Before I tell you about how I've started looking pregnant in the past week or so, I want to ask a question about infertility:

Imagine a genie appeared to you out of... I don't know... a bottle of prenatal vitamins. The genie says, "I will grant you your dearest wish! You will have a child! But there is a price to pay - your life will not be as long as it would otherwise have been. I will shorten it by taking some years away from you."

"How many years?" you ask, tilting your head to one side in consideration.

What would an acceptable answer be? How many years of your life would you exchange for the fulfilment of your parenting desires? None? All of them except for a single moment with that baby in your arms? Something in between? I want to discuss this after I see people's answers.

--

"Sort of." Apparently that's what my brain will come up with when caught off-guard by a direct question seeking to affirm my current gestatory status. "Hey, are you pregnant?" "What? Um... Sort of."

I am off-guard, mind you, despite the new maternity wardrobe, the fact that I have twice been offered seats on public transport in the past week, and have only several days left to sort out which scheme will best pay for our prenatal care and delivery. "Sort of." Yes, well done. Feeling I should offer some kind of explanation, I add, "We haven't really started talking about it yet."

My friend nods with understanding, then gently replies, "It looks quite obvious, though."

I guess we'll have to start talking about it soon.

--

Last night I was lying in bed on my back watching my belly, trying to decide if it had grown, or changed shape, or starting wagging school to smoke cigarettes behind the bike shed or whatever, since the last time I looked.

And... it moved. If I'd blinked I would have missed it, but there was this kind of jabbing sensation and the skin poked out momentarily. Funny, I expected a lot of steps between "maybe, unless it's gas" and "holy shit I can see it from here!" Needless to say, I called Mr Bea in and we sat staring at the spot for several minutes, seeing and feeling nothing, until eventually he said, "Well, you know what they say about a watched belly..."

"It isn't hot?"

Which brings me to the other thing. I playfully sat on Mr Bea's lap last week, and he's asked me to refrain from doing so again for the duration of the pregnancy. The way he grunted was quite unflattering. Then, a few days later, he unthinkingly kissed my belly during an intimate moment, and then he got this startled look, like, "Holy crap - that's not the shape I'm used to!" and it completely threw him off his game and we had to start all over again. Despite his protestations, I don't think he finds the bump sexy.

This was further confirmed when he came home drunk from the work Christmas party and tumbled amorously into bed, saying, "Hey babe - shall I go to the twenty-four hour supermarket to get something for you to eat?"

He also seems overly confident that I'm going to be back to my former shape in the future. This week I had to pack away the pre-pregnancy jeans I'd been wearing unbuttoned. "You can wear them again next year," said Mr Bea with confidence. "You think they'll fit?" I replied. "Sure," he said, waving his hand dismissively. "Why not?"

It's lucky I have so much confidence in his ability to look past the superficial. Otherwise I might start feeling insecure.

--

Last thing - I've posted a couple of belly pics up where I put the Vietnam Travelogue earlier this year. It's password protected, but some of you already have access. If you don't, or can't remember what I'm talking about, but want to see, email me. I need your email address to add you. Ultrasound gallery coming later on the same site.

Don't forget the genie question!


26 Comments

Rachel Inbar said...

Oh, that would be so unfair... I mean, once you have a child there's so much more you want to see - you want to be there for his childhood, high school & college graduations, wedding, birth of his child(ren)... and, of course, then you have the grandchildren who you want to enjoy watching grow and accomplish things... So, I'd have to ask for a reverse offer. For each kid I want to live an extra five years or so... at least until my kids are sick of me :-)

Geohde said...

How many years of life would I accept sacrificing for children?

Honestly?

If my husband who I love so dearly and who so badly wants a family gets to live to a ripe old age and enjoy it?

Shoot, I could die ten minutes after delivery and I wouldn't regret it.

Honestly.

J

M said...

This is a toughie....

Considering we don't know accurately just how long we'll live for, I find this so hard to answer. My knee-jerk reaction was 'hell yes, shave off as much as you need' - because I know my child would be much loved and well looked after once I'm gone.

Trust me to get the crap genie. I'd really rather prefer one that grants me 3 wishes...

Vee said...

I have had a bit of think about this one.

As a minimum I would like my chhid to be old enough to have stored away some fond memories of their mother. So they don't grow up and say "I don't remember my mother" instead they can say "I remember when Mum used to do so and so...."

As a maximum, I would like to be around until my child has a child. So I could have the pleasure of meeting any future grandchildren. I know the thought of my mother not meeting our future child causes me pain the longer it is taking us to become parents as it is upsetting my mother. I would hate for them to go through the same thing.

But I think the genie sucks for playing this mind game. How about he throws in that endless packet of Tim Tams instead ?

Lut C. said...

I've never thought about it in those terms, only about what to do with all those childless years I saw ahead.

Would I trade the years beyond 80 yrs of age? Sure.
Would I trade all my years? I don't think so. I want to experience parenthood.
I don't know where my tipping point is, and I'm glad I don't have to figure it out.
-

Perhaps it's not about the bump being sexy or not in his eyes, but more that he feels protective of what's inside?

ms. c said...

All the bits of your post were great to read. It is truly amazing to "see" the baby move across your belly, isn't it??!! Congrats on that!

But the genie question...
The women in my family have longevity on their side (I have a great great aunt who is 102- yes that's my grandmother's aunt; and another gr-gr aunt who lived til 98. My granmother is 81 and is kicking like a 60 year old.) So if I wanted to be over confident and think that there is an extreme possibility that I will live til 100, I would gladly take 25 years off my life- that would make a child born next year 42 when I die. That is of course looking at the best case scenario.
However, to shave 25 years off a life that I may only live til 60- well that would have me in the grave in 2 years. So it's a bit about the perspective on how long we are going to live.
I think realistically I would be important for me to be alive to see that my child could live on his own- let's call that age 23. That would mean I would live until 56. And, while I know I would want to see how the rest of his life unfolds, I would feel confident that my "mothering" job would be substantially complete.

Caro said...

I'm going to avoid the genie question as it's too hard.

My husband seems overly confident about me getting my shape back too. It's starting to worry me a bit since he doesn't seem at all keen on my current shape.

MrsSpock said...

I might be willing to trade, say, a year, out of desperation, but know without a doubt that I would do my utmost to welch on the deal so I can spend every moment with my family...

My husband seems to love my tummy at the moment. I have warned him (and shown him the pics on www.theshapeofamother.com )to prepare him for what I will really look like after the birth. He hasn't seemed fazed yet...

Heather said...

There is a part of me that says I would give it all to have a child...but the reality is that I'm selfish, I don't want to miss a day with that child. If I was going to live to be 100 and I had to lose a year - sure. But I don't want only one year with the child and never see them graduate or get married or meet my grandbabies.

JJ said...

What a tough question--but a good one to think about. I think I most definitely I would take a shortened life--I want so much to GIVE life. I would want my child to have good memories of me...so its hard to put an actual time on it...I hope I DONT have to figure that out.
AWESOME that you saw the movement in your belly=) So sweet...
Would you re-email me the pw for your pictures? reprojeans@gmail.com

Pamela Jeanne said...

If I *knew* that my life would be truncated than I wouldn't want to have one. Why? I've seen my own niece and nephew struggle with the loss of their mother (they were 6 and 8) at the time of her premature death. It's not something I would want a child to have to endure.

serenity said...

Hrm. I'm torn by your question. My first instinct was to say "none." Because I am not willing to sacrifice my marriage to have a child, then why would I also sacrifice years of my life?

But then I see the empty childless years stretch in front of me, and hear the grandchildren I would never have. Then I think that sacrificing a few years for a child might not be so bad.

I guess it all boils down to my expectation of how long I'd live and how old my children would be when I pass away. Would *I* be fulfilled if I died just after holding my child for the first time? Potentially.

But. I couldn't choose to leaves J and our child on their own that early. It's just not right to either one of them.

So I suppose I'm with Lut here. No years isn't really an option. Neither is all of my years. Somewhere in between, probably skewed to the side of only a few years such that I get to live a long and fulfilling life.

You know, J is remarkably blase when it comes to the state of my body as well. While I mourn the loss of my old body and work to accept this new reality, he just thinks: "You're pregnant. It's temporary."

I wish I could think as linearly as he does.

Mary Ellen and Steve said...

Evidently I was willing to sacrifice three years...and to be honest I would sacrifice more if that's what it took.

The Town Criers said...

Damn, why are you making me think so hard? I think the answer I give now (knowing I have years in front of me) would be very different from one I would give later.

I love "trust me to get the crap genie."

I can't wait to hear the reason for the question.

And I saw the pics--you are definitely, definitely showing! You look fantastic.

Jess said...

I so want to see, but I maybe wasn't reading then? Not sure. At any rate, don't know what you're talking about. :) So my email is jpond_24@yahoo.com

I laughed and laughed with your Mr Bea stories. I even read a few to my hubby.

I didn't have any steps between "maybe but it could be gas" and "thar she blows" either. In fact, before I could feel very well, I could see him moving.

And now, my dear, I sort of miss it since I said it.

I would have/would sacrifice a few years. Maybe I have, with all those drugs, who knows? But no regrets here. Family is what life is about, imo, and always has been that for me. But...too many years and there's no life to live with them, either. However, a few years in your elderly days? Yes, that would be worth it.

Stephanie said...

I don't think my hubby finds my swelling belly very attractive either. He never reaches out to touch it and I think he has an adversion to heavy people. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be overweight after baby comes, but I do not expect to have my pre baby body completely back either. My crowing jewel, the great rack, will without a doubt be less than it was. too bad for my boob man.

So the question...that is really hard. I might have to guess 10 years if I knew I was going to live to 80, but what if my days were up at 45...then I would die at 35 with a two year old left without a mama. So I guess I would need to know what my life expectancy was.

Please email me with the password to access your belly pictures. I would love to watch your progress!! Thanks so much.
momwantabeatyahoodotcom

TeamWinks said...

Ummm, I'm not sure. You see, I've known people who lost their parents early, and that was extremely traumatic. They carried that with them for a looooong time. My mom lamented a lot about how she wished her mom (who died when she was eight months pregnant with me,) could have been there for her in the early days of being a mom. She had nobody to ask those silly litle questions that you just can't ask anybody else. She was saddened that my brother and I never got to know her.

So, I don't know a true answer to this. The selfish part of me says sure, shave away. The practical side says, no, it's not right. Is that a real answer? ;-)

Barb said...

none. I don't think I'd like to mess with genies. ;p

Jess said...

Bea, I wanted to stop in and say that you look fabulous in your pics! Your belly is so cute! At your stage I was a virtual whale! :)

(And PS, cool trip, too!)

My Reality said...

Ok, first of all, I don't like you anymore. You are still skinny and you are almost half done with a pregnancy. You do look great and I think Mr. Bea is just on the cautious side of things. The bump is a reminder of the baby that is living in there.

As for the question, I would most definitely give up many years of my life to have a child. I would hope to stick around until the child was mostly grown, probably early 20's or so. If I had to sacrifice having grandchildren and give up those years of my life, so be it.

Samantha said...

I am not at all sure how much I could sacrifice, because I don't know how long I'll live. I think it would be hard to bring a child into this world knowing that I wouldn't be able to raise them to adulthood, but I wouldn't really know that would I? I've already gambled with my health and perhaps my long-term health with drugs and treatment, but somehow it seems more dangerous to say, "you will die five years earlier" than to say, "you may increase your risk of ovarian cancer." If I'm destined to live to 92, maybe it's not such a big deal, but if I'm going to die at 50, yikes!

This all assumes that there's some sort of higher power who could know how long we're going to live and we're predestined to fill that knowledge. I don't think I really believe in that, so I also don't think I could really trade in years to get a child. Hmm, I guess I'm too pragmatic to be able to answer your question!

Aurelia said...

First, may I have that link and password, pretty please?

As for your query, I know I'm the contrarian here, AGAIN, sigh, but based on what I've gone through so far, it's not even a maybe.

I wouldn't even ask how much. If my child got to live a long and happy life in exchange, I'd die right on the spot. No question.

It may not be logical like some of the other answers, but this kind of answer, for me anyway, comes from a primal place, the same place that tells me to step in front of the car to save my child from being run over. Without thinking, without looking, just doing.

Mands said...

mandyhoffeldt at gmail dot com :-)

I would like to see my children have children, I think that once they are here - as Steve Tyler put it - "I don't want to miss a thing".

Portia P said...

What a question! You've got us all thinking.

My immediate instinct was that I would definitely cut short my years if it meant Mr G and I could have a child. Problem is, the genie would need to tell me how long i've got really. What if I was due to pop my clogs in only a few years and then gave up those few years?

Pre-supposing i have a long and healthy life ahead of me, I'd be ok with dying jsut as soon as my children all grown up and independent. I wouldn't want to have babies just to go and leave them motherless. That's sacrificing my misery for theirs and not fair.

Pls could you send your password to desperatetomultiply@gmail.com

Thanks my dear x

ps: thanks for being there this week x

ak1908 said...

I had similar feelings earlier in my pregnancy about how J felt about my changing body. I accused him, pretty much daily, of cheating on me. I know, I know, I was a delusional, hormonal mess.

I would love to see pics!!!! My email is knox1908 AT hotmail DOT com.

Thanks!!!!!

katedaphne said...

Only just now discovered your blog and the genie question. My answer would be -- I'd give up a lot of years, maybe all of them, if my child could live, and better yet if my dh could have those years to enjoy being a father.

Of course the question changes once you've had the child, because of course then you have the (extra) incentive to live. But by then you have made the choice.

A friend of mine is struggling with lymphoma. She recently had the pleasure of planning her daughter's wedding, then getting a grandchild. She advised me to forget about kids and enjoy my dh and my house and my job. But she was planning a daughter's wedding. Then the lymphoma came back. She's only in her early 50s. And I find myself thinking I would trade places with her in a heartbeat. I would take the terminal disease, because it came with the family.

Yes, I would gladly take X number of happy years instead of X+Y number of unhappy years.

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