I’m far from being pregnant. We have not even chosen a donor. And yet, I find myself doing inexplicable things that can only be chalked up to ‘responsible motherhood syndrome’, presumably in anticipation of said state.

Last night, I offered to put the money we’d spend on anniversary gifts for each other (and it’s a BIG anniversary, so BIG gifts) into our mortgage. I could literally hear my husband’s thoughts come to a screeching halt. “Whaaaaat? You’re turning into your financially responsible sister now?” he asked.  Actually, I didn’t know what possessed me. Somebody straighten me out here. I have been lusting for my gift for years and years. But it sort of paled in comparison to the prize of a new house sooner. One that’s more suited to a baby. We have concrete floors in our home, for heaven’s sake! All I could think about was a baby’s head cracking. (I hate carpets. Allergies.)

The mystery is that I have never thought this way before and I have a husband, a retinue of relations, and all my friends that can heartily attest to this statement. So my theory is that it’s hormonal. It certainly can’t be genetic – I haven’t a maternal bone in my body. I never wanted to have kids. I never, ever imagined as a little girl that I would get married or have a family. It was not in my lexicon, it was not in my plans, it was not even considered.

Can it be learned? Hmm. Well, I did help take care of my much younger (now financially responsible) sister when I was a teen. I always thought that this experience beat the yearning – if I’d ever had any – for motherhood right out of me. In fact, I never babysat anyone other child but her. So I think I learned how to handle a baby and a toddler but I’m not sure I ever had any responsibility in terms of making her surroundings safe. I’m pretty sure my parents took care of all that.

So hormonal it must be. How strange. What a strange morning, too, as I’m still considering doing the unthinkable and sacrificing my anniversary gift.

I realize that this last statement, particularly the word ‘sacrifice’ sounds terribly self-indulgent. Yes, I suppose I am. However, I believe that a milestone anniversary deserves some memento. We have been through a lot in our  marriage and infertility is a terrible journey that can split couples apart pretty ferociously. On the other hand, I also realize that there are couples out there that never could afford to try IVF and can never dream of buying a donor egg, and who would willingly give up any gift, award, bonus, etc., to achieve a family. ..oh God, I am starting to tear up for them! I’m really hormonal today! This journey is pulling into sharp focus the bounty in my own life and I’m so grateful for it. But I am human. And I am who I am, with the experiences and dreams that have shaped me and I’m not going to apologize for wanting an anniversary gift. But to understand all that I’d have to take you back to the beginning.