Four years ago, my husband and I were in a blind panic for me to get pregnant. I had already had two miscarriages (7 and 10 weeks) and we started to worry, as I approached 35 years old, that it wasn’t going to happen for us. We saw a gynecologist who assured us there wasn’t anything wrong physically. The next steps would have been testing my husband’s sperm motility and genetic testing to see if we had some kind of compatibility issue that was causing my body to reject the foetuses. All very expensive and pretty gruelling. We decided to go away to Montreal for the weekend to decide what to do next. You know how they say if you relax about conceiving, it will happen? Well, it did! Now, we have a gorgeous three year old daughter that we adore.
In other respects though, life has been much harder since her arrival, in 2008. We have struggled with our business and my finding reasonable work to replace some of that income, or lack thereof. It has taken a toll on us, our marriage, our friendships and, well, every aspect of our lives. It’s amazing how much your life is affected when you are worried about money. The stress was compounded when we bought a house before selling the one we were living in, a mistake I will never repeat for as long as I live. The whole point of the move was to leverage the equity we had built in the first house, to give us some breathing room. About three seconds after we put our house up for a price that turned out to be way over valued, a dozen other houses also listed. In a place like Toronto, that wouldn’t be a big deal. In a place like Lakefield, it was death to our sale. The other houses were in better condition and cheaper. Months and months later, and after several drops in price, we were finally able to sell it but for a lot less than we had hoped, ruining all that leverage. It was a nightmare situation where we had to carry both houses for three months.
By the way, when I mentioned that this stress has taken a toll on our relationship, I meant just what you think I meant. Sex. Or lack thereof. I just couldn’t get interested in it when all I wanted to do was sleep. I stopped taking birth control – what was the point, after all? I stopped even noting my cycles. Somewhere in the middle of November, we did have a bit of wild night – it being a certain somenone’s birthday – and we were not very careful. By middle of December, I hadn’t seen my period appear. I knew my last one had been sometime in early November but the exact dates escaped me, so I started to worry. We had gone from people who wanted a child desperately to a couple who were desperately hoping that I wasn’t pregnant. I had been on Prednisone for a few days, due to a bad chest infection, and some Internet research showed me that it can affect your cycle but that didn’t prevent me from worrying. What if I was pregnant? What would we do then? How could I be looking for work, living on the edge of our business failing and even consider having another child? After Booboo was born, I did want another, for a while. I loved her so much that I thought it might be a burden for her to be an only child, to have to have all of that attention heaped on her, whether she wanted it or not. But as time went on, I realized that a second baby wouldn’t be possible.
People say there isn’t ever a right time to have children, that if you wait for the right time, you’ll never do it. I disagree. I knew when the time was right to have Booboo and I knew that it wouldn’t be right for us to have another child now. Children are the best thing in the world and I wouldn’t trade the experience of being a parent for anything else, but they are hard work as well. They cost money. The responsibility of raising a human is enormous and kids can add a lot of stress to a relationship. Our situation was, and is, so strained that I thought the addition of a baby would simply break us: financially, emotionally… possibly even physically. After all, I am almost 40, my husband is 46 and my Mom will be 70 in January… She is the only person we have to help us and could not cope with a baby and a pre-schooler, even for a short while.
I finally bit the bullet and took a pregnancy test. One pink line. Negative. A wave of relief went through me, along with a side dish of disappointment. In a way, it felt like a last chance and that chance was gone. A week later, my period arrived. So it ends.