March 29, 2014

Do you want kids?

I've gotten to that part of life after divorce where it's not the immediate thing people think about when we talk. I've also met a lot of new people since my split and all they know is I'm divorced. They don't know C or any of the details behind our marriage and divorce. So it's inevitable for THE question to come up, you know that one that all IF'ers dread with a passion of a thousand fiery suns: do you have kids? (And all the forms that question comes in, including but not limited to: why don't you have kids? do you want kids? why didn't your and your ex have any?, etc) My mind's immediate reaction is, "oh yay, this damn question again." But at least I no longer have that urge to throat punch the people who ask me that! Progress!

It's not quite the sting it was before the split but it's still a twinge of something to my heart. If I'm totally unprepared for it, like if it comes out of left field when I'm chatting about mundane things, it can leave me breathless for a second. The first couple of times, my mind scrambled to think of an appropriate answer that wasn't quite the depressing truth. Depending on how many drinks I'd consumed at that point, sometimes my reply would be the blunt truth but mostly I'd just give a little smile, shake my head no, and tell them we didn't have kids but hopefully one day I will and change the subject. Most people just go with that. Only once has someone really pushed for answers and I just flat out told her that we struggled with MFI. Yes, I kinda threw C under the bus with that response but I was annoyed.

Which, leads to another set of problems, our IF dx. Explaining that is quite awkward too. We were very open about our IF problems and C was very open about his azoospermia but I was never comfortable telling people about it. It wasn't my diagnosis so I never felt like it was right for me to tell people about it, which C thought was silly. But MFI makes people say the most inappropriate things and I'd just rather not hear that shit. Only our immediate family and closest friends in Arkansas knew. Nobody outside that circle had a clue and even now my longtime friends down here are always surprised to hear the whole story. I've heard from all of them that they all thought it was me who couldn't have kids. I preferred it that way too, to be honest. I didn't want C to deal with the insensitivity so I kept it pretty quiet. And now it feels mean to tell people about his azoo. It's just so personal and I don't feel comfortable spreading his personal information to people.

Anyway, I always tell people that yes, of course I want children one day. After C left and it became obvious that we weren't going to be able to repair our relationship, I was very struck by the thought that I could actually have a family one day. (Right before we split, C had told me he had changed his mind and no longer wanted kids.) As a woman who dealt with IF, it was really hard for me to accept that I was excited about this possibility because it felt like such a betrayal to C. I always told him I loved him more than sperm and that I wanted him, not sperm. And that was very true, given the choice, I would have always chosen C. But he walked out and left, he made the choice that we were irrevocably broken so I made the choice that yes, I want kids and I'm going to have them one day. But I do feel guilty and I hope that fades one day.

I'm not ready for kids yet, I'm still a mess. No steady job and I'm not ready for the responsibility. But I know the time will come when my clock isn't something I'll be able to ignore. I'm 31 and have been longing for a baby for the past six years. My friends are on their second or third baby and I'm over here, divorced and drunk on the weekends. So even though I'm not responsible enough yet, my baby fever is always in the back of my mind. But so is the IF, it's confusing sometimes to make peace between the two. Between who I use to be and who I am now, what my life was before and what my life is after. Between the IF struggle and the possibility that I can have a baby one day. Making peace with the cards I was handed but now having the ability to have a say in how they are played.

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