Monday, September 20, 2010

Mourning my Expectations

Lately I've been trying not to think about it much, but I can't deny that I'm pretty bummed out that baby #2 does not appear to be happening any time soon. I had really wanted to be in the throes of trying right about now. At least off my pills, tracking my cycle, and making at least a few attempts at getting somewhere...but alas, it's mid-September and none of that is happening. By this time last time around, I had been off birth control for a few months, perplexed as to why I didn't appear to be getting back on a normal cycle. But pretty much a month later, I was pregnant and clueless. And getting pregnant at that point gave me a due date of late June, which is pretty much right on the tail end of the potentially pleasant and tolerable weather for pregnancy. Which means that if we're going to aim to have babies three years apart, the window is pretty much closed.

I've gone over all of the reasons before, but obviously the biggest is the financial issue. There just isn't enough cash flow to pay for another baby in daycare. We have savings, though the last thing I want to do is plan ahead to drain part of our savings. Better than not planning to do it and draining it, but still, I have a really hard time thinking it's even a remotely good idea. Might it be worth it in the long run? Probably, as a child is a pretty priceless thing. But every time I picture myself sitting down to pay bills with two rounds of daycare, powerless as I watch my balance get lower and lower, I practically get nauseous. I think the stress would make me nuts.

Craig's and my finances are separate--we never got around to doing a joint thing, though we do now have a savings account that both of our names are on--and we pretty much divide and conquer when it comes to our bills. And until we changed daycares, I was taking care of that payment. When combined with many other bills, it was draining my checking account and made me nervous every time I went to pay bills. When we switched daycares we did the math and it made more sense for it to come out of Craig's account. For the record, overall we were never really losing money--what I might have been losing each month in my account, Craig was putting away in savings--so we were basically breaking even on a monthly basis and saving what we could in the meantime. And we do have a pleasant amount of savings...more than a good percentage of people, I'd guess. Buying our house only chipped into it a bit, and if we would have stayed in our other house we'd have chipped into it a lot to make improvements. Our house is a little more expensive on a monthly basis, so it'll all even out soon enough, but we like our house a heck of a lot more now and buying it definitely lowered our stress level on a couple fronts. For the record, we LOVE it. Everything except that stupid money pit of a pool. But anyway...

The sheer thought of knowingly digging into our savings and having to deal with that reality every month makes me crazy. I just can't do it. At least, not right now. I keep hoping (perhaps foolishly) that we'll be in a different place next year. Maybe Craig will end up with a better paying job or I will fall into something better, or we'll both see changes that will somehow put us in a position to better handle the financial constraints of two kids in daycare. If nothing else, waiting another year will get Jacob one year closer to school, so the time during which we'll be paying double will be shorter. If we do public preschool and I can somehow wrangle part time work (mornings only), we could avoid that second daycare cost completely by the time Jacob is four. We're still down a considerable amount of money in that scenario, but again, so much can change. If we wait another year, Jacob will also be older and that much more self-sufficient and hopefully better behaved. He'd also be potty trained and sleeping in a big boy bed long before we'd turn his world upside down. I'd also have an extra year to take down the girly border in his future bedroom and get the carpet replaced. None of those things are bad, believe me.

But at the same time, we'll be one more year removed from baby life. I don't want to get too comfortable in toddler-land and not want to go back to diapers, nursing, pumping, and spoonfeeding. I don't want to get so far removed that we forget all of the good lessons and skills we learned the first time around. I'll be another year older, which means it'll be that much harder to bounce back. Craig will be another year older, too. Jacob will be one more year into having the universe revolve around him, so I'm guessing the transition might be harder...but at least he may be more intellectually equipped to deal with it. However, I can't help but wonder what happens if we aim for next year and 1) our financial situation is no better (or worse); or 2) I miscarry (entirely possible) and everything gets pushed back even more. I know there's nothing set in stone that we have to wait a full year, but I don't really want to have to go buy all new seasonally appropriate maternity clothes. And in the event we had another boy, it would be a shame to have a whole batch of clothes that might not match up season-wise to the size of the baby. While those are currently very practical reasons, I get that I may have to stray from that at some point if we get desperate. But I'm a big fan of not having to bundle up a newborn, I love being able to take walks during maternity leave, and I would not make a happy pregnant woman in 90 degree temps, so a spring or early summer baby is really the best option for me on so many levels, if at all possible. Again, we may not have the option to be picky, but for now I guess we can be.

That's not to say all of this isn't very disappointing. It's reality and on a very practical level I accept that it's better to wait. But I'd been planning this three-year separation for a long time and it's sad to see that it's not going to happen. I know that four years apart means that we'll avoid paying double for college as well, but it also means that their lives won't intersect as much as I would have liked. Four years may have well as been 10 when it comes to my brother and me, and while I know it may be different with same gender siblings (or any sibling pair for that matter, depending on their personalities), every time I'd come across siblings that were three years apart, it always seemed like they got along great. On a daily basis I'm still having to come to terms with all of my expectations. I've been avoiding buying clothes (especially pants) for the past couple months because I figured pregnancy would change everything again. But now I have another year ahead...though potential weight loss/gain is stopping me now, I suppose--fear of gaining more, hopeful that my workouts with Lori will enable me to lose the extra I'm already carrying. I also have to deal with the disappointment of those "next year" thoughts--thinking last Christmas that I'd be pregnant this Christmas, thinking that this fall would be like the one three years ago where I was nervously excited and buying pregnancy tests left and right. And now when I anticipate next year, it will have the added worry that things won't be any better and we'll be faced with a really tough decision next year at this time--take the plunge and suffer the financial consequences, wait again, or give up the idea all together and do the "only child" thing we swore we never would. The mere thought of any of them makes me a little crazy, quite frankly. So, in the meantime, I just keep hoping and praying that things work out--that everything will come together at just the right time and turn out better than we ever could have imagined. God's timing is generally far better than ours, so I just have to keep hoping and praying that it will work out that way this time around. Who knows? Maybe if we would have tried now, we'd end up with another boy, but next year we'll get a girl. You just never know. I have to keep reminding myself that these are rather good problems to have--wanting to protect the savings we have, being physically able to attempt another child at some point, etc. We're blessed. And yet it's hard when things don't go our way. It's hard to not feel a little sad that we won't get to embark on another exciting baby journey just yet, when we thought we would be. But I guess we just need to look on the bright side and enjoy our alone time with Jacob (and one another, and any solo time we manage) because once another baby comes along, it will be at a premium. We have plenty to do to fill our days in the meantime, so I really should just go out there and enjoy it all. The year will no doubt go quickly enough!

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