Sunk Costs

I was nervous before I married Ryan.  At 28 I knew I wanted to settle down and start a family, and Ryan was far and away the only man I’d ever considered for the job.  Still, I had my cold-feet moments, and asked myself “If you and Ryan never had kids, would you still marry him?”  At the time, my answer was “no.”  Ryan’s selling point was what a great dad he would be, and we were otherwise very different when it came to money and lifestyles.  But not having kids wasn’t a concern, because I knew he wanted them and I wanted them and everything would be just fine.

Lately, I’ve had a couple dark moments where I wonder if perhaps I married the wrong person.  It’s a devastating thought.  I am thankful my pragmatic, accountant reasoning takes over.  Marrying Ryan is called a sunk cost in the accounting world.  It’s already been incurred, and should not be considered at all in any future analyses or projections.  The fact that Ryan is my husband, for better or for worse, is irrelevant, because it’s already been done.

This may sound cold and callous, but I’ve always taken great comfort in clear directions, definitions and instructions.  I love my husband, he is good and kind, and whether or not to stand by him is one less decision I’ll have to consider in life.

All that time on phone calls, applications, meetings at the bank to finance IVF is a sunk cost.  The emails and appointments at the doctor’s office is a sunk cost. The copays for blood work, semen analyses, the time, the tears, the hard conversations, everything leading up to this point, today, is a sunk cost.

Ryan’s fears of fatherhood and responsibility have manifested into one bargaining point: He would like to have 1 child, and see how it goes.  If the 1 child doesn’t totally make us go broke and put undue strain on our lives, maybe he’d consider having 2.

If we were any other couple, here we’d kiss and make up and move forward because 1 child sounds easy, even fun.  But IVF does not allow us this luxury.  Those potential extra embryos are the crux of our standoff.  I can’t in good conscience say “no problem Ryan, we’ll stop at 1 one if we want to.”  And Ryan in good conscience can’t say “I’m happy to have as many children as possible until we run through all our embryos.”

He doesn’t want to be the reason I miss out on having children, and he doesn’t want me to mope and mourn because technically, he’s giving the go ahead with a “let’s do it!” followed by “but just do one.”

We both want to have our cake and eat it, too.  I’ve said it before: am guilty of being a people pleaser of the worst kind.  Here, I thought is my grand stand to get what I want, to put my foot down, and fight for a family.  But more and more, as I’m feeling in my nauseated gut and aching heart, this might have to be one more thing I set aside for the greater good.


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