And like water, fighting your past won't help. You have to work with it, ride it, use it, even if you might swallow a little water along the way.
If you've read Annamarie's post from last week you will have caught up with the news - I am a sterile man. Had the Snip. Got the chop. Shooting blanks. The boys are staying in the house. No juice in the junk. No venom in the snake. No sizzle in the sausage. I could do this all day..
Jokes aside (and if you know me you will know that I rarely lay the jokes aside), earlier in the year we did make the choice for me to have a vasectomy. We had been talking about it for a while, and in fact I always knew it was something I'd eventually have to do once we were done having children. Compared to the female alternatives, it's by far the best method of contraception, as long as you know you're done.
And that, really was the big call - being done. We've talked about this in the blog before, but we made the choice last year that we would be a one child family, that trying again, even though we are (or rather were) both biologically capable, would be too much of a risk to Annamarie's health, would consume too much of our limited time left on this world, and based on our experience might not even deliver the result we want - and if it did its likely it would come with a whole lot of hurt.
In the end it was me that made the call to pull the trigger. I booked the appointment, I arranged it all with medical insurance, I drove it. I did that partly because, hey, they're my testicles, and partly because I wanted to take away some of the pain and guilt Annamarie seemed to be feeling. She would often talk about feeling like a failure because she couldn't give Sam a sibling, like she was somehow less of a Mum, less of a woman because of it. As much as I might reassure her that I don't think that, that nobody thinks that (and if they do they're an asshole), it didn't seem to help. She still felt, somehow, that it was her fault.
And so, I made it my fault. Now its not Annamarie being unable to have more, it's me not being able to provide them. I wanted to carry that, to take that baggage away from her, to give her the freedom to be the amazing mum and woman that she is, without worrying about the woman she feels she ought to be.
It only sort of worked. The decision certainly made it final. It closed the door, sealed our life as a one child family. I think that made things easier in some sense, cleaner. It also took away the fear we harbored, every time that Annamarie started feeling nauseous or had a heightened sense smell, that it might all be happening again.
But, of course, it didn't take away the hurt, or the guilt, or the feeling of being trapped in a life you didn't choose. We made the best choice we could because a whole lot of others had been taken away from us. I know that it was the right decision, but I still feel pain and regret about having to make it - and about what it means for our future choices.
I know we are lucky. I know we have the privilege of more options than most, that we have had some amazing and unique experiences, that we have the immense joy of each other as a family. I am even grateful for many of our hardships, for what they have taught us, for how we have grown through them.
That growth has lead me to accept what is and move forward as best I can. I guess the thing I am continuing to learn is that moving forward doesn't mean leaving stuff behind, that you carry your past, consciously or unconsciously, along with you. It's like you are floating down a river, making ripples and waves as you go. You might leave those waves behind, but they bounce back of the river banks, disturbing things as they go, creating new currents and flows that influence how you need to paddle as you move along. And like water, fighting your past won't help. You have to work with it, ride it, use it, even if you might swallow a little water along the way.
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We are a family of 3. This blog is the story of how we almost became 4, why we didn’t, and what we are doing to recover from that experience.