Thursday, June 14, 2007

On Being Angry

Around this time in my cycle, when I am anticipating AF’s arrival, I often experience the emotion of anger.

My anger’s easy targets: me and Cowboy. The subject: being angry that we waited for so long to have children.

You will note on the right hand side of this blog that Cowboy and I met in 2000, did not get married until 5 years later and then, because that wasn’t loooong enough, took another year before I convinced him that it was time. Six years. Sheesh.

To be fair, the first two years of our relationship we were in graduate school and then lived long distance. When we finally ended up in the same city, we shacked up in a small walk-up. Saved to buy a house and paid back student loans with a vengeance.

We luckily bought a place right before the housing boom and continued to pay off our student loans.

For some reason (see earlier post about being raised Catholic in the South), it was important for me to be married before I started a family. So we had a serious talk about getting married and my plan (ha!) to start having children before I turned 35. There were lots of tears – mine. And rationalizations – his.

It went something like this:

ME: But it gets harder to have a baby after you are 35.

COWBOY: But we just bought this house and can’t pay our mortgage, our student loans and our bills on one salary*.

ME: But I really want this in my life.

COWBOY: Who says you can’t have that after we take care of some of our responsibilities.

ME: (Sigh). I guess you are right.

So that was the plan: pay down our grad school debt, manage our mortgage and get secure first.

I went along with it. Willingly.

And you know what? I did not regret it. We traveled. Took ski trips. I bought 3-figure pairs of jeans without blinking. My career propelled forward. I traveled internationally for business often and worked on some stimulating projects. We paid our student loans back in full. Early.

No, I did not regret one bit of it.

Until now.

Actually, I don’t regret all of it. While I would gladly give back every pair of Sevens, the ski trips and other things if I could trade them for a baby, I do not regret that we took care of our obligations. I do not regret that we got secure in our finances. This will come in handy when we have to pay for IVF or adoption. I do not regret the career opportunities I had.

But every month around this time, I can’t help but think we shouldn’t have waited.

Who knows. We could have tried back then and still had miscarriages. We could still be trying.

Or we could have succeeded and one of us would have been at home raising a toddler wondering what might have been. The one whose job took a backseat for the sake of the family might have been frustrated that they haven’t yet seen their post-grad career take flight. Maybe that person would have been me.

Maybe the financial pressures would have split us apart. (Shudder).

And since I couldn’t accept any of those worst case scenarios, I wholeheartedly agreed to wait.

Sometimes, when I get like this, I just want an apology from Cowboy. “I’m sorry I made us wait and now it is so hard for us.”

But Cowboy is not sorry. And won’t apologize for doing the “right” thing financially. He’s just not there. Nor do I expect him to be.

So I try to find comfort that we avoided the worst-case maybes listed above. And I try to reason that we did the right thing for us.

I try to rationalize that maybe this anger is just a few ticks away on the dial from another familiar emotion: sadness.

Perhaps I’m just tired about the sadness and need a new emotion to preoccupy the day. And since everything else feels fake, anger it is.

Whatever it is, I just need to let it go.

What's done is done and can't be undone.

I’m glad I wrote this post and got it out of my head. I am starting to feel better already.

* Note: For various reasons, Cowboy and I decided long ago that if we had children, one person would have their career take a backseat so at least one of us could spend a lot more time with the youngster(s) in the formative years. Since I always wanted the experience of being full-time mommy, I naturally thought this would be me. That being said, Cowboy (despite his nickname) is not one of those the-woman-stays-home kind of guys. He would be perfectly happy staying at home with our child, provided he could take the kid to Snow Monsters day care during winter and that the car seat fit in the boat during summer. Boys.


Sticky Bun said...

One of my favorite movies is "Sliding Doors." If you haven't seen it, it's a good Saturday afternoon rental. Essentially, it follows the main character and shows how her life would have turned out differently if she had just caught a train instead of missed it. In the end (um...spoiler alert), it turns out the life that all along seemed the better of the two ends badly. It's the life that seemed the sadder of the two that turns out well.

I'm not trying to pollyanna out on you here...I guess my point is just that, as you say, there's no way of knowing what might have lay behind that other door. But, since you followed your heart and did what you both truly felt was best for your family, I have a feeling it was the right decision and that it will turn out well, however that looks in the end.

But, for what it's worth, I think it's totally legitimate to be angry...about all of this. Just try to be gentle with yourself and Cowboy.

Hang in there. Thinking of you...

Amy said...

You just can't think the 'What Ifs'. I totally agree with Sticky Bun- you followed your heart. You & Cowboy did what you both felt was right at the time. There's no way of knowing what would have happened should you tried earlier but there's no point in putting your energy there. Its just not worth it. I know, easier said than done.

Sending big hugs to you. :)

Caro said...

I do this too. We'd been together nearly 8 years we got before we got married and didn't start trying until after. But S is younger than me and wouldn't have been happy starting any sooner so I have to accept it I guess.

Laura, the (reluctant) baroness said...

There is no way to know what could have been. What is important is that you made responsible decisions about building a career, finances, and your relationship with Cowboy. All of these things mean you are truly ready to be a mom; it just sucks that nature isn't cooperating. I think things will work out, and you'll be happy that you invested so much into yourselves first. I'm sorry the road to reach that is crappy! Hang in there.

tipsymarie said...

Oh, I did this EXACT same thing for close to a year. I blamed D for making us wait, and I convinced myself things would've been different, better, if we'd tried sooner. And that bitterness and resentment nearly got us divorced. We came very close to it, actually.

It sounds like you are also a little angry with yourself for not fighting harder to try sooner - that's even harder than being upset with someone else.

Even though you might wonder about what might have been, try to let go of the resentment and anger. It might even mean counseling for you or the two of you if that would help.

Hang in there.