Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I actually figured all of this out a while ago (though, as is usual these days, didn't so much post), but a post today at Beruriah's brought it up again. It's about timing. People with babies the Cub's age, plus/minus a few months in either direction are pregnant again. Not overwhelming numbers of them, but enough for me do a gut check.
I've never made a secret on this here blog of the fact that I want to raise three children. In my before life, I was going to aim for a rather short age gap between the younger two-- two and a half years or so, give or take. In my after life, I was considering an even shorter gap, mostly because I didn't want Monkey to be too terribly older than the youngest. I am eight years older than my sister-- it works and has worked for the duration. I wasn't so sure about longer gaps. By the time I'd had the Cub, though, I was pretty clear I needed a break from this pregnancy thing. Told my MFM I won't be back for at least a year, probably more.
At some point I started to push my mental target for the "next time" ever further out. Factoring in things like the job market (blows; also on academic calendar-- matters both for being able to interview and for being able to start and finish at least my first year at whatever my next job might end up being), and talking to adults who've had longer age gaps with their siblings, and to parents of kids with longer gaps. Monkey, by the by, has started asking a few months ago. And really? The nerve on that kid! Oh, she also thinks eight is a good number. Ha! Told her that ain't happening.
But all of this was happening sort of on low boil in the background, with the occasional eruptions of "I am so not ready yet!" here and there. Until, that is, Christina found herself somewhat unexpectedly pregnant again. You see, Christina was due last year a day after me. The Cub was born shy of 37 weeks, but the lovely miss Cate went almost all the way to the due date. So, you know, when it's Christina who turns up pregnant now, it really rocks my world. I think I even told her in my comment that I can't imagine being there myself right now.
And then. Then I thought about it. The Cub was 11 months old when Christina found out. Which just happens to be three days longer than the interval between when A was born and when we found ourselves in possession of a piece of plastic with two lines in a window. So... ahem... right.
It seems that the actual operative idea here is that I can't imagine, am not ready to do that again. And I really think it's not about the distinction of doing it with or without a baby already at home-- I think for me it's much more about the stress of the pregnancy itself.
My pregnancy with the Cub was hard. Emotionally hard (DUH) but also objectively complicated. (There are things to say about that, and I will say them, hopefully soon.) I am also still incredibly overweight-- weight of two pregnancies (on top of extra ten still hanging around since Monkey), less a few pounds now, thanks to my friend metformin. And I need to lose a hell of a lot more before it's not insane to start piling fresh new pounds on.
I am finding comfort in that again above. It's like I forget that before A died and was born, I was actually pregnant with him. Not forget forget-- I can tell you all kinds of dates and facts about that pregnancy, but sort of dissociate from it, as if it too lives in the before. The again is soothing, a reminder that my body has been through a whole lot in the past little over three years, and that there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that fact.
So that's my new internal refrain, whenever I learn of someone else going another round with only a short break: "I did that last time. And right now I am just not ready to do it again." Somehow this feels both more honest and more reassuring to me than my old tune of "wow-- I can't even imagine doing that now."
ETA: It just occurred to me that even though I certainly don't assume a good outcome when I think of a future pregnancy (either in attaining one in the first place or in maintaining it to the point of a take home baby), talking about it in terms of "doing" might be read by someone as if I in fact assume. I think "attempt" would've been more precise. As in "I did that last time. And right now I am just not ready to attempt it again."