When Marco got laid off in January, friends who knew of our family-launching plans asked us whether we’d continue or put things on hold. I just turned 40. Marco is seven years older than me. Our biological clocks are not in sync with the dipping of the Dow.
Sure, it occurred to us for half a second that this might not be the wisest time to be spending my grandmother’s inheritance on fertility treatments not covered by health insurance, but it’s expensive to adopt, too. And we really, really want a child.
An extreme optimist—or pragmatist—might argue that there’s no time like a recession to get knocked up. You spend the first four months nauseous, hence eating less: money saved! Girlfriends give you their hand-me-down maternity clothes, your hips expand; hence, shopping impulse curbed! You don’t have energy to go out at night, so restaurants and movies become less manageable: more money saved! Of course, all this is conjecture. I’m not there…yet.
Instead, I live in a state of limbo fueled by hope, longing, and our intense desire. The hardest part, I find, is trying to “relax” and “stay calm” — instructions that are difficult to follow when your laid-off husband is sticking a two-inch needle in your black-and-blue behind every day, the markets are tanking, and your hormones are running wild. I try to remind myself that stressed out couples have had babies in worse times than these. “Think of all the babies born in Europe during World War II!” my mother says, trying to cheer me up.
When my parents had me back in 1969, they earned $400 and spent $115 of it on rent. My mother’s words of encouragement pour in weekly over the phone: “You can’t stop. The economy will change. It’s not going to be like this forever. You have to be optimistic about it. You have to pursue your dreams.” Having gone through rounds of fertility treatment herself, the woman learned a thing or two.
And it’s true. You can’t give up all your dreams just because the economy is rotten. Marco and I are even going forward with plans to find a little more space and move. As we wandered Brooklyn open houses the other weekend, imagining the kid’s room and checking the front hallways of buildings for room to hang a stroller, we felt giddy. It didn’t seem to matter that on every block a half-built building stood suspended mid-construction. We figured those bulldozers would be active again within a year.
“In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go.” My mother reads me this passage from a book she’s reading, about a race car driver and his dog, called The Art of Racing in the Rain. She sends the rest via email: “The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle. Your car goes where your eyes go. Simply another way of saying that which you manifest is before you.”
That which you manifest is before you. I’m trying to make that my new mantra. This morning, when Marco approached me with the hypo filled with my daily dose of progesterone, I found myself daydreaming about pushing a stroller in Park Slope, forgetting about the Dow, and riffing on the lyrics of that noxious Britney song: “Stick me baby, one more time.”
--Posted by Deborah Siegel, RecessionWire.com
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