[Before you comment, please read the whole blog, particularly the last paragraph about what I DON'T want to hear from others. No offense, but I just don't want people making me feel even worse about this issue.]
So I've been struggling a lot lately with what I can only assume is my biological clock.
When Steve and I first started dating, I knew up front that he had had a vasectomy and said that he did not want any more children. He has one from his very first sexual encounter (the 22-year-old son that lives with us now) and two from his first marriage (two daughters that we never get to see because of their mother). He very much feels like all his children were forced on him - his high school girlfriend planned to get pregnant in an attempt to get him to marry her, and his first wife purposefully skipped her pills to get pregnant even though he told her that he did not want children at the time. That's not to say that he doesn't love his children - he very much does - but he got a radical vasectomy (one that cannot be reversed) due to the feeling that he had enough children and that he didn't want any others "sprung" on him, so to speak.
I have no children. And when things became serious between us I started to re-examine my desire for children. Like many people, I'd always assumed that I would have kids. In fact, my ex-husband and I had even named our potential offspring. When we got divorced, I was very relieved that we had not had children together and even then started to question whether I wanted to have any at all. So as my relationship with Steve grew and developed into a serious, long term one, I thought about it and decided that I was content to not have any children of my own.
Well, over the last few months, that contentment has been wavering, if it has not disappeared altogether already. We have talked about it, and he agreed that he would actually like having a child with me. And it would be the first time that he made the decision to have a baby, rather than having the decision made for him, and he liked that. So we looked into whether we would be able to extract sperm from his testicles and inseminate me.
Unfortunately, it's not possible to use the "turkey baster" method with sperm extracted in such a way; because the sperm isn't fully developed at extraction, in vitro fertilization is the only possible method. And IVF is REALLY expensive. Moreover, the chance of a successful implantation is less than 50% AND the risk for birth defects increases by about 2/3rds (from 6% in natural pregnancies to 10% in IVF). So it would be ridiculously expensive with a less than 50/50 shot of working and a pretty high risk of birth defects even if it did work.
And that just doesn't seem like a "good bet" in our minds. And the other options available - adoption or a sperm donor - really aren't what I want. I want OUR child - mine and his. And now that it's been brought up, putting it aside again is really difficult. I know logically that we really cannot afford it and that, even if we could, we aren't willing to accept the risks involved, but I can't seem to stop wishing we could figure out a way. I am really very saddened by the prospect of never having a child.
And it seems like things keep happening to mess with this sadness even further. My mom is dealing with a lot of stuff with her parents (her father is showing signs of Alzheimer's and her mother is having a very hard time taking care of them both any longer). And as she's telling me these things, I start to wonder, "Who will be taking care of me when I get to that point? Who will make sure that I'm okay?" My co-worker is pregnant, and I went to her baby shower on Sunday. And I couldn't stop thinking about how I'll never get to experience any of the things she is experiencing. Friends post about their kids on Facebook, and my immediate reaction is kinda snarky - "Oh you've got kids? That's nice, but I'm going to continue sleeping in and spending my money on myself." But I also think about what it might be like to have a kid of my own.
There are times when I think that it wouldn't be the right for us to have a kid anyway. We really enjoy our lives exactly as they are, and I don't know if I want to rearrange everything in my life for a kid. Plus, we honestly don't even have the money to support a child right now anyway (in part, thanks to his ex and her manipulation of the child support system). But at the same time, there's something that's making all the logic fade. Probably hormones. And it just sucks to feel like I don't have complete control over my reproductive choices now.
I'm not really asking for advice on WHAT to do; that will be a very personal decision between myself and Steve. And I *definitely* don't need anyone telling me about how WONDERFUL motherhood is and how I should do everything possible to have a kid OR anyone telling me that kids are a total drain on your money/time/youth and that I should stay childless. I just don't really have anywhere else to post this, and I really need to get out my feelings about it. If anyone has struggled with similar issues and has advice on how to process these feelings (without judgment as to whether remaining childless or not is good or bad), I'd really appreciate that.