Tuesday, January 18, 2011

There are Two Sides to this Story

It's really tough reading over my posts about D and her words and actions without feeling a little bit of guilt. I know this is *my* blog and thus my side of things, but I never want to vilify D... all of the feelings she has around having a family are more than valid - and the fact that we are not on the same page is just a fact: we are not on the same page. It's nobody's "fault".

We talked a bit last night, coming out of the conversation yesterday morning about her dream. Neither of us were in any state to spend the entire night talking. I was sleep-deprived and she had a long day at work, and from experience, if we're not in the right head-space to talk, it never goes well.

D is extremely upset about what happened the other night, and she wanted to explain her reaction (which her dream helped her realize, somehow). Every six months or so, she has a little bit of a (almost) mid-life crisis with regards to work. Ten years ago, she started in the industry that she works in now, knowing that it was temporary and not a "forever" choice. But here she is, ten years later. She has often tossed around going back to school, which never turns into anything, but over the last few months, for the first time in 14 years, she's been incredible serious about it, and has become increasingly excited about the possibility. This time is different; this time it feels real. And I would love nothing else for her to go back to school so that she can start doing something she's passionate about.

It's also one of the first times she's been able to put herself first in this relationship. There is a long history of her sacrificing things so that I get what I want/need, and over the last six months, as we've been working on our relationship, it has evened out significantly.

I want her to go back to school. I don't want to take that away from her. I totally support the idea, and if this is something she wants to do, I will do everything I can to make that happen.

However, she doesn't think starting a family and going back to school is possible. She doesn't think that buying a townhouse in this expensive city of ours and starting a family is conducive. She doesn't want to be an "old" mom, and this is where - and the only place - that our age difference matters: I am eight years younger, and at the perfect age to be a mom (I think), but she is pushing 40, and I know it's tough for her to imagine her later life as a mom. Bottom line: She doesn't think that she'll be able to (finally) do the things that she wants to do if we have a baby.

And I need to respect that.

But, deep down inside, I know we can make everything happen: school, home, baby. Or maybe I've just got my head in the clouds and am being forcefully optimistic about being able to do all of this.

I don't want her to have to give up her dreams. But I don't want to give up my dreams either...

[Final note: If anyone has any experience with schooling at the same time as being a new mom, I'd love to hear from you about how you balance it - emotionally, financially, etc. Also, any moms who have dived into the role of motherhood "later" in life - whatever that means to you - I'd love to hear how you've found the experience.]


  1. Those are valid concerns. And I can see it from both sides- it being really difficult to parent and go to school full time, but also knowing that you *could* make it work (but certain things may suffer).

    I just started school again, but only only class per semester (since I work full time) and totally online, plus my kid is a toddler who sleeps well so I have plenty of time to do my classwork when he goes to sleep at 7pm. I can't imagine having the time and drive to do so when he was itty bitty, but then again, that doesn't last very long.

    Lots more for you both to discuss. I wonder if it might help to sort through these things with a couples counselor?

  2. I would second the couples counselor idea. When each partner has something that is deeply important to her and there's this set up wherein one has to sacrifice their thing for the other to have her thing, it just seems like a recipe for disaster. I don't want either of you to regret or recent the decision. Of course I'm deeply biased, but I DO think you could work it out (school and baby). Strawberry's right - they're not babies for all that long and your family will find its routine.

    Fern and I aren't great examples since we don't have the actual baby, but Fern has been in grad school the whole time we've been ttc-ing. I won't lie - it's been incredibly difficult for her to stay on track (but she also has some other factors working against her in that department) while we've been dealing with this heartbreak. But we had worked out a scenario, once upon a time (back when we made plans) that allowed her to go to school, me to work, and the theoretical baby didn't even have to feed or bathe itself. It is possible but not if you're not both on the same page.

    Oh, also, I always keep in mind when reading blogs that I'm getting one side of the picture. I don't think D sounds like a villain at all.

    Good luck - I hope you can keep this conversation flowing.

  3. Seems like lots of us have the same idea...discussing this with a couples counselor. I definitely suggest trying to do joint sessions with individual sessions between (if you guys can swing it). Sometimes just having the "neutral" space of your therapist's office is enough of a push to get out the things you might not otherwise say...and also creates an environment that is pretty conducive to not just hearing what your partner says...but listening to it.

    On a side note, it is important that you feel like your thoughts and emotions are valid. You aren't making D into a bad person...this is simply your space to express the feelings and emotions that you might not otherwise be able to express. We are here for you!

    I wish for you guys the best case scenario that works well for you both as individuals, as well as your couplehood as a whole. ;)

  4. Hello - I wanted to write a quick note to let you know I am thinking about you. I hope that you two are able to come to a decision that doesnt make either of you give up on a dream.

    I agree with the counseling idea - could never hurt.

  5. Wow. I am late in responding to this, but I am in almost the exact same boat. My wife, Also named D, is 40 and I am 34. I went through a long period where all I could think about was having a baby. She was not so much on board. She already went through it though, we have a 16 year old son, so she has a whole host of other reasons for not wanting to do it. It was tough, but I finally stopped feeling so much of this need a few months ago, and things have been really great. I'm not sure what happened, I just stopped feeling it. That's not to say I won't ever feel that need again, but for now it has diminished. The whole baby thing is the one and only thing we disagree about, and since I have taken a step back, I have realized that our life is pretty darn fantastic as it is, and I have been able to see the difficulties a baby may bring. I really know that baby haze though. It's a tough spot to be in, and I sympathize with you wholeheartedly. I wish you the best in getting what you hope for! (I'll stop hijacking your comments now:))