The blessings keep rolling in.

So I was sitting there, refusing to get up.  My six-year-old wanted a glass instead of a cup, the eight-year-old kept doing his evil laugh even though it makes him throw up, and the four-year-old wanted to tell me a story about how first, see, she forgot to flush, but then she suddenly remembered to flush, but then. . .

And remember, I have five other kids, too.

My husband is back at work after eight months of unemployment (and may I say:  heckova job, Barry), and I miss him.  It’s not just that suddenly, everything that needs to be done, said, investigated, cleaned up, controlled, and decided by an adult has to be done by me, me, all me.  I just miss having him around.  And I’m back to being surrounded by kids in a way that I wasn’t surrounded when there were two parents around.  The days are so long!

So despite my relief that he’s working again, I was feeling pretty mopey and despondent.  The kids were eating their stupid supper (in the fridge, waiting for husband, was ziti with chicken sautéed in olive oil with fresh garlic and basil.   The kids were eating naked noodles and poached chicken chunks.  That is a stupid supper) and I just wanted to sit down and feel sorry for myself, because I cut my toe on one of the plates the baby smashed while I was sautéing.

While I was fending off the needy ones, I read this little article from The Daily Beast (via Slate’s XX Factor blog):  I Refuse to Freeze My Eggs! (UPDATE:  Ooh, looks like Zoe beat me to it, and she chose the same quotes, too!)

The author is single and childless at 35–the age when, as she says, “all the petals fall off [your] vagina and dozens of cats suddenly park themselves in a circle around [your] cobwebby old hope chest.”  She’s enduring a gynecological exam, and her doctor starts harassing her to start freezing her eggs, just in case.

It’s super easy, she said. All you have to do is inject yourself with hormones a couple of times a day for about fourteen days, then you go to the doctor, and they scrape your eggs out of your body! Hopefully a few will be ripe enough to make a baby. They put those in the freezer. The rest are thrown into the river. I think that’s what she said. Something like that.

My doctor, who I adore, asked if I wanted to take home some “literature” about the procedure. (I never understand why these medical pamphlets are called literature, as if Faulkner was up all night feverishly writing about NuvaRing.) And in that moment, I made a decision. A decision about how I’m going to handle the fact that I’m thirty five (today!) and I don’t have kids and a kid-making partner isn’t currently on the scene. I decided I didn’t want the literature. And I don’t ever want the literature about anything related to the world of Fertility. It’s my big thirty-fifth birthday present to myself.

I’m sharing this story with you for two reasons:  first, because it’s refreshing to hear a (presumably) secular woman say what she says:

[W]hen I think about my uterus (which is rare) I don’t have any desire to bully it into doing something it may not naturally feel like doing. In vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, egg transplants, surrogacy, fallopian Xeroxing—I have no interest.

Hear, hear!

The second reason is to share with you my delight at an unexpected benefit of having all these little kids around.  I mean, I’m used to all the regular blessings:  always surrounded by love, the peace and serenity of being open to God’s precious gift of life, the constant howling, and so on.

But it never occurred to me that there’s something else:  even though I, too am 35 years old, no doctor ever, ever tries to push me into freezing my eggs.  I think I have my twenty-seven  children to thank for that.

Also, around about the time you have your fifth baby, the doctor stops trying to sneak a plain cardboard box of condoms into your hospital bag.  They’ve given up.  They think you’re an idiot; you know you’re an idiot.  Everyone’s happy, and no one tries to talk you into anything when you already have your feet up in stirrups and can’t fight back.

See what I mean?  Children are a blessing, and the blessings keep rolling in.

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  • http://www.the-mother-load.blogspot.com Aimee

    You are exactly correct: the fifth baby is definitely when all medical professionals give up on trying to “persuade” you into “taking charge” of your fertility. They figure you are past the point of no return! :)

    And “stupid supper” is just about the best term I’ve heard this week. My kids have stupid supper all the time, mostly out of their irrational fear of ever having foods mixed together/touching each other.

  • Kelly

    Is that what waits at 35? Well, I have four kids so maybe not. But when I was 30, I went to the dermatologist for a mole screen and she spent the whole time trying to talk me into Botox because I was 30.

  • http://stmonicasbridge.wordpress.com Kristen

    Worst joke ever about fertility: you know what they call people who use the “rhythm method”? Parents. No sh*t Sherlock. And for someone like me who suffered infertility, no thank you, to the metal spring in my body, I’ll have another blessing please.

  • Bob

    After years of hoping, a visit to my wife’s OB/GYN last year confirmed that our little (appropriately named) Esperanza was on her way. Since Jessica was slightly over 35 at the time, we were counseled to have this and that test just in case…you know.

    “That won’t be necessary.”

    Well, lot’s of couples decide to have the testing, because there isn’t much risk associated with it, so even if you decide to continue with the pregnancy you can prepare yourselves for a special needs child…

    It could have been my imagination, but following the doctor’s eyes I believe it was at that moment that she glimpsed the rather large crucifix around Jessica’s neck. And that was the end of that conversation, although we were given the “literature” to take home anyway.

    On a related note, it wasn’t much prior to that encounter that we had started down the road to a Church adoption. Things were looking very promising when employment uncertainty (thanks B’rack!) caused us to postpone the effort.

    Then came Esperanza Bethany, surely one of His most perfect, and loudest, creations.

    • Emily

      Your simple story has provided me with tons of hope :) Thanks for giving tribute to how it doesn’t work, then works, then doesn’t work again, but ultimately works in the end. Bless you and your loudest creation. Thanks.

  • Katharine

    Smiling as I think about the chaos and joy that children bring. And there is something so much less depressing about turning 30, 31, (soon 32) when you already have precious little children in your home.

  • Christy

    At several 6 week postpartum visits my OB would ask, “What are you using for birth control?” I’d suddenly feel like I hadn’t studied for the pop quiz. I was always open for one more, and intimacy with a houseful was enough “control” for me. So I had several replies that I threw out: “Glasses, of course!” “My surly disposition.” “A baby in our bed.” Now five months along in our 9th pregnancy, she no longer asks. I guess the answer soon will be “old age.”

  • http://thesavingmom.wordpress.com The Saving Mom

    I currently have two. Over the last two weeks we have been having a little rough water. Number 1 was an AWESOME sleeper and so is Number 2 except his perfect sleeps requires him to be touching me. Can you see where this is going? Since I was little I have always wanted 12. Yes, 12. Anyway, my plan was to have a few and then do high risk adopting of older kids that others just aren’t interested in because they are too old. (I still want to do that, but it may be a little farther down the road than I thought.) After #1 was born we realized that birth control wasn’t an option for us anymore. We wanted as many as God would bless us with. Then my husband and I heard the belief of the science czar (under our current president) who thinks mandatory sterilization is a good thing like putting it in the water, etc. That moment we decided that we weren’t just going to leave the possibility of having more kids open, but we were going to actively pursue having as many as we can. To follow the commandment -Be fruitful and multiply. After all, blessed is the man who’s quiver is full of arrows!

    Anyway, after an especially rough night people stared asking me that stupid question…how many kids did you say you wanted?

    My response…same, just don’t really have a desire for twins anymore :)

    ~Jessica

  • http://halfadozenproductions.blogspot.com/ Maurisa

    Yes! One of the benefits of having as many children as we do is the doctors no longer harass me! Gotta love being crazy!

  • http://themoleshollow.blogspot.com/ Becca

    This has been my experience, too. At my last OB appt, the doctor warned me that another c-sec (this will be my third c-sec, sixth baby) after this one could be very high risk. I sighed and said, “I know.” He looked at me for a moment, then sighed and said, “Okay.”

    Much better than the quasi-lectures I used to get!

    On another note, my husband was laid off for 9 months last year and I was shocked to realize how little my relief over money eased the transition to not having him around all the time. We had a great little routine going, and I liked it. It’s nice to pay the bills and all, but I miss having company for my morning coffee.

  • sherry

    Great piece and stupid supper is something we serve regularly. Stupid lunch also shows up on occasion. I view the food network as the equivalent of gastronomic voyeurism, since I can’t make it and if I did, the kids wouldn’t eat it. I understand even from the brief hiatus my husband took for our vacation, that feeling of missing his company even as all these blessings abound.

  • Bears2Cross

    Even as I look forward to the end of my husband’s “professional student” phase, I am already dreading being home without him all day again! Isn’t it fun to hang out with your best friend all the time? Even when he is working and we are trying not to disturb him, it just changes the atmosphere of the house to have him there. I think it has something to do with being less afraid that somebody will burn the house down if I do something really extravagant, like, close the door when I go to the bathroom. :) As always, well said, Simcha!

  • http://www.yumfoodblog.blogspot.com Sandmama

    Love your post. Its fun to turn the conversation around on the doctor by asking ‘Why’? The conversation goes something like this:

    “Which method of birth control are you using?”

    “None, Why?”

    “Well, this is your third (fourth, fifth…) child and you should really consider whatever I am schlling for today.”

    “Why?”

    “Well, I mean, ummmm… Pregnancy is very hard on the body…”

    “Yes, I know, but why do I need this?”

    At this point the Doctor wont say “because I think you have too many children.” The conversation will generally trail off and you have now won.

    I also enjoy refusing the ‘Literature’ with a laugh.

    As a downtrodden mother of more than one child, I get to have my fun where I can, right?

  • http://www.conversiondiary.com/ Jennifer (Conversion Diary)

    Wiping wine off my keyboard after reading Christy’s response to the “what are you using for birth control?” question. Awesome.

    And great post, Simcha.

  • Anima

    The kids are blessing. Period. Unfortunately, our generation somehow forgot it.

    I’ve always wanted kids, a lot of them, four-five at least. Last week I turned 41, still no kids at all. I’m still living in hope. You wrote that people find you crazy. Well, although I have no kids, they find me idiot too.

  • Renee

    Simcha, it’s taken me a while to write a comment but I just have to say that from my point of view you couldn’t have chosen a better day to write this entry. Thank you!

    (By the way, I have a suggestion for your Throwback Thursday: the piece you wrote on the stages of sleep deprivation as a mother. For totally selfish reasons, naturally.)

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    Sandmama has it exactly right — what doctors “recommend” are usually revenue streams for them. That’s certainly the case for botox, egg freezing, all forms of ART, and all forms of contraception.

  • Theola

    I caught a link to you from “Faith and Family” and I have been howling with laughter as I try to read EVERYTHING! The picture of your toddler on the first day of home school last year looks almost exactly like my toddler did yesterday, when I was allowed to fold laundry without “assistance” (I KNEW laundry was evil)!

    I had to comment here because my doctor has been not so subtle in his attempts to get my husband to undergo a vasectomy. I just turned 35 and our fourth child is 10 months old. Doc has suggested everything from a nicely scheduled procedure right down to taking my husband out for a few drinks, knocking him out and doing the task with a butcher knife. I don’t know why he thinks we’re unable to make our own decisions or follow our own path. I suppose he feels bewildered because he and my husband went to school together and he can’t picture himself with more than two kids. But how challenging can parenting be when you’re not outnumbered and under-funded?

  • Ben David

    We had fertility problems.

    If both of us had not “bullied” our bodies – we would not have been blessed with a family.

    These interventions are, themselves, blessings.

  • http://stand-by-to-start-engines.blogspot.com Bolyongok

    Due to my job, every time I go to the doctor for anything from shin-splints to flu, I get the standard questions- height, weight, date of last monthly cycle, method of birth-control. My current favourite answer is ‘meditation’.


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