October 24   A rant

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So, I know this is going to sound super sensitive. But that’s actually because, on this issue, I kind of am. And I know it’s probably been intended as harmless fun but sometimes context makes it less so.

There’s a blog post. It’s “hilarious” apparently if you have kids. It’s SO HILARIOUS if you have kids, you feel some need to send it to me. And laugh (at me?) as you do it. No joke, this link has been sent to me *a lot* in the last day and a bit. It’s titled “Are you Ready to have kids” and it’s here, if you live under a rock, or aren’t me and haven’t been bombarded with it.

So. Newsflash. People who don’t have kids *do* actually have an idea of what it entails to have kids. Many people who don’t have kids in fact, don’t have kids for those very reasons listed (and are probably laughing at and not with those who are passing the link along). As a 36 and a lot year old woman, who has not yet had kids, it’s probably quite clear that I don’t do things accidentally and in fact plan quite a lot of my life down to things like contraception. In, in fact, think quite long and hard about things before I go ahead and do them. On top of this, I watch a lot of television – television can be very educational. In fact, often it’s quite hilarious to use items on that list as amusing scenes about having kids. Oh really? You don’t get sleep with a newborn? Fuck me. It’s like I never knew that!

But here’s the reason why I’m supersensitive about it. I do want to have kids. And being ready for it or not is no longer the point for me. I’m going to be 37 very soon. And you know what? My odds of falling pregnant naturally have been halving every ovulation (yup I used a term related to female reproduction, go me) since I was 35. Last October I was given medical advice that if I didn’t get onto it like yesterday, it might already be too late. So “being ready for it”? Fuck off, that’s not part of the luxury I get to have about right now. My window? It’s sliding shut and I’m running towards it in slow motion and kinda crossing my fingers that I get there in time to wedge it open.

But I don’t know how that story is going to unfold yet. I have actually never tried to fall pregnant so I don’t know if I’m good at it/ am capable of doing it. And I’m getting married soon. So … obviously this is part of what’s going on for me right now. And … you know. I don’t know if that’s going to be something that I talk about here or not.

But I’d really really appreciate people not laughing in my face about how hard the reward might be when I don’t know if I’m going to be able to have it yet.


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  • By Gene on 24 October 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I hear you.

    Over the past couple of years I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I’ll never have children that are genetically related to me. Guys at work have been ribbing me about how I lucky I am to be young and single and free of the responsibilities of fatherhood, with the clear implication in the background that I have all that ahead of me and of course have the option of settling down and having a family when I’m ready. Yeah, hilarious.

  • By AlisaK on 24 October 2012 at 6:51 pm

    The privilege of choice.

  • By Helen on 24 October 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I don’t think you sound super-sensitive at all. It’s more that those who are sending it to you are super-insensitive. Everyone has their own choices to make as to whether or not they have children and for some there is no choice for all sorts of reasons. You have every right to be upset and annoyed. No-one knows what is happening in another person’s life and that means they have no right to comment, either directly or, as with sending this blog post to you, indirectly. I have never been able to understand why people feel they have a right to comment on personal aspects of someone’s life without an invitation to do so.

  • By Thoraiya on 24 October 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Respectfully, I would hope that sending you that link wasn’t about being in the smug club and laughing at you. I would hope it was about lowering your expectations, because the more difficult it is to get pregnant (and it was difficult for me) or the more desirable having children seems because of the possibility of your choice being taken away, the higher your expectations tend to grow, and that is why postnatal depression is more common and more devastating after successful IVF treatments.

    Sorry to hear that people who love you have made you feel like shit. I sure hope you make it to that sliding door with plenty of time to spare.

  • By AlisaK on 24 October 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I guess it’s always a good lesson for how to proceed in the world, myself – that you never do know someone else’s situation.

  • By AlisaK on 24 October 2012 at 9:36 pm

    People around me like to laugh at me, I think. Partly that’s my fault for going for the easy laughs when I want to lighten the mood and I make fun of myself. Which makes others think I’m the fair target.

    And you know, everyone thinks I’m going to be terrible at it and not cope. Noone gives me credit for my project management skills – I have many things already in place to deal with this (main reason I have stayed in counselling for example).

    I guess this post was also about just saying – hey, I got stuff going on, I may not be talking about it but I do.

  • By Significance on 25 October 2012 at 4:52 am

    I did some research on this a while ago. There’s so much around on how much your fertility drops that it’s hard to find out what your chances actually are. But at your age, the best info I could find was that you’ve still got a 75% chance of getting pregnant within a year of coming off contraceptives, even without any reproductive assistance (except that of @maelkan, of course!)

  • By Thoraiya on 25 October 2012 at 5:35 am

    Woman, you actually care about getting the nutrition right before conception, in a country that has one of the highest rates of fetal alcohol syndrome in the world. Way ahead of the Bell curve there. You’re not going to be terrible and you’re not going to fail. (So now you can’t say “everyone” because I count as somebody :D )

  • By Deb Kalin on 25 October 2012 at 8:50 am

    Everyone’s been sending me that link, too — and sharing their horror stories with me (even AFTER I ask them to stop, no really, stop), so I hear you. And I know they just want to bond / lower my expectations of easy / what have you, but the way my brain works I really don’t need people feeding worry and panic at me. I’m excellent at doing that all by myself, and one of the reasons I had so much trauma at the start of this pregnancy was I am excellent at forecasting and realistically thinking through consequences. So, yeah.

    (Also, I used to work in the IVF industry, so I’ve seen the agony that couples go through re fertility, especially because of the choice factor etc, so I empathise with your concerns.)

  • By AlisaK on 25 October 2012 at 6:26 pm

    OMG! Like what? What if you were like, SHIT! I’m NOT READY! Now the fuck what? I mean really?!
    And Tansy has a great rant about the glee with which people have a need to tell you the worst stories. You know? I hear some people have dram free births and perfect, troublefree children – probability says this must be so!

    But yeah. Ditto for me. I’ve been in therapy for like 4 years now for anxiety and OCD. I don’t need help with panic, anxiety, or stress. I gots them covered.

  • By AlisaK on 25 October 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Well yeah. Again. Been preparing myself physically (and mentally) for over a year for this. Chances are, I’ve done broad research on the topic.

    (love you)

  • By AlisaK on 25 October 2012 at 6:28 pm

    The thing is, noone knows what my fertility was like at 25. So the whole thing is supposition til I’ve been trying for a year. By which time I will be 38.
    I’ve already been seeking medical advice. Because, yeah, planners plan ahead.

  • By Deb Kalin on 26 October 2012 at 6:57 am

    Yeah, the glee with which parenting horror stories are heaped on to you is … a bit unsettling. I’ve been driven to tears and people still don’t stop — I think they’re thinking they’re helping. When really, not so much. I get that the stories are meant to be funny, but when you’re already panicking they can quickly escalate into something more like torment. There’s a social initiation ceremony sort of thing going on which, combined with a general ignorance of mental health, can get downright dangerous. Just being told how happy you’re supposed to be can be damaging. Not to mention how apparently being pregnant means you’re now public property and every single thing you do/think/eat is up for judgemental comment. Even the ‘reassuring’ ones are loaded with words like should, which can just up the mental pressure. Ugh. I am (slowly) learning to deal with this in a water off a duck’s back kind of way, which I must admit is probably helped in some part by the relaxin my body is pumping out. Wonderful stuff, we should synthesise it for anxiety sufferers.

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