The other day, someone I’ve known offline for many years posted a status update to Facebook, offering up one of her deepest secrets: she reads the newspaper obituaries on a daily basis.
I used to do that too, along with the Birth Announcements, although it seems these days what with Twitter and Facebook and blogging, paying good coin to publish that kind of information has gone the way of the do-do bird. More’s the pity, too. Thinking back, I probably found the name of my first obstetrician by keeping count of the number of times that person’s name appeared in print.
But back to my friend, and her desire to share a secret openly.
I have one too: I want to have another baby.
Oh, don’t worry, dear Universe, my ability to successfully procreate disappeared long ago, but the desire to mother a child from birth, that is, to give birth and go home to our family’s nest and use a full maternity leave period for hands-on parenting, without having to pick up the slack in the household where paid employment is concerned; has been my dream for a long time. (DS15.5 was barely 8 weeks old when it became obvious that me staying home wasn’t going to pay the rent or the months’ overdue utility bills.) Moreso now that I am in a stable, loving, respectful relationship with someone who has a good job but never had any biological children of his own. Have you seen a picture of David holding a newborn child or an infant? There is a look in his eyes that simultaneously warms and breaks my heart.
The pros of having a baby never change. Babies smell good, especially after a bath, and I love how their tiny diapered bottoms fit into the palm of my hand while we cuddle. I think it’s a great idea to “wear” a baby. At the age of 41, I finally feel like I have accumulated enough life wisdom to be more than just “adequate” as a parent.
But a decade ago, when the twins were that size, I’d already chosen to have a tubal ligation. One of my babies was in the hospital fighting for survival, and I rarely saw his sister or their older brother because once again, I was the one who couldn’t stay home because I had a full-time job with benefits to go back to. As strange as this sounds, I felt powerless to change my situation, and this is probably another non-hospital-related aspect of my PTSD that has yet to be fully addressed. And then there’s my teenager, who – bless him - recently tried offering me encouragement in adopting a baby from overseas “for cheaps.” I don’t know where he ever got the idea that foreign adoption is inexpensive, or even simple; but all the same I felt the tiniest twinge of pride that he thought I did a good enough job raising him that I could be taken seriously as a prospective adoptive parent.
All this to say, I know that having another child isn’t in the cards for me, and it hasn’t been for a very long time. Yet, come Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, or even a quick walk past the infants and toddlers section at Wal-Mart, the urge begins to rebuild, and it is becoming more and more difficult to stop myself from wondering, “What if?” So if someone can tell me how to make the urge disappear, successfully, I would love to hear about it.
Then again, maybe I won’t.