By: Revanche

Parenting, a dog as toddler, and come what may

August 25, 2012

Someone said his Daddy skills were going to waste on a dog.

I asked if he meant the skills that enabled him to ignore the dancing, sniffing, persistent nudging at his elbow who was nearly perishing of thirst every night for a week at 2 am when we were having a slightly warm spell so that I was getting up instead?

Oh yes. Yes, those – well, apparently Daddy skills like feeding, diapering, taking them out to play, etc., are best practiced in the daytime. They also mean Best Sleep Ever.

Cue the biggest eyeroll of the century, please.  I am not amused.

All kidding aside, we’re back on the subject.  And with some other life changes going on, it warrants the consideration of whether or when this is something we’re going to do. Mostly me. I’m going to say, mostly me if he’s pawning off pregnancy and night duty. Plus, my blog. Nyeh nyeh. (Yes, we are totally mature.)

I’m more at peace with the ideas of kids eventually, all of my worries are not gone, of course, but I have accepted that they, in fact, are part of life and no, I can’t have my mom back to make this less scary.

It’s when I focus on the pregnancy bit that it all falls apart. There is just nothing appealing about it. Not just because I’ve only heard a million and one truth stories about it, but because for the first time in nearly twenty years, I’m starting to see a chance to repair my health and I’m thinking erm? Pregnancy?  That … doesn’t so much sound like a step toward better. And healthier. And less broken. Kids are fun and fulfilling and all that but you know what else? They are hard work. They are responsibility, late nights, long days, lifting and hauling, racing after them, praying to anyone who will listen you can keep up with them this time, keeping them engaged and entertained, teaching them and oh-so-much. But that’s all after surviving a pregnancy, unbroken.

Lauren’s Insta-Grammy #6 triggered this sense that I’d be taking a long jump off a short cliff.

Not that her announcement post  didn’t get me in the gut a bit too, but that was in a different, rueful laugh, oh-my-friend, my-suffering-pregnant-friend, let’s get chocolate because there’s a lot of time left on this clock and yes almost every mother I have known well IRL has told me that the GlowyPregnancy was a myth kind of way.

And her update post was simply: Yes. This needs to be a CHOICE. Because it’s too damn painful, difficult, sacrificial or much, at any given point not to be something you want for yourselves. And it’s not something I’ve seen most people regret when it was their active choice. In the long run.

It was this bit, from the first post that made me breathe deeply for a minute:

“Traveling and not feeling 100% always sucks, but we also had a lot of fun. I mostly felt guilty for not being my usual yes yes yes self. Having to leave events before they were finished, having to take breaks and rest in our hotel room during the day, having to start the days a little later than usual in order to pull it together. It all made me feel guilty. Not because other people were at all difficult about it, but because this weekend was about family, and even then I had to take time out just for me and that’s really difficult for me to assert or admit to.”

That description is so apt, and so incredibly familiar, that I wilted a little. I can generally take on the world in so many ways but this? Is me. And this is me on a normal day, much less on a travel day (-5), much less with the addition of family(-20), or the addition of family events (-30), forget the idea of having all the side effects of carrying a childling around in my belly.

My normal has been starting out the day, any day, always at less than 100%. Getting up takes 10%, getting ready takes 15%. Then it’s a 10-12 hour day ahead. Typically with no food, water or bathroom breaks. One if I’m lucky. Home to prep dinner or mewl weakly on the sofa for a while (60/40 which kind of day it’ll be), while PiC takes care of the evening necessities and dinner before collapse.

The imagination quails at the thought of taking a version of that and adding a new, totally unpredictable, factor to it.

There are certainly other plans on the horizon to deal with the insanity of my current life but the health and related energy issue piece when most people don’t really know or understand what’s “wrong” with me, especially when I’ve learned to hide it so well because:
Most people don’t need to know my “weakness”,
I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired, it’s nice to pretend I’m fine sometimes,
and frankly, I’m tired of hearing uninformed criticisms and advice from people who should know better,
and yet I still feel guilty or judged for taking the breaks I desperately need when I am around the people who, again, know and should understand (but don’t care).

That’s a different level of discomfort I’m now working through.

It doesn’t help having heard how I should “avoid becoming a burden” to others.  I already knew not to lean on people anyway, that statement reminded me, again, that I am considered “less than” and that those who might naturally have been thought to offer support will not, in fact, be anywhere but in the Talking Head Category (and now, I hope, geographically very far away) if this proves a difficult journey.

I’m not the person to ask for help or support. I give it, and I take care of others. And if I can’t, then I simply go away, but the last thing I’m comfortable with is asking for assistance, having been so independent for so long. It’s a good thing my sense of self esteem is rather well established by now or these little but consistent zingers would be rather destructive.

Without borrowing trouble, I’m now preparing for the eventuality that in some people’s* eyes, any needs, anything that happens if we choose to do this, any problems, they will all be “my fault” and down to my “weakness.” As I write this, I realize that I can deal with that if I expect it and I will have some support from my own, even if just in spirit.

I hope for the best, that my imagination is more creative than reality should we commit to this, and plan to deal with whatever happens. As usual. Guilt be damned.

*Specific people. But I don’t feel like naming names, though it may make more sense why I’ve bothered addressing it at all if I did. Just not worth it.

18 Responses to “Parenting, a dog as toddler, and come what may”

  1. I think most people are aware that we have little control over much of the process/outcome. You may be surprised.

    • Revanche says:

      Most people are aware, agreed. There are just a special few who also happen to be in our lives (inextricably) who don’t care whether that’s the case or no as evidenced by the previous commentary with regard to my health and other related matters. So it’s a … thing. But a thing I am choosing more and more to move out of my consciousness best I can.

  2. In the end, do whatever is right for you two as a couple. It doesn’t really matter what people say or what people think is the natural progression of a relationship.

  3. If you do decide to have kids, hire good help and do not feel the least bit guilty about it. There’s no reason you should have to do everything on top of work. (Neither of us has an exhausting health condition and we just hired 3 college students to help out with the baby and the house starting tomorrow.) A good reason to build up savings and increase your income like you’ve been doing.

    Btw, our division of baby labor is I do inputs, DH does outputs.

  4. They’re a ton of work. On the other hand, my never-changed-a-diaper-before-in-his-life husband adores them and takes night shift every night so that I can get enough sleep, as I too have health problems that are exacerbated by poor sleep. On the third hand, I counted on hormones to make the whole turning a baby into a human being thing more palatable for myself, and it is not working so far. So unless you are pretty sure you’ll regret not having them your whole life, I’d pass. And, tbh, the pregnancy was the easy part, and I had a high risk twin pregnancy with nausea so bad I couldn’t stand without vomiting for months 2-5. (my babies are 10 months tomorrow)

  5. I’m not sure I caught everything that is going on, but this post spoke to me deeply. I am absolutely terrified of the pregnancy part because of long-term illnesses and such, too. It’s one thing to talk about the theory, but then like you said how can I take on something so huge when I already feel so broken just maintaining my health as is.

    I asked my husband over dinner once, when we were both exhausted and stressed and tired and barely taking care of ourlseves, “How do people ever have children? We can barely do this thing for ourselves,” and his response: “Maybe it makes all of this look easy”.

    So, I would say, at least get to some kind of plateau to where you have a little handle on what’s going on. And then when you’re ready for a challenge, go for it. But I’m with you, and I’m scared too!

    • Revanche says:

      That reminds me of what a dad of many kids said: “After the third one it’s easy. Not because it’s EASY, but because you give up the fiction of being in control. It’s easier that way.”

      *shiver*

  6. I believed I never wanted kids. Something about the responsibility of a snotty little thing being dependent on me scared the shit out of me. I was frail with health issues. Surely kids would be total aggravation and a huge financial drain. Yecch, no thank you.

    Then I had a terrible dream: I was an old woman living in her mansion all alone; no kids. No grandkids. But there were dazzling jewels and I was surrounded by sexy luxurious shoes and purses and glittering gold piles. And something in my soul felt hollow, ached. I was longing for a life full of love.

    I became pregnant a year later and the pregnancy ironically placed my health issues into remission. Surely I wouldn’t be strong enough to labor naturally and deliver, I worried. But during the pregnancy, a strange thing happened—I felt like shit, yes—but I started trusting in my body to know what to do. I was determined to have the birthing experience of my choice and I’m so proud to say that my Alexis Skye was brought into the world with an all-natural, drug-free delivery. Because at one time I hadn’t believed it was possible.
    My little girl and I had been through hell and crossed that threshold, together.

    It took a few days for us to adjust and bond but we clung to each other, healed together and now I can’t imagine my life without her. The bond between mother and child is so spiritually deep, it’s difficult to adequately express in words.

    I know you and PiC will make the right decision for you, and I wish you both the best with whatever choices you make. But don’t allow fear or doubts rob you of anything . Because if this is something you want to make happen, you will.

    • Revanche says:

      That’s an amazing journey. I have a couple friends who had terrible endometriosis and found that pregnancy actually reduced the problems they experienced prior, even though they didn’t want to have kids and were worried it’d be worse. So I’ve seen it go both ways. It’s a bit of a gamble no matter what!

  7. oilandgarlic says:

    I’ve been thinking of writing a post about the baby-making decision process and hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, just want to second N&M’s comment about help. I was always independent but after having kids, I learned to swallow my pride and ask for help. That can be in the form of help, money, food or simply a shoulder to cry on. It has made a world of difference.

    • Revanche says:

      I didn’t really consider it so much before but now I’m just planning on needing and hiring help and hoping for the best.

  8. TPP says:

    Pregnancy is a difficult decision when you are dealing with a chronic health issue. To be fair though, from reading your blog, your health situation seems to fall under the “mild” spectrum. There is no doubt that getting out of bed, pushing through long work days, and taking walks are difficult, but the bottom line is, you are able to do it with willpower. As for me, this is the first day in weeks that I have been able to sit up on my own and even use the computer. Dress myself? Shower? Prepare a simple meal? No way. Like you, I deal with “invisible” symptoms, such as pain and fatigue (plus many more). I never thought I wanted kids, but now, as I near my late 20’s, it has kicked in. But obviously, given my situation, there is no possible way this can occur – physically nor financially. So that decision for myself, no matter how painful, is easy.

    But yours seem trickier, right smack in the grey scale. Sick enough to have limited spoons, but not sick enough to be truly un-functional. There are many women in your position who have done it though, and remission has even occurred from going through this process. Things to consider: You will need to be able to (and willing to) take time off work during and after your pregnancy to take it easy. You will need a good doctor who understands your condition and the effects it has on pregnancy and the possible outcomes. This doctor and your OB will need to be willing to work together. If you want to forge on ahead in your career, you will need to hire help, both with the baby and the housework. And PiC will also need to be willing to take over >50% of the domestic duties, and you need to be ok with that.

    These are all sacrifices that need to be made, but from being a fan of your blog over the years, you are no stranger to sacrifices when it comes to things you truly want. So I personally feel like the main question for your situation isn’t “Can I do it?”, but “Can I imagine my life without children?”

    Additionally, while you have dealt with symptoms for a while, you haven’t made searching for possible treatments and your health a priority. Now that you are doing so, perhaps with treatment, you will improve 🙂

    Good luck!

    p.s. Perhaps there are blogs that deal with this issue? There are a number of chronic health blogs. unfortunately, there aren’t any that I know of, except for Thoughts About ME, but the writer is much more severely ill and is also well-0ff enough that she is able to hire help for everything, including nanny help for about 60 hrs a week.

    • Revanche says:

      I am not familiar with/don’t follow blogs about dealing with chronic health issues, I’m not sure if it’s just never made it on my radar because I’m so not “interested” in the topic as much as I am about things I want to make a hobby. Which isn’t to say that those blogs can’t be positive,education or enjoyed. It simply never really felt compelling. Weird!

  9. […] Like this commenter TPP said, your health situation seems to fall under the “mild” spectrum. There is no doubt that getting out of bed, pushing through long work days, and taking walks are difficult, but the bottom line is, you are able to do it with willpower. […]

  10. Peer pressure has quite the effect on a woman’s decision to have a baby, oddly enough. You’d think as grown-ups pushing middle age, we’d have passed beyond that kinda thing. But nooooo….

    I had a baby because my best friend was busy having babies. And yes, I was one of those women who’d always said she didn’t want children. That was probably correct, in objective terms, but I don’t regret it. A kid is a helluva lot of work and a vast risk — if anything goes wrong, you’re saddled with horrendous expense and care for the rest of your life. But usually nothing does go wrong. Raising M’hijito was great, and an adult child who can speak to you as though you were human is a joy. (Actually, where adult sons are concerned, they tend to think of you as a person in your second childhood… 😉 )

    One advantage of waiting until you’re in your 30s is that you’re probably pretty well set financially. This enables you to hire babysitting and nanny help, which makes a huge difference in the quality of your life and the child’s. It also allows you to travel with the child, also an important aspect of a young person’s upbringing and experience. You and PiC, as relatively high-income earners, may be making enough that you can hire people to help with the kidlet when you’re feeling too whipped to cope.

    • Revanche says:

      My oldest friends are having kids now too, but for the longest time it just put me off having them. The pregnancy stories, the hormones, the angry, the discomfort.
      It was actually spending time with the little ones for a while that actually softened my stance against it because it felt like maybe, just maybe, I could want this.
      I’m just worried about being stuck in a position where we’re reliant on both incomes entirely to afford to have the kids. I want to work toward only needing 1 (like Little Miss Moneybags) but at the moment, we’re a ways off from that.
      I certainly don’t INTEND to make the raising of them any kind of fancy schmancy affair, but hiring good help can’t be cheap…

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This website and its content are copyright of A Gai Shan Life  | © A Gai Shan Life 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red