Friday, December 2, 2011

On Babies, Part II

I kind of love babies. I think I've mentioned this before. Even more than babies, I love my babies. I love holding them, I love playing with them, I love seeing them learn new things, I love hearing the funny things they say, I love watching them play and hug and kiss each other. I remember when Aaron was born (after the trauma was over and the epidural had done its miraculous work), I thought, "Now I see why some people have 10 kids." I wanted more. I loved this little person so much, I wanted more and more of them. I wanted to fill my house with them.

...And now I'm sounding like the crazy cat lady, only with children...

Anyway, the point is, I understood why some people choose to have big families. You love each little soul so much, and each one is so unique and special, you just want to see the possibilities and fill yourself up with that much more love and joy.

Here's the thing. I still want more kids. I want more newborn snuggles, more 1-year-olds, more silly jabbers and words, more hugs, more kisses.

But I can't.

It's not a fertility thing. I'm pretty much a fertility goddess. I've never had any trouble conceiving, even when I've actively taken measures to prevent it. Every act of, ahem, you know, is followed by vigorous crossing of fingers that I didn't just get pregnant. I wish I could give it away to someone who needed it, because honestly, it's more of a curse right now than a blessing.

The problem is that damn post partum depression. Things are fine for the first five or six months, then bam!, it hits, and it hits hard. The first time I managed to muddle through and climb out of it after just a few months without medication or anything. This last time, though, was brutal. I'm debating with myself as I type how much I should write about the specifics. On the one hand, depression really shouldn't be stigmatized, and I shouldn't be ashamed of it. Right? On the other hand, admitting that I nearly destroyed myself and my marriage and my family isn't an easy thing to do. So suffice it to say, it wasn't pretty. It's been a year since it started and I'm only just now pulling myself out of it. I can't do that again. I can't put my family through that again. Ever.

So. I have those maternity clothes in my closet. Not many, just the ones I'd miss if I were ever pregnant again. The ones that I'll never wear again. I have my Molly doll in the basement, with all the little accessories and outfits that my mom made, that will never be passed down to my little girl. I have the baby clothes that I just can't give away that will sit in a closet. The little ballet slipper socks. My pink baby blanket. The Hello Kitty baby blankets that my mom put aside, just in case. The baby bath. The mobile. The crib bumper. The pack-n-play. The bouncy chair.

I knew that Sean would be my last. I savored the little kicks and rolls inside me when I was pregnant, because I knew I'd never feel a child growing inside of me again. And in all honesty, it will be nice when the kids are a little older, when they can do more for themselves. I'm not a "natural" mother, and staying home with the kids has been extremely difficult for me. I'm looking forward to doing something else, something I'm better at, something--dare I say--more fulfilling.

I just don't know when the longing and that little bit of emptiness will subside.


  1. In a very, very strange way, I can relate to this.

    There's a part of me that really wants to be a mother. I cry when I watch scenes between parents and children and every time I watch a mother with her newborn. I LOVE baby laughs and wish I could get more baby snuggles.
    I think that if I never have children, I'll probably be sad about it. I have boxes full of things I keep because I think "Well, if I have kids, they'd love to see this..." Not sure when I will get rid of those.

    But at the same time, I know my limitations all too well. And I know that it wouldn't be fair to/good for anyone involved for me to have children unless I am VERY sure that I (we) really want and can handle children.

    So I guess what I'm saying is just that I get the conflict between wanting something and knowing it's not necessarily good for you.

    Rambly rambly. I'm done now.

  2. I think it's a very good thing to be open and frank about, to the extent that you're comfortable. Being a mom is hard enough (it seems), without the post partum, without the issues that often pop up and test a family and a marriage, and it's just the way it is. Your post is also a good example of the choices we have to make about major life issues. There are tradeoffs and we have to be honest about that, we often can't get everything we want.

    I do think that as much as little ones are awesome, your life will take a turn once they're in school full time, and while of course you want to savor this time, you can look forward to that too. In the meantime, we love you all!

  3. Lana- Well, that explains the cats. Kidding, kidding! I'm not going to lie, I've been envious of your married-with-no-kids situation more than once, but other times I can't imagine life being any better. So, my unsolicited advice? Don't have kids unless and until you want them. And then...start with one. Brace yourself for the first-year hell (although my experiences have been exceptionally hard), and know that it really does get easier. Then don't feel any pressure to have more unless you want to; plenty of singletons lead perfectly good, happy lives. But you already knew all of this already. If your interactions with your nieces and my kids are any indication, though, you'd be a fantastic mother.

    Christine- Thanks for the support, as always! Some moms are sad when their kids start school, but...I think there may be some dancing in the streets here, ha ha. I've already been plotting and scheming about going back to school when they're in school, maybe even a little sooner (in fact, I'm taking some classes next semester). It will be great to be able to use my brain again for something other than trying to figure out how to get kids to sleep and eat and get through their tantrums.

    I did forget to mention one thing in my post, and that is that I really couldn't ask for anything better than two sweet, adorable, loving little boys who are shaping up to be very good friends. They'll have each other their whole lives. I mean, I have more than one sibling, and I never had the kind of relationship that my boys have, so I don't know that more kids would necessarily be better--just different.