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Still pregnant, still struggling.

Still pregnant, as far as I know. I’ll be 9 weeks on Friday, and will have a totally pointless OB appointment. Here’s your due date! Let’s weigh you! Come back later!

And I’m still struggling. Thank you so much for your kind words. It was so helpful to hear that other people might have the same reaction, despite the suffering involved in getting from 0 to 1. And those of you who commented on the lack of control I might be feeling, how this is the strange other face of not being able to get pregnant…OH YES.

To stop the endless flailing around, I pie charted my feelings. At first every category felt like 100%. But eventually I arrived at a sort of ranking. Go round the pie with me, won’t you?

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.25.20 PM

The physical stuff: I came down on the 2 is enough side of the fence in large part because of the physical dimension of motherhood. In the past year I have become stronger and healthier, even feeling the vague stirrings of a desire to take better care of myself, to become strong and sort of faintly…FIT. And it’s not like a person can’t be strong and healthy while gestating. It’s that I had a shift in my self identity when I decided not to have more children. I was rediscovering ME. And now ME is gone, and Incubating Milk Bag is back.

I can’t handle 3 kids: Another reason that I opted to stop at 2 was the belief that I am not a good enough parent to have more children. Observe that my most recent posts were about HITTING MY CHILD. It does not make any kind of sense for me to subject another child to my parenting.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic. I know on some level that I am a good parent, that my children are happy and strong, that having some perfect mother of the sort that exists only in myth would not actually be better for them. But these days I am mostly scratching my eyes out or catatonic or mean, and that carries more weight than any supposed good qualities I may possess.

This one is hard to articulate, but I’m sure I’ve given you a sense of what that slice tastes like. Bile, basically.

Logistics: OMG I have to buy a minivan. It might sound silly, but the little things really were part of the reason we decided to quit the baby making. Of course they are trivial, but they can also be overwhelming.

Don’t like change: I just…always have a tough time with anything other than what I planned.

Career takes a hit: On Friday I had a meeting planning out a great study that we’ll start up in the spring, and as we ran wild with all sorts of exciting ideas it didn’t even occur to me that, of course, in spring I will be nursing an infant every two hours. And then it did, and I was all FUCK.

The upside of the timing of my babies was that it didn’t interfere with my tenure process because I handed in my file and went off to become a mother. The downside is that in a period of my career where I am supposed to be accelerating, I am…coasting. I felt like I was just starting to get moving, but now…

I suppose I can convince myself that this time will be different, and I won’t be totally unmotivated and exhausted. And maybe that’s true. I’ve learned a lot about project management since Bun Bun, and presumably Bunter will not be as all-absorbing as Bun Bun and Bunlet were because I’m bored of babies.

Or it will be just like last time. That’s my guess, knowing me.

Fear about a new family: I like my children so much as individuals, and am loving the sight of them playing together in a pro-social fashion, becoming part of each other’s reality. I don’t want to change any of those dynamics.

Mr. Bunny said something generic about more siblings being maybe a good thing, and Bunlet said NO! I want it to be just me and Bun Bun. In such a hurt little voice. What if this lovely thing we have is utterly destroyed?

I was talking to a friend who chose to have only one child. She said part of her decision was that she really likes the relationship she has with her kid. I was thinking yes, and I bet you’d like the relationship you had with another kid and the relationship they had with each other, too. But I kept my trap shut because I vividly remember how guilty I felt when I learned Bunlet was on his way, so worried that I’d destroy the special specialness Bun Bun and I had. It’s a transition I couldn’t really imagine until it happened. Now I am so, so grateful for Bunlet, because without him, life would not be life.

So that will probably be okay.

Toddlers: A huge portion of my time with my children involves defiance, boundary testing, screaming, squabbling, and me straining every nerve to not lash out physically…I hate it. And every time I took down a baby gate or was able to unchildproof a cabinet I would rejoice at the thought that someday all that would be over. And, of course, it will. But not for so much longer. It’s making handling the current toddler bullshit harder, knowing that there is no fucking end in sight.

Anger and shame: Y’all, I am so, so MAD at myself for getting knocked up. I don’t even want to come clean about how I ended up pregnant because I am too ashamed. Ugh. Okay. I had unprotected sex on day 11 of my cycle. *Dies of shame*

I wasn’t ambivalent, I wasn’t flipping a coin to see how I felt, I was just…careless.

So every time I feel shitty about any of the other slices of pie, this one smacks me in the face. It’s YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT.

So. I believe I will come to be glad about this. I do. I DO. But I don’t yet, and feeling all this other shit is very tedious, particularly when I don’t know how long it will go on.

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. I sort of feel like I could go down your list, slice by slice, and say, “oh, me too!” But I’ll just stick with one: The logistics thing is NOT trivial, it was one of the strongest factors in our decision (at least for me). We don’t own a car. I don’t want to own car. I like public transport, and it works in Europe. We went off to Oxford for the weekend last weekend, and we even managed to get a direct train there! But we also fly a lot. It’s the only way we get to see family. And it’s fine when they’re < 2, and can sit on your lap. But suddenly they level up, and become expensive. And the thought of shelling out for four (or eight, if we wanted to go back in summer and at Christmas) trans-Atlantic tickets a year was a lot to stomach.

    As you could buy quite a few trans-Atlantic tickets for the cost of a minivan, I don't think that that slice is all that trivial.

    Too bad your pie chart couldn't be actual pie. You might still be in the Land of Unhappiness but you'd be unhappy with pie, which is a small step up from simply being unhappy.

    March 18, 2015
  2. kel24 #

    Oh Bunny, I read often and never comment. I want to hug you…I fought so hard to have my first 2, followed by 2 losses and then last 2 babies on the first try BOTH times. WTH? So yea, my oldest just turned 6 and my youngest is just over a year. I had morning sickness (like vomiting 6-10 times a day) with all of them.

    It’s HARD. Breast feeding and toddlers and babies and back to back pregnancies. But you WILL get there. Knowing how hard we fought for the first 2 and the miracle of a rainbow baby is what keeps me grateful when I am about to go insane…which is often.

    Thinking of you. You can do this.

    March 18, 2015
  3. Nicky #

    I love your pie chart, you are awesome. It is totally ok to not be to “happy” yet, and you might not get there until well after the birth of Bunter. But you’re right, most of these problems will go away.

    March 18, 2015
  4. Ana #

    I would feel all of those things, too, if I were in your shoes. So as much as I am (still) fucking jealous, I do get it. Its hard for me to handle all that ambivalence as an OUTSIDE OBSERVER of your situation, I can only begin to imagine how hard it is for you. You’ve got this, you’ll rock it.

    March 18, 2015
  5. Bunny, this pie is motherpie for all mothers with small children. Anyone with children so close in age knows this. And you know that feelings are not right or wrong, they just are.
    The conundrum is that you know better than to blame yourself for your feelings, but you are better for doing it nonetheless.
    I hope that the certainty that everything does positively NOT last forever will help you deal easier with the very tedious, monotone, and repetitive work ahead. It’s going to be long, but it will not last forever.
    That said, you should be more careful with money though. Everyone says that one does not feel child number three being a dramatic change to the family dynamics, but it is very much felt in the finances. And it does not have to be a van, a seven-seater is not a van, is it? Whatever you do, do not go for VW, their vans and suvs are terrible nowadays, break down a LOT, and are overpriced. At least they are so in their mother land. 🙂

    March 18, 2015
  6. I would totally feel all those feelings, down to the minivan. Although frankly as a donor egg mama, miracle sex pregnancy…I’d be all over it.

    I will say about the TODDLERS, you haven’t yet hit the good age of parenting, IMHO. Big kids. The awesomeness that is kindergarten on, for many reasons. That’s the one good thing here…your BunBun will be there soon. And may baby #3 be the easiest of them all.

    March 18, 2015
  7. Anonymous #

    I have to say that for me, having three makes me a *better* parent because I am so outnumbered that I am not capable of giving a fuck and so have become extra mellow. Plus, last baby, so I can enjoy the baby times -though not three AM- and know that I never ever have to do this again.

    March 18, 2015
    • Jenny F Scientist #

      Sorry, that’s me.

      March 19, 2015
  8. I’m a longtime reader, first time commenter. I’m also a really crazy infertility unicorn, as I conceived spontaneous twins after struggling with IUIs and IVFs to get my first baby. I can so completely relate to your fears, especially with how to handle three and the logistics. I went kicking and screaming (OK, not literally, but mentally) into my induction with my twins. How was I ever going to handle three under three? I just wanted to try for a miraculous pregnancy without drugs and doctors, and suddenly my world was turned upside down. I admit that it wasn’t easy then, and some days it still isn’t easy now, but as cliched as it sounds, I can’t imagine my life without all three of them. They really do fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Also, as my son gets farther from babyhood and closer to Kindergarten, he requires so much less attention from me. I can set a puzzle down in front of him and enjoy 30 minutes of bliss while he completes it.

    Also, just say no to the minivan. 🙂 I drive a Honda Pilot with three carseats in the second row (two Diono Radians and a Britax Boulevard), and plenty of room for my double stroller and groceries in the back. There are legitimate, viable options out there.

    March 19, 2015
  9. CJ #

    No ! No minivan. Amazon the Diono Radian car seats. Fit three to a back seat. Because, uh, no minivan!!!!
    :). Thanks for sharing some pie.

    March 19, 2015
  10. This pie chart is awesome and pretty much covers all the things that inhabit my nightmares about being pregnant. Which I have far too often. Well, keep on processing this sucker. Some day, your mind will wrap itself around it.

    Ps. You can do this without a minivan. You CAN.

    March 19, 2015
  11. Winter Blue #

    I just want to say that, regardless of the timing of tenure no sane person expects someone with two toddlers to be accelerating in their academic career. You will Accelerate in your mid to late forties. I give you permission. 🙂

    March 19, 2015
  12. SRB #

    Geeeez…why can’t you JUST BE GRATEFUL???

    Woman. You never cease to blow my fucking hair back with your bravery and candor. In the long, long ago, when I found your blog, I actually CRIED that someone had the guts to say what you say about pregnancy/parenting after going through infertility. Your pie charts have quite literally given me nourishment.

    ANYWAY. Yes, all of these things are very, very true. And possibly just shy of manageable. I really hear you, empathize with you, feel you, all that jazz on all of these. All totally valid and very real concerns. OF COURSE you are going to love Bunter(!) and of course loathe all the terrible things that are part of the package. But I FIRMLY disagree that you need a minivan. It can be done! There are real, actual, solutions to this part of the pie! You just have to play Jenga with all your many babies. See? FUN!!!!

    March 19, 2015
    • This morning I was fantasizing about just stacking them like logs in the back seat of our VW GTI and tying them down with rope. Safe, right? Or how old do you have to be before you can ride in the trunk? Is there a law about that in this fucking nanny state?

      March 19, 2015
      • kel24 #

        We have a minivan…the VW Routan at that. My family worked for VW/Audi so that is all we drive, we get pretty awesome deals. Never had any problems with any VW breaking down or any major issues at ALL as a previous commenter said.

        I resisted the minivan…but with 4 kids ages 6 and under I had to give in. Those sliding doors are the best! Don’t knock it til you try it lol. You do know VW is coming out with a 7 seater SUV in 2016 right? 😉

        March 20, 2015
  13. These are not insignificant points, any of them. (In fact, one of the reasons we recently decided to foster-to-adopt was the realization that we were pretty darn happy that babyhood was over. We can do things! And sleep! (well, sometimes)). I’m sure your pie will be quite delicious when it’s done baking but… I totally get this chart.

    March 19, 2015
  14. Jos #

    First off, i LOOOOVE your pie chart. Love it!

    Secondly, I second the ladies above – you CAN say no to the minivan! We have the Diono Radian RXTs and they’re definitely narrow enough to do 3 across if need be. Also, we are getting a GMC Acadia (only 2 kids now, but debating on 3 someday) simply b/c it seats 7 but is NOT a minivan. You can do this!

    At any rate, I totally get your fears with all of this. I felt much of the same going from 1 to 2 (when 2 was a miracle pregnancy conceived on the first try and I suddenly thought WTH AM I DOING?!). It’s scary, and hard, but wonderful, and amazing, and bit by bit, you will adjust, and you will love, and you will cry, and you will love some more.

    You’ve got this lady, and until YOU feel that in your heart, we’ve got you back. ((HUGS))

    March 19, 2015
  15. Whilst right now this is the worst possible post for me to read, I still have to comment because seriously that pie chart is amazing.

    March 19, 2015
  16. Oh lady. I love that pie chart. The challenges are so real and yet they don’t make the outcome any less special. Biology is so twisted. My father recently told us about the time he found out that my mom was unexpectedly pregnant with my youngest brother, their soon-to-be 4th. He was so terrified and overwhelmed that he just got in the car and started driving, eventually ending up in New Orleans (from NE OH). He told us this in the context of how funny it is that not only did he manage to get back home and actually feed his 4th child but my brother ended up being the pride and joy of the family. “To think we didn’t even want him” was how he started the story. While it does show that my Dad is something of a tactless ass, I can sympathize with how he must have felt. And yet, our family would be so inferior without my brother…..

    March 20, 2015
  17. I’m here for you Bunny. And I don’t own a mini-van and my peeps all ride in huge Britax seats. There are good options. You can also fit a roof top carrier with an infant seat and keep that stylish GTI! The seats are way too cool to give up.

    March 20, 2015
  18. Roccie #

    I succumbed to the minivan. Your kids can open and close doors! If they are too small, use the remote device to open while their traffic ignoring legs race to safety! Room for the grubby little hands to click themselves! Fuck it. It has a trash can in it.

    I manage three with my fun reading. I know you’re not a Book Teach Me How fan, but Screamfree Parenting and The Explosive Child really saved my neck. And wine. But I think thats how Baby 3 showed up, so be wise.

    All my love.

    March 20, 2015
  19. Andie #

    HI Bunny, love your pie chart. I think the logistics are actually an important part, not trivial at all. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Sending lots of love.

    March 20, 2015
  20. Misfit #

    My first thought is that I wish I could send a crib your way. Gah. What the whatity what? Sweet mother of monkey wrenches, this one is unexpected. Lots of love here. A virtual hand hold as you get to a new normal. This b will make space in the lines of that pie chart.

    March 22, 2015
  21. I’ve always thought an unplanned pregnancy must be every bit as hard as an unplanned non-pregnancy. Perhaps harder.

    I have been pretty comfortable with our decision not to have three children for all the reasons you state, and I’ve no idea how I’d handle an unexpected pregnancy now. (I dream about it sometimes, and it’s always a relief to wake up and know that we’re not doing babyhood again.) It sucks. It almost certainly won’t be as bad as you’re dreading, and I don’t suppose it will be all that long before you’re glad that you had this accident, but it still sucks now. Hugs and best wishes.

    March 24, 2015
  22. I just want to put in a word for the Mazda 5. And the Diono Radians. Highly recommended. Also, please tell me what you use to make your pie charts. Please. Also, everything here makes sense. Thinking of you as you make your way through this.

    March 25, 2015
  23. twangy #

    That is so completely understandable, bunny. I get your pie. I feel for you at this difficult headwreck of a juncture even while I do also see that it will be okay in the end. It’s this bit that sounds so daunting, but one day everyone will be able to jump in the car and go on a day out, and somehow all will be well and even feel like the way it was meant to be.

    March 27, 2015
  24. I am late to this party (and what fun you’re having), but I wanted to say that I am hoping that your anger at yourself for this will dissipate.. I was just driving home with Gummy and turned around to remove something (sunglasses, I think) off of her. In that process, I swerved across the median of the road. If a car had been coming, it would have been a head on collision. But no, I was lucky. Unprotected sex on CD11 does not always, DOES NOT OFTEN result in a pregnancy. It just happened for you this time. It’s not what you wanted, but your psychological immune system will work on this new reality and help you feel ok about it. But seriously, if you don’t feel ok about this for another 5 years, I think that would totally be within the norm (whatever the fuck the norm is).

    March 28, 2015
  25. Oh Bunny. The other day it occurred to me that Bun Bun must have been SB’s age when you found out you were pregnant with Bunlet. That sure drove home the point on the physical part – I’m already exhausted. How does anyone manage this while pregnant?
    If the people I know are any useful reference, baby 1 is exhausting and baby 2 just adds to that, but somehow with #3 things get better. Maybe it’s the universe giving you a break. Maybe it’s what JF said. Hang in there. I hope the universe goes easy on you from now on.

    March 31, 2015

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