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.
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?