Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Not Done

Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was always the same: a wife and mother. It never changed throughout the years, even when societal pressures came into play as I got older. Being a mother, to me, also meant having many children, at least six, but closer to eight.

I didn't marry as young as I always figured I would. Not that I think marrying young is good, necessarily, but I think it varies from person to person. For some, it would be a horrible choice, for others, it would work out fine. But if you want to have a large family of six or more children, then marrying and having those children before a certain age is probably wise--otherwise you won't be able (physically) to have as many children AND you'll be raising kids when your peers are becoming grandparents.

I did eventually meet my husband after college and we married quickly. Sometimes I wonder about that marrying quickly decision, but that will be devoted to another post entirely. We didn't postpone having a family, but children did not come right away. It took a couple years. Because of that, I was almost 26 when I had my first child. Now I'm 32 going on 33 with four children, the youngest is a little over 2. I had wanted to be pregnant with #5 by now, but we can't seem to conceive this time around. Kind of like when we were first married and couldn't seem to do it. I don't know why, I've had four children, one after another, and everything worked fine once we had the first. But now, it just isn't happening.

I realize that I should just be grateful for the children I have--they are precious and wonderful and I love them so much. I also realize that in today's world, it is very difficult to raise many children--everything is so expensive even when you cut back to bare bones and people raise their eyebrows, even people in the Church, when I mention that we still want a few more. But I feel that time slipping away. If I got pregnant this month, I would be 33 by the time I had this baby, and I still want at least one more after that.

Every month that goes by where that pregnancy test comes back negative, the ache inside grows a little more. We haven't seen a doctor yet, I'm not sure enough time has gone by since we've been trying for #5 to warrant it, and honestly, would a doctor even help us? After all, we've already got four, why do we need another one? This is a hard issue for me to face because I feel very alone in it. Like I'm crazy for wanting another one. But I just can't help feel that our family isn't complete. You know that feeling, where everyone is gathered, yet it feels like someone isn't there? That's how I feel all the time, I always look around thinking, "who's not here?" but all of us are. I hope that in the coming months, I'll be able to announce that there will be another addition to our family, but this month turned out the same as the last eight or nine have--a negative pregnancy test.


Stacy said...

I know your feelings to a certain extent. It took us a long time, a miscarriage, and three rounds of fertility treatments to get Max here.

I learned a lot through that whole experience, and it was difficult and soul-stretching at times. I know now, without a doubt, that Max came when he needed to. he couldn't have come years earlier when we first started trying, because of so many factors. I can't imagine dealing with all his medical issues when I still had two young girls who weren't yet school age at home. And as much as I was dreading the 5.5 year spacing we have now, it turned out perfectly. I love having older kids with the baby, there was no sibling rivalry, and I love having the whole day with just me and the baby.

And from my experience, the doctors won't do a thing for you. They will look at you and say (most likely very condescendingly,) "You have 4 healthy children, you obviously have no problems getting pregnant." I had a really hard time getting anyone to take me seriously, even though I had months of charts and lots of symptoms that there was actually something that was preventing me from getting pregnant.

We're at the same point you're talking about as well. I know we need to have another baby, and I'm hoping it's sooner rather than later, but I also don't think we're going to go the fertility treatment route again, especially in the next year or so. It's too expensive and emotionally draining. I know what it's like though to look around the room and wonder who is missing.

But no matter what anyone tells you, your feelings are real. The longing to have children is universal, whether you're on your fifth or fifteenth. Having children doesn't diminish your desire for another.

Sorry for the book in your comments- it's a topic near and dear.

Royalbird said...

Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate it.

Mama Chick said...

Hey Jenna! I think that is so so SO wonderful that you want another baby! I've been using FAM (Fertility Awareness Method by Toni Weschler) since before I got married. It was an effective birth control and very effective to know when I could get pregnant. I don't know if you've looked into anything like this, but I've had multiple women in all three wards I've been in(while with Adam) ask me for my book and eventually order their own (it is an excellent reference!). I'd be more than willing to mail you my copy with all my charts so far to see if that would help at all.

ISBAM said...

How many to have is such a very personal decision! For some people, 2 is great. For others, it's 10. It sure seems like everyone has an opinion on how many everyone else should have. Ultimately, I feel, it's between a husband and wife, and hopefully, the Lord. I've gone back and forth about how many we want. My last pregnancy was rough, and I remember crying to my husband that I would NOT do this again, even though we had discussed the number of 4 since before we got married. However, we have had an experience that leaves us with no doubt that there is another one up there for us. So I will do it again. I dread the pregnancy, but I do get excited about another sweet little face! Honesty, if I didn't have to go through the pregnancy, I'd probably want a dozen! My sister had 5 girls and felt something missing. After a lot of work and $$$, they adopted from Ethiopia. He totally completes their family perfectly. Everyone thought she was crazy, but nobody can picture their family without him now! Wishing you luck with next month's test!

Devin & Ruthann said...

I thought you were going to announce that you were expecting when I read the title and saw the pic. I feel for you. Don't worry about what people think. If you feel your family isn't complete, it's not. Only you and Corey can decide for your family.

swedemom said...

Oh boy, have I ever been there. For me, I face the unspoken criticism that I am somehow foolish to have more kids because I have a serious chronic illness. But those feelings and spiritual impressions just can't be denied.

After I had been diagnosed with lupus, and Josef was only a few months old, I was told in no uncertain terms that it was extremely dangerous to get pregnant. I desperately wanted another baby, but I was so ill, I really couldn't have had one at that point. Anyhow, I remember the day, I came to terms with my situation. I had to realize that whatever happened, I would have to accept that my family of three boys may have been it. I had to accept it or I would have gone crazy. I prayed a lot and felt peace about it.

Years down the road, I was able to have Brooke and now Jonathan.It did take me almost a year to get pregnant with Brooke.

And I long for another baby. We'll see what happens. I have learned that I must stop trying to control everything and find happiness with what I have. That has given me a lot of peace.

My hugs and prayers to you.

Evelyn Perkins said...

It took us 8 months with my first one and then the next two came quickly. Now I feel it's time for #4, but #4is taking its sweet sweet time. After a miscarriage my husband says no more, but I just can't let it go. Thanks for sharing this. I have been reading through several of your posts. Mind if I follow along??

Royalbird said...

Please, feel free to follow along. Thanks for your comments everyone!


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