Monday, April 10, 2006

not in the stars

there's a lot of good stuff (and bad stuff) to blog about in the politosphere these days. but what's really been weighing on my mind and heart is personal. so here it is.

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It’s finally spring in the foothills (sort of), and grilling season has begun. Last night it was a carnivore’s feast of chargrilled bacon cheeseburgers, which our guests very much appreciated.

Our friends Todd and Pamela visited again this weekend. This time it was a spur-of-the-moment house-hunting blitz – hey, would you mind watching A. for a couple of hours while we go look at some houses?

Would I mind? You mean you actually trust me with your 11-month old daughter? Well, sure, I’d love to!

Because this is a really sweet baby. She’s just learning how to walk, and being around Duckie is a huge encouragement for her. Pamela is a pretty easygoing mama – basically my instructions were, ok these are her hand signals for needing food, milk, whatever and sometimes she talks. Goat’s milk, please, and if you can get her to eat table food, go right ahead. (She’s only got four teeth so we’re kind of limited in what we can feed her.)

Oh. OK. Not a problem. Although we did have to keep an eye on Duckie, whose affections sometimes tended to be a little rough. “Go to sleep, baby A!” Duckie says, smacking her on the head repeatedly. Baby A was, at this point, exhausted, and loving being tucked into Duckie’s bed. She didn’t move a muscle through the well-intentioned bedtime beating, and slept for two solid hours. Pamela decided then and there it was time to get A a big-girl bed.

So, yeah, baby A is very sweet, very intelligent, with beautiful wise grey-green eyes, and a pretty calm temperament for the most part (quite a change from Duckie).

Having two kids around was lovely. And not only because A’s really sweet and these two get along really well.

It’s also because… well.

Frankly it’s hard to even type this and see it on a screen.

I’ve talked to a few people about this as it’s come up in conversation – Carrington and Pamela for the most part. But this is still a fresh decision, and Brian and I still haven’t quite settled into it yet.

I just don’t think we’re going to have any more kids.

It’s not because I don’t want to bring any more children into this world. I’d love to.

It’s not because of the money. We’d find a way to make it work.

It’s because, for starters, that I can’t promise a baby nine clean months inside my body.

Meds are stable now. Meds are working. And if it ain’t broke… well, you know the rest. I’ve tried to cut back on the Lexapro and it was more or less a disaster. I even set an appointment with my OBG to discuss the possibility of pregnancy given my current pharmacological regimen, and started doing some hard research on the effects of my meds on prenatal development. I did not like what I saw.

Beyond that, I don’t think it would be fair to divide up our emotional resources between two children – we have enough challenges now to maintain the complex relationships involved in a three-person triangle. Adding a fourth would be ignoring the responsibility we have to the daughter that is already here – the responsibility to provide her with a stable, loving home.

During a bout of PMS a couple of weeks ago, I just knew, for sure, that another pregnancy and another new baby would be entirely too much for me – and our family – to handle.

You might think that after the PMS was gone, I might have swung back the other way – to hope that another child might be a possibility someday. But I never did. I cancelled the appointment with Dr. V.

I discovered last week, during a particularly weepy bout of post-coital self-pity which Brian sweetly endured, that I am grieving for the loss of this nonexistent person. Isn’t that ridiculous? I see large families on TV and the ache deepens – for the sibling that Duckie won’t have. (I’m not ruling out the possibility of adoption – but it will be much later on.)

Brian is also dealing with this – silently, as usual, because there are a lot of other stresses on him right now – but deep in the caves of his enormous heart, there are some spaces that are feeling especially empty.

I see babies – anywhere, really, but especially the itty-bitty ones, and that ache just digs right into my guts. And I really need to get the hell over that, because people are always going to be having babies, and they will always want to show them off.

I had even chosen a name for the baby that never was – how insane is that? Talk about setting yourself up for some heartbreak.

I’ve given my maternity bathing suit away – the bright turquoise one I wore at the beach after our wedding, the one with the delicate beaded shoulder straps. I’ve held onto it for almost three years now, waiting for the right time, either to wear it again, or to let it go. Apparently the time to let go is now.

I’ve started to acknowledge that we will have to deal with the enormous amounts of clothes that Duckie has outgrown. Although the three babies closest to us really aren’t quite big enough to wear them yet, we’ll still divide them up into boxes and ship them off, at least to get them out of Duckie’s closet.

In a few weeks we’ll be trucking out to the beach to visit Brian’s family, including his sister, who now has two daughters – one fourteen months and one two months. And I know the question will come up – when is Duckie going to get a little brother or sister?

What will I say? Before the tears come, I suppose I’ll have to say, “She probably won’t. It’s not in the stars this time around.” And I’ll excuse myself to go hug my daughter, and to offer thanks again to fate and to my husband and family and friends – to offer my gratitude that I’m still around to see her grow up.

6 comments:

Kiki said...

this particular reader is absolutely sure that you will make the right decision and choose what is best -- whatever that is. and no one has the right to question you.

SB Gypsy said...

Oh, babies!

A little while after you stop nursing, you get a hormone spike that causes you to desperately want another baby... that MAY be what you are experiencing now *I don't know - depends on the timing*, and if so, will melt away when the hormones normalize.

You may also someday not need your meds as much. There's always playmates for your kids, you don't have to birth them, or feel guilt or remorse that you don't. My little sis, who has PTSD and is on psych meds now, had serial "only children" (her older one was 16 or 17 when she had the younger one) Otherwise, as you said, there's always adoption..

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