Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming to Terms

Since reading that Blogher found Portland lacking and is returning to Chicago instead, I have felt kind of low. Knowing as I do that Portland is fantastic, I was more than half sure that the Blogher gals would agree and set up their conference here next summer. (No offense to St. Louis, but what do they have other than corporate beer and a big arch?)

Mrs. French and I had talked some about next summer's conference, and how nice it would be to sleep in our own beds yet attend this fun and overwhelmingly stimulating event. Knowing I will be not more than two months post-partum next summer, I tried to convince Mrs. French that at least she should go, so that I might live vicariously through her. She said she'd be more likely to go if I went with her. I admit to wondering whether she'd mind helping me shlep tiny babies across the country. Or be roommates with me and my schedule-free wailers.

Ok, it is unlikely. But a girl can dream, can't she? I think the blue mood that has descended on me since the Blogher announcement is really part of a larger mourning period. When I was pregnant with Ada, the leader of my prenatal class asked us to think about what our big question was. Some of the people in class wondered "what will my child look like?" "how will I do in labor?" or "what happens when I go back to work?"

I immediately formulated my question: "How am I going to come to terms with with the losses associated with the birth of my child?" I understood that while much is gained with a child, parents have to give some things up, if at least for a while. Things change. The trick was to learn how to accept those changes.

The Blogher thing was a trigger, opening me up to thinking about all the things that are going to change when the twins arrive. I am grieving my losses already. Or maybe just in advance.

I have a lot of freedom right now. Having one child lets you do a lot more than you can with two (muchless three). When Ada and I leave the house, we have things pretty well in hand. We shove on boots and jackets and head out, hand in hand. With two infants in tow, popping out the door will be more like crawling, with plenty of return trips for forgotten crap.

It isn't just the idea of getting three kids out the door to the park or the store. It is realizing that for a long time, Chris and I will be outnumbered in a real, constant way. For a time there won't be many opportunities to have Chris take the kids while I clean the house or work on a project or space out in the garden. Three means that we'll be outnumbered and finding space alone will be a lot harder to do. I still want Chris to go to his Sunday basketball games, but I am already worried about how I will juggle the kids. I wonder what I would use my "free" time for, or when I will actually get any of that.

I have been talking to a close friend about this, and we have commiserated about how much harder it will be to spell one another this time around. Last time our children were born a year apart. This time we will likely have new babies at about the same time and won't have the free arms that we happily offered one another when we needed them in the past.

When I was convinced that this last round of IVF would not work, travel was on my list of up-sides.  Having three kids means we are not going to travel as much as we would have with just one. Airfare is so expensive and when you have to spend thousands to get someplace it can put a damper on the whole trip.

This is all pretty whiny, and I know that the pre-parent me would probably have been annoyed reading the complaints of a woman who'd successfully conceived twice. I am lucky to have these problems. Even more, I am lucky that my question this pregnancy is not "how will we pay for three children?" or "will we have to sell the house?" I live a charmed life, even if it is not always the life I expected I'd lead. So now I return to the question I asked myself last time I was pregnant: How am I going to deal with giving up the things I will lose with the birth of my children?


  1. oh, just asking the question brings you forward.

  2. Fascinating post, my friend.

    Being the paternal side of things, I know about things we give up. My wife and I actually discussed this at length. We never dreamed there'd come a day when a minivan would be the ONLY way to get the whole family somewhere.

    We do give up so much. And it's not at all out of line to ask the question and ponder serious answers. I applaud you . . .

  3. It's not whining, you sound like a reasonable mother. Me? I would worry about missing booze. Which means it's a good thing I'm barren.

  4. Valid questions. I found myself going from a mom of a three year old to the mom of a three year old, an almost two year old and a seven month old overnight. Within a week there was a minivan in the driveway..the only viable option to fit 3 car seats. My guest room became a nursery, and my life was turned upside down.

    There are very few places that have a shopping cart that will fit 3 little ones, so my weekends full of shopping were over. One childs toys can be contained quite easily. Three children's toys cannot, and a new "play area" was created.
    Yes you will be giving up a lot. Sleep is a big one. Being able to sit and read a book is another. Watching anything on tv other than Disney or Noggin is another. Speaking adult language even becomes difficult.
    Ada is at the perfect age to be a WONDERFUL helper when the twins are tiny. My oldest is a marvelous stroller pusher and binky retreiver.
    I guess the only thing that keeps me sane is reminding myself that they ARE going to get older. And before you have time to blink, they are going to be in school and you'll be wondering how they grew up so damn fast. And what you're going to do with all your newfound freedom...

  5. Face it. The real loss caused by Blogher's move to Chicago is that you won't get to see me in drag.

  6. I was hoping that you and metrodad would fly out anyway. I'll make dinner if you two provide the show.

  7. don't forget the friends that take wailing babies to laurelhurst park for an hour, too...


  8. I can send you some Chicago-style pizza. That oughta do the trick.

    No, for real, I often think the worrying about things ends up being worse than the actual thing. I mean, yes, some parts of being a twin parent will suck. But it won't suck as much as you thought, having started preparing for it so far in advance. So maybe that's how the anxiety functions: in your mind, you've already dealt with the worst possible outcomes. It makes the real ones easier.

  9. One of my bosses told me on Monday: one of the things I like about you is that you are a worrier. When I wake up at 2am thinking about something, I think, nora is worrying about that, and go back to bed.

  10. I worried about the 3 child stuff even up until we found out it was just 1 in there, and even through all that stuff I was still disappointed. It's okay to worry.

  11. LOL at your boss.

    And oh, my god, does this ever hit a chord with me. This question is what's been keeping me from having another, though I think we've finally decided to start trying in late 2009. I am so comfortable with one (on the good days) and so maxed out (on the bad days) that more than one is terrifying to me.

    But see, here is a difference between us - you wanted this, and no matter what you end up giving up (and how you end up mourning that, because we do) it is because you decided long before the wee ones even existed that it would be worth it.

    I think I am a more selfish and tentative person, because I still have panic attacks even thinking about it and I wouldn't be doing it at all if my partner didn't want it so badly. WHY CAN'T MEN HAVE CHILDREN NORA WHY.

    Anyway, huge sympathy but also firm conviction that it will be okay. You will be okay.