I want another baby.
And, no, not just in the hypothetical, “wouldn’t it be nice if…” type of way.
I want another baby in the practical, full desire to grow my family, “I long for a baby in my womb now and am no longer taking active steps to prevent it” type of way.
I said it.
And, now I feel really exposed; so exposed that I am crawling out of my skin with discomfort as I write this. I did not share with others that my husband and I were trying to conceive with our first two children. In part, I felt like everyone likely expected it. We had always talked about having two children. In part, it was because we wanted to surprise our loved ones with our big news when we finally got pregnant. But, mostly, I did not share with people that we were trying to conceive because I thought I was not supposed to. And, I am still not really sure if I am supposed to.
Well, I suppose there are some what-ifs here. What if it is more difficult to get pregnant this time as it was in the past? What if we waited too long? I have officially reached the age of what would be considered a “geriatric pregnancy” and my husband has not gotten any younger either. If I tell people that we are actually trying to conceive and then I cannot produce a baby, what will people think? Will I have to temper my disappointment with some rehearsed, non-commit answer? Will they feel sorry for me? Truthfully, it would be my hope that I could just be honest if someone asked. But sometimes, being honest is exhausting. Then again, so is hiding something that you really want out of the fear that it may never happen.
Also, in the past, a big driving force was that I was always told to wait until I was at least 12 weeks pregnant before telling people because the chances of having a miscarriage decreases after the first trimester. “You wouldn’t want to jinx it,” they said. And, honestly, I did not question this. It seemed sensible enough, and for those who still choose to follow this because they are superstitious or would want to mourn a loss privately, I whole-heartedly support that. Every woman needs to do what works best for them.
But, for myself, at this stage of my life, I am going to call bullshit on this. Why are we treating a miscarriage as a private event that one should not share with others? Please know that if you experience the unfortunate tragedy of a miscarriage, you can tell me. I will listen. I will cry with you. And most importantly, I will mourn the loss of your child with you. There is no shame in miscarriage. And, if I share my joy of a positive pregnancy test by shouting from the rooftops that I am pregnant one day, and then I suffer a miscarriage, I do not want you to shy away from me. You will not know what to say or what to do, but do not allow that to be a reason to say or do nothing. Hug me, and promise me, that I will not drown in my grief alone … that I can remember and honor my child in your presence.
And, what if everyone thinks we are insane? Not only because both of my boys have finally reached the stages that we have been dreaming about for years where they are more independent and in school, and having a baby would bring us back to the diapers and no-sleep stage again. And also not because our money situation is tighter, our childcare situation is more challenging, our schedules are already infinitely packed, or because we currently have the perfect adult to child ratio for rides at an amusement park; nor, because the postpartum hormones nearly killed me the first two times. I am worried that everyone will think that I am insane because they may think that I cannot handle throwing a third child into the mix. It is no secret that I am in over my head with the two that I already have. My once Type-A personality and lifestyle has been completely transformed since having kids. My house is a mess. My appearance is a mess. My life is a mess. A beautiful mess.
Also, I would prefer not to have everyone ask if we are hoping to have a girl. Here is the honest truth on that. Growing up—back when I naively planned for things that were well beyond my control— I always dreamed of having a boy and a girl. The boy would be older, of course, so that he could protect his younger sister. But, you know what? Life gave me two boys. And while I am sad that I did not have the girl that I dreamed of, I am also thrilled that I have my Dominic. I would not trade him for a million girls. Plus, having two insanely energetic little boys has taught me that I cannot actually control much in life. As it turns out, I did not get what I thought I wanted. I got what I needed. Life knew better than me. And I have faith that if I am blessed with another child, it will be another perfect fit, regardless of the gender.
On a purely superficial level, I do not want people to turn into paparazzi, suddenly wondering and asking if I have a baby bump every time I eat a large meal. No. Sorry. My abdominal muscles stretched while I grew two humans previously in my stomach and no amount of crunches have ever returned them to their completely tight state. And while it is pretty fucking awesome what my body has done, I would rather NOT be reminded that I am carrying around a food baby every time someone looks at me. Oh, and yes, I look exhausted. Not pregnant. That is just my face now.
And, finally, I reserve the right to change my mind at any moment and prefer to do that without the judgment and influence of others. Most days, I am confident that we are making the right decision. Some days, the fear of all of the above sends me into a full blown panic. And I want it to be my own madness (and the madness of my husband) that drives my decisions.
So then, why am I telling you?
Women have come a long way in talking about and supporting each other through many of the challenges of pregnancy and motherhood. We are talking more openly about things that were once taboo. And, yet, at the same time, women I know closely announce every day that they are pregnant, while having hidden their intense nervousness, sickness, exhaustion, excitement and misery for the past twelve weeks and counting. Some of these women had never been pregnant before, and are curious, worried, and confused, relying heavily on books and apps to help them through instead of their closest friends and family.
Despite having two kids already, I have no idea what I am doing over here or where I am going on this crazy parenting journey, but I do know that I want my friends and family with me wherever this journey may lead. So, if you want to come along for the ride, I would love to have you. But, please, no back seat drivers.