Sunday, July 8, 2012

Reproductive Compensation

I read an interesting article recently, written by several folks with psych degrees.  The article discussed in excessive detail, the phenomenon of Reproductive Compensation.  If you have never heard this term before (and I had not), it is essentially what happens when a woman loses a child and thus craves babies.  She "compensates" by having as many children as she can forever after.  Even more entertaining though, is the reason why I googled the term in the first place. During the horrific NICU portion of my preceptorship (I still have a nice long ranting post in my draft box on that subject--waiting for a rainy day when I feel like posting it) I overheard two nurses gossiping about why a woman who had had several problem pregnancies and several preemies in the NICU (including one that one of the nurses was currently caring for) would continue to have babies even though it wasn't recommended.  Her prior child loss came up, and one of the nurses suggested Reproductive Compensation as a possible explanation for this woman's "idiocy".  The details of this conversation still rub me the wrong way.  As a nursing student, I definitely overheard many a rude conversation about patients and probably had a couple myself.  These nurses were pretty awful, though, and the conversation was both inappropriate and none of their business. 

I honestly don't know if I should find this term insulting or give myself over to the truth of it.  The truth is, I do crave babies.  I crave them the way a drug addict craves the next high.  My daughter was fresh from the womb and I was already planning the next one.  The moment my son was born, with all of the horribleness of that day, I knew there would be more children.  There would have to be.  Do I have it under control?  Yes.  I would say I do, as evidenced by the fact that I was able to see the wisdom of completing (well, completion was in sight, anyway) my nursing degree prior to embarking on another pregnancy.  Yet I am one of those women the nurses were talking about and I always will be.  To get pregnant again is to put myself in danger.  I prefer to think of it as a small risk with a large return, but the truth is it's a risk all the same.  It is insulting to have people contemplating the "idiocy" of women like myself who throw caution to the wind and dare to get knocked up.  Who work damn hard to get knocked up and stay that way.  And I greatly resent the implication that I was having another child to "replace" the one I lost.  Like I haven't realized that no matter how many more babies show up, my son never will.  Um...I realize this Evil Nurses and Psychiatrists. 

I have been off the pill for about 15 months.  Up until December I was kind of like, "Oh well, if it happens it'll be a fun surprise."  I sorta thought it would happen by happy accident, but it didn't.  Since December we were more like, "It would be nice if this would happen anytime...." But we weren't always on the same side of the state during prime days.  So now it's July and we have abandoned all pretenses of patience.  Waiting really sucks.  Not knowing really sucks.  The fear and uncertainty really sucks.  I'm annoyed because for us the real work has always been staying pregnant not getting pregnant.  I'm not too excited about the possibility that I'm going to have to work at both.  Ick.  

My whole life feels like a waiting game right now.

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