The Race Is On
August 14, 2008
Recently, I discussed my feeling that fertility is a race. A race that I’m losing. Almost all of our friends now have children, except for the unmarried, just-married, childless-by-choice, and infertile couples (who together are a minority of our friends). In that post, I concluded that it’s no longer a race, but a relay in which we and the other infertiles can help each other reach our respective finish lines.
The race is back on.
DH’s closest-aged sister is several years younger than he is and decades less mature. When we got married she was a teenager. For most of the decade and a half that I have known her, she has bounced from one unsuccessful relationship to the next, with no prospects for settling down. She used to make cracks about how we needed to have a baby so that she could have a little flower girl or ring bearer for her wedding. I would hit her back, responding that we had all the time in the world, since before she could have a wedding she would first have to meet a non-loser and maintain a successful relationship. After years of cracks that began long before we started TTC and continued well into our infertility, DH and I were both fed up. Without disclosing anything about our own IF issues, he told her to shut the fuck up.
Fast-forward a few years to the present. She just got engaged.
She’s not sure if the wedding will be in one year or two. This weekend DH and I spent time with her and her fiance, and we discussed the logistics at length with them, particularly dates and locations. They don’t have the money for a wedding right now, but Sis said that she wants to have kids soon so she doesn’t want to wait.
(Thought bubble above my head: EEK!!!)
When we first started TTC, it was out of the question that Sis would have kids before us. It was even out of the question that she would get married before we had kids. Her flower girl/ring bearer plan seemed quite reasonable. Well, we have taken so long that she has caught up.
It’s hard to say exactly why I feel a frantic need to have a child before she does, but I have a few thoughts.
- She is several years younger.
- DH and I were married almost a decade before she even met this guy.
- We have been trying for sooooo long — it’s my turn first.
- We are far more ready than they are to have children: emotionally, financially, mentally, etc.
- Worst of all, what if she has a baby, and then another one, and then another one, and we still don’t? It feels like as long as she stays unmarried, I get more time on the clock. Somehow, once DH’s siblings start having children, the spectre of our never having any becomes more real.
DH thinks that all of my concerns are a little nuts. Maybe they are, but I can’t help it. Now, I feel like I have a firm deadline. I have to have a baby before she gets married, because after — actually, probably on — the wedding day she’ll start TTC.
The solution? Get her to push back her wedding.
Don’t start thinking that I am the worst person in the world just yet. Even though I have had the impulse to tell her to postpone the wedding just because of my own IF selfishness, I haven’t, and I won’t.
But I did give her advice that simultaneously encourages her to push it back and also offers sound wisdom.
Sis: We don’t have the money to get married next year, but I want to start having babies soon so I don’t want to wait to get married until two years from now.
Me: Then you should wait. If you don’t have the money to pay for a wedding, you don’t have the money to have a baby.
Without my evil ulterior motives, I might have presented a more balanced argument, but maybe not. I still might be the worst person in the world, but I stand by my advice.
I look forward to the day, a few years from now, when my kid(s) and their cousins will all play together. My sister-in-law is welcome to have as many kids as she wants — but please, Sis, please, G-d, please, whoever has any say in the matter, let my kid get here first.