Saturday, January 31, 2009

That’s all it takes?

I will preface this by stating up until now this was not a topic of conversation that came up often in my life. So my experience is small, but I have found when people discuss conception the conversation often takes one of two courses. One, conception was not the couple’s goal, but the surprise ending. Two, conception is a couple’s goal and they are yet to achieve it (or finally did after months or years of struggle and often medical intervention). Everyone fails to mention the many, many couples who decide “hey, let’s get pregnant”, and one month later are throwing their positive pregnancy test in the trash. I now realize it is because that is a boring story, but in January I was convinced it was because this never happened.

January was when Amanda and I officially decided to officially try for the kid. I think she picked January for two reasons. Wisely, she knew there was never the perfect time to have a child, and superficially, she wanted to give birth before she was 35. I picked January because I thought June would be the perfect time, and I was convinced it would take at least that long.

Amanda bet we would be pregnant in less than 2 months. She won with a month to spare. Neither Amanda’s mom nor my mom was surprised. Apparently, Amanda and I were both first-try babies. Why did I na├»vely dismiss the possibility that we might not need to try that hard to become pregnant? I cannot say for sure. Men often question their fertility. Armin Brott in his book The Expectant Father points out this often irrational fear by referring to a study by Jerrold Lee Shapiro who:

interviewed more than two hundred men whose partners were pregnant, and found that 60 percent "acknowledged fleeting thoughts, fantasies, or nagging doubts that they might not really be the biological father of the child." The majority of these men don’t actually believe their partners are having affairs. Rather, Shapiro writes, these feelings are symptoms of a common type of insecurity: the fear many men have that they simply aren’t capable of doing anything as incredible as creating life, and that someone more potent must have done the job.

I don’t think my doubts were from questioning my capacity to create life, but anyone’s capacity to do this. The odds seem so stacked against conception happening (everything being in the right place at the right time doing exactly what it needs to do) that I didn’t see how anyone ever got pregnant. I guess I should never take a bet against evolution.