I have this routine down. It’s very well rehearsed. I know how to answer this question in a way that shuts down the conversation, because it’s a conversation that hurts to talk about. The questions that go something like:
“Are You Having Another Baby?”
“Is it time for number three?”
“So, when are you planning the next one?”
When asked I smile brightly. I shrug and say “Oh no – We’re not having another baby. We’re finished.” The painful truth is though – I don’t feel finished.
But I laugh and roll my eyes. I say “I’m done. So done. I’m tired, I’m over it. Katelyn still wakes at night. I’ve been sleep deprived for so long. I’ve loved having my babies, but I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life.”
While my heart still tells me there’s another baby out there waiting for me to be his or her mother. There’s a piece of me that doesn’t feel like it’s dropped into place. I don’t feel complete.
I see myself pregnant – I touch my belly and remember what it was like. I see newborn babies and I wish I could do it all over again. I gaze enviously when I see big families, even if they look chaotic; I want that. I truly want that. With all my heart.
But here’s the the “but”. And it’s a big “but”.
My partner doesn’t.
He just doesn’t. He’s ready for no more babies. He doesn’t want any more.
And I accept that.
I have to accept that.
Because no part of me really wants to bring a baby into the world that we both don’t 100% want.
Even if I thought I could talk him into it; even if I think if he truly understood how important this was to me, he might say yes. Not for him. For me.
But we can’t have a baby together for me.
That’s not enough.
It’s both in – all in – or not at all.
Because there will be hard days, and extreme exhaustion, and the last thing I ever want is to feel guilty about having another baby. Guilty that I talked him into it, that he didn’t really want this, that this wasn’t his plan. Even if I know we would make it work, we’d pull it together, we’d stretch the budget – and I know with absolute certainty that he would love any baby of ours – it still isn’t fair.
I go through waves, I can almost talk myself out of it. I can get to a point where I think I might be done having babies, but I guess I wouldn’t be trying so hard to convince myself I don’t want another baby, if I didn’t want another baby.
But the truth is if he said “Lets have another baby” I’d be there in a heartbeat. But it is what it is. And two children is enough – they have to be enough.
So, if you ask me and I smile, and laugh and joke, please still at least act as though you believe me. You might hear the tension in my voice, or my overly enthusiastic protestation, but please, just let it go. Because I have to.
Have you been in this position? How did you move forward?