The boy and I finally talked some stuff out, leaving us both feeling a bit resentful and peaceful at the same time, if that makes any sense.
We come from such different places culturally, that it’s almost like having married a foreigner, where the basic unspoken assumptions get crossed without the other person even realizing that they’re operating from different places, until things blow up in both parties’ faces. He’s from a wealthy NY family; I’m from a place of genteel rural poverty. He’s lived a charmed life; I’ve lived something of a hard-luck life. In a way, it’s amazing we get along as well as we do, but I think our strengths and weaknesses honestly complement each other’s, and I’d match our emotional partnership against most couples’ any day of the week. I truly adore him, and I know he feels the same way about me. That goes a long way toward overcoming the cultural stuff.
But on top of the financial and class differences, we’re really of two different generations, as well. Or close enough as to make no matter. He’s 16 years older than I am. I’m closer in physical age to his eldest daughter than I am to him. It usually doesn’t matter, but it does occasionally, as in when we’re thinking about the future. According to actuarial tables, chances are damned good that I’m going to spend at least the last 20 years of my life a widow. There it is. I can’t look at my own retirement plans without recognizing that I will likely be on my own in 20 or 30 years – for 20 or 30 years. It affects how I deal with the world, how I deal with vague “someday” plans, and how I deal with him, sometimes, much as I try not to let it.
It’s absolutely affecting how desperate I feel about having a child of my own – a family of my own. It’s certainly affected the levels of insecurity I feel, living in a city where I can’t actually afford to live on my own. I’m totally dependent on him financially, since we live in the house he will leave to his children, and yet it gives him such comfort to know that I am “financially independent” from him that he is uncomfortable with the thought of me quitting my job to pursue other interests, even when some months he makes more in 30 days than I do in 365.
I find this frustrating. At my age, I should be working toward a jointly owned mortgage, I should have the security of knowing that I have a place to live for the rest of my life, that the friends I am making will be around in case of tragedy. Instead, if he dies before me, I will be taking a settlement of cash and vacating his children’s house ASAP. I will lose everything at once – husband, friends, home, familiar surroundings. Yes, I will have enough money in the bank to “start over”, but it makes me feel much more insecure than being “poor” ever did.
And he has a hard time understanding it. Wants to know if he should settle more cash on me in the event of his death so I’ll feel less vulnerable. Which so isn’t the point.
He understands and supports my desire to have a child. He understands I am unhappy and wishes that I were not. He does not, however, seem to understand my resentment at the compromises I have had to make in order to live a life with him – a life where his quality of life so far outshines my own. And I can’t seem to explain it to him in a way that he understands, without making him feel like he’s being threatened by circumstances or by the hostage of my own misery. He’s already had one impossible-to-please wife, I don’t want to be that to him. And I know that IVF is way out of his comfort zone. Throwing money at expensive fertility treatments that don’t seem to be working, when he’s already got three kids, upsets him. My deep unhappiness terrifies him, though, which is why he goes along with it.
And I have to say that this deep and abiding discontent worries me too. I’ve always been happy or at least willing to do what I thought would make me happy. As a result I’ve tried lots of new things, succeeded at many, and failed at a few. I’m not scared of trying new stuff when it’s obvious that the old stuff isn’t working. But I’m starting to think that might be a cultural thing too. When you don’t have a lot to lose, maybe it’s easier to be adventurous? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? Whereas, if you’re coming from a position where you’re pretty contented with the life you’ve been handed, maybe it’s scarier to risk any of it. I just don’t know. I’m up for the risk of this IVF, DE, adoption shit because the upside – if I ever get an upside – is that my life will be better by astronomical proportions. I know my life is not so good right now, so maybe it’ll get better if we try something new – it certainly won’t get better if we don’t try anything, is my way of reasoning.
But he’s almost paralyzed by doubt at this point, and I don’t know what to do about it, or if I even can do anything about it.
What I do know is that he’ll back me whatever I decide I need to do, despite his fears. Incidentally, this puts more pressure on me, though, because the decision becomes mine and mine alone. He won’t research things like adoption, because I’m the professional researcher here, and why should we duplicate results?
The pressure is more because I’m not willing to risk the love of this good man unnecessarily. I don’t want to add to the stresses in his life, I want to make his life easier – that’s what a good marriage is all about, in my book. I don’t know, however, at what point I will be forced to decide that I can no longer continue with things the way they are. Even if I get to that point, the economy is staggering and I probably won’t be able to change jobs any time soon anyway. Not voluntarily, at least. Which just adds to my feelings of deep fear and vulnerability.
My beta is tomorrow, and I’ve already made an appointment for a consultation with my doctor on Monday. I wish I knew an RE socially, so that I could get an “unbiased” yet still professional opinion. I trust my doctor, but I also know he’s human. It’s in his best – and natural – interest (this is his field of expertise, after all) – to be upbeat about my chances for a successful DE cycle. He couldn’t be in this field if he weren’t a raving optimist and more than slightly biased toward the miracle of modern medicine. On top of that, he likes me. He wants me to have a baby of my own, and he’s a big believer in the power of positive thinking. So maybe I don’t trust him not to blow smoke up my ass about this – not if he thinks that optimism on my part might boost my chances of conception.
All of which comes to – we’ll see what my doctor says about a DE cycle (And yes, I’ll do the FET, but my hopes are pretty miniscule for that one working out.) We’ll probably go the DE route once. And then we’d need to reassess. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to go through everything it would take to adopt. I don’t know if I want to subject us all to the invasive scrutiny. Of course, I also don’t know if I can bear the thought of giving up all hope of a child. I don’t think I can. Fear of scrutiny and bureaucratic nightmares pales before fear of obliteration and loneliness and unending sorrow/grieving for the next 40 years of my life.
And on that light note, I’m back to work so I can earn another dollar so that my RE’s kids can go to the college of their choice. Go team!
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