The long anticipation is over… because I’m assuming at least one person who reads this blog has been waiting anxiously for my follow-up posting about my little social experiment! Here’s a synopsis of what’s going on:
First the big news: After 7 years and at the ripe old age of 37, I am having another baby.
For those who don’t know me or my reproductive history, an explanation is in order so the rest of the experiment makes more sense. I have a single daughter, who will be 8 in the fall. When my husband and I conceived her, it was PURELY on accident-as in UNPLANNED-as in CAREER RUINING-as in COMPLETELY DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING! We had been married 7 years so it wasn’t scandalous but for me it was life altering. Among the hordes of women surrounding me pining away for motherhood or basking in its glow, I was an island of “I don’t really want to be a Mom” that most people couldn’t understand – and I was practically 30 already so figured I was getting out of that one without really ever having to make a scene about it. Of course, looking back on it, I would never change it and I am glad it happened the way it did because otherwise I would have totally missed out. BUT STILL, I am a very unconventional type of Mom. One who works full time as a professional and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. (Did I mention I live in Utah?) AND, on top of that, was COMPLETELY content with only having the one and spoiling the ever-living-shit out of her because that’s what I had always wanted as the oldest of 4 children growing up. (Of course, I wouldn’t trade my siblings either!)
Now you have the history … fast forward to about 2 years ago. It was about the time I lost my maternal grandfather and started thinking about mortality and how I, myself, would face losing a parent when the time comes. The most comforting thing I had to fall back on was the fact that I had aforementioned siblings to handle it together. Which of course made me start thinking about my beloved daughter who, because of my decisions, wouldn’t have that when she lost us. So, we started talking. Now my husband is just like me – sometimes almost frighteningly so – so we had always been in TOTAL agreement on the size of our family. When I broached the subject assuming a rebuff and some comment about had I lost my mind thinking to start all over again, he surprised me that he’d also been thinking that he would be the end of his family name if he didn’t have a son and all other such nonsense that we’d never cared about before now. (Perhaps we had finally grown up? Nah!)
About six months later we made the decision to pull out my IUD (sorry, I’m the daughter of a nurse so if discussing such delicate matters as choice of contraception bothers you, consider yourself forewarned now…) I’ve already mentioned I come from a large family – it is also the tight-knit type of family where every time my brother and his wife decided to conceive a child, we ALL knew about it and knew when they started and practically the day the pee-stick turned pink proclaiming the impending birth. HOWEVER, that is so not me so we told not a single soul. (Ok, there were 2 or 3 VERY VERY special people in my life who might have known we were trying but I don’t want people to feel bad!) Which turned out to be the best decision we ever made because the next 18 months were an emotional roller coaster of anticipation and horror when each month it didn’t happen for us. Of course, all I could think about was the irony of GETTING KNOCKED UP ON ACCIDENT vs the experience of “trying” to conceive again and being foiled. We had pretty much given up. AND I had reverted to my previous selfish ways - and was totally into myself having lost a ton of weight and getting hooked on running - and was over the whole thing of having another baby.
And THAT was when it happened…
When we stopped “trying” and just “did it” whenever we felt like it and didn’t care about getting pregnant (and truth be told, hoped now that it wouldn’t in part of my mind!) it just sort of happened … like magic almost. (Girls, if you’ve always just listened to your mothers tell you that IT ONLY TAKES ONCE when telling you to wait, it is horse shit! There is such a tiny little window each month when it actually can happen… I had spent years and years preventing birth and then was shocked at finding out just how hard it is to actually make it happen! And now that it has happened – with all the charting and tracking and equally stupid horseshit that goes into it, I STILL don’t know how it happened because we totally blew “the window” that month!)
The social experiment itself consisted of watching people’s reactions to the news and watching the patterns of how and where it spread on its own. My family was completely shocked… some even asking me if I was kidding (like I would kid about something like this!) That is how convincing we had been for years that one was enough and we were D O N E – DONE. Some people were amazed we had been trying and hadn’t told anyone (why is the concept of keeping your private life private so foreign to some?) The couple of people I would classify as “non-childbearing on purpose” in my life actually stopped and asked me if this was happy news or not before offering their congratulations (that was so me 10 years ago and made me feel like despite everything I was still sane!) Interestingly enough, the news did not travel as far as I expected such juicy gossip to spread in my neighborhood social circle (and for this I love them all for it!) I told a couple of closest friends fairly early and asked they not share it. Then, at about 10 weeks, I spilled it to my Facebook crowd and even a couple of weeks later when we were all gathered for book club there were some who were hearing it for the first time. Now I am not naïve enough to discount that some may have known but concealed their prior knowledge well and were able to pull off appropriate reactions but in my gut I think that was the exception rather than the rule.
So, in short, my social experiment proved my theory wrong about the ability of women to keep exciting news to themselves. It almost renewed some of my faith in humanity! And, it further endeared to me my little crowd of women with whom for some of them the only thing we have in common is our love of reading. I will also say I am happy some of my cynical nature was proven wrong because honestly I can’t always be right about the human experience, right?
So, embark with me on the journey of pregnancy – soon to be chronicled in vivid detail here…