Monday, August 28, 2006

SIF thoughts... "is it fair to him?"

You know you're a charting addict when your child wakes you up at 4AM because he's sick, and your first thought is not "poor baby, you must feel miserable" but "ahh.. shit, I didn't get my temp before I sprinted him to the bathroom".

Which begs the question - how do you prioritize the demands of the child(ren) you have with the desire to make another?

Overall, I'm not too worried about my own priorities right now. For the most part, G takes a much greater position in my life than any 'potentials'. When I have an appointment or an insemination, G happily goes to a play date. If he's forced to watch a movie by himself because B is only home for a few hours on a day that I'm ovulating, the boy is not complaining (either of them, as a matter of fact). I do feel the occasional twinge that my moods are impacting his life, but other than that, I'm confident that he is not suffering because I want another child.

What if he were? Would I recognize that or would I be blinded by my own plans?

In the last week, I have heard some disturbing rumors about a friend. She currently has six children and is pregnant with her seventh, due in just a few months. The rumors that I am hearing imply that she is/was so preoccupied with conceiving or gestating that the children she has are being neglected. Maybe not in that 'call the authorities, they have no food or clothing' kind of neglect, but in more subtle ways. Without getting too specific, most of what I'm hearing centers around the social and academic needs of her children not being met. She's a 'net friend, and not anyone I know in person, so I have no way of proving or disproving these things I'm hearing, but I suspect there's at least a bit of truth to the matter... and quite possibly more than just a bit. I suppose that I could be blunt and ask her about it, but frankly I'm not sure I want to know.

I am sure that discussion would just create more problems than it would solve. She will take my questions as a personal judgement of her parenting and who wouldn't?, and nothing will change with her situation. It may be a moot point anyway, as this is her final child, and she will not be in a position where pregnancy or trying for it will affect her children again... although I suppose it could be argued that she is overwhelmed by the number of children she has and they will always be in this situation*... but that's not really the point of this.

The point is: hearing these things about someone I have always considered a good mom (albeit in the limited scope of my knowledge of her life) gives me pause. I know that she considers herself a good mom, and thinks she is doing all she can for her children. I am sure that she, like me, considers the time, emotion and energy invested in conception and pregnancy a small sacrifice for the greater good of the family overall. But is it? What if it's a big sacrifice?

How do you recognize when/if your desire to build your family is at the expense of that family? At what point does the amount of time, or energy or money invested become a liability that is actually hurting your family? And what do you do to realign your goals if you find yourself in that position?

*I am reluctant to even publish that statement - I do not want to get into a debate about "how many children is too many?" because while I do believe there is a such thing as 'too many', I also believe it is an arbitrary number at best, and depends on the individual parents and children involved. What may be a fine number for someone else might be too many for me, and vice versa.


DD said...

I get very upset when I think about the money we have spent on IVFs that could have been put aside for our son. I said to someone once, "that should have been spent on HIM!"

She said we did spend the money on him in our dream to bring him a sibling.

Erin said...

I worry about that, also. P caught me crying because it was the end of another cycle about 6 months ago and said, "Mama sad?" and practically started crying. Since then, I've made a bigger effort to hide it from him.

I was talking to a SIF woman a few weeks ago and she said her stopping point (they'd been trying for a second child for nearly 10 years, with treatment for 3 of them) was when her son asked her if she was dying because she was always at the doctor's and having blood drawn and sad. She said that broke her heart and they stopped.