babies & boobs & whatnot

This is probably not going to be very coherent. So, a few months ago we thought maybe we should have another baby. It seemed like a good idea. Of course, because of some medical issues, it'd be expensive, and even then, there'd be no guarantee we could just conceive. But we thought it seemed like a nice idea so we had made some plans. Then we went on vacation and were together 24/7 for two weeks. And we thought, hmmm... you know, three kids seems just about right for us! It's kind of nice everyone being out of diaper-bottle-waking-in-the-night, etc. Penny is 4 now, and we were able to do a lot of stuff on vacation that we couldn't before. It was really pleasant. And so we decided, no, three is good. Three is just right.

Last week, a good friend had a baby boy. He's a cute little thing, all pink skin and dark fluffy hair. But when I saw him, aside from the automatic "awww" that all humans think when seeing a teeny-tiny human, all I could think was, I am so glad it's hers and not mine. Is that awful of me? I don't think it is. I don't feel it in a mean way. But all I could think about was the sheer exhaustion I felt each time I had a baby. The first week was not too bad, each time. I wasn't fully expended yet. The baby was cute and sleeping 22 hours a day. But then, over the following two or three months, the lack of sleep took its toll. Also, the meals stopped being brought over by friends, and the grandmas all went home, and the husband went back to work and school, and it was just me and all these little kids all the time. The worst by far was after Penny was born. We had no family nearby. My mom came a week after she was born and stayed for two days. My mother-in-law came three weeks later. Truman was only 13 months old, and Lucy was four. I didn't have any good friends where we lived. It was horrible. And once the sleep deprivation kicked in? Forget about it! It was the most miserable time in my life. For awhile, I'd lock myself in the bathroom and cry every afternoon. Looking back, I can barely even remember any of it. I was in a fog of unhappiness and exhaustion. I am not the kind of person who can do well on little sleep.

And the breastfeeding. Oh, how I loathed thee. I know it's not politically correct to admit this, but aside from it being free, there was nothing I enjoyed about breastfeeding. It was time consuming. It hurt. It isolated me. I was the only one who could feed the baby. Which I guess for some women is a real power trip, but for me it was like being shackled. With each baby, once we introduced the bottle, my life got a little happier, a little better. And David thoroughly enjoyed being able to feed the babies too. And once I stopped completely, oh the joy! I could eat chocolate and onions, I could take cold medicine if I got sick, pain medicine if I got hurt, I could sleep! Sweet blessed sleep! I didn't have a half-wet-mouthed dripping baby hanging onto my boob throughout the night.

I love my children dearly. I loved them as newborns, I have no doubt, but it's just different now. It's really good now. They are people, not just tiny bodies that must have everything done for/to them. When I miss things about how they used to be, I miss the cute things - the cuddling - but not the forced wearing/rocking. The cuddling when they choose to cuddle with me. I miss being in full control of what they eat - not breastfeeding, but feeding. But every age they reach, seems to be my favorite age with them.

So I think how it'd be nice to have another child, but just that: a child. Not a newborn. I'm not sure, psychologically, I could handle another newborn. And I hate the thought of how much I miss out on due to pregnancy and having a newborn - how much it forces my other children to miss out on. I have a friend who just got pregnant with her fifth. And she is sending her oldest to school, but wants to homeschool, but feels guilty because she's so exhausted and spent that she just can't bear to tackle it. Which starts a whole guilt cycle. A child, even a toddler, is something else entirely. So we're just thinking about it. Obviously there are options for adoption. And interestingly, many countries will not allow you to adopt from them unless you have three or fewer biological children. Because, three is just right for us. We aren't making any concrete plans right now, just exploring all the possibilities. Ethiopia seems to be a promising idea. I've had daydreams about adopting an Ethiopian child since last summer. Haiti is another possibility, but you have to be 35, and I'm just too young! Who knows what will happen. It would be nice if a stork would just leave a two or three year old child on our doorstep.


Comments

  1. A good friend announced her pregnancy the other day and all I could think was "I'm so sorry" and "Oh, you poor thing." She was elated and I kept my tongue in check. But, yes, I know exactly what you mean about the thought of a baby being just too much.

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