I walk the line between wearing my heart on my sleeve and keeping things close to the vest. I’m sure I’m not alone on that line. One of the things that I’ve had on my heart lately is babies. And I’ve been keeping very much to myself about it.
I have always wanted a bigger family, at least more than 2 kids. My brother and I are 4+ years apart and were never very close. Sure, we had our childhoods together, but at some point it felt like we were two only children whose paths sometimes crossed, usually at our shared bathroom in the morning. And growing up Catholic, I saw enough bigger families than mine and the grass over there looked a little greener to me.
So I had it all planned out: meet Mr. Right (no later than college, of course), get married young, have lots of babies, live happily ever after.
God had a good laugh at my plan!
So when Fella and I started getting serious and making our plans for the future (God wasn’t laughing as much this time,) we settled on more than one (Fella is an only child and he didn’t want any of that for his kids), but no more than three.
It took awhile after the Mayor was born to get back on the more babies bandwagon. There were times that I would have been totally OK if he had been the Only. Even if the Mayor himself was telling me that he wanted me to have 15 (or was it 20?) more babies (that kid LOVES him some babies!) But Fella being the only of an only child, he didn’t want the Mayor bearing that burden.
So along comes wonder of wonders: Miss Thang. And everyone thinks it’s perfect: two—that is, one of each. So you’re done, of course…right?
When I was pregnant with the Mayor, I dreamed about having two boys. Maybe that was just another funny thing my brain was doing while the rest of me was sleeping. Regardless, pretty soon after Miss Thang, I still felt like there was still another person to add to our family.
However, I’ve been crunching some numbers. OK, maybe not exactly numbers, but time. There’s too much going on in the near future that I would rather be not pregnant for. And besides that, there’s the whole being host to another human being for 9 months (although I do love being pregnant. Mostly). Then the next year/+ on this side of the womb before they can eat real food and walk on their own. Hell, MT just hit two and she’s like the toddler version of a Stage 5 Clinger.
You know, autonomy is a really, really nice thing.
I didn’t think I’d be thinking about this much before MT turned two. But certain events accelerated the process a little bit and here I am, elbow deep in wondering if I still have it in me to have another baby. Not only have another baby, but to have three kids! I mean, that’s just crazytown! There is just no way. And as soon as I think I’ve decided that I’m done--enter crisis mode.
So we know about the quarter-life- and the trusty ol’ mid-life crises. But this is something different. I focused so much energy in my life on getting to the part where I would have kids, the prospect of not continuing to have more kids is...it’s an existential crisis all of its own.
Let’s call it: the Post-Reproductive Crisis.
I mean, what is my purpose in life if not making more tiny humans? Yeah, yeah, I’ve still got those two other little people I’ve already breathed life into to tend to. But their childhood is finite. As is the family planning stage of life, I keenly realize. But to still be in my child-bearing years, looking my lady parts dead in the ovaries, and giving them the finger? I just. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN???
So that’s where I’m at right now: between the proverbial know-when-to-hold-‘em and know-when-to-fold-‘em.
Meanwhile (in heaven)…God holds the cards and laughs heartily.