Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Circles

I had what I thought was a good post, and I wrote and contemplated and eventually it sat in the juice too long and instead of fall-off-the-bone-goodness, it was more a tough whiny bitchy shoe of of Saturday Night Skit that I just couldn't end. But the gist was meaningful, so here's at least that much.

Mel had this gem of a post a few weeks ago as part of her Barren Advice series. I felt with some substitutions (turnips for carrots, cumin for cinnamon) I probably could've written the question itself, which was essentially, "I've tried to have a second child, but it's not going so hot, and maybe I should just stop -- how do I know if I should get off the gerbil wheel?" (Obviously one of my substitutions was"tried" for "sat around on the couch and hoped the decision fairy would call with my fate.") Mel suggested making a decision tree -- you know, where you start with a big circle (e.g., "Try Again"), which leads to some smaller circles (e.g., "Successful Pregnancy," "Unsuccessful Pregnancy," "No Pregnancy Whatsoever"), each of which has orbiting circles of consequences (e.g., "Gain even more weight on top of two-year-old flab you haven't yet lost," "Spend $," "Baby Dies, again.") Make one page for each major decision and see where the chips fall.

I decided this was fucking brilliant, and I would try this and see what transpired. My pages were "try again" and "don't," and soon I had filled each with a host of tiny circles. Yay me! Self-satisfied smile. And then I sat back and read them. And jeebus, if 98% of the circles weren't downright sad, negative, and depressing. On both pages. Including the circles orbiting the "Baby lives" option on page one.

I know.

So I threw the circle sheets in a drawer and proceeded to have this amazing weekend that got me thinking long and hard about child care (and how convenient things are now) and my current circle of friends (and how that would likely change with a baby), and I decided I'd add a couple more circles to complicate things (because Mel said to add even the really stupid embarrassing things. So shut up.)

And then I stepped back and realized a few things about the forest of trees I had just amassed:

This -- thinking about trying to add another child to our family -- is a fresh decision. This is not the same decision I made to have another child a few years ago. I now have a completely different mind set, and a life I've grown somewhat comfortable in. And the last time I played (what I thought was candyland but turned out to be roulette) with my comfort zone, I got royally hosed. And not for nothing, comfort's kinda really important to me now. I'm older -- hell I've aged exponentially. I live somewhere else, I have different friends. I still don't have a job. It's not just having another, it's having another now.

The little tacky, mundane, stupid circles filled with utter nonsense (Mel MADE me put them in, I SWEAR) also illuminated the point that I'm still dealing with an enormous amount of fear. I'm to some extent trying to rationalize my way out of this decision because I'm afraid of what will happen . . . . in the big picture kinda way, not the "We can't host dinner parties for a few years" kinda way. Truth be told, I'm not exactly sure how to separate "babysitting will suck" from "I DON'T WANT TO CREMATE ANOTHER CHILD" because they're kinda part of the same line of thinking: risking change is no longer "good" in my mind. Hell, risk can go take a hike. I didn't even worry about ticky tack stuff like this before, and look what happened. Why do I want to mess with what I have -- in any way, shape, or form? I like my comfy couch of grief, with it's indecision and mug of angst on the side table. I've grown accustomed to the ebb and flow of not-knowing and shirking and dodging my husband. And when I question, "Will my friends with no kids still invite us over for dinner on the fly?" I know the answer. And I care about the answer. How many other answers on this page do I know deep down as well?

I swear on all holy to me (come back here, chocolate chip cookie) that I have also thought of (a few) good things. And if you must know, not like it's your business or anything, the other page with the big circle "Don't try" is full of medium and little circles that positively scare the shit out of me. I'm worried I'm creating a lesser of two evils situation, but hey, maybe I knew that going in. Who has to make a decision tree that looks like this one, anyway?

20 comments:

Mrs. Spit said...

I thought the decision tree was good. I thought the part about jumping off the ledge was better, and more accurate.

And what the hell kind of ledge is it that you have to keep reminding yourself that you already bloody jumped.

k@lakly said...

Fuck Tash. I wish I knew. Anything. In my before life I would have said, screw the doc who thinks it genetics(well not screw him but you know what I mean) Bella is FINE what are the odds. But now, in my after life, I know exactly how pathetic that assvice would be.
The "I don't want to creamate another child" circle, I lived in it the entire time I was pg after. I had everything planned. More so than I had planned for actually bringing him home.
So all I have left is the same thing I said to my husband when he was in your place(sort of and believe me when I say I know how different his 'sort of' is) and he told me he didn't want to try again. That he didn't want another baby. I said to him, another baby you would love, it's the tragedy you don't want. And I couldn't spend another moment in the pergatory I was in. I had to at least try to get out.
But I also know my way out isn't the only way out.

angie said...

Shit. that sounds exactly like my decision tree, except perhaps less in the positive. i keeping thinking that perhaps, i am a coward for not wanting to have another baby, but then haven't i been 'brave' enough for a lifetime?

CLC said...

I've got no assvice for you. It's a scary decision to make, and like you said, which is the lesser of two evils? Unfortunately I can't answer that for you. I wish it was an easy decision to make or that you could know the future before you have to live through 9 months of hell wondering what the future will bring. I hope an answer comes to you soon.

charmedgirl said...

don't tell anyone, but even going through the extreme measures i did, the ones which i SWORE would work, i questioned my desire every day. why? because i'm already used to THIS life. somewhere in the back of my head is the notion that some of those thoughts caused the ivf not to work...you know, the mind-body connection thing. (whatever, really, though...i mean, if crack smoke and semen of 10 men a day doesn't hinder implantation...i know it's bullshit. but i still think it.)

i don't know, if i were you, i'd do anything differently. i think you've said it's a 25/75 split if you had another baby. that's crazy. i do think, however, that you are making your decision everyday...softly. what other way can it be done in this case?

in the end, here we are, living in ways we never dreamed we'd have to. but this is LIFE, the way old people know it; this is living through the stuff that happens. this is learning how to still find some acceptable level of comfort with the hand we've been dealt.

Catherine said...

heh...I remember making the decision to "try again"...twice. The first time we decided to go for it. And as you so perfectly phrased it, we got royally hosed...again. It happened. My worst fear came true.

So we made the opposite decision the second time. Got rid of all the baby stuff. Ripped the house apart renovating. Planned a vacation. We were D.O.N.E. And then the universe/God/fate/whateverthehellyouwanttocallit laughed. And then there was a VERY long nine months. And now we've got Myles.

I honestly don't know how I survived it. But looking at him, I'm glad I did...and I'm glad my decision wasn't the final word on the subject.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, ask yourself what would a happy pregnancy bring you. If you can honestly say that a living baby wouldn't be the realization of your dream...if you'd rather have your current circle of friends and convenient childcare and whatever else...then your decision should be not to try. But if you're creating a bunch of little circles to justify giving in to fear...well...I think you know... :o)

loribeth said...

No assvice for you here either. But I wanted to say I love that phrase "comfy couch of grief." I know how hard it is to leave it. :(

Sue said...

I don't have anything to add, except, Yeah. I get it. I'm there. As if all the circles can be quantitatively (forgive me, I'm in grad school) measured and in the end you can add it all up for an answer.

It is a new decision. My life so different from what I thought it would be 2 years ago.

G$ said...

I despise decision trees/circles. 9 out of 10 times it finally tells me what I already knew and didn't want to face. I prefer to keep my head in the sand until life decides for me, tells me to shit or get off the pot.

Speaking of Saturday night shoes, I hope they worked out ok :)

niobe said...

It's funny -- I think my approach to making decisions is exactly the opposite. Usually, I have no trouble making up my mind.

But when I can't decide what to do, I just consciously decide not to decide, to just let things go. And, eventually (weeks or months or years later), the answer becomes so obvious that I wonder how I could have ever been uncertain.

Michele said...

You make me want to make a tree of my own, although I'm afraid of what might be the result staring back at me. You're strong for taking that step, even if you are scared sh!tless.

Julia said...

You probably know what all I have to say. But I'll say it anyway. (Cause I am waiting for a students who is late to a meeting, if you must know...)

One thing is that even writing it all out, you won't know exactly what it looks like until you are in it. Either way, I expect, but my experience is of the jump off the cliff variety. There are things you can expect, and predict, theoretically. And then you are up in them, and they look different. In my experience-- scarier, most of them. Some of them more mindfuckwardly. Some, very few, better. Or wholly new, unconsidered.

The second thing is what Catherine said. If the little circles are there as the hoops on the suit of armor you are building, both your protection against fear and made of that very same fear, then...um... you know...

(Damn, still no student. Me not happy.)

Aunt Becky said...

I hate decision trees. Stupid decisions.

Betty M said...

Decision trees - always hated them. They only serve to emphasise the bad stuff.

3/4 mom said...

Yeah, I don't know. I'm glad my tubes are tied and the decision is made for me. I can't imagine taking on that kind of risk again. Before losing Samantha I had no idea how many things could go wrong.

But still, another baby would be wonderful...

Clearly there's no right answer here. I'm still pulling for the decision fairy to call with your fate.

Coggy said...

The phrase Rock and a hard place came into my mind when reading your post.
Neither decision is an easy one to make. It's not like 'oh shall I move here or here, take this job or that job'. Both decisions could Fuck you over and equally both decisions could be the turning point that makes life better.
I wish I had a crystal ball or something so I could tell you which one to take.

FWIW I'm a big believer in not thinking, taking the plunge and dealing with the outcome later. Not a helpful attitude considering the potential negative outcome, but it's still the way I operate. Sometimes it's all we can do. I think it's easy to try and see everything that could go wrong and just get so blindsided by it.

I kind of get the impression you are ready to make a leap. Maybe...

Antigone said...

I've tried them...never worked. I find I don't know how much weight to give each branch.

luna said...

oh tash, as fucked up as it all is, this post is just so perfect. wishing you some clarity, or at least some peace with your decision/non-decision.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

So, now that I made you do it...

I think the problem is that you're holding two lists and even seeing them out of your head, doesn't show you which one will weigh less on your heart. And that, to me, is a good reason to wait.

The line that struck me was "And not for nothing, comfort's kinda really important to me now." In which, it begs the question, is one decision pushing you out of your comfort zone? Or are both but in different ways?

Which Box said...

Sometimes not deciding is deciding, isn't it. I like Niobe's approach.

I don't know. I sometimes wonder what I'd do if I were in your situation. I'd go for it - but that's because I haven't felt the grief of losing a child. I don't know what that's like or if it would be bearable again. I guess I imagine you'd have to have a compelling emotion desire to have another baby, and in the absence of that, there's not a good reason. Rambling - I have long wished there were more answers for you.