giving up the ghost
This post is about dreams, and letting them go. I spent most of 2013 feeling strongly that I was meant, nay DESTINED, to have three children. I hounded Tom daily for my unborn third child, prompting much consternation and dry-gulping of Advil.
Leaving aside the problem of an unwilling sperm donor, I sensed unease from those closest to me. There were comments that I took as judgmental warnings. “Wouldn’t that mean you have to change your life a lot?” “Don’t you think that would be hard on Tate?” “But things are finally getting so easy!” “WHY do you want to have three children?”
WHY did I want to have three children? Because my first two are fucking awesome and I had a vision of a third awesome kid, poking his head up from the empty back row of my SUV. And maybe this time, the kid would actually look like me. An awesome new kid that looked like me. Was that so much to ask?
Although he did not want another child, Tom still wanted to have regular sexual congress, which seemed a bold and uncompromising position to take, given the circumstances. And that’s where we come to the letting go of Tom’s dreams. The dream of remaining a man in full. The dream of leaving his man tubes uncut and un-cauterized.
The dream of having regular sex while at the same time not having a vasectomy.
Anyway. He’s had the consult. The procedure is scheduled. I know it’s scheduled because Tom sent me an Outlook calendar invite for that entire weekend, the description for which reads “Resting at Home.” The invite was followed by a verbal clarification from Tom. “The doctor said I can’t move around AT ALL because the gravity on the weight in my balls might mess up the healing. Like, I can’t STAND. Or MOVE. So I am just going to be in the TV room that weekend, HEALING.”
The easy joke here is that I already have a third child, and that his name is Tom. The tougher joke is that I’ll spend that weekend solo-parenting my two amazing kids, putting to bed my dreams of a third.
This was an amazing piece of writing – raw and humourous all at once. I have no children but when asked that question and it is so many times, as if marriage should equal children and 25 years of marriage should equal many children at that, I reply that I have one and yes its hubby. Thank you for sharing your journey.
I almost didn’t leave a comment on this one. It’s pretty raw. But in true Anglo Saxon fashion, when confronted with some real feels, I just want to stare at my feet and uncomfortably clear my throat several times.
However, one thing popped up in the comments that I don’t really care for. It happens whever someone talks about being unhappy; its the false dichotomy that “I shouldn’t want something because I already have something you want.”
I don’t always succeed, but I try never to begrudge anyone from wanting what they want or having what they have. The number of children you have isn’t what’s precluding anyone else from having children. And wanting another child is not the same as being ungrateful for the life you’ve already got.
This is a kind of shaming (and like all kinds of shaming, one that women are made to feel most acutely), where you’re supposed to feel bad for wanting something because someone else is envious of what you already have. Caving to that kind of social pressure just creates a kind of unnecessary enforced poverty, where no one gets anything.
The difference between what we want and what we have is a feeling we all share. We should help each other get the things we want instead of trying to stop others from getting things we don’t have. (I added this last part because I was afraid anyone who read this would think I’m some kind of Ayn Rand fanatic).
The one exception is birthday cake. There is only so much birthday cake at any given party. Sharing is highly encouraged.
You’ve made me laugh on numerous occasions and now you are making me think. The idea of feeling bad for what you have and enforced poverty is interesting, and I need to mull that over, perhaps on a weekend in which which my body has not failed me from the exhaustion of throwing a five-year old’s birthday party. I agree in theory with your idea that we needn’t apologize for our happiness. But I’m Korean, so it’s kind of in my blood.
I do know that as someone who writes in a public forum I am kind of a wuss and always kind of stressed about pissing someone off. So I end up apologizing proactively a lot. I admit that I have been scared of pissing someone off ever since I wrote my mandals post and got 100 angry comments extolling the beauty of a man’s bare foot. But I dunno. I guess what I’m saying is your post is making me think about blogging, and honesty, and bravery. So thanks Andy.
No, thank you-na (see what I did there? So clever. I bet no one has ever made that joke before, and yet I couldn’t stop myself). This is a great blog. It’s funny and whipsmart, and the comments/ers are pretty awesome. You really put yourself out there, or at least it feels like you do. It’s pretty generous and brave of you and Tom to let weirdo strangers like me into your very personal family planning experience.
I’ve been feeling a little sheepish, because my comment sounded so heavy handed. I was just generally annoyed at the Patriarchy for perpetuating the idea that we should feel badly for wanting something that others don’t have, and specifically at some of your commenters for implying that you shouldn’t want child # 3 because some random person X had trouble conceiving child # 1. That your want was somehow a display of ingratitude. Frankly, I think that line of thinking is total crap. I want stuff, you want stuff. Let’s all have as much of it as we can.
Life is a buffet and most poor bastards are starving to death!
Once all has healed, I hope you and Tom are able to progress with your congress (see what I did there? The cleverest!)
This crazy hits home. I have 2 daughters and Zoe is turning 4 and I am coming to terms that we are done. I haven’t scheduled to 86 the line to the doo dads yet but it has been discussed. The thought of a weekend flying solo in front of the TV is pretty enticing though. Good luck Tom.
I think your fingers slipped. Good luck, Yoona, right? It’s a very real, emotional thing for a man, I think–this concept of ending one’s ability to procreate. I didn’t expect that.
My husband wanted a third child; I did not because I knew from the day that I met him that he was always going to be a kid and I could not add another boy to the mix. Good luck with the patient. Peas, definitely peas.
We have peas at the ready. 🙂
Oy! i hear ya sista. I have not let my dreams go. At 46 i still want a new baby. The boys would love a baby – My husband tried to get a vascectomy while i was recovering from my C-section with George. He was that done.
I appreciate Andrew’s proactiveness
A) You’re back! Yay!
B) I’m not sure I’m down with the “one and done” aspect of this procedure as currently arranged. You carried a baby, went into labor, delivered said baby, and then recovered, twice. TWO times.
I respectfully suggest Tom ought to have each side clipped separately, with oh, about 12 months in between. Just to give him time to think about things. Think, think, think…clip, clip, clip….ow, ow, OUCH! It sends the little/r boys a nice subliminal message as well. You know, for later.
C) You are an awesome Mom. That applies for two or three or nine. However, two babies representing the beautiful mixture of Yoona-ness and Tom-ness is optimal. If you want, no, NEED, more babies in the house, there are other ways to bring another child into your home to share all that awesomeness… (ruling out kidnapping, of course! We OBEY the laws!).
D) Rather than “just” frozen peas, might I suggest a frozen medley of peas and baby carrots? Why focus on what is gone forever…. And for dinner with all that beer? Corn dogs perhaps? An ear of steamed corn? A popsicle chaser? The cheese sticks will wait….
hiya texasdeb. glad to read you. there is a lot to love in this comment here but i am focusing on your very valid point that nothing tom experiences in his vasectomy will equal the pain and suffering that i have endured. and i like the idea of melting our entire dinner on tom’s lap
I feel you… if fact you made me tear up a little. For good or ill (my kids think good), I’ve channeled my desire for another child into pets instead. Perhaps a kitten or puppy?
god no. perhaps a handbag
In nice soft pettable leather? That could work. Far less maintenance. 😉
Sorry u had to give up the dream, but the silver lining is that u might be able to get a few funny blog posts out if it. When I got it done I seized the opportunity to buy the tightest of tighty whities. I used to dig them out from time to time to torment my wife. Soo many hilarious stories from when I got tested to make sure it worked.
Ok, that’s not much of a silver lining…
oh my gosh what a great idea. i suppose the tighty whities keep the boys all tucked up. tom didn’t tell me about that part. i can’t wait to go shopping
Might as well go leopard print while you’re at it!
I second the frozedn peas comment. Have a couple of bags handy to trade off. I understand. I have four. I know how blessed I am. I kinda got slapped around whilst bemoaning not having more — from a friend who can’t have any. I had to accept the reality of finances that were not going to allow more to happen. They range in age from 19-30 now and while I have moments of missing the other two, I am grateful for the fantastic four.
yeah when i was writing this post i thought about friends who are having trouble having their first. i bet it must be nice to be able to make two full bowling teams when your kids get together
Now that two of them have spouses I’m proposing our first Turkey Bowl in the backyard!
My husband had the consult but was spared the actual procedure. He was sorry to miss that weekend of space movies and doting though.
i can’t figure out whether the consult is mandated by law or what. because i can only imagine that a lot of people never make it back after seeing the drawings of your cut up man parts
I love this post. My second baby is such a dream that imagining a third doesn’t seem so crazy until my husband refuses to look me in the eye and my big boy says “Mama, we don’t need any more babies” every time I point out how nice his little brother is.
I will just remember how good gin tastes and how fun it is to not be posting a comment on a blog while pumping milk at work. And how much fun it is going to be when my boys are as big as yours! Thanks for the reminder!
“how good gin tastes.” i hear that, sister
You are going to need lots of peas. frozen peas and beer. And loose your phone so you can’t receive texts from the “patient” requesting colder peas and more beer.
this is funny.
why tempt fate anyway? girl, you’ve got it made. congrats on your awesome fam & godspeed to tom!
why tempt fate anyway? girl, you’ve got it made. congrats on your awesome fam & godspeed to tom.