Parenting Styles and Infertility

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So I was reading this post about the kind of parent this blogger thought she might be when she was a kid, based on TV parents she had watched growing up. 

That got me to thinking…

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Q.  What kind of parent do I want to be?  That is, if I ever even get that chance?

A.  I want to be the type of parent who trusts their kids.  My parents trusted me growing up, perhaps even when they shouldn’t have, but I think it made me into an honest person with a level head.  I want that for my kids… I want them to start walking and fall, and I want to trust that they’re okay.

I want them to make mistakes and tell me, and have them know that I trust that they’ll do the right thing in the future.  I want to have kids who know right from wrong, and who have grown up with enough trust placed in them that they trust themselves to stand up in the face of the wrong thing.

I know that because I’m not yet parenting that this is a complete fairy tale I’m making up here.  I fully expect parenting to be dirty and hard, and I expect to cry and stay up nights worrying about death and destruction of property and loss of virginity like my parents did, but I figure if I go in with some idea of what I want, maybe that ideal can keep me somewhat on track as I barrel through the dark and terrifying parenting territory.

Q.  Will the husband and I be like TV/movie parents I’ve watched for years, and if so, which ones?

A.  Of course I have no idea how this might play out in the future, but my ideal TV parents are actually from the movie Easy A.  Seriously, if you haven’t watched this Emma Stone gem, you’re missing out.  The parents make the movie, and I wish wish WISH they would make a spinoff TV show staring JUST THEM!  …You know, with random Emma Stone guest appearances, because she’s freaking adorable.

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Other parents who get honorable mentions are the Seavers, the Huxtables, and another set of parents after whom I would totally model my parenting style:  the Weasleys.

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Q.  Will we  be some smoosh of our parents’ parenting styles?

A.  Sometimes when I open my mouth, my mother comes out.  Similarly, I see my father-in-law in the husband’s actions and reactions all the time.  Will we become like them?  Probably so.

And that’s not a bad thing.

The husband and I consider ourselves in the lucky minority in that both of our sets of parents are still married.  To each other and everything.  It’s a rare thing these days…  I can only hope that we are also able to enjoy thirty-plus years of wedded bliss without any attempted homicides in the house.

Our parents are amazing.  The husband’s parents had three children in 13 months, and managed a loving home, school and jobs, sports and vacations.  They are the Seavers, if you ask me… Loving and quirky, suburban and well-rounded.  If we employ their methods of child-rearing, we will have exceptional children.

Mine were young parents, and my younger brother and I were close in age.  When we were 15 and 13, my mother was pregnant unexpectedly, and there were issues with the pregnancy early on.  She spent much of my freshman year in high school in the hospital on complete bedrest, an hour from home.  I couldn’t drive, and my dad worked an hour away, so my brother and I were often in the hands of neighbors or church family after school.

Though my baby brother was born very early and subsequently passed away the day after he was born, my parents never let us think that we were forgotten or let us go unattended.  We grieved as a family, but never lost our way.  We had another addition to the family two years later when I was 17, in the form of a little sister.  My mom again spent much time in the hospital both before and after she was born, but life went on smoothly.  We were always surrounded by family and friends, and loved and fed and nurtured.  My dad took me prom dress shopping in my mom’s absence, and although it was late, I learned to drive so I could take my brother around to his various practices and such.

Life wasn’t always easy growing up in my house, but my parents did the absolute best they could for us, and with stellar results, in my humble opinion.  They trusted us to make wise decisions, and allowed us to make our mistakes.  We learned and grew, and as a result, my brother and I are both well-adjusted adults.

Well, I am.  You’d have to ask my dear sister-in-law if what she thinks of her husband on a daily basis.  🙂  As for my sister… she’s basically an only child to parents who are tired from raising kids for the past almost-thirty-three years.  For all that though, she’s an exceptional fifteen-year-old.  I can scarcely believe I have a sibling in driver’s training, when I was in driver’s training when she was born.  My parents must be doing a good job with her, though, because she is kind and funny, quirky in her own right, nerdy and owning it, and artistically talented beyond the scope of anyone else in our entire family.  She’s growing into an amazing young woman, and it’s been so fun watching her learn who she is from afar.  I only hope that she one day appreciates our upbringing the same way I do.

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Q.  Will the lasting effects of infertility color the way we deal with our children?

A.  This one scares me.

I want to say that it won’t.  I want to say that I’ll be able to let my kids fall off their bikes and scrape their hands and knees and not panic.  I want to say that I’ll be one of those “No blood, no foul” parents whose kids get up and keep playing when they bump their heads…

But I just don’t know.

Working so hard to create a family has the very realistic possibility of turning me into a raging, overprotective mom-machine.  I might put my kids in a bubble or move us to a commune in the woods where there’s no cable TV or pointy corners on furniture or pesticides in our food.  I might keep them on leashes at the mall, or make them wear germophobe masks in the airport.  I might become a control-freak.

HAHAHA… Okay, I’m already a control-freak, and I think I owe much of that to infertility.  However, I am a laid-back gal at heart, and hope that I can impart that feeling of “hey babe, every little thing’s gonna be alright…” to my progeny.  I do worry though, that the stressful ways we are going about creating said progeny may somehow be storing up in my cells, just waiting to infuse my future babies in Type A Personality Juice.

I sincerely hope that’s not the case, but one can only hope and pray, right?

For all the questions I have about what the future may hold for the husband and me and the ways we may find compromise to parent our brood – whether that be one child, many children, adopted kiddos, or genetic copies of  him and me – I do know one thing with absolute certainty:

The husband and I are the best of friends.  We love each other, and we are kind to each other.  We are considerate and always smiling, and I cannot remember the last time we fought about anything.  We are logical and don’t often find ourselves unable to see things from the others’ perspective.

We’re dorky and embarrassing, love to laugh, and are both that dangerous combination of funny and smart enough to read innuendo into any conversation.

We are also strong for all that we’ve had to endure.  We know each other as well as two people can, and we both know that being too tired one night can impact the future of the family we both want.  We are sacrificing for each other daily, weekly, monthly, and we do it without question.

If we parent in the future the way we are working to parent now, we will be in good shape.

And if our kids learn anything about relationships from observing our marriage, they will be, too.

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8 comments on “Parenting Styles and Infertility

  1. swisswife
    May 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    I need to go back and watch Easy A b/c I can’t remember the parents really! All I ever remember from that movie is “Let’s Go Woodchucks!! arggh arghh arghhhhghghgh argngh arghghgh…..” 🙂

    DH and I have been watching Cosby from the beginning, and we’ve always said we wanna be like the Huxtables. No nonsense, but fun.

    Like

  2. hopefulandhungry
    May 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Great post, I’d say I would agree with everything you’ve written. 🙂

    Like

  3. lydiaseeks
    May 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I think it’s okay to let infertility color your experience as a parent. My brother and his wife went through 5 years of infertility (apparently it runs in the family) and finally conceived amazing b/g twins through IVF. I think the years of heat break and fear have made my SIL an amazingly patient mother. She never complains about her kids, at all. Every time I talk to her she always says “we are having the best time!” or “they are so much fun!”. She waited so long to be a mother, that she relishes every single day with her sweet ones. I’m sure she has times they drive her insane, but honestly, I think her years of infertility help her cope better. Of course, this is all from an outsiders perspective. Perhaps she would have been this way no matter when she had kids. But I don’t think so.

    Like

  4. Kitten
    May 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    I love this post! I don’t want to be a helicopter mom, but I’m afraid I have some of that in me. I’ve felt it when I’m taking care of my nephews. And, like you said, this long struggle to have a baby may flip that switch all the way to full on crazy. The hardest part, I think, will be working with my husband on the whole parenting thing. Not that we disagree on all matters, but I could definitely see us butting heads on some things.

    Like

  5. jamie reau
    May 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Knowing you both for many many years now, I can say with utter confidence that no matter how you come to get your babies, you and Mike will pretty much be the most aweaome parents ever – because you’re the most awesome people already.

    Your strength and patience is inspiring, my love.

    And Reauseph says the same thing about the Easy A parents! They need a show!

    Like

  6. Kelly
    May 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Love this post and definitely agree on your “role models!” Especially Mrs. Weasley….LOL…
    I hope and pray you get the chance to live this out. You as this kind of parent sounds like a good contribution to the planet. Thinking of you….

    Like

  7. afamilyformcmanda
    May 22, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    this is a great post, and a great thing to think about for everyone. by the sounds of it, you will make a great mamma someday. keep the faith!

    Like

  8. notwhenbutif
    May 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    That last question has been haunting me *a lot* lately. It is almost like you stole the words straight from my brain. It has just become so hard to think of a future moment where the worry will be gone, where being a mother for life will feel “real.”

    For the first 18 months of our infertility the goal was pregnancy. That positive pee stick would mean the end of worry, the dawning of our parenthood. Then I got pregnant and then I miscarried. Miscarriages 1 and 2 were and ectopic and a chemical so instilled me with fear, but still left me thinking there could be some moment in early pregnancy – the first heart beat perhaps – at which a pregnancy would be “real.” When miscarriage three happened after 3 consecutive weeks of good strong heart beats, my definition changed again. Now I find myself saying dismissively, “I’ll believe it when its crowning,” but each time I flippantly say that I can’t help the inevitable next mental step. Will the worry cease there? Will I be forever afraid of SIDS, of bikes without training wheels, of learner’s permits? Will I ever accept being a forever parent?

    Thanks for putting these difficult emotions down on paper.

    Like

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