Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don't Go Down That Road of Counting Chickens

I was reading one of my favorite blogs last night and came across this comment from m at http://countingchickens.wordpress.com/ :

"Anonymous m said...
Though it doesn't help reality - I try to think of things this way: this time next month/year/week/etc. this will have worked out. We'll have managed it somehow. It's not going to not work, that just doesn't happen. Lame as it may be, it works!
September 14, 2009 2:54 PM"

After reading this comment, I immediately took a big sigh of relief. It's totally simple, right? ( I also like how their blog name and their comment are totally in line with each other. That's hardcore non-counting of unhatched poultry.) I am a person who is perpetually thinking beyond to the next thing. While I'm a fairly flexible person and can be spontaneous, I like to have a plan. Not an etched in stone kind of plan, but at least a vague idea that I have my shit together. (or at least the illusion of having my shit together?) For this, I blame my mother. I should be hearing from her any day now about plans for Christmas and what's on the menu.

This whole idea that I'm going to make this baby all by myself is kind of terrifying. I mean, I won't be REALLY by myself -- I have great group of friends, a totally supportive family, the lovely people of the internets, and the most selfless giving friend/roommate/bff on the planet (who is actually kind of afraid of children, but will let me continue to live here with a kid.) It just won't be the way I always thought it would be. I'm single, I'm broke, and the list goes on.

It's sad to me to think that if it does all finally come together and I can (and by some miracle DO) get pregnant, that there won't be anyone else to share it with. No one to say funny things to my belly, no one to rub my feet, no one excited to hear the heartbeat, or discuss hospital vs. home birth, vax vs. no vax, or circumcision, or which breast pump to buy. Every decision will be made exclusively by me. Parenthood is a humongous responsibility, SINGLE parenthood is even more so. It seems almost irresponsible to choose this. This poor child, my child, will face so many odds. It seems cruel. I find myself wondering if it is selfish.

This is where I go wrong. I'm not pregnant. It could be YEARS before it happens and it may never happen. While 2 years from now seems not all that far off, it is also an eternity. I have no idea what my life will be like by then. Shit, I could be dead. And here I'll have wasted all this good living time thinking about things that may or may not happen.

When we had reached the point, during my dad's battle with cancer, where we knew no conventional treatments were working, my family adopted the phrase "Don't go down that road". Sometimes it was a warning, other times it became a mantra. Most often, my dad would say it when we would have our talks on the way to Dana Farber. He expected that I would be fine if he died. Not that I wouldn't be sad, but that I would be able to move forward and not be crippled by my grief. He said it matter of factly. We had these amazing conversations in the car. We knew why we were having them, but most of the time we didn't acknowledge it. So, when he said these things to me, if I started to REALLY think about them and get what he was saying, he'd hit me with "Don't go down that road". He demanded in me a strength that I never thought I would find. He expected that I would hold my mother and my sister up. Largely I did, much to the detriment of my own grieving. When he did die, I never cried; I spent the entire year that followed in an angry, bitter, battle with depression. For a long time, I couldn't acknowledge the grief. I knew if i acknowledged it, I would never be able to get back on top of it. "Don't go down that road", I'd say to myself.

I would take pieces of my grief out, from time to time, and play with them. I would sort them, label them, and refile them. Never too many pieces at a time, just the ones I could immediately deal with. The anger though, I was a real trooper at handling the anger. I really had no limits in that regard, there were no filters, no patience, and often no warning.

What the hell was my point?

Oh, right.

This baby thing needs to be addressed in the same manner. Most things require that you deal with them one step at a time. A marathon, a death, a new job, whatever. Thinking about how I will deal with things that aren't even remotely in the cards is a waste of energy. Trying to figure out how I will pay for child care at this point is a waste of time. I have wasted countless hours thinking about this. From what I can tell, daycare has the potential to suck up my entire salary. I don't even want to put my baby in daycare. I always hoped to be a stay at home mom. On the other hand, I've also had 3 different people offer to take the baby for a day a week. Three down two to go, right? By the time it matters, I may have a new job. Who knows!

I need to focus on the one or two things in the immediate future. Thinking beyond any given month is pointless until I find my long lost Aunt Flo. I need to focus on getting my lard ass up and moving. I need to be conscious of the things that I'm putting in my mouth. I need to remember not to go down the road of counting chickens before they hatch. Instead of trying to deal with everything all at once, I shall tackle what is manageable and practical.


  1. The story about your dad made me really sad, BUT its wise to take on the mentality to only deal with one step at a time. It is good to have a plan, but its also good to live in the moment and to not forget these moments. When I had my son I was single during my pregnancy and a little while after that... its hard but its not impossible to get through. Things work out. I didn't want to put my son in daycare but I had to work... if you have a good support system that will help you. When you do get pregnant, just be the best mom you can be and put your child first... then the want and need for you to have this baby wouldn't have been selfish. You can do it alone just as long as you always remember who your doing for... the baby.

  2. As somebody who also always likes to have a plan, it is so, SO hard not to get sucked down that road.

    But one step at a time, that's really all any of us can do.

    And, fwiw, being in a relationship... I still have those thoughts. Is it fair. Is it selfish. Am I doing this just for me/us. I think that that's going to go through the head of anybody who has the time to sit and think on it.

  3. The fact that I'm setting out purposefully to do this makes it seem an even more immense responsibility. To not be doing this under the most perfect circumstances feels so irresponsible sometimes.

    I like to make well thought out decisions. When I think this out, there's eleventy million reasons to NOT do it. And really, only ONE to do it -- because I want to. I want to do this in a way that I've never wanted to do anything before. I've wanted to be a mother since I was three.

    I just need to remember that what I'm doing now isn't hurting anything. At this stage of the game, working on general health is only a good thing and should be done regardless of the decisions I will need to make down the road.

    N., Alexis, thank you for your encouragement. I didn't realize how much I needed it.

  4. And really, only ONE to do it -- because I want to.

    Yes. I have this SO much.

    But really - why does anybody have kids?

    Because they want to.

    And even if you were in a relationship, you never know what's down the road. One of you could (god forbid) pass away. You could break up. One of you could be deployed. If you had a partner, you might not agree on all the choices for child-rearing. You might end up fighting over disposables vs. cloth, or glass bottles vs. plastic ones, or who knows what.

    Anyway, in the end, we're all selfish. But I think we're also brave. Because there's nothing (to me) more important - or scarier - than bring a new person into this world, and guiding them to become a good person. And a person doesn't need to be married, or straight, or religious, or gay, or athiest, or purple to do so.

    The doubt, the wonder - that's normal. But it doesn't make you bad, or what you want to do wrong. :)

    (FWIW - fwiw, I think I use that acronym way too much - my parents were divorced after 2 kids, and likely never should've been married. My mom raised us for the next 4 years alone, with the help of her parents. I couldn't ask for a better, more kick-ass mom. Sure, we have issues, but who doesn't have issues with their parents? What I do know, is that she was very strong, and very brave, and an amazing mother.)

  5. Glad to be of service. ;-)

    But more glad I came back to check this post - so often, I don't (or mean to, but then forget which post, or which blog it was that I specifically wanted to check on the comments of), so perhaps it was serendipity.