A few months back, during my final postpartum visit with my midwife, she asked me a question that took me entirely by surprise…”what are you and your husband thinking about in terms of child spacing and birth control?” I was stunned, startled, speechless…to be honest, I just assumed I’d be lucky to get to have another child period. I guess when you spend years and thousands of dollars struggling to conceive your first child, the concept of interrupting conception for any reason ever or of actually having any kind of control whatsoever over when your next child will be born, never really enters your mind.
After this little visit with the midwife, I went home and had a chat with my husband…
“Honey, do you think we should be worried about birth control?” His answer, “Yes!” Now, I understood where he was coming from…there was that whole WHAT IF factor, especially when I was still recovering from my labor and postpartum trauma. What if we did get pregnant right away? Sure, we want another child, but how would we manage having two in such quick succession? How would it affect my health? How would it affect Simran’s happiness and sense of security? Plus, we were just barely hanging on to our sanity, not to mention our finances: both completely sleep deprived, stressed, pushed to our limits…what would it do to us to throw another baby thrown into the mix?
Then again…a spontaneous pregnancy would be such a miracle…and perhaps the old saying holds, “beggars can’t be choosers.” Shouldn’t we at least try, maybe give my body that chance; a little time to just forget about fertility tests, LH strips, temping, and just see what happens, knowing all along that if a year were to go by and we hadn’t yet conceived, no worries; we would have our answer with no time lost and could calmly head back to the RE ready for the road ahead?
Our “final” decision – heavily influenced by my husband who remains the more practical one of the two of us – barrier birth control until we are ready to start actively trying again; with the plan of starting again earlier than we might otherwise, so that if I don’t become pregnant within a year there is still less “time” pressure once we head back to the RE.
So, here I am, an infertility veteran at six months postpartum, using birth control. It seems a bit odd and wrong, practical yes, but emotionally wrong. I guess I “know” it’s the right thing for all of us, particularly for Bean, yet in my heart it just doesn’t feel like the right thing for me; call it fear, call it doubt, call it selfishness. I guess in my heart of hearts, I’ve given over to the belief that infertiles don’t really get the luxury of family planning. If you want another child, how can you ever stop trying? If you do, and down the road you find yourself unable to conceive again, how will you live with yourself knowing that you missed a year or more of opportunities to make a baby…hell, I used to go mad missing just one cycle?
Now, in all honesty, I haven’t actually had my first postpartum period as yet. I don’t know what that experience will do to me, or how it will make me feel (i.e., will I suddenly freak out, change my mind completely and insist on no birth control until we are completely done having kids). I know this is a very personal thing for each woman who goes through it, and for each couple, but still I wish I had some guidance to go on.
My midwife was certainly no help in this arena…she is currently pregnant, after trying for about a second, and actually perfectly timed her pregnancy with another two midwives in her practice so that their maternity leaves will not overlap…oh the world I will never know.