The other day, period still MIA, I ended up going to the adoption agency website and picking out what my top three picks would be if I had to place again today. I spent a couple of hours going through profiles and narrowing it down. Why in God’s name did I do this? I am absolutely never placing another kid. It felt like I was on some kind of weird autopilot: “Well, this is what happened last time, so. . . .” I chose pretty carefully when I picked out Cricket’s parents, but my criteria were slightly different this time—for example, I found myself strongly biased in favor of parents who had already adopted a child. NOT THAT THIS WILL BE RELEVANT.

Later that night, I told Mr. Book what I’d done (I so want to write “what had happened”; I don’t think I can really convey how much I didn’t feel like I had agency during that weird couple of hours, reading pleas and sifting through couples). I started an awkward “So, I mean, theoretically I could be pregnant” conversation. First he told me that he’s sure that I’m not pregnant. Then he said “No matter what happens, we’re not giving another one up. Even if we end up having quintuplets, we’re keeping all five.” I said “I don’t know; if there’s five, maybe we should give up two”—mostly joking, but also a little horrified at the idea of trying to breastfeed five babies—and he said “Nope, that’s not going to happen. Any kids we have, we keep.” I was both relieved that he’s determined to raise and love any even accidental futurekids and a little worried that he’s confident that I’m not pregnant now—that his comfort is based on that certainty. I ask why he’s so sure that I’m not pregnant, and he points out that I’m on birth control. I tell him that I sometimes take pills late, and that my sister got pregnant on birth control. He says that Tammy is a flake.

I tend to worry, and I tend to nag. These are not excellent qualities, and Mr. Book works around them with more graciousness than I really expected before we built this thing between us. But there are downsides to his approach; if we are running late, I worry, and I nag him, and he doesn’t take it seriously—and then we are late. Now I’m late, and I am worry, and I keep bugging him—and he’s completely unworried, because I would be doing almost exactly the same thing if it was one day before my period and I was cramping and not tired/sick/heartburny. I am the girl who cried wolf. There’s a pretty obvious solution, of course. But now I’m worried about what happens after that.

3 thoughts on “Suspense!

  1. Yikes. I am not a therapist, BUT maybe you shouldn’t be thinking about this as having much if anything to do with FutureKid/MaybeNowishKid and think of it just in terms of adoption processing. I mean, you know that worrying can make your period later (or know that it happens to some women) and yet it’s a vicious cycle.

    For what it’s worth, I find myself periodically drawn to the state foster adoption photolistings periodically and I HAVE to force myself to look at every child, to witness who’s still there (whose workers wouldn’t write us back or turned us down) and who’s now gone. It’s the same kind of trancelike compulsion, I think, and I do think it’s a way of coming to terms with my past behaviors and decisions, in a sense. I don’t know if this is really similar to what you were doing, but it seems it might be.

    I think it’s really impressive that you’re willing to share so much and so rawly (and in real-time!) about how you’re feeling. It speaks well of you in many respects.

  2. I was told it is also an aspect of post-traumatic stress disorder. What happened during the stressful event is so burned in your brain that it becomes really difficult to not believe it will happen again. I had 5 miscarriages and find it really hard to believe that we won’t lose DS.

    • This really struck home–I actually do have a diagnosis of PTSD. I’m really glad to have an explanation for my weird, grim behavior.

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