Friday, July 07, 2006

Blindsided

I have an acquaintance who assumed she'd probably have kids one day, but not now. Not when she was unmarried and still building her career. She assumed she would be one of those women who established herself in her field of environmental biology, got the contacts, references, and experience she needed (probably a few more years) and then strategically pick a time to have a baby. There was never a question of whether she would return to this career she'd worked so hard to get, even earning her Master's degree.

She was the last person you'd expect to see get knocked up.

Birth control fails, people. It happens. It happened to her. Sure she had recently finished a round of antibiotics, but she was done now, and it's not like she was ovulating.

She and her boyfriend talked about it, decided to get married and combine their incomes so they could raise the baby and still afford the house she had bought. It would be tight, with childcare so expensive, but they could do this. It was one baby, not that big of a deal.

And then there were two. Gorgeous twin boys. Two gorgeous twin boys. Two mouths to feed. To bottoms to diaper. Two cribs, two sleepers, two carseats, two strollers. Two gorgeous baby boys to pay someone to watch. Two boys were too much.

Her husband had an extra four years of career over hers, therefore more contacts, more experience, and a better salary. 80% of her salary went to childcare. Eighty Percent. With gas prices, the cost of commuting, and too many hours in the lab tugging at her heart strings, she decided, reluctantly to leave her job.

Of course she loves her boys, but after only a month at home with them she's losing her mind. She misses the challenges of working in the lab, working toward something, toward her dream job. This wasn't what she signed up for. She still feels that one baby they could have handled, but being blindsided by two is just too much.

And yet it's overkill to want two forms of highly effective birth control. Her story terrifies me more than anything else. Regardless of whether we want kids, one baby, sure we could manage financially, but what if the child had special needs? What if there were two? Kiss a career goodbye. Kiss all the nice things we can have goodbye, the traveling, the time with friends, with each other. No thank you. Give me a one in a million chance and then I'll stop worrying about getting pregnant.

1 comment:

Chase said...

How very terrifying. And how shocking for your friend. Yikes.