Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Silver lining

I spent the past two weeks ambivalent about what I wanted more: to be pregnant or to have the two month break I'd decided to take. Despite the turmoil of the inner dialogue, I discovered something yesterday morning.

I really wanted to be pregnant.

But now that I will be taking two months off from the baby dance and all of the complications it brings into my life,* I've decided to look at all of the positives of this situation. Consider it practice for (US) Thanksgiving tomorrow.

I am thankful that taking a break from trying to get pregnant means:

1. I will be able to focus more of my mental and physical energies on the end of my semester. This is traditionally a busy time for me anyway, and right now I need to think about preparing my presentation for next week, writing my paper for December, and studying for my exam in January. Not to mention the extra work that comes with teaching and giving an exam.

2. I also gain many hours back to put towards my work since I won't be spending 6 hours or so a couple times a month driving to the clinic and back.

3. I can focus on improving my health, at least a little. I've decided to engage in some form of exercise every day--something I wasn't doing, because of the concern I might be pregnant or might soon be pregnant (plus all of the craziness in our household lately made it easy not to find the time). Since I'll have about 10 weeks before my next try, that gives me plenty of time to establish new workout habits which I should be able to continue into pregnancy.

4. I can also make a concerted effort to eat better, especially appropriate amounts of unprocessed fruits and vegetables and as little refined sugar as I can manage. While it would be nice to lose some weight in the process of following through on #3 and 4, more important to me is feeling good. I've been successful with this in the past, but too often let these go when busy and stressed (which turns into that awful cycle of making less of an effort to workout and eat well since I don't have the energy, leading to feeling worse, leading to further slack off).

5. I might be able to present at a conference in May. I had mentally written it off before since I expected to be in my third trimester by May and knew we would need to fly to make the trip. Even if I were to manage to get pregnant on my first attempt after the break, I would only be around 20 or 22 weeks pregnant at conference time.

6. I can apply to teach for the entire summer term. My supervisor has suggested I apply, specifically to teach the full version of the course I'm doing right now (which is only the first half of a year-long course). If I were already pregnant, I would be due in the middle to the end of the course. While I did teach when I was pregnant with Scooter until a week before my due date, and stopped then only because it was Spring Break, I'm not sure I'll want to do that again.

7. We might be able to fit in the family reunion that's being planned for August. I might not be able to fly at that point (though I think that would be the case only if I got pregnant in January), but it would be easy to drive. If I had gotten pregnant on my previous cycle, the baby would have been due right on the weekend the reunion's been scheduled.

8. My next child will not be born in August. The month is a bit of an emotional minefield for my family, especially my mother. My parents' wedding anniversary and my father's birthday were both in August,** and my mother's very fragile around those days. There are already issues about her relationship--or lack thereof--with my son, so I'd rather avoid adding another dimension. The two month break also means I'll avoid giving birth on or around her birthday.

9. We will have time to finish getting the master bedroom arranged to share with a baby. We've decided that this will work best for us with our current floorplan and what worked with Scooter. But we haven't put the crib back together yet and have some heavy furniture to shift. Since I'm the handy one and the crib requires getting into some awkward positions to tighten bolts, it will be best to get this done while I have no physical restrictions.

So a whole range of reasons. And I didn't have to think for too long to come up with any of them.

I imagine I'll be rereading this list throughout the next two months to remind me of what I'm gaining by taking some time for myself. But I can guarantee that when this break is over, I'll be ready to start the baby dance all over again.

*I've been meaning to write about what this entails for me and my family in an average month.

**If anyone from my family reads this and has not figured out who this is yet, this ought to give it away.

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