This is the 21st installment of Barren Advice. You can ask questions that are fertility or non-fertility related.
Barren Advice is posted each Tuesday-ish. If you have your own question for Barren Advice, click here to learn how to submit. Please weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section and indicate which question you're addressing if there are multiple questions in the post.
I am a 32-year old stirrup queen, just finished with my 4th clomid cycle. I live in a major East Coast city. DH and I are planning to stay here long-term and we're thinking about buying a house. We can't afford to buy a house in the city, so we're looking in the suburbs. The problem is that we don't know if we'll finally get pregnant next month or 5 years from now or never. I'm ready to move to the suburbs and raise a family there. But I don't know if I'm ready to move to the suburbs without a family. I'm tired of putting our lives on hold as we wait for our miracle baby, but I don't want to be stuck in the suburbs for years with no kids, and I don't want to be upset every time I see the extra bedroom just waiting for baby furniture! What do you think- stay put in our 1 BR rented apartment in the city until we get pregnant, or move now to a house in the 'burbs?
Let's tuck away the fact that you could find a veeeeeeeeery nice deal on a house in this market and just look at the decision from a best-for-the-heart point-of-view.
What you're essentially asking is if it's better to wait to do something because of infertility and my answer is almost always going to be no. Don't wait to take that trip, don't wait to buy that car, don't wait to buy the house. At least, not because of infertility (it's fine to make those same decisions due to money). Because what happens is that you start giving up more and more and more for infertility and you are already giving up so much. I feel the same way about all sort of emotional painful wait--waiting for a partner, waiting for parenthood, waiting for...anything outside your control.
You already have to give up a specific amount of control and recognize that it's out of your hands. There is only so much you or a doctor or an adoption agency director can do--there are steps that are outside your hands. That said, you don't have to give infertility control over other aspects of your life. It's like being told something costs $3 and giving the cashier $10 instead. Infertility already has a cost and you need to accept that cost. It even has hidden costs that life will try to collect from you down the road. But you don't need to open your purse and offer infertility more than what it says on the price tag.
I think answering this question based on your situation means sitting down and picking a Plan B and a Plan C and possibly a Plan D out of infertility right now. The only time I would caution you not to immediately choose a home with more bedrooms than you need is if the possibility is on your list to living child-free after infertility. Sometimes, a person doesn't know that this is the choice that will feel best and work best in the moment, but knowing what you know now, could you see yourself choosing to live child-free in the future?
If the answer is yes, I would perhaps put a small hold on the move and revisit it at a predetermined time down the road (six more months)? The other point I would make is whether you always see yourself living in the city (and if that is a place you'd be happier if child-free). If the answer is no, that you've always seen yourself as moving out to the suburbs at some point, I wouldn't put it off much longer than that six month window to approach the decision cautiously. And truly, if the answer is no and you'd want to live in suburbia regardless of your parenting situation, I don't even see the need for the six month thinking period.
On the other hand, if the answer is that you would take the other paths out of infertility before you'd live child-free, I would tell you to look at this time period in the house as temporary. It is painful, yes, but temporary. And sometimes knowing that the pain will most likely end can get you through the moments when you don't know when it will end. Because not knowing the end date is awful. Barring exceptional circumstances, if you are determined to become a parent and willing to try every path to reach parenthood, you will become a parent and have a child in your house. There is never a promise, and finances may give out before determination, but I am thinking positively.
Will seeing an empty room be painful? Of course. But not seeing an empty room will be equally painful.
This thought obviously won't cheer you up, but infertility is painful. It is emotionally difficult regardless of what you do to cocoon yourself. There are things that will be exquisitely horrible and I urge you to avoid doing those activities (such as hanging out all day in an OB's office). But there are plenty of other neutral activities and spaces that will become painful simply because infertility is painful. And empty rooms are one of those things. In and of itself, your house will not be emotionally painful but being anywhere--your apartment in the city or a house in the suburbs--can become a reminder rather than a refuge. It is a huge feat to not allow a space to take on negative connotations when you are feeling so crappy emotionally.
Which is a long way of saying that you should stay in the city because you're not ready to leave your neighbourhood or because it's easier or not a good time to secure a loan. But don't put your life on hold simply because all pieces are not in place.
It may help to consider this idea: are you the sort of person who makes decisions and trusts that things will work out in the future? For instance, at some point you chose your college or moved to this city without knowing if you would meet a partner there (this assumes you wanted a partner and that you're not high school sweethearts). You just trusted that things would work out or not work out, but you'd be in a space where you'd be happy (or happy-ish).
You'll need to take the same step now in buying a house. Buy the house because you want the house, not because you have all the rooms filled. And trust that either it will work out or not, but you'll be in the space that makes you happy (or happy-ish).
Unless, of course, as you read this advice and the comments that you realize that happy (or happy-ish) is actually in the city. At least for now.
No really, the beauty of a blog advice column is that you get to weigh in with your two cents too. Let the questioner know if you support the advice, add to the response, or dispute it completely.
Leave a comment in the reaction box below--only keep in mind that conflicting advice is embraced and rudeness is not. Want to ask your own question? Click here to see what you need to send in order to be included in a future Tuesday's installment of Barren Advice.