Thursday, June 18, 2009

The journey

Two nights ago I had a dream, a very vivid dream that my sister and I were both pregnant and in the hospital, about to go into labor. My sister was a bit closer to labor than I was. She was pregnant with twins and she pissed my mother off by announcing that she hoped both twins would be boys. I didn't know the sex of my baby and thus was incredibly eager to give birth and find out.

It was an exciting dream, a happy dream, and it stuck with me. I woke up with that lingering residue of the emotions of the dream. Even now, a day later, it's still with me. I think it's because I really want to be pregnant. I have to wait, and I will wait, and I think it's best for us to wait, even if I hadn't had surgery.

And I know that there are so many downsides to pregnancy, and parenting, but I, like so many other people, am choosing to dwell on the positive side of things. The excitement, the hope of the pregnancy. What it will be like to announce to my family that I'm pregnant. Picking a name. Decorating the nursery (I'm thinking aqua and yellow). The experience of growing a person inside me, no matter how painful and unpleasant it may be at times. And, of course, giving birth and then having a child, an amazing child.

I try not to think so much about morning sickness, and potential complications, and inconvenient doctor's appointments, and the birth not going the way I'd like, and birth defects, and all the rest. I understand that those things exist, that they're risks, that I will likely experience some of them. I am willing to accept those things in exchange for all the positive things that will come out of the experience. So I choose to think about the positive.

But I have to wait. And so, I will wait. The year anniversary of my surgery coincides with the time we had originally thought about for trying to conceive. We'll have been married for a year and a half. The month of May means that unless the baby is very premature, there is no real risk of a Christmas baby, unless it takes us nearly a year to conceive. The timing, all around, is perfect.

But a year from now feels so far away. And I try to remind myself that it isn't so far, that a year ago doesn't feel so far away, that it's already been a month since my surgery, so only eleven months remain. That time goes by fast. That I love my life as it is right now. That I just had surgery and I need this year to focus on myself, on losing weight, on getting my body into the best possible condition for a healthy pregnancy next year.

I'm a planner, that's for sure, but that doesn't mean that I live with my head in the future. I love to think ahead, to dream and plan and imagine, but I also love what's going on now, and I am fully present to enjoy it. I absolutely believe, as I think most people do, that life is about enjoying the ride, being present on the journey, and not about the destination. Because there isn't a destination, really.

This is what has always confused me about mid-life crises, about people who feel that they can't get married or do X or Y until they've achieved a certain checklist of other things. Not that you can't have a list of things you'd like to do, and a time frame in which to do them. And not that birthdays and aging aren't good reasons to step back and assess your life.

But your life only ends when you die, and most of us have no idea when that will be. There's no stagnating in the meantime. There's no destination at which we're supposed to arrive by a certain age or else we'll miss the boat. There's not an end point that we're supposed to hit by age 50 so that we can spend the rest of our lives idling there.

Everything always moves forward. And I like to think about what will happen as it does. Even if things don't end up working out the way I'd envisioned. I still like to think about what the next stop will be like. Even as I'm enjoying looking out the window along the way.


  1. What a wonderful post. It is nice to see such a positive
    outlook on life. You are always an inspiration. Life is what you make it.
    Wishing you the best on the forward planning and dreaming. A year will go very fast, and you will enjoy
    your next adventure so much.

  2. I always love your posts, but this one is funny to me because I just found out this morning that I'm pregnant. And you are the first person I'm telling outside of my family. LOL. Shhh. ;-)

    I totally agree with you, by the way.

  3. You sound like me when I first married my husband, I was SO READY to have a baby, but we felt it best to wait. But I thought about it constantly. When we did have our first son, I spent the next two years thinking about our next baby, who that would be, how our family would change. Now that our family is complete, I think about our future as a family, school for the boys, etc... Planning is a good thing. If I wasn't a planner, I doubt I'd be living this amazing life right now. The life I PLANNED! Sure, there have been things that were unexpected, but for the most part, I knew what I wanted, I did what it took to get those things (including waiting for certain things), and here I am today. Happy.

  4. We took the having a baby discussion off the table for the first year we were married. It was the longest year of my life in some regards. But, it was also a great year full of vacations and lazy weekends spent on the couch with DVDs and takeout.

    I was pregnant one year and one month after we were married, so I didn't have to wait long :)

  5. Waiting to get pregnant - which we did on purpose, not because it just wasn't happening - was the longest wait of my entire life. INCLUDING waiting for my future husband to be aware of my existence. I did my very best to focus on the Now, and I lost weight and did new things at work and went on vacations, but I was pretty miserable the entire time. I'm glad you're not as silly as me!

  6. You have such a lovely outlook on life, Jess! I feel the same way about 80% of the time, the exception being that I don't think I'd want to have kids during graduate school (I already have one graduate degree, am getting another). Some of us aren't exactly the best multitaskers and almost everyone I know who did it in law school had to take a year or so off school (if they were female) and graduate with a different class. It was easier on the guys. A relationship/marriage would be more doable-but from my experience you have to have a REALLY understandin partner, one who will put up with your (mutual or not) relocation, the all consuming nature of some programs, the awkwardness of integrating a spouse into a grad school social life when EVERYONE is talking shop, etc.. I was never able to do it-my sister just barely managed and married the boyfriend she had before medical school. But it can be really really tough-esp. if you are the type of person who tends to get consumed by academic success (this is true of my family). Again, it seemed easier for the men in the program than the women.

    Just a POV from someone who understands why people say they need to do "X" before they do "Y"!

  7. This was lovely to read. Occasionally I think it would be so amazing to be having a baby but the I realise that we've only been married 10 months and that there are so many things I love about it being just two of us with hardly any ties and I can wait.
    Looking forawrd to reading about it when it does happen for you though!

  8. Jess, I am so there with you. I have been ready to have a baby since before we got engaged. Then even more ready during the engagement. Super ready after we got married, especially since our friends Simon and Leah got pregnant right around then. When Wombat was born, the ache got stronger. And when we met him in March, it was palpable. My husband and I decided to wait to start trying, as ready as we both were, until after he graduated and we have two incomes for a while. The timeline's going to be a little bit funny, but we will probably start trying in a couple of months, right around when we plan to move back to CA. This summer we're focusing on us, on our relationship, on doing fun stuff that will be harder to do once we have a baby, and on saving money to make the process less painful.

    Every month when I start a new pack of birth control pills it gets harder and harder to make myself take them. Yet in a way this waiting process has been good, and yours will be good as well. You will have the rest of your lives to be parents. Enjoy the time of being just you two (and Montana) while you're waiting for the next step!

  9. I have no desire to have a baby but I totally understand your need/want to plan. Glad to know that there are kindred souls out there!

  10. My favourite thing about your blog is your beautiful, positive outlook on life. I love to come here and read your posts because they are always cheerful and upbeat (without being naive). I know you'll make an awesome mom!

  11. One of my favorite parts of having children (I have many favorite parts) is the part where you know you WILL be trying for a baby soon. The anticipation is wonderful! One of the reasons I'm sad about not having any more children (I have many reasons) is the loss of that fun stage of anticipating and planning and thinking about it and counting down the days.

    Aqua and yellow would be gorgeous!

  12. In the meantime, if you are interested, I have a pubescent, almost 16 year old that I am willing to give you for the next three years to raise as your own. I promise to take him back and pay for college if you'd just watch him through high school... Just trying to help!

  13. I think you and I are so on the same page when it comes to this whole baby thing, but you're definitely ahead of me (you're married and have a house!). The idea of babies and family is so sweet and exciting!

  14. I am delurking briefly to pass along what I think is the best, most realistic description of what becoming a parent is like, aside from the wonderment which is of course great:
    To be fair, I have a toddler and am due with another baby in a week, so I am already "living the dream", but I do think it is very much worth appreciating every day that you and Torsten have together that is baby-free. I think taking a year to make your marriage about you and Torsten before adding kids is really worth it. My husband and I did the same, and it is a year of memories that I am so glad we have because it is going to be about 18 years before it is back to just us again. Don't get me wrong-- I love being a parent and I love, love, love my child & child-to-be -- but it is true that adding a child changes everything on a very day-to-day, hour-to-hour level. You sound very happy and generally appreciative of what you have right now, so this is just reinforcing the stop-and-smell-the-roses approach.

  15. You sound so much like me! Hell, at least you have me beat and you're already married, so baby planning is a little more acceptable.

    I'm such a planner about this sort of stuff. In fact, in all your recent posts where you've been wondering what you'll do with your future children... I've just thought, "Yeah! What will she do? What will *I* do too?"... not judged you for thinking about any of it! :-)

    Glad you have this positive outlook, that's how I like to think about my future babies too... I like picturing my perfect little family and planning things out. Now if I could just get that ring on my finger, I could really get going!

  16. This is a really nice post. Helps qualm some of my concerns about pregnancy and being a mom. What a great dream too.