Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Plan

I married Bobby when I was 22 years old--that had always been the plan. I was ready to settle down after finishing college.

I worked at a comfortable, well-paying job for a few years after marriage, and Bobby did too. We were able to save money, buy the perfect starter house for our family and go on many fun adventures. While working at this comfortable, well-paying job, I also found the time to write and publish my first book. While not a New York Times Best Seller, the book did well. We agreed we were stable enough for me to quit my full-time job and focus on writing. But first, we decided to have a baby.

And since baby-having is as easy as deciding, of course we conceived easily. During my easy, perfect 40-week pregnancy, I worked from home on my second book. We were living comfortably off the royalties and I was able to write freely, exercise at will (of course I only gained 12 pounds during this pregnancy!), and add to our perfect little family.

The baby was born with no complications. We loved having a newborn. My second book was met with great success, so I was able to take a complete break from working and raise our child full time (naturally while keeping up with my exercising and writing for fun). Nine months later, we'd decide to conceive again--wanting our first two children to be close in age.

Our second child was born exactly eighteen months after our first (of course, we planned for a summer baby), and our little family of four was beautiful. Since I was an absolute natural at motherhood, both children slept through the night from day one, took naps on schedule, and ate like champs. Once the baby was six months old, my parents graciously offered to watch both kids two days a week so I could work on my third book, keep my house looking spotless, grocery shop, and plan our immaculate dinners.

After three years family bliss, we decided to add a third child. After conceiving (easily, of course), we realized we'd need a bigger home. We bought a 1860s farmhouse just outside of town with some land, pasture, and out buildings. It was gorgeous, and the perfect setting for our children to grow up in. We had barn cats, a pot-belly pig, and some fainting goats. Our huge St. Bernard moped around outside, always begging to be let in the side door off the porch. Sometimes we conceded, and let him drool all over the house.  After all, what's life without a little whimsy?

Once Baby Number 3 arrived, we easily settled in to our new life. The older children were attending pre-school and learning to help around the house. My parents still cared for them a few days a week, and I began writing Book Number 4. We had game nights with our friends, play dates, and still found time to go on fun adventures over the weekend.

A year or so later, we conceived Baby Number 4--and then decided to close up shop. After all, I was over 30 years old! It was time spend more time on myself. Being a mother of four easily fit into my life of running, coaching, writing, and anything else I wanted to do, 

Several years later, when the oldest kids were nearing the end of high school, and the youngest kids just beginning, we decided it was time to adopt. We were such good parents, why wouldn't we want to share our life with needy kids? We'd started a small fund early in our marriage, always intended for adoption--and now we had plenty of money. We had the opportunity and budget to add a few more kids to our family--plus explore the possibility of becoming full-time foster parents--since it was all so easy for us, after all. We were in no hurry, so we could take our time with the paperwork and the waiting was no big deal. Whenever an agency or birth parent decided to pick us, we would expand our family for whatever new members we chose to add.

This is tough to read, right? It was tough to write. I want to say that it's really just the rambling of a dumb teenager--exhibiting obviously naive expectations for my future life and family. But really, up until a few years ago, I truly believed this is how it would all shake out. I never imagined that we would have issues conceiving. Of course, I'll admit I occasionally had doubts about my qualifications of being a good mom, but I would work it out. My kids may not sleep perfectly through the night or be champion eaters...but surely I would at least have kids...right? I may not lose all of the 12 pounds (ha!) of baby weight instantly and my body shape might change...but at least the weight and stretch marks would be scars of a body growing another human--not excess weight from the stress of trying to have a baby.

I'm not going to have four kids (and four published books) by the time I'm 30, give or take a year. At this rate, I'm really, really hoping to have one kid before 30. It would be a miracle if I had two (like a call-the-Vatican, immaculate-conception-type miracle).

So...what was your life plan? Was it as ridiculous as mine? No? No one could possibly have thought something as ridiculous as this? Yeah, that's probably true.

12 comments:

  1. I actually never planned on having kids, so....I guess my life worked out as planned?? Too bad what I wanted changed along the way!

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    1. I've wondered if in a year or so, I'll change my mind into not wanting kids at all. Then I guess my plan will work out fine! - or I'll get unexpectedly pregnant when I'm 50.

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  2. I can totally relate. My life has not played out like I had planned one single bit, except for the fact that I met a man I love dearly. But even that didn't happen when and where I thought. Life is full of surprises, some good, some bad. It's so hard to accept that we can't really plan out our lives the way we want to.

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    1. Agreed - when I was younger, I never thought I would marry my high school sweetheart...I wanted to play the field! But know what I do now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  3. While I can't say I really had a specific life plan (part of the reason we didn't actually start ATTC until I was 33 years old) my life certainly hasn't unfolded the way I would have ever imagined in a million years. I think whether you have it all planned out or not, when you get the curveball of infertility thrown in your lap, it's devastating no matter what. I agree with Sarah though. There are other things, like my marriage, which turned out 100x's better than I could have ever expected in my wildest dreams. I have always tried to remember those things during the hard times. Your life plan is not ridiculous. You have every right to feel cheated, but try not to forget about the unexpected blessings too.

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    1. I agree, infertility is pretty universally devastating, but I know I hit the jackpot with my marriage, so things are definitely not that bad. Thanks, Emily!

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  4. When I first started reading this, I was like, wow look at you go, and then I was like, wait...WTF?! My plan has never been a typical get married, have babies, stay home with said babies sort of plan but I did have at least a bit of thought which way I wanted my life to go. So far life has never gone the way I had planned, and there have generally been a lot of hurdles and struggles to get what I want, but for the most part life has been good. I would really like to put the infertility chapter behind me though...

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    1. I love that you recognized that life has been good - although yes, I'm ready to be done with infertility. But our life that has happened while waiting to have kids has definitely been good. The infertility part is awful and draining, but there is so much good in spite of it.

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  5. My earlier life plans didn't include having kids although my plans on that changed along the way, I still don't have any kids of my own. I know life won't go as we plan it so I guess we just have to make sure an enjoy each day anyway.

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    1. Interesting that so many of you didn't initially want kids. I always did, or at least thought I did. You're right...planning everything out definitely didn't help. There's always new adventures every day--and sometimes the best ones are completely unplanned.

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  6. Even though it hasn't worked out the way you hoped, I kind of envy you having a life plan like this; I never have. The only things on my list were pretty vague: have job, get married, have some kids. I think it's nice to have such a concrete idea of what you want your future to look like because it can help you achieve your goals. Sometimes I feel like I'm a bit adrift when it comes to that. I must say though, I miiiiiight have had a harder time liking this amazing, perfect life Lilee :)

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    1. Yeah...I read that and think, who is that? And would I even like that person? She sounds boring.

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