Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On Multiplying

I know what we would need to do to have a second baby.

We would need to be able to live off one income. We would need to be able to pay for five days a week, full-time child care with a lot of babysitters on the side. We would need to be prepared for some hospital stays. We would need to be prepared to live as a one parent family who nursed a sick relative 24 hours a day.

And that's just the practical logistics.

The emotional toll is high as well. For me it's accepting the possibility of 9 months of disabling illness. Losing my job again. Having every scent in the known world be nauseating. Ruining what's left to ruin of my teeth. For JTS it would be being a full-time caregiver again. For Lil' D it would be not having a mama for 9 months. Or at least not a mom she recognizes.

As more and more of my friends move on to welcoming their second child and as more of Lil' D's school class gets new siblings I'm starting to feel (for the first time in my life)

left behind.

I never cared when everyone started getting married and I didn't. I never cared when people were having children and I wasn't. But this second child thing. Man, it eats at me every day.

There is a 65 - 80% chance that if you've had hyperemesis before you will have it again. But the thing with me is no one knows if I had hyperemesis in the first place or if my no good, horrible, very bad pregnancy was all a side-effect of my uterus making a slow migration to the other side of my body or some kind of horror show combination. And no one knows if any of it would happen again.

"Probably not."


"No promises."

Nothing in the wide world makes me sadder than thinking about when I was pregnant. My nightmares still involve a positive pregnancy test and I can get to PTSD levels of anxiety thinking of being trapped in that sick, very pained body again. I missed out on the happy parts of pregnancy and that makes me sad. I never got to have a baby shower and that makes me sad. I never got to "enjoy" pregnancy or plan for a nursery and that makes me sad. I never got to ruminate on the baby with love and that makes me sad. My only thought ever was "Please God let this end." And on some dark dark days I didn't really care how that end came about. The only thing that kept me going was my weekly ultrasound and that there was an end date. On a hospital calendar.

And at 8:46 am on week 38 your suffering shall end. Amen.

So probably everyone out there is now wondering why in all the hells would I even be thinking about risking this again?

The first, and most obviously wonderful reason is: babies are awesome. If I had known how addictive they were I would have skipped the whole elaborate cake and cafe lighting wedding and just gone straight to the baby.

How can you resist this drooler?
After you get through that o-so-tough first 3 months it's all pretty fun. The smiles, the giggles, the utter silliness. Sure, everyone loves to moan about the bad nights, the crying in restaurants, etc. etc. But when a little pint-sized goofball tries to make a "joke" (in this case, imagine Lil' D accidentally running into a pole, not hard, but then getting a sly look across her face, falling flat on her back with her legs in the air and then waiting with a smile to see if anyone laughs) it's just SO. WORTH. IT.

The second answer is more complicated and has, honestly, more to do with guilt than my true feelings. I will feel guilty if Lil' D didn't have a sibling. I will feel guilty on those Sunday afternoons when she is bored and could be playing with a sibling. I will feel guilty she won't ever have anyone to discuss how nuts her mom is over a latte. Well, anyone who really knows.

And then the mother of all guilt. There is an unspoken code I feel that you don't really count as a mom until you have two. Until you're outnumbered. That somehow you have it easy with this fake, only* child and you haven't yet joined the ranks of mom.

But I waffle.

On difficult days one seems like plenty. On the super happy days I don't know how I could ever love another. When all is well I would never want to diminish the amazing amount of attention I can lavish on Lil' D. She soaks it up. And in all my obsessive research over one child families, only children do really well with all that undivided attention and love.

And of course the very traumatized soul of my pregnant self never wants to go through those 9 months again. And even pretending the next time will be different doesn't make it so.

I don't know how it will all shake out. But I'm feeling really behind. I'm feeling disappointed in my body. I'm feeling disappointed in myself for not having an answer. With every new baby that enters my world I feel a disturbing combination of happiness for my friend and wrenching jealousy.

But I have figured out that's the reason why I've been wanting to get a whole new wardrobe or redo my living room. To take my mind off the fact that I just want something I can't make happen. I want to be a normal woman, with a normal pregnancy. Something to celebrate, not something to dread.

*Side note: What a terrible term ONLY child is. On so many levels.

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