Beginning the IVF process has made me reflect on what my life was like growing up in the late 70s and early 80s. When my husband and I started trying to conceive, we would often talk about what we wanted life to be like for our future offspring. Those kinds of discussions ended about a year ago, when we realized that we were having problems. It became too painful to imagine baby's birthday parties, or the relationships we wanted our children to have with my family members, or who would watch our kids if we wanted a night out.

My family is very special to me, and I had an amazing childhood, despite my parents' divorce when I was two. I practically lived at my grandma and papa's house. They played a very significant role in raising me. I never wanted to leave their house. Before I went to kindergarten, I would spend days on end sleeping over there. Once I went to school, my weekends were always spent with them.

They were young grandparents. When I was born, my grandma was only 46 years old. My papa was only 51. This picture is of my papa at 51, holding me at several months old. When my grandma took me out as a child, people would think I was her daughter and not her granddaughter. As you can imagine, this pleased her enormously.

Every holiday was spent at their house. Our extended family gathered there as well, but there was never a "family reunion" atmosphere to Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter dinner. We didn't have to spend time catching up on each others' lives, because we all saw each other (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) all the time. We all usually gathered for Sunday dinner, or an impromptu weekday meal, at my grandparents house frequently. We knew each others' lives inside and out, which as you can imagine, sometimes wasn't always a good thing. But such was the close nature of my family as I grew. I know my aunts and my uncles (and my great aunts and great uncles) and my cousins in a way I think few people do, simply because I was surrounded by them so often as I grew up. They were (and still are) as much a part of my life as my parents and sister are. Our lives are wholly intertwined.

That's why it's somewhat ironic that despite this level of closeness, no one in my family knows a thing about my struggle to conceive. They don't even know we've been trying to have a baby for the past almost two years. And the reason is that I don't want them to worry. My older relatives (my grandma and great aunt and uncle) are getting older. I don't want to add any stress to their lives. They have spent their entire lives worrying about my health problems, and I know they would be concerned about the medical impact of IVF on my body.

If IVF works for us, I want my child to experience life as I did growing up. I want him or her surrounded by the close family I was blessed with. We were never wealthy, and in fact being raised by a single mother (in between her numerous marriages) was often very difficult. But my sister and I never wanted for anything, thanks to the generosity of my grandparents and my great aunt and uncle. I want the child I may have some day to have what I had. He or she would be a lucky child indeed.

11 Responses to “Childhood”

  1. # Blogger Marie

    He or she (or they!) will be very lucky to have you as a Mom, Kristi. That's a beautiful picture of you and your papa! I can tell the baby is you by the eyes... ;-) What a cutie pie!

    This is the first post I've read in a long time anywhere that's made me cry...

    Does it feel like if you told one family member you'd have to tell all? or that one person wouldn't keep it confidential? I'm thinking of your sister... only because I can't imagine going through what you're going through without the support of my sisters.

    Do you feel like you have the support you need through all of this? I'm always available with hugs, ears, or just to "be there" -- whenever needed. I hope you know that, Kristi!  

  2. # Anonymous laurie

    This was the best thing I have read in days and weeks. I hope your IVF dreams come true, too. Your post was lovely!  

  3. # Blogger Alisha

    What a beautiful family! I feel honored every time I read a post of yours about this, and I hope know that I a really am keeping you in my thoughts and sending you lots of "positive vibes", to be terribly cliche! LOL. I think even though your family doesn't know about this part of your life, just them being the people they are to you is support enough, you know what I mean? It's like my great-grandparents who were very close to me and are no longer "here", I still feel supported by them because of all the closeness we shared.  

  4. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    Your child will indeed be blessed by a very loving family. What a heart-warming post!  

  5. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I can understand your keeping this part of your life from your family right now. I've known lots of people who don't have fertility issues but regretted telling relatives that they were trying for a baby because every month they'd hear, *Are you pregnant yet?* *Do you have any news for us yet?* and the like.

    I also know what you mean about the young grandparent thing--my daughter is 6 and her grandma is only 53! They're great buddies, as I imagine you were with your grandparents.

    I'm rooting for you, as always, and sincerely hope you have wonderful news to tell your incredible family someday soon.


  6. # Blogger Star

    Sounds like you have a wonderful family. Good luck with thIVF.  

  7. # Blogger Dawn

    You are definitely closer to your family than I am to mine. I imagine it must have an upside and a downside (although, I betcha it's mostly an upside). I completely understand about not wanting to let everyone in on what's going on with your life on this subject. It is one thing to know you are trying and have difficulty and find a solution on your own; it is completely a different thing to have your family asking you about it or giving advice or worrying over it all of the time. Well, hopefully, the first they will hear of it will be when you announce you're pregnant. Although, since we will be your support group until then, we want to know first! :-)

    I'll be keeping good thoughts in mind for you guys!  

  8. # Blogger Kristi

    Marie-aww.. thank you. Your words brought a much-needed smile to my face, but I'm sorry my post made you cry! I think if I told one family member, the news would immediately circulate, because everyone is so close to everyone else. I could tell my sister, though, without the news going anywhere, but she's really sort of "anti-kid." Not that she doesn't like them, but she doesn't want them herself. And yeah, I do feel supported by my friends, both real and now my new blog-friends too. I just hope my readers don't get tired of reading about it! Thank you so much for your support. It really means the world to me.

    Laurie-Thanks for visiting, and for your kind words. I absolutely love your blog and read it everyday. You bring me a lot of laughs!

    Alisha-I know what you mean. My grandfather has been gone for 10 years, but I still feel that he is very much a part of my life. Thanks for the positive vibes!

    Kross-Eyed Kitty-thank you! I hope I get that chance.

    Amy-yup. That's exactly what I wanted to avoid, even before we realized we were having problems. I saw it happen to my brother and sister-in-law, and didn't want to deal with it.

    Star-thank you! And thanks for visiting my blog.

    Socal Foodie-There are definite downsides to having a super-close family, believe me! Everyone knows everyone else's business pretty much all the time. I know things about certain family members I really wish I didn't! But they are wonderful, and in the end I feel truly blessed to have them. And believe me, my blogging support group will definitely be among the first to know, especially considering that if this does work, I likely won't be telling my family for several months.  

  9. # Blogger cara

    It sounds like you have a wonderful family. I believe that one day you will add another wonderful family member to the family tree. I hope all of your dreams come true.  

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