Jackson will be two soon. Samantha will be five in January. They are the brightest parts of my life (along with my husband), and I can't remember my life without them. But I CAN, and do, remember being pregnant with both of them. The time that I carried each of them was sweet, fun, exciting, depressing, painful, overwhelming, scary, life-changing and meaningful, all at once. Some days I look back on my pregnancies with each of them and think "Dear god, how did I do that twice?" and at other moments I wonder why everyone doesn't have twelve. For some reason I'm thinking a lot lately about being pregnant, or rather NOT being pregnant, and how I feel about that, and I'll tell you why. (NO, it's not because I am pregnant, so you can leave that thought by the side of the road. Seriously. No seriously, knock it off - I am NOT pregnant again. Fine, whatever. Think what you want.)
Here's why. Right now, Jackson is the age that Samantha was when we conceived him. Just a couple of months before she turned two, we decided it might be nice to give her a sibling fairly soon. I had always wanted my kids to be two to three years apart, and I'm not even sure why. Part of me wanted one child to be at least close to being out of diapers before the next came along. Part of me wanted one who could at least bring me a diaper for the other, if not actually change it. For some reason it all seemed to center around diapers. That's kind of jacked up, now that I think about it. Hmm. Surely there must have been other reasons.
Whatever. Regardless, we wanted them two to three years apart. And by "we" I mean "me-and-Greg-who-showed-up-when-I-asked-him-to-with-sperm-at-the-ready".
So (much as we did with Samantha) we decided to, and actually did, become pregnant with Jackson the first time we tried. This seemed more a miracle than you might think, since I only possess one ovary and had never conceived a child before 2003. But the ole' reproductive system seems to work just fine, half-capacity or not, thankyouverymuch. And coupled with Greg's apparent super-sperm, two tries = two babies. I mention this because while it's wonderful to conceive with such great ease, it was my first source of emotional upheaval, both times. No WAY did I think I would get pregnant so quickly, and frankly I was hoping for at least a couple of months to get used to the idea...especially the second time around, when I KNEW what I was getting myself into. I remember feeling so hesitant, scared and unsure the second time around, much more than the first, having none of the blissful ignorance we are blessed with the first time. That's a whole 'nother topic, folks. Check out my original thoughts on the topic here.
But hesitation eventually fades away, about 6 months after the second is born (...bah-dum-CHING!...these are the jokes, people...) and we work our way back to blissful. The joy of two is MORE than double the joy of one, somehow. And baby #2 grows and burrows into our hearts right next to the first, and we struggle to know how we ever doubted our choice to have him, and how we ever lived without either of them.
And that brings us to NOW. Now, when I am planning his second birthday party, which I was doing for Samantha when I was carrying Jackson. So there is a small, tiny, eensy-weensy, itty-bitty voice in my head that thinks I should be carrying someone new while I plan a second birthday party. My life and my brain work on the basis of symmetry, of all things being equal and consistent, and similar. I'm anal like that. So frankly, NOT being pregnant again right now is a little bit of an emotional upheaval all on its own, but one of a different kind than being unsure I wanted to be "with-child" when I already was.
How can I describe the flip-flopping I've done about this topic? How can I convey the indecisiveness?
OK, I think I've got it. It's kind of like thinking about getting on a roller coaster. Cast your mind.
You're at an amusement park. You're checking out this roller coaster. You watch other people get on and have a blast. Now, you've been on it before yourself (twice in this case). You KNOW it's a blast, but those loops up high are pretty scary, and you'd already decided not to get on again, for a number of reasons. And frankly, you really have other things you might like to use your tickets for, things you haven't done, things that might be equally exciting and cool. What if you use up all the tickets and then your kids want to do something and there's not enough tickets left? (There are no wrist-bands in this scenario, get over it.) But still, it's quite the ride. And there's only a few minutes left in the riding day - if you don't get on now, or soon, it'll be too late. And while you might never miss that last ride, and might be perfectly content with the two SUPER awesome rides you've already taken, you can't help wondering if you wouldn't dig riding it just one time more. And the line keeps moving forward, and you still haven't decided if you want to get in it. Maybe you'd like to, right? Maybe? You wonder...maybe you'll just get in line for a minute, and think it over a little...
Then your husband taps you gently on the shoulder. You, standing near the line, pondering a ride he will undoubtedly enjoy but will have to pay for as well. He gently turns your face with his fingers, looks deep into your eyes and says "You have GOT to be shitting me, right?"
Ahh, reality. The husband factor.
Greg is DONE with pregnancy and childbirth, and I get why that's the case for him. I am truly some kind of frightening, unpredictable, unable-to-be-pleased, hormonal whirlwind when I am pregnant. And our last go-round with childbirth was scary, overwhelming and expensive - at least - and it culminated in our son spending his first week on Earth in a NICU. Greg would agree that Jackson was worth every second and every dime, as was Samantha worth the pre-eclampsia and the scary-ness that accompanied her hypotonic state at birth. That being said, Greg is unable to move himself past the relative horror we went through both times, the bills we cringed at with Jackson, and the crazy person his wife becomes every time he knocks her up. I can't say that I blame him.
So the tiny voice inside me can talk till she's blue in the face. And I really get what she's saying, and I sometimes wish I could give her her heart's desire; and I really, really hope she can be content with the two sweet dollies who grace our lives and give us joy each day (I'm pretty sure she can be). I guess if God decides that the one who'll cure cancer or who'll bring us world peace needs to come to the world through us, then we'll have another. But until then, it seems the womb doors are closed. And...I guess that's OK with me.
[This article featured on BlogNosh Magazine website on the Pregnancy/Adoption/Birth Channel]