The Bungalow has been a very comfortable place lately. I've been swamped with freelance work and am working long hours, but I find time to walk Sadie, jog alone, tan (only for Mexico, I swear), slather on post-tanning moisturizer that D. says "smells sexy, like a stripper" (!), and watch "90210" episodes on the Soap Network.
Am I in college again?
No. But life post-TTC is different. I feel... more cheerful. More attractive. Interested in the outside world again, and ready to talk about it. Content with a Friday evening that consists of watching "The Big Lebowski," drinking cheap beer with my man, and then fooling around on the couch. Because sex is a lot more fun, now that I'm not always thinking about ovulation and sperm quality and timing. It's recreational again, which hasn't been the case for a long while.
D. and I started TTC after being married for 18 months. We had been together for about 4.5 years at that point. Looking back, that 18 months between wedding and TTC does not seem like a very long time. It was very hectic, what with buying our house and adopting Sadie. It was a time of adjustment, and then we started trying to conceive because we both wanted to be parents and thought we were ready for more adjustments. I remember saying to D. that 18 months seemed a "respectable" amount of time between marriage and pregnancy.
The book "Unsung Lullabies" says that infertility brings on an identity crisis because with planned pregnancy, you start making the transition to parenthood early on and thinking of yourself as a potential parent from the get-go. Infertility means that a woman is suspended, against her will, not able to fully take on that role as parent but wanting it more and more intensely.
I think that identity crisis started for me fairly early into TTC, because my ob-gyn suspected I would have problems and asked me to chart or use OPKs from the start. At 6 months, I was diagnosed with irregular ovulation. By the 1-year mark, D. had already done three semen analyses and had a varicocelectomy.
In hindsight, that was a lot for the first 2.5 years of any marriage. I can't imagine what it must be like for those couples who start TTC on the honeymoon and are later diagnosed with infertility. So much of my own marriage has been about TTC and then infertility.
Infertility has definitely tested our marriage, and I think we're a stronger couple than we would have been if we had conceived right away. Strong enough to say "enough." I don't see this as a win-lose situation, wherein if we stop, "infertility has beaten us" (as someone on one of my message board proclaims almost weekly). I'm kind of bored with infertility, to be honest. There has to be more. This is the year of finding that "more." D. and I have talked about living this year as childfree. It both makes sense and makes me feel excited, even optimistic. I used to be a happy-go-lucky person. Things seemed to fall in place very naturally and easily for me. Truly, motherhood has been the one exception. And the fact that infertility is the worst thing that ever happened to me speaks to the fact that I do have a fairly charmed life.
Maybe I should get that tattoo I wanted in college, the four-leaf-clover on one of my non-childbirthing hips.
Just kidding! My sense of youthful friskiness doesn't extend that far.