Coping, Society

Second Thoughts on Second Thoughts

Hart had a migraine this morning. So did I. We both slept until 1:30 p.m. and are still in the headache hangover phase. I am so thankful that we don’t have a child to get out of bed, make breakfast for and get to school. I’m even glad we don’t have a dog to feed and take out to potty.

Of course we’d make it work if we had to, but it’s a blessing that we don’t when we have days like this.

Sure, we have second thoughts. We’re 30 and 31 and are watching the joy our friends’ babies bring them. The overwhelming love they feel for their children is beautiful. Even from the outside I know that it’s an astounding experience that is impossible to match by any other.

I am reading Why Do I Love These People? by Po Bronson. I picked it up as a tool to help my own writing, an example of telling other people’s stories without losing their essence. A passage on page 47 almost made me give up on it. It’s about young men and women who choose to not have children.

“They go around saying things like ‘I’m too selfish to be a mother,’ or ‘I’m not a baby person,’ or my favorite, ‘I love my life too much to do that.’ A friend of mine calls them the Petrified Forest — people who would freeze their life in time if they could. . . . When the Petrified Forest imagines parenthood, their hearts are flooded with the feeling of doors closing, not opening. . . . Every account is weighed — every account of sleep deprivation, diminished sex life, a promotion passed over, and social events missed. The Petrified Forest sits like a jury, considering the facts, making their calculations, collecting more evidence. . . .”

“But can those calculations ever truly account for the experience between a parent and a child?”

Who was he to discount the importance of such a decision? Just because he changed his mind didn’t mean I was going to. Besides, he can’t speak for me — my circumstances are special. Hmm, could this be an issue that’s too close to my heart?

Then there’s what happened this morning. In the comments of On Having Kids, my previous post on the topic, someone described having a child with such a severe form of illness as tantamount to “planned neglect.” I identified with that. It’s certainly not the case for everyone, but that’s how it feels in my life.

As I’ve said before, we’ll see what time tells. It’s a choice we have years to make, especially when adoption is an option. You can be sure that I’ll spend those next 15 years second guessing my decision and then second guessing my second thoughts. Maybe our decision will remain the same, maybe I’ll be posting pictures of my baby for you all to see.

By the way, the book is turning out to be terrific, both as an example of storytelling and as a member of a family. It’s a reminder of the capacity of the human heart to forgive transgressions or make excruciatingly painful decisions.

2 thoughts on “Second Thoughts on Second Thoughts”

  1. I never wanted to have children and was very lucky to find a husband who felt the same way. My arterovenous malformantion hemorrhaged in 1999 and was surgically removed leaving me with seizure disorder and now, migraines. Now at 50, I am glad I never had children. I know my choice works for me and I would never assume it is right for you. But please don’t assume that there is something wrong with me or my choice. Had I tried to have children, the AVM might have ruptured and killed me. I have a friend that died that way (her baby lived). Woe to the child born to the mother that did not want them.

    I’d never judge someone because they made a different decision than I have.
    I’ve also made the decision to not have children. But I want to be sure I that this is the right choice for my life and want to consider every angle I can. Part of
    this blog is about me exploring such issues, for myself and to maybe help others with similar struggles, whatever their choice might be.


  2. Kerrie,

    This week I started reading your blog and I love it. I have read almost every entry because it is comforting to know I am not alone in my wierd symptoms, pain, diet, etc. I have had a headache since the Wednesday before Easter 2005. My hearts desire has always been to have a family. I was diagnosed again with cdh, transformed migraines by my new neurologist last month.

    My husband is 32. I am 31. I know that I can’t possibly understand other people’s pain and their circumstances, but for Ryan and I we feel strongly that we want to have a family anyway. Hart sounds wonderful and from what I have learned of you, you seem strong, caring, and determined to not let your headaches control your life. I have no idea what would be best for you, but I think that having cdh makes us stronger and more compassionate.

    I know I can’t possibly understand or prepare for having a headache and a child, but I also never thought I could live with constant pain.

    Thanks so much for starting this blog. It has been so wonderful to read, and learn more from people who are experiencing the same things.

    Thanks again,
    Missy Krauss

    Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your experience. I don’t believe my choice is the right one for everyone. It’s nice to hear a different perspective.

    Your point about not thinking that you could live with constant pain is great. And I’m glad that you’re not letting this get in the way of your dream to have kids.

    I wish you the best of luck.


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