When Katie and I made our decision to start trying to get pregnant, having her go first was the clear choice. She is a couple years older and what doctors consider to be a “higher risk”, or over 35. Translation to any woman who finds herself in this category: “hurry the hell up and have kids before all of your eggs dry up and you’re alone forever”. Of course this is a loose translation and the truth is much less dire. Women have children much later, the oldest natural birth being reported at the age of 59. But even presented with the fact that women in their late 30’s can have healthy babies, it comes with risk. It didn’t make sense to wait any more.
I’ve always wanted kids; it just wasn’t a question. But the older I got, the more comfortable I was becoming. The money I made I could spend on myself. Time away from work was mine to plan around my personal whims. When I moved in with Katie and we later got married, I had to get used to negotiating with her on these two items. Even with the challenges of planning with another person, those decisions were made with another adult and most of them revolved around having fun. I had never considered the possibility before, but I could see how the opportunity to have children can slip past you while you spend your 30’s enjoying life. I was reveling in my relative freedom and change wasn’t something I felt was necessary.
Every time we stopped to think about it, the more it wasn’t the right time for kids. I had just returned from Iowa. We were living in a small apartment. I wasn’t gainfully employed. I just needed one more year to “figure things out”. I don’t think I was wrong in my reasoning, but it soon dawned on me that you can over plan anything, and this certainly wasn’t an exception.
I have a wild social life of coming straight home from work, drinking a tall glass of water and typing away on my keyboard for the night. Once you have babies, you have to give that kind of frivolous lifestyle up. If it were left up to me, I could have waited a couple years to start trying to have a family, but I had Katie’s age to consider. Even though she didn’t seem old to me at 35, I didn’t want to stall so long that I could take away her chance to carry. When I considered that versus what I’d be “giving up” it looked like the days of sowing my wild oats were over.
When it came to the time we previously agreed we should start trying, things still weren’t perfect and my life was far from “figured out”, but I could see things starting to settle. I felt as though I could envision having a baby in about a year, but I also knew it wouldn’t be my body changing. A privilege that I have not lost sight of. Now, as things are starting to crystalize in my life, I’m only 3 months away from being a mom, all with no physical effort on my part besides a little extra housework here and there.
My point is, I have it pretty good. But the one thing I didn’t count on with my plan to reap the reward of having a child without the process affecting my life is that it did. I’m embarrassed to admit how many of the widely known facts of pregnancy I was oblivious about. The one I immediately became aware of is that being pregnant can be hard from the very beginning, the first trimester being a time for nausea and unrelenting fatigue. Somewhere in my mind I had assumed that there was some kind of fat/fun continuum; until I saw a physical change, nothing would alter our routine.
I soon learned about my faulty assumption when Katie would be too tired to go for a bike ride or not quite up for a four-hour hike. She bucked up as much as she could, but try as she might, she was already getting winded from a long flight of stairs. People often note that lesbian break-ups can be especially difficult because you not only lose your significant other, but you also lose your best friend. Even though Katie hadn’t left me (although with my fat/fun comment, she might consider it now) I had lost my partner in crime. And, yes I did things by myself and it was fine, but where’s the fun in that?
I spent the rest of the first trimester trying to muddle through symptoms, not always sure if some were slightly exaggerated when it was time for housework, but I was reassured by other women that it’s real. This is harder to believe when the person looks exactly the same as before: perfectly healthy and capable. This led to a few squabbles, but I had to come to the final conclusion that yes, my body can do that, and someday it will, but it doesn’t mean it is now.
Instead, I’ve decided to cut my losses and find activities we can both enjoy. Like sit on the couch and eat desserts. When I consider the great equalizer of sweets, this pregnancy hasn’t affected me all that negatively after all.