Friday, September 29, 2006
To those of you with two children or even one reaching the age of two, you might identify with my current struggle:
My body is sending unmistakable signals that it's time to procreate again. There is the usual frantic urge for sex during the time that I ovulate. There are weepy, rueful feeings upon looking at my children's baby pictures. And then there are the stray thoughts, more disturbing than the physical and emotional urges, that say getting pregnant again just might be the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me.
Lord, get me to the hospital. I need shock therapy, a lobotomy, or at the very least a tubal ligation. No time to waste.
So, at dinner last night, M and I resumed our long conversation about whether or not one of us should get surgery.
"This is a big issue for me," I reiterated while picking at his crab cakes.
"It's a big issue for me, too," he reminded me.
"Yes, but I'm the one who gets pregnant. Right now you don't want surgery, but you don't want me to have surgery, so I feel rather stuck." I polished off my cocktail and ordered a glass of wine. "I am starting to like the idea of a tubal ligation."
M looked at me with exasperation and tenderness. We were both painfully aware of having had this conversation many times before, most recently quite loudly in a swanky bar where we no doubt scared the hell out of the 20-somethings at the surrounding tables.
"I just don't understand why you can't wait until I am ready," he said.
"Because, when will you be ready? In five years, when I'm forty and you're an old codger, will you finally be ready? Or will you be ready before the next time we have an accident?"
I am referring, of course, to the accidental pregnancy that resulted in our beautiful baby girl, Miss A. During the time of that accident, we were practicing the Fertility Awareness Method.
Now, I am a big fan of FAM. FAM is based on close observation of the menstrual cycle, which you carefully measure and plot on a chart. Reading the signs and the chart will tell you when you are most fertile, and when there is no chance of conception. Roughly, five days before ovulation and a few days after ovulation are times of fertility. This is good to know, especially if you are trying to concieve. But there are things to watch out for. Like, sperm can survive for up to five days before penetrating an egg. It can swim round and round in the fertile, semen-like cervical fluid that floods the female parts during this time. So if you, like me, are about to engage in unprotected sex because you have not yet seen any signs of ovulation (such as stretchy, egg-white-like fluid), consider that it just hasn't come down yet but is about to any second. Stop what you're doing and apply your least-hated form of birth control.
[see above adorable photo of Audrey]
Here is where the triumph of Man, our ability to override evolutionary compulsions, becomes so important. It may be true that my body wants me to make another baby. This has nothing whatever to do with whether or not I actually want to have another baby. All it has to do with is my biology. So, I must learn to ignore it. I can do that. I have learned to pass over many other urges, such as stealing drugs from medicine cabinets, inappropriate involvement with people not my husband, and eating entire cakes in one sitting.
Resisting a biological urge that comes wrapped in sentiment and mystery is not easy. If you want proof, witness how many women continue to fall in love with men who can't talk or notice when they have a feeling. The baby one in particular is tricky. It's designed to propogate the species, so it has to be at least as strong as the sex urge. Because for those of us who are married with children, the sex urge may not necessarily be able to trump the self-preservation urge that causes us to kick our husbands away in the middle of the night. So evolution has created the Misty Baby Urge.
Bah, I say. How soon can my OB/GYN be here with his scalpel?