I’ve got babies on the brain.
Last night I wasted spent almost 45 minutes cruising through pictures of newborns on my friends’ Facebook pages. There they were, swaddled, with those stretchy hospital hats, cradled in the arms of parents who looked beautiful, natural, and ecstatic.
You look at those pictures and there’s nothing to indicate what awaits—the relentless nights of sleeping at three-hour stretches; the elusive “nap schedule”; teething; squirmy toddler phase where “safety” is an abstract concept to a tiny person with a whippet attention span and a proclivity for heights; the whining.
Heck, even as I write that list, I can’t stop thinking: none of those things are so bad—not when compared to the sweetness, and love, and miracle of a baby.
Jeff and I’ve decided we are done having kids, but seeing those pics made me super nostalgic.
I’m one of those weird women who loved being pregnant. I used to joke that it was the only time in my life my stomach would be rock hard. I loved the second trimester energy surge, and I reveled in carting my big pregnant body to the top of nearby mountains.
Giving birth was a challenge for me. Both times I aimed for a vaginal birth and ended up with a C-Section, and both times I was grateful for the experts at the hospital.
I loved strapping an infant into a front pack and exploring the world. I nursed anywhere I felt like it. I am sure I fretted about a lot of things, but I can’t remember now what they were (too bad I didn’t have this blog).
That’s not entirely true. I remember a very real and scary fear that I would completely lose myself in motherhood. I’ve got big dreams—writing dreams, athletic dreams, dreams for Jeff and me—that took root long before Henry or Silas did, and I was terrified those dreams would be snuffed out by my kids’ needs.
This has probably been the hardest adjustment for me in parenthood—balancing what I want to do versus what my kids need. But through the past four and a half years I’ve been a mom, I’ve found a balance and a patience and also a ferocious drive and ability to carve out time for myself and prioritize that I had no idea I was capable of.
I’m not worried anymore that being a mom cancels out being a writer or a skier or a runner.
Make that being a mom to two. Add in a third, and the balance would tip, I’m afraid. I’m not convinced I would have the energy to love and nurture three little kids and make time for myself and my marriage. Obviously people do that every day, everywhere. And I suspect that if we found ourselves with a third baby, we’d recalibrate and do a smash up job.
But a third baby is not in our plans. There are lots of reasons why—beyond what I’ve written here. And so that leaves me looking through Facebook at the pictures of adorable new humans who have sprung forth into the world and made parents of the people who created them.
And, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to visit a few of those friends before those newborns emerge from their sleepy post-birth haze and snuggle them close.