Monday, January 17, 2011

Coming to terms with the end

I've been reading this book called the Secret Daughter. It's one of my bookclub books and a really good read. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it in less than 24 hours, which gives you an idea of how good it is, even for a speedy reader like me. Anyhow, in it, there is a lot of feelings of resignation. A woman facing infertility, a woman giving up her daughter to an orphanage, a woman dealing with the fact that she's never had a daughter.

We're pretty sure we're finished having children. At least biologically. There are many good things about this. It's tough having three, when we're outnumbered. It's taken a toll on my body with a tougher pregnancy, an irritable uterus and post partum depression. I'm looking forward to continuing losing weight and eventually getting a reduction and tummy tuck (whole new post there around body image and women's contradicting feelings on it!). The lack of sleep, the lack of time, the lack of energy. I'm looking forward to being able to do more heavy duty travel without heavy duty gear, finishing up potty training and just moving on with the second stage of our lives without diapers, strollers and sippies.

Still, there is a sense of mourning around it. I hold Baby D and think about how this could be the last time he does this or that. When he outgrows an outfit, I think about how much I loved it and how cute my babies looked in it and I might as well pack it away for a friend or donation. Still, it's hard for me to bring myself to do that at this point. I think about trying to get as much cuddle time in when he falls asleep in my arms, but there is always something else that needs to be least on weekends. Trying to document everything and scolding myself for falling behind on taking pictures. I try to remind myself that he is only 4 months old and I have a lot of baby time left, but somehow time seems to be flying by all the more faster now.

In reading the book, I also felt that pang of gender disappointment creep back up on me. I really did want a girl. Not so much for the pink or shopping, but just that sense of comraderie. Last night as we were eating dinner, the guys in the house decided to start lifting up their shirts to show off their muscles. Nothing wrong with that and chances are a girl would probably join in, but I kinda felt left out amidst the cuteness and giggles. But there is also that shared experience of periods and sexism and female power and perhaps even pregnancy and rearing children from an entirely female perspective that I'm not going to pass on my eternal and life changing wisdom. (Okay, a little grandiose, but I have a high opinion of myself *g*). Sometimes a female perspective is just different from that of men, and while I might be lucky enough to have a great daughter in law and to share a great bond, I'd love to be able to work on that bond from a young age.

I told Dearest about this and he immediately launched into "We can adopt!" "You're still a young woman, we can have another!" etc. Adoption may very well be an option for us, but pregnancy is probably right off the list, or at least as much as the Mirena promises it to be...and it better live up to that promise! However I don't think he truly understands what its like, some perspectives are uniquely female and feeling a little glum over this isn't something that can be fixed quickly.

It's going to be a great future. I'm looking forward to many new stages, and not, but I suspect there will be many greats and maybe if we do adopt, I will get that daughter. But for now, I'm trying to give myself some space to mourn and feel a sense of goodbye as I close a chapter of my life. I'm hoping this is a normal feeling and I'm not just some drama queen moping over the fact. I feel very grateful to have been able to have my children. Not too long ago, it didn't seem at all possible, but we've been blessed by three very great boys. It's not an overwhelming sadness that I say goodbye to my bearing children, but just a quiet and thankfully small mourning, but it's still there, ready to take a nip out of me every now and then.


Robyn said...

Adam is, I think you know, going to be an only child for many many reasons.

And I do mourn, some, each stage as it passes knowing I'll never see that stage again.

But at the same time, I am grateful for my miracle baby, as I know you are grateful for the 3 monkeys!

Agent J said...

You are not the only woman I've known who has expressed that sentiment.

I will make no claim to know what you feel here, only to offer my sympathy and understanding as a friend.

Moving on from one phase to another of life can manage to be both happy and sad at the same time, and mourning is as easily about change as it is loss. My understanding of that process has dramatically increased over the past few years, particularly as I sought to be a partner to my wife and we together deal with how our lives were (and are still) changing.

I also look forward to the future post you referenced. I've been feeling a lot of that as I consider certain procedures but also feel that women shouldn't need to do that to be "feminine enough."


P.s. I usually use my LJ account for comments here but that's failing right now.

Mrs. Hardaker said...

I have been experiencing this over the last year or so.

Having two daughters, wondering if a third child would happen and wondering how you decide that you are done.

I feel like baby O who is now almost 4 just grew up in the blink of an eye and wouldn't I just want to do it one more time.

I think we are 99% done and everytime I say it aloud, the ache subsides a little more.

Bluefunk said...

It's such a hard decision. We're struggling with the next step too. However, it is nice to have choices and some time. :) I'm trying not to take that for granted. And yes Secret Daughter definitely makes you think!