My husband and I had a couple of kids right after we got married but then had some trouble. A couple of miscarriages and a long bout of infertility later, we’re still waiting.
We would love more children and when it came time to decide whether to go down the path of artificial intervention or adoption, we decided we’d go for adoption. But as far as we know, there’s nothing technically wrong with either of our reproductive systems. So we’re still trying to have more children through the old-fashioned method, too.
But I can’t take all the pressure of trying to get pregnant and trying to adopt. So we’re specializing.
I’m focusing on the adoption and he’s focusing on the baby-making. This is great for a number of reasons. The best reason of all is that it means more sex for us and more sex at the right time. My husband is fantastic, but he’s really good at just letting things happen — relationship-wise — rather than taking action. Now that it’s his job to get us pregnant, he’s taking it totally seriously. He’s focused and he’s driven.
I’ll admit it — it’s beyond weird to watch him charting my cycle and calculating our days of optimal fertility. Or comparing the effectiveness of various ovulation kits and reading the reviews at Amazon to make sure he gets the most bang for his buck. Or pointing out that my Delta of Venus is sending the right signals for the baby making. It’s all totally weird and totally unlike anything we’ve discussed or handled before.
But you know what? It’s so cool to not have all the pressure of my fertility on my shoulders. In fact, want hop in bed each time I see that he’s taking this seriously and being more intentional about our sex life. We’ve always had an issue where my desire for sex is more than his. And then there’s also the issue where he seems to slack off on sexual desire right before my period and then want sex all the time while I’m on my period. It can get annoying and frustrating. And as anyone who has tried to get pregnant knows, the issue of having sex at the right time — for conception purposes — can be something of a chore and a headache.
It’s no longer my headache, though. I have more than enough drama dealing with the adoption process. There are books to read and papers to fill out and all sorts of questions to sort through. It’s basically a full-time job on top of our jobs and family responsibilities. But now that my husband has to remember to keep sex at the forefront — and I don’t — our sex life is fueled by more honesty, intimacy and togetherness.
What’s also great about it is that for the last several years, I grew a bit frustrated with him as I spent each month focused on pregnancy. I would put so much effort into making sure we were knocking boots at the right time and he seemed to put no effort into it all. He didn’t ask any questions or seem interested in any way about timing and fertility. There were several months where I simply resented him. I’d try to make him realize that we were supposed to be having sex that week and he’d be tired or otherwise not into it. But now that it’s his job, he understands what I went through much better. And I’m much more sympathetic to him than he was to me — so it’s easier to communicate the importance of having sex on the days when we must and it’s easier to do whatever coordination we need to get there.
I’m basically just annoyed with ourselves that we didn’t do this sooner.
There are some downsides, of course. Like many women, I have very strong opinions about how things should be done and I worry about relinquishing control. I worry that he’s not reading the charts right or that he’s confused about various signals. And the disappointment of each month’s discovery that we’re not pregnant isn’t really any easier to handle just because he’s the one steering the procreation ship.
But all told, we’re much better off now that we’re practicing, as the great economist Adam Smith put it, a true division of labor. Specialization is the way to go when you’re overworked in your home life. We learned it before when it came to yard work, dishes, laundry and bedtime routines for the kids and we should have learned that the same benefits apply to more complex topics like the battle against infertility.
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