Friday, February 25, 2011

The Big Ask

So it finally happened. The question. The one that almost every parent of a singleton has had to wrassle with, and yet I still didn't see it coming.

"Mama, why don't I have a brother?"


For the record, there's no good answer to a question like this. I know because I tried my damndest to come up with one. You don't have a brother because our family consists of three people in it instead of four. You don't have a brother because we live in a tiny apartment in New York City. You don't have a brother because I got a BFA instead of a BA and have few career prospects unless I return to graduate school, which is a daunting prospect regardless of the fact that we cannot afford childcare. You don't have a brother because the first year of your life was a misery cocktail of colic, breastfeeding hell, 40 minute sleep sessions and postpartum depression. You don't have a brother because, contrary to what I'll tell you when you're 15, it's actually very, very hard to get knocked up.

I settled on, "You don't have a brother because you don't have one." I mean really, what else is there to say?

Of course the punchline to all this is that I don't appear to be ovulating this month. I recently turned a year older and I can't shake the fear that this is the beginning of the end of my fertility. I may still get carded (occasionally) but bottom line, Nature doesn't want us getting knocked up past a certain point. According to the internet, I'm more likely to give birth to basket of chicks than a healthy baby. (Totally unverifiable facts: At 30, there's only a 15% of getting pregnant each cycle. By 40, it's down to 5%. By 45, experts say it's almost impossible to get pregnant using your own eggs.) I'm not opposed to a medical intervention; most of my friends have had to go that route and have beautiful babies to show for it. Unfortunately for many stupid reasons that's not an option for us. And before someone sends out the hate mail, I know how lucky I am to have one healthy child. Trust me, no kid (except yours) is more wanted or loved.

I hope it changes. I hope this month is a fluke. I hope that the fact that I was really, really sick last month caused my cycle to go wonky and the years of set-your-watch-by-it ovulation days aren't over. But it all still feels like a punch to the gut.


Missy said...

Oh sweetie. I know nothing I say will make it better. So just know you have all of my whatever you need.

Jennifer said...

My husband and I going through something similar -- struggling to provide a sibling for our toddler -- and I really understand your feelings. I'm not a doctor or anything, but from what I've read, which is a lot, "anovulation" (absence of ovulation in a cycle) happens sometimes and may be stress- or illness-induced. Most likely what you experienced is a one-time or occasional thing, and not the beginning of the end. Run it by your doctor at the next appointment, and in the meantime, enjoy your family and your writing. The statistics will make you nuts. As our fellow midwesterner Bob Seger once sang, "I'm not a number!"

Ali said...

Thanks, Missy and Jennifer. Turns out I actually ended up ovulating late (or at least having a surge) but alas, no bebe. Hopefully next month!

Peyton said...

This is such a hard situation. I want a second child, but my husband does not. Our son just turned 2, so I haven't gotten this question yet, but I guess I should be coming up with something better than, "because Daddy didn't want one". I'm glad that you ovulated, though, and I'm also glad that I checked on your blog today, because your entry really affected me. Good luck this month!

Ali said...

Wow, thanks Peyton. I really hope you find... is "a compromise" what I mean? No, not really. I do hope you find something that doesn't make you want to punch your husband. (Is it wrong that I totally laughed at your response to your kid?)

ckansas said...

my yogi friends who are "nearing the end of their reproductive years" are managing to get knocked up left and right, without medical science, so ignore the statistics and start playing rollplaying games. Maybe if you guys dress up like football stars and cheerleaders and go do it in the back of a car you will get some Bristol Palin mojo. Hell, maybe you should dress like Bristol and Levy

Ali said...

Our neighbors would LOVE that.