Monday, July 28, 2008

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

This Shabbos something simultaneously wonderful and disturbing happened.

We were invited to some friends of ours, and it wound up being a really nice group of attendees. The meal had very young-ish frummie hipster vibe as a consequence, as topics ran from current indie bands to the Jewish Renaissance Center to comments (by both genders!) on my husband's divar Torah. Then, in between courses, I found myself with our gracious hostess and the other married woman in the kitchen. The third woman was recently married and quickly advancing through her first pregancy, so the conversation naturally turned from food and walking in the heat to childbirth and the gazillion books the woman was reading to answer her gazillion questions. Despite her obvious trepidation at the unknown, she was admirably, remarkably calm.

I marvelled at both her "take charge" approach to her pregnancy and our hostess' personal pregnancy/childbirth tales, which were meant to offer informative encouragement. And then, as I stood there listening to them both talk it all out- the fears, the unexpected burden on their bodies, their husbands, the pain- I was most shocked and dismayed to find myself feeling, of all things, angry. I mean, I was thrilled to see a woman older than 19 who got pregnant right away and just amazed by her general demeanour. A most charming woman indeed. So what on earth was wrong with me?

In my life, I have made certain choices. I was a very mature teenager, more so then than now, and my Rav wanted to set me up with his prized talmid when I was but 15. I did chose to put off marriage until after university and a few years of working. I did only get married once I was thirty, but everyone told me I had lots of time left. A decade at least. No problem, right?

Today I had a doctor appointment and after more blood tests, etc., I seems that I still have 4 separate conditions that need to be rectified in order for me to bear children. Moreover, I recently discovered that due to certain facts about my infancy that I will not divulge here, I may, even once I return to "perfect health", be only half as likely as the average person my age to ever conceive. To say that I was alarmed by the confirmation would be an understatement. My husband had to drag me out of the house to cheer me up. And even then I am most embarrassed to admit that I still wound up crying.

I worry about having children, and the effect the worse-case scenario could have on my physical health, my mental health, and the health of my marriage. I worry, specifically, about how my health and ability to have children impacts my DH. Indeed, after a brief spat motzei Shabbos, during which he exclaimed "Why are you so angry about?", it came out that he had experienced the same "negative" reaction to the said young couple's happy state.

We are not bitter, angry people. We are actually a couple who generally experience tremendous joy when encounter other people's good fortune. And, most importantly, we do not in any way, shape or form want to give an impression of being ungrateful for everything that we do have. I mean, such miracles had to occur in order for us both to be alive and in the health we currently are.

I suppose what it comes down to then, is that I am human after all, LOL. While I can be happy for the young couple, I suppose it is natural to also have the nagging sense that I am running out of time to get better sufficiently to have a normal, healthy baby. Forget about having an active pregnancy, forget about natural childbirth: I just want us to have a baby who is healthy, and who can live a full life. And I want my husband and I to be sufficiently healthy that we can enjoy many decades with our little bundle of joy. Bli ayin hara on all accounts.

I hope the same for the young couple.

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