Sunday, November 14, 2010

Child Free is the New Black ....

Over the last month, some serious decisions have been made in our home.

I realize that a blog, that is visible to the world, is not the place for deep revelations. So, to keep it on a fun n' friendly level .....  potential procreation in our home is officially closed for business.

So now, the aftermath. And if I've been moody, or cranky, or generally impossible the last month and a half, Id like to take the time to apologize now. Although my actions certainly arent excused just for being under hormones or pressure, I hope those that love me can understand that I dont do secrets, doctors, OR hearing the word "no" very well.

So what does it feel like to close a chapter? Im sure some of you, especially those who have always dreamed about being a mother, wonder what that feels like.

I never dreamed of being a mother. It was something I assumed would happen one day, but only after I graduated law school, became a princess, and saved the entire world from destruction. Motherhood was always a secondary thought .... sure, it would happen. But even at a very young age I dreamed of success, and power, and sweeping through an office as a high powered business woman. 

(My mom will tell you that I actually only dreamed of being a teenager. And she was right, to some extent).

And then ... then came a surprise. And although unconventional, Devon was (and is) surely the best thing to ever happen to me. He is still our everything, even if hes far away. And, although Im sure some of my counterparts would disagree, I still feel like a good mom. I never thought that my son would be away from me this far, for this long. But I also know that the choice that was made saved him from seeing a horrible fight, one that would scar his image of everyone around him. Although I hate that hes not here, I love knowing that he is surrounded by so many people that love him so much.

When we first got married, we wanted children. So we tried to have a baby.

And .... nothing happened. 

So, we tried harder. And nothing happened.

My doctor said to me one day "aren't you concerned that at your age and health that nothing is happening?"

So they did tests. And more tests. And Allen did tests. 

And there was news. But at the time, being young and naive, it felt more like ... a joke. 

Not that infertility was a joke. It certainly isn't. But by the time the tests were done, we had firmly established a new life full of friends, and a job, and school. Suddenly, we had moved past wanting a baby and moved into a life full of other things.

At the time, the news didnt seem all that life changing. Everyone assured us that with the right drugs, the right timing, the right doctors, ect et atl, we could one day have a baby anyways. We heard all the stories from people who were cursed with infertility and they popped up pregnant as soon as they stopped trying. People were saying all these wonderful things, and doing it with the best of intentions, but looking back now, it seems like false hope. Although Im sure those stories are true, and wonderful for them, it made the diagnosis seem unreal.

So, we masked any pain we may have felt. We joked that we didnt want kids - in fact, that became our main "tagline".  As in "the Cones dont even want kids". Sometimes it was easier than facing the reality of the situation - that it didnt matter what we wanted, the choice wasnt exactly ours.  And on some days, it was true. The emotions were sticky ... they didnt stay the same from day to day.

Some people took offense to this. They thought we were attacking their way of life. It was as if, when we said that we werent going to have children, some people thought the underlying message was that we thought their way of life was somehow beneath us. To clarify, that was never true. But saying "We dont want them" was so much easier than saying "We cant have them". It may have made us sound selfish, or rude, but it was a hell of a lot easier than hearing the 678 helpful stories to encourage us to just keep trying. 

Looking back, I dont know when the evolution happened. I remember wanting to have babies. And then one day,  it seemed less important. And then one day, I wasnt sure I wanted them anymore.

Parallel to the first diagnosis, I also began volunteering as a CASA. I do remember when the idea of adoption first came about .... when I did my CASA training. And the more I worked with the juvenile court ... through the volunteer work,  my internship, and now my job, the more adoption replaced the idea of ever having my own child.

Soon, Allen was on board with the adoption idea - so much that we started the process by taking the PRIDE classes to get more information. Adoption is a wonderful thing, and we did 30 hours of classes together. It brought us closer as a couple, and closer to the idea that we could still, someday, expand our family.

One day, a friend who thought she couldnt get pregnant found out she was expecting. And with that, I became obsessed with figuring out my own options, once and for all. At 27, I wanted to know exactly what I would have to do to have my own baby. And to be honest, I wasnt sure that was what I wanted. But more, I wanted to know exactly what it would take.

So I got a new doctor, outside of Madigan. And Allen went to someone he trusted. We got our results quickly, after we made friends with both of our providers. 

The news wasnt a shock. It felt like the final sealing of an envelope, the closing of a chapter. I had more than prepared myself for it, and over time, it didnt seem like such a bad thing. I just wanted a finality, before we put that box on the shelf. I wanted one last goodbye before I left it behind. That way I wasnt going to look back in 15 years and wonder what else I could have done.

There was a brief talk of options. Hormones, IVF, new therapies that could be done to elevate this and balance that, surgery to correct another problem. 

It didnt take long for us to decide against any of that. Something amazing had happened in the absence of the child possibility.

***And for those of you with children, please dont take offense to this. This is not an insult against the life you have, its just a coping skill that we learned that happened to save our marriage from devastating news ****

Over the time when children werent a thought, we began to close the holes that the "ghost children" had left. We started to live life to the fullest - to vacation, to eat at fantastic places, to spend our money on cool toys. We started to spoil Devon as an only child can be spoiled, to spend long mornings in bed on weekends. We went to Hawaii, to Vegas, to Michigan, to Florida,  back home to visit friends. We talked over long walks with gelato, we shared our hobbies, favorite movies and books. I got to know everything about my husband. I shared the moments he was home, and when he was gone I was able to worry about only myself. I was able to go back to school, to spend hours on the career that I loved, to spend my crappy days in bed with no one to answer to.

We took what we were given, and we made the best of it. And after time spent doing that, there didnt seem to be the drive to have a baby like there used to be.

There is still sadness. I feel terrible that Ill never get to look at a little baby Allen and know that we made that. There is sadness that we wont go through the joys of pregnancy, that we wont ever know what a child that we produced would have given - to us, or to the world. And although I feel in a great place with this, I cant say that there arent times when I am angry, or sad, that we dont even have the option.

I know there are some people who cant fathom a marriage without children. I can understand that, because I know so many people who are amazing mothers, who work so hard, who love their children and their husbands. All I can say is, I thank God this happened to me and not to them. I think my friends who are full time mothers are the strongest women in the world, and I admire what they do. Although my life is taking a much different track, it doesnt take away my ability to love my friends children with all my heart, and to be proud to have people in my life that show me what good families are. 

As for my marriage? This situation couldnt have happened to a better couple (for lack of a better phrase). Allen and I .... we're who we are. We are both career driven, we are selfish, we are impatient, we push hard to get ahead in life. We both love to live the fast life, we love to mix it up. We love to love each other, and we are very "grinch-y" with our time together ... meaning, we dont like to give that away too freely. We also both love Devon with all our hearts, and we love the idea of being able to give him so much more than we had. 

Allen and I are genuinely one of the happiest and healthiest couples around. Nothing is perfect, and  we arent either, but we have faced every challenge and adversity with a  bond that goes beyond anything I can describe. We take things like this, and we dont let it knock us down. We take all the positive (and yes, there is a lot of positive in this!!!) and we run with it - both driven by the need to see the other be happy.

Our future still looks bright. We have both decided that we arent ready for children, adopted or otherwise.  There is still a lot on our "bucket list" that needs to be done. And we have both decided that, although modern medicine is an absolute miracle, if we are going to spend that much money, time, energy, ect, we are going to spend it on a child that is already in this world who needs a loving home. Although we cant predict when the time will be right, someday we are going to go through with adopting a child. We thought the time was right once, and it wasnt. But someday it IS going to be, and I fully believe that God has something in mind for us ... when the time is right. 

I know that some people will read this, and be confused. All I can say is that its been an emotional journey. Some days having a baby was all I wanted. Some days, I couldnt fathom why anyone would want one. It depended on where I was, what I was doing, and how tired I was at the time .....

Sometimes it is hard to be the ones without children around. I feel like we get overlooked as a family because it doesnt seem cemented without kids around. But, we have so much more than I ever bargained for .... in love, and in life. Its pretty amazing.

As anyone of my friends with kids can tell you, I love their children like they are my own. We love giving date nights, we love buying presents, I love visiting my friends AND their kiddos. I never understood people who werent friends with childless couples .... there is NO one else on earth aside from grandparents who are willing and able to provide extra hands, babysitting services, and lots of fantastic presents that will make loads of fun noises. I appreciate those that have dubbed me "Auntie Anne" and let me get some of this damn biological instinct out with good use.

So, thats the long of it. I just needed to get it all, the whole story, out on this screen. Im ready to leave the questions, the confusion, the hurt, the grieving, all of it behind. God has given me a full cup, and I want to go back to appreciating every day. 

So if you got this far, thank you. I appreciate that sort of care and concern. And now, you all know the story. Hopefully this helps some of you understand me better. 


  1. Awesome blog Anne! Just being away and going through the past few months I didn't realize everything that was going on with you and Allen. I am happy that you have reached a better place emotionally from all of this. Seeing that one door closes and others open is like trying to find a needle in a haystack sometimes. I hope your career and life treat you well and you are blessed. Take care!

  2. I only commented on this in my mind, instead of real life. But I want you to know, that from experience, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I just decided one day I wasn't unhappy without kids, and that now I could enjoy whatever life gave me, with my husband. Life has a funny way of throwing wrenches into your plans though :) Seriously, right before the miracle pregnancy, we were so happy, we wanted to adopt, but not anytime soon, I was super healthy-had just done a few cleanses, had my work out routine going, just generally happy and content in my station. In fact being pregnant seemed like almost the end of the world, in some ways. It was not in the plan! But hey, here I am, knocked up, and embracing it! Sure I'm going to miss the time I had with just my husband, but I'm gonna replace that with something much bigger! I truly believe that miracles happen, when you least expect them to ;), in fact when you aren't even considering the option!