Thursday, March 30, 2006

Reasons Why

I recently quit my full-time, well-paying job in pursuit of my dream to own my own visual communications firm. It's slow going so far, but I've barely gotten my feet wet.

I've been telling people that there will never be a better time for me to try this. We're financially secure thanks to money from the wedding, we have very cheap rent on a home we adore, and I've got enough experience to know I'll be employable should this situation not work out. It's great. But everyone, and I mean everyone, assumes that when I say that I mean that I want to try this before we have kids.

And so many people are telling me that they wish they could take this risk. But they can't. They have responsibilities. They have children.

My question is this -- if i'm putting so much into this right now, how would it make sense to have children and hope to maintain my career? This is going to take constant effort. It's not the sort of thing I would be able to manage part-time, even if I do get to the point where I'll have a staff of some sort. If I want to live the life I want, there's no room for children.

I know there are plenty of women out there who manage careers and children, but I don't want their life. I don't smoke because I can't stand the idea of my life revolving around something. I know it's not the same, but… I don't know. Everyone just assumes that I'm getting this out of my system, or that I'm doing this because I want to be a stay-at-home mom or something. It's so not. This is my dream. It's a dream, and it doesn't leave room for having children. And that's ok.

I just think it's interesting that so many people really do think that kids will be the next step in my life. And it's interesting that it doesn't seem like it will ever be an option. And again, that's ok. It's what I want.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Why Don't You Just Tell Everyone?

Wouldn't a lot of this just go away if we had the balls to tell our in-laws that the baby's not coming?

It's complicated, but there's one big motivator. I don't feel selfish about our choice to remain childfree, but I feel guilty about our motivator to keep quiet: It's the inheritance.

The inheritance, a sizeable one, will be from his grandmother. In addition to ownership of her condo, we are also set to receive her entire estate -- everything. Her lone son is already wealthy and she has told us that we will be getting this inheritance. She's quite frank about it. She's in good health and thank goodness we don't expect her to go anywhere anytime soon. She tells us repeatedly that this money will be for "our family", so we can raise "our family" in a nice house with a yard and blah blah blah.

We've talked extensively about his family and we have a big suspicion that his family, especially his grandmother, won't speak to us again if we explain our conviction against having children. It's not telling them, it's getting them to believe us. If we just tell them we're not having kids, that's not a big deal -- they'll just insist that I'll change my mind. If we tell them that A's getting a vasectomy, if we convince them that we're really serious, it will get ugly. His relationship with his dad is already strained, and my husband has lived his life as a disappointment. His father has always made sure A knows how disappointing his life has been -- A can never live up to his expectations. My FiL is very enthusiastic when he talks about "our kids", and how excited he is for us to start a family. Kiss that relationship goodbye once we do anything permanent.

His grandmother is the same way. Why doesn't A get a "better" job, why doesn't he do "this" with his life, or "that". Nothing is ever good enough, but again when there's talk about "our family", she's wonderful.

We truly believe that telling them we're not having kids will mean being cut off from his family, and cut out of the inheritance. Call it what you will, it is what it is. It's a chance for us to have a better life, and his grandmother wants us to have it. But she also wants so desperately for us to have children. Because of his sister-in-law's and his aunt's infertility issues, lying about this, saying we're trying when we're not, is not something I'm willing to do. It's disrespectful of their situations. A is convinced we'll be cut off completely, personally and financially, and having seen the situation, I don't think it's irrational. His family are the ones who are irrational.

So we don't tell. Selfish, absolutely. But y'know what, she'll be happier this way. And if she's around long enough that it does become an issue, we'll talk. But for now, it's too early to sever those ties. It might not be that bad, but we love that woman. Breaking her heart is not a happy option anyway; the potential to lose his inheritance is additional motivation.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Great Expectations

My husband is an idiot. I put my two-weeks notice in at work so I can start working from home and freelancing full-time, and I'm so excited about this opportunity. We had plans to see his entire family over the weekend. Somewhere in the planning process for this weekend, he spoke with my father-in-law. I did not know this.

A dropped me at the museum doors with his grandmother, and we met the rest of the family inside. His father beamed at me, and assaulted me with a bear hug as he usually does (he's a passionate man, to say the least), but something was different. There was something different about the way everyone looked at me, I see in hindsight. Everyone was glowing, mostly because of his sister-in-law M's pregnant belly, which I wanted no part of, quite frankly. But I asked my father-in-law if A had shared the news with him. Immediately he began gathering the rest of the family. My mother-in-law first asked if I wanted to wait for A to arrive from parking the car, and after I said no, she encouraged everyone to come close. It all makes so much sense now, but then I just blurted out "I quit my job, and I'm starting my own business!" and watched my in-laws deflate. With forced, confused smiles, I was congratulated, and some people asked questions, but I felt like it was a disappointment. Then I found out why.

Apparently A told them I had some "big news" to share at the museum. *hand to forehead* Who doesn't know that you don't tell parents that there's "big news" unless it involves an engagement (check) or friggin' pregnancy??!?? They all thought I was pregnant and apparently had shared this with each other. I felt uncomfortable the rest of the day.

I'm fairly sure my mom thought I was pregnant until yesterday, too. Because of the IUD, I've had quite a few doctor's appointments recently. This had her worried anyway, and then when I quit my job, I think she took that as confirmation of her presumption. I met with her yesterday for lunch (because I had a doc's appointment in the afternoon) and she was worried again, begging me to tell her what was up. She knows we don't plan to have kids and doesn't pressure me, but when I told her about the IUD, there was the same deflated look -- not elation that I wasn't sick, as she seemed to think I was.

It's not so much my mom I'm worried about -- she knows what's up, and she knows she's just speculating. But it's gotten to the point where we're VERY careful about what we say to my in-laws. Anything that could be interpreted as news about pregnancy will be latched onto like crazy, I can see it. It's really quite pathetic.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sweet Freedom

I got an IUD, and it's the best thing I've ever done.

There is a lot of talk about the potential problems, but it was so easy! The first couple days were painful, but since then, it's been wonderful. And the beautiful thing is… no worries.

It is amazing the change in me now that there's no paranoia. No worries until 2011! It boggles my mind. Even when I was on depo, there was a paranoia there, especially because I'd sometimes lose track of when I was due for a shot. I would get so concerned about the potential for pregnancy that ir was affecting our sex life… I feel so content knowing that I don't have to worry about that anymore. There is nothing at all that scares me more than getting pregnant.

I've had pregnancy scares in the past, and it's been a difficult thing to bring up to some friends. I even had one friend, when I called her in relief when I finally took a test and wasn't pregnant, say "don't worry, it'll happen when the time is right." I wasn't upset! I was elated! There have been countless times where I've been one day from buying a pregnancy test before I finally got my period.

To think that I'm free from worries for the next five years… it doesn't get better than that.