or something else to consider. Sometimes that’s an inconvenience, as in, maybe we shouldn’t go to Costa Rica after all, and sometimes that’s fun, as in, what should I knit next, oh I know, I’ll knit this awesome Alphabet Monkey Blanket and our daughter will love it for ever or at least until she’s 5. Pregnancy has its own special brand of fun that no one really wants to hear about but other pregnant women, so you find others to talk to, it becomes a chunk of your social activity. Time becomes marked by doctor’s appointments and, later, the time before the baby and after you’ll have one. Long-term plans all include the baby. It’s all-consuming, in many ways.
So now, I feel like I’m living a bit in Baby, Interrupted, and it’s easy to just keep thinking about When and How and Why and framing my life in the same way, but that’s not healthy, and it’s not sustainable. And, it’s kind of stupid. I’ve mentioned before, being pregnant is kind of inconvenient. Life is easier when not planning around a baby. And while I would prefer to get the same experience everyone else does – get pregnant, anticipate the baby, have the baby at the appropriate time, raise the baby – we have a fairly unique opportunity here.
Before you get pregnant, you fret about how your life will change, what you’re giving up, and you try to get in your last hurrahs. But after you get pregnant, once the wheels are in motion and there’s no turning back, you get a better glimpse at what in your life has or will changed and what you really do miss. Normally, there is no second chance at that – even the second time around, you have a child now, so it’s not the same. We get a second chance to be really, truly prepared. To enjoy our lazy solo mornings. To get the house better equipped to deal with feeling crappy for months or a crawling toddler. To take the trip we lamented not taking. To do things without worrying about the consequences to your future child. I’m trying to revel in them, make sure I do them right. Not find myself, next time, wishing I’d realized the last morning when we puttered around congenially that it would be the last morning we’d ever do that, just the two of us.
It’s shockingly hard to change gears this way, but I think it’s a good idea. And I think it would be fun, if we let it.