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.

  1. She is several years younger.
  2. DH and I were married almost a decade before she even met this guy.
  3. We have been trying for sooooo long — it’s my turn first.
  4. We are far more ready than they are to have children: emotionally, financially, mentally, etc.
  5. 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.

8 Responses to “The Race Is On”

  1. Nity Says:

    I can completely understand your need to have a child first. I do think your argument for them NOT to have a child right away hit the nail right on the mark. NO – if you can’t afford a wedding, you can’t afford a child. I’m hoping it works for you!!!

  2. Star Says:

    I completely understand how you feel. I did not have any friends have kids before me, and my husband’s sister is 5 years older than him and had both her kids before I met him. But I just found out that a couple I no longer talk to just had a baby, and even that brought up those race feelings in me even though I had mine a year before them! (Talk about ridiculous, right?) It is very natural to feel this way. Knowing that probably will not make it easier to deal with your SIL, but just so you know you are not alone . . .

  3. Kristin Says:

    I remember this feeling. The race took very different forms for me but I do remember this feeling well. I hope and pray you get that baby soon.

  4. SAHW Says:

    Found you through Mel’s round-up. Wow, I was just have these same thoughts as well! My SIL is getting married next summer, and all of a sudden, it dawned on me – they might have kids before us! I never, ever thought that I might be at her wedding without at least one kid (I thought I would have had two by that time!), and now suddenly, I’m faced with this prospect. I totally feel what you’re saying and feel panicked about the possibility…I’m praying we both have a baby or one on the way within the next year!

  5. Miss Says:

    Stopping over from Stirrup Queens…

    I completely feel you pain and understand. You’re not a horrible person. In fact, you made me smile. I think it’s natural to feel this way, and I like the race analogy. I feel like that too. Between my four SILs (all on DH’s side) I have 11 nieces and nephews. All under 6 years old. Three have been born in the time that we’ve been trying. Looks like I’m definitely loosing the race so far 😉

    I really hope that you get your baby soon!

  6. Steph Says:

    I totally understand about younger sisters – hubby has one that may have kids before us and it bothers me way more than it does him.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog – I am very blessed to have such an awesome RE – she’s smart and compassionate and a Christian. She’s just awesome.

  7. Kim Says:

    Oh, I hope with you that it is you first. I don’t think it is wrong to feel a deep sense of fairness that it should be your turn. You have waited so very long.
    I hope your baby shower precedes her wedding shower.
    I don’t have a younger sister but I had many younger cousins who popped out babies in their early 20’s. Thankfully I adopted right as one of them got pg. It helped ease the pain of her baby shower.
    PS: thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I am enjoying reading your posts for the 1st time.

  8. Em Says:

    I TOTALLY get this. I would have done the same thing – get my two cents in for my own benefit and for hers.

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