August 1, 2008

Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht.
Translation: Man plans, G-d laughs.
–Yiddish Proverb

As part of IComLeavWe, I came across a great post called Best Laid Plans on Kirke’s blog Maybe I Will Have a Glass. She wrote:

And can I just say, one of the biggest pains of infertility is that you are always planning for something that might never happen. Oh, I have to have a house with all the bedrooms on one level. For the baby….. I need to be in a position that will work well around the daycare schedule and will pay the daycare bills. For the baby….I feel like so many of my life decisions revolve around this big event that just might never happen.

I commented:

I can absolutely relate to all of the planning around potential/future babies that comes with infertility. I used to make all sorts of plans like that. Now I’ve cut down, but whenever I’m tempted to not sign up for something in 6 months in case I am pregnant at the time, or not buy an article of clothing now because I might not be able to use it for long, I just have to remind myself that I’ve been thinking that way for over 6 years and all it’s gotten me are missed opportunities and having only a single pair of jeans.

I still do have to make long-term plans about health insurance, though, because pregnant ladies are totally uninsurable!

I would like to expand on what I wrote. When I started TTC — even before, in the pre-TTC phase — I started planning for pregnancy and having a child. Key areas:

  • Travel. Usually I go to a lot of conferences for my work; they require submission of your proposed presentation between 4 and 10 months ahead of time. When I started thinking that I might not be able to travel in the near future, I stopped submitting to conferences. That ended pretty quickly, when I realized that it had dire career consequences. You can always cancel or have someone else sub, anyway. In 2008, I will have gone to 6 conferences, including 4 internationally. I do have to plan around them for IVF cycles and occasionally postpone a cycle or switch around dates of testing, but so far, I haven’t had any reason to cancel.
  • Medical care. I had an obstetrician and doula lined up within the first few months of TTC. That was silly. But I also have had to plan my health insurance around the possibility of pregnancy this whole time, both in terms of maternity coverage from the insurance plan and in terms of not being uninsurable if I switched plans when I was pregnant.
  • Jobs. On a related note, I just sought out and accepted a new job, mostly because of the health plan, since soon I will be ineligible for my current plan, and I will be uninsurable under most plans if I ever get pregnant. This is the first time that I have made a career decision on the basis of reproductive issues (or health care in general). Sometimes, I am very unhappy with the policies of the United States government. Well, to be more accurate: I am often very unhappy with the policies of the United States government, but sometimes I am absolutely livid.
  • Purchases. As mentioned last week, I purchased my car specifically for transporting my hypothetical future baby. Early in the TTC process, I also purchased a rocking chair, many books on pregnancy and childbirth, children’s books, toys, and…
  • Clothing. When I first started TTC, I bought some clothes that would be versatile for maternity purposes. Translation: they are baggy and unflattering. Then, I stopped buying clothes in case I became pregnant and the clothes might never fit again. This approach to shopping has continued on and off for the past 6 years. I have bought clothes sometimes when events like weddings or circumstances like moves to new climates have dictated, but for the most part I have bought far fewer clothes than I normally would. In particular, I have bought very few pants. I have some old pants that are out of style, a few decent pairs of dress pants for work, a couple pairs of casual pants, a couple of disposable pairs for pottery, and one pair of jeans. At this week’s Show and Tell, I’ll describe another article of clothing that I have been refraining from buying.

Sometimes, as with health care, these plans are necessary. But in many other areas, as IF has continued through the years, I have realized that it’s dumb to make plans around such an uncertain event. Yet, I keep doing it.

3 Responses to “Plans”

  1. thalya Says:

    it’s really tough, isn’t it? for 2 years my husband and i barely had a holiday for the same reasons. Eventually we just got sick of it and started making plans, but i regret the holidays that passed us by.

  2. Star Says:

    I am so there with you. I bought so many things — books, maternity clothes, etc. — while we were TTC, and although once I finally got pregnant I was glad that I had spread the expenses out a bit, there were times when I was like, why did I buy this s**t when I might never use it and it will just sit in the closet and mock me? I don’t know about you, but I’m a planner by nature, so it was — and is — really hard not to be constantly thinking ahead. I wish I was more able to live in the moment.

  3. Nity Says:

    I totally haven’t done any of the planning – although I used to be, maybe we can’t take a vacation then because I could be pregnant. Now — whatever happens. But I did take my current job in part because it was the first one I got and mostly because it was super close to the hospital (7 min walk) and I can walk to and from dr apts. It makes life SO much easier.

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