Not So Ambivalent

(note:  this is back-published from last fall.   For those of you who know my more recent news, all is well. )

Today I had the funny sensation of mourning over my period. I’m guessing this isn’t a new feeling for many women, but it felt new for me.  I’ve had other periods in the past that I met with enormous relief and gratitude. And I’ve had a ton that I’ve met with nothing but a shrug, and a trip to the cabinet for a pad.  The first time I ever missed a period, I was pregnant with our son.  Our first conception happened on a wing and a prayer (and one try), so I only had shock that time:  surprise, shock, and excitement as I saw my first positive pregnancy test.  And then I had almost two years of no periods through pregnancy and nursing, a strange time, a break of sorts.  And I remember the feeling of excitement and sadness when my period came back 13 months after my son was born.  A funny combination of honoring that my body was my own again, and ironically ready to give away to another baby.

This time, as I saw blood, I had realization.

I have been flirting around with the idea of baby number two for almost a year now. I’ve been treating it with distance, callously, with jokes about how other people’s second pregnancies sound like a cancer diagnosis to me.   I would look at women exclaiming their joy at expecting number two, and inside I was thinking  “Was it on purpose?  Can anything be done now?  Is it treatable?”    I have been playing off my fear with ambivalence, and not being in relationship with all the unknown (and known) terrors that come with a second baby.

But today I learned something big. Aside from all the logistical stuff, the financial stuff, the sleep deprivation; In spite of all the heartbreak that is almost guaranteed when you open your heart to loving a child;  In spite of all the questions I have about my ability to do it, or at least to do it well, and in spite of the invasion into the sweet loving relationship between me and my son, and the feelings of betrayal I fear my son will feel watching me love another child,  in spite of the massive ‘rug pulling out’ insecurity that comes with expanding our family, I know now… in spite of all that.

I want a baby.

I’ll say it. I want another child to grace my body and my belly with it’s presence. I want my diastasis to rip open again (well, maybe not that part). I want to expand and laugh and feel my belly shake like a bad Santa at the mall. I want to feel my belly touch my thighs as I sit.  I want a baby soon, and I’m afraid of the space, the question marks around when and how and if. My mind dances around useless thoughts like “well, I am three years older now…” and “those eggs ain’t getting any younger.” I find myself in moments feeling like an outsider in my own studio, unsure of what to say to these mamas in full bloom, while I feel a little like a wilted dandelion.

It sounds silly even as I write it, as this last cycle could in no way be called an honest “try.” My husband and I threw a long shot pass five days before ovulation.  Those swimmers would have needed Olympian strength and magical powers to reach my egg. And yet, the feelings of loss are here. It feels like I can’t deserve to feel that way after such a short effort. It feels like I’m overdoing it. It feels unfair when I know the immense heartbreak others have experienced on their path to motherhood. It seems like I could blame it on hormones. You can always blame it on hormones.

I guess the gift here is knowing BEFORE getting pregnant, just how much I want it. So hopefully those two pink lines won’t feel like the soul earthquake I felt when I saw it the first time, or the empty disappointment at the single pink line this week. Hopefully I will feel the gratitude, that one more precious soul, on it’s miraculous journey, has chosen me to be it’s mama. The greatest, hardest and most blessed role on earth.

Until then, I’ll just let myself cry, tapped into the longing, pinned down by my own truth. I am not so ambivalent about baby number two.

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