Why I do not want to be pregnant again

I always wanted to have two kids. That was the vision. And I still sometimes daydream about a future involving adoption. But what I don’t daydream about is being pregnant again…

If I were younger, and if I had not endured so much for years…but I am not young, and I did endure all that.  Recurrent pregnancy loss (five OE losses), a failed IVF, and a donor-egg pregnancy loss. When that happens, your pregnancy, no matter how smoothly it goes, will receive anxiety-provoking high-risk treatment from health care professionals. No matter how smoothly it goes, you are going to be nervous for weeks and weeks and weeks. And even after all hurdles are jumped, you are going to be more worried than the average mama bear. And birth is most likely going to become quite medicalized.

I liked being pregnant. For the most part. Especially that swoony second trimester. I was able to let go and really believe that my baby boy was going to be okay. But I wouldn’t say that I loved being pregnant. And that was in part due to my history, that anxiety and medicalization, and in part due to my age—my body isn’t as resilient as it was during my twenties and early thirties. I found the third trimester to be hellish sometimes, really. That tossing and turning, that congestion, that burning pain of my abdominals unzipping. I think I am able to remember the third trimester so well because I am still so overweight from not breastfeeding—it’s like I’m still carrying around my pregnant body, but a deflated version of it.

But also: there’s the obvious. The thirty thousand dollars we do not have sitting around in a closet, money we would need to do the RBA donor-egg guarantee program again. (I don’t think we would ever do the less expensive, non-guarantee programs—that would risk too much money and too much heartache for us.) We are not wealthy people, not even close. What about the future, which is closer than we can imagine? College tuition? Retirement? Would it be, I wonder, irresponsible at this point to spend that kind of money on another treatment (money we would have to borrow)? Irresponsible to spend it on adoption, for that matter? It’s hard to say. Depends on how I look at it. But what I do know, right now, is that no matter what, if we stop, if we don’t expand, life will be easier, financially, in the short and long-term. Not just for us, but for our son. And that’s a big deal.

Visions change. I love the way we three feel, like a little triangle of love, and when I picture the future, now, I don’t see two, I see one. What is the adage?

Happiness is wanting the life you have.

Sometimes I really just want to stop striving.

For a second, I think back during the swoony second trimester, I talked to DH about studies I’d read about women with infertility who were able to conceive healthy pregnancies naturally after they’d been pregnant healthily once.

“So maybe we could just ditch the birth control, after I give birth, and see what happens,” I said.

DH said nothing. Then he nodded, slowly, as one would nod at a mentally imbalanced person.

“I mean, you never know, right?” I said. I was thinking of two things simultaneously: Dr. Schoolcraft telling me that I had the eggs of a 43-year-old at age 39. And I’m now 41. Do the math, it ain’t pretty. But I was also thinking of the dreamy yogi I’d met at my yoga studio in Brooklyn who got pregnant by accident at age 43. I’ve never forgotten that woman and her perfect little baby.

But now? We aren’t talking about such risks. Visions of D & Cs crush the leaping unicorns. Instead, we tip-toe into conversations about vasectomy. Oh my lord. After all of those years of ejaculating into cups!

A new era indeed.

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  1. “Happiness is wanting the life you have.” Love this. I can imagine where you are in this moment, after so much trauma, being with your beautiful family of three and not particularly wanting to go through the hoops and fears (and costs) of pregnancy again. I think that’s perfectly okay — to adjust your dream of what a family looks like based on the hurts and scares and horrific losses that brought you to this happiness, right now. The money is no joke (and, speaking from being newly initiated into domestic infant adoption, the money is equally no joke on this end, but it’s nice to have a WHEN attached to it), but the pain speaks volumes. It’s kind of funny, because the whole time I was trying SO HARD to get pregnant and have that experience, my husband was so confused — “WHY? That seems so painful, so horror-show like, WHY do you want this so badly?” And now that I WON’T have it, I actually don’t feel horribly empty about it, because I can still have a baby, and pregnancy is only 9 months. It’s an important 9 months, (10), and a period of time I wanted almost above all else, but it’s all the stuff after that counts the most. I think your post reaffirms this for me. And for you, you seem so happy in your new life, the way it is today. It is interesting to hear your thoughts on how you feel about pregnancy in retrospect and your willingness to do that again — so honest and real. Love your posts!

  2. I’m so glad you wrote this. I’ve had such guilt – I hated being pregnant. I mean, there were wonderful moments and things that I loved, but overall I was miserable. After all that striving and hoping and wishing… to be unhappy was such a blow. I felt like such a hypocrite and such an ingrate. But, like you, I was stressed the whole time. Scared. I hated the doctors, I was so SICK of doctors. And I got so big so fast and since I work on a college campus I always felt so exposed, like everyone was staring at me. And then there was the pain. HG, and heartburn and tearing abdominals (may need surgery to repair those damn muscles), and the regular constant pregnancy discomforts. Someone asked me what it was like to be pregnant with twins and my answer was “magical and miserable, and more one than the other”. I stand by that. I feel you sister.

  3. California mom

     /  February 17, 2015

    Totally get it. Pregnancy after IF/loss is very stressful.

  4. Great post. My husband and I have had very similar conversations recently. I always really wanted three kids. Right now we have two kids, one spontaneously conceived 6 years ago, and the other through adoption last year (after our DE pregnancy loss). We felt like we won the lottery with both of our little miracles, so why would we go spend a bunch of money on more lotto tickets just because I had my heart set on three kids? Anyway, you are being smart and practical; I am really proud of you for that. Besides, if you do decide to add to your family down the road, adoption will be there for you (at least a domestic one) as an option for many years to come. I love my little African American princess more than words can express. If you do the decide to adopt, rest assured that more little princes/princesses will be being conceived several years from now if you and your DH decide you can swing it. But nothing needs to be decided now or even a year from now. And one child is a wonderful choice too.

    On the weight gain: First, breastfeeding doesn’t help everyone lose the weight. For some, their metabolism slows and their bodies hold onto the weight as a result of lactation, just like with pregnancy. So not breastfeeding is not necessarily a roadblock! Second, give yourself time. It took me THREE YEARS to lose it all (I had about 45 lb. to lose with my son). But who cares if it takes awhile? You’ll get there eventually, and your DH and baby boy will love you just the same in the meantime. Be patient with yourself!

  5. Especially right at the moment, I am right there with you!

  6. This post speaks so much to me tonight. I’ve had two people ask me if we will do IVF again for another child. I’m like can’t I get through this pregnancy first? I agree 100% with you. It will be a well thought out decision IF we ever decide to pursue IVF again. I’m willing to try the au natural route or even be content with 1 baby if that’s what we decides works best for us. Visions change. Life changes. We just need to accept the path we’ve chosen and ensure it’s the right one for us.

  7. I’m crazy busy but I still check your blog. Please take that as a compliment. I, though, can’t read the entire article. It seems you have decided to stop at one and I want to congratulate you and also tell you that I ENVY you. Terribly. I want three. I think one is fabulous. i say go with it. i hope to come to terms with my lot some time soon but it’s hard. It’s complicated. It always is…

  8. I don’t blame you for stopping at one child. I asked my dh what he wanted to do if we had success with my next upcoming FET and we have frosties left over. He said he will be happy with one child and does not want me to have to go through the worry and/or possible heartbreak of another m/c. I was extremely relieved. I don’t know how I will feel a few years down the road but for now we only want out rainbow. Thank-you for writing this blog. It has helped me since yours is so similar to my journey (6 miscarriages-4 natural, 2 with ivf/donor egg.) Best wishes to your happy family :)

    • So similar! I wish the very best for you and yours! You deserve a great big happy ending. I hope in the years to come all of the grief we’ve experienced will feel healed.


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