Some of you have been hearing from us for a while that when we start trying for a baby, we have been planning that I would be the first one to get pregnant, and Miriam would have her turn at carrying a baby a couple years later. This past weekend we decided to switch. Which is kind of a big change.
The basic reasoning behind the change is job-related. If I got pregnant anytime soon, I would have to go back to work pretty quickly for us to make ends meet. Miriam, on the other hand, has the power to make money from home as a freelance writer. It has been her plan for a while, that she would use that to be able to stay home with a baby after she has one. She's feeling ready to do it sooner, and if I wait til Robin is done with grad school, there's a pretty good chance that I can have a turn to stay home with a baby too. Which would be really nice.
But of course there is more to a decision like this than just that. We had a bunch of reasons for me to go first. That stupid doctor who got me worrying I might have trouble getting pregnant, and my anxiety to resolve that question, probably played a bigger role in it than they deserved. And Mir had wanted to stay at her job longer and develop her skills there more thoroughly before making her next career move. And especially when we thought my mom had Alzheimer's, we wanted her and her grandbaby to get the most possible chance to know each other, as soon as possible. And Mir kind of wanted to go second, for her own reasons... And I really wanted to go first. A lot.
I have been on preparation-for-baby mode for pretty much all of this year. I went off the Pill in December and started taking my temperature every morning and charting my cycles to find out if I was ovulating. I have been taking vitamins, and taking strange measures to block out light from my bedroom at night because that's supposed to promote healthy cycles. I have been exercising for several reasons, but not least because I wanted to be in shape for a pregnancy. I have been going out of my way to spend time with the babies of friends. You could say I've had a lot of energy to redirect -- we were pretty much all three ready to get going on the having kids by last Fall, and we've been assuming since then that I would be going first. But we decided we wanted to get the wedding part done before we started trying. So this stuff was what I was doing instead. :-)
Mir and Robin never would have thought to question that I should go first, I think, because it had become so solidly the plan. And to be honest, if they had brought it up, I probably would have flipped. I had so much of my brain wrapped up in getting ready to be pregnant, if I felt like they were trying to take that away from me it would have been bad news. But as it happened... Mir gave herself a vacation for her birthday. She had a long weekend at home first, and then a week away by herself on a writing retreat. She was relaxed, and happy. And I found myself thinking that I would absolutely love to be able to give her the chance to be like that more of the time, sooner than we have been planning on. And I realized that might be in our power to do, if she had the first baby. I talked with Robin about it while she was away on her retreat, and once I figured out I would be OK with the switch if we all decided that made the most sense, I brought it up with Mir when she got home. And then we took a while to think it through... and it really seems to make a lot more sense this way. And it's actually OK with me, which I might not have been able to imagine a couple months ago.
More than that. I feel GOOD about it. Mir keeps being surprised, I think, that I seem as happy as I am with this. I definitely did have to go through some feelings of loss about it, and that may not be over yet. But I think without being aware of it I had gotten pretty self-centered about the whole baby business. I was thinking about my fertility and me being pregnant and me having a baby. And of course my family being there too... but in retrospect it feels like it was too much just about me. In contrast, I'm now looking at a plan where I get to go through the whole process with Miriam and be the best support for her that I know how to be, and she will get to spend some time focusing on home instead of work, and it's about US, together. So much better.
And as a side benefit, the next time I go off the Pill, I think I will just stop taking pills and see what happens. Not so much with the charts and the anxious preparation. I think that might very well turn out to be more fun.