A note for my future self, in case I think it's a good idea to have another baby.
Here I sit, 37 1/2 weeks pregnant. Impossibly pregnant, except that every day it gets even more impossible. This is my third pregnancy, you’d think I’d be able to wrap my head around the discomfort and difficulty of late pregnancy. Much like labor itself, though, I think it is a defense mechanism that we forget how terrible it is. Nature’s way of making sure we do this again, and that we don’t scare other baby-makers too much.
Although I had told my husband while we were dating that I thought I wanted 4 kids, I have now decided 3 will be the final number. At least, in-so-far as I get a say in the matter (because I realize sometimes nature has other designs). While I still think 4 sounds wonderful, I have come to realize that I am not the right mother for 4 kids. I am not patient enough. I am not a graceful enough pregnant person. I am downright bitchy for much of pregnancy. Early pregnancy because I am sick and so hormonal, late pregnancy because I am in so much pain and sleeping terribly.
It has dawned on me lately that my daughter (the oldest) is forming memories of everything that’s happening right now. She is becoming the person that she will forever be. And I am her role model. Of late, I have not been the best role model. She has ongoing problems talking kindly to other kids at school, and I can’t help but feel responsible for this. For the past 2.2 years I have been either pregnant or sleep deprived. The only mother MJ has known for all that time is some version of hormonal or tired, or, often, both.
It is time that she has a mother who is her normal self. Maybe not her best self, but at least a better version of herself. I need to be able to appreciate the children I have. To appreciate them where they are in time. To have the energy to teach them things and be kind to them. To form memories with them that are rich and wonderful. I haven’t been able to do these things, and I fear I will get worse before I get better, because I will have 2 kids under 2 years of age and will just be crazy all the time.
Anyway, future self, when you see cute, cuddly babies and smiling, gleeful toddlers, just remember that with that comes at least 15 months of hormones, fatigue and grouchiness, and ask yourself whether your current children deserve that from their mother. Because that’s how you operate, like it or not. Also ask yourself whether you are willing to give up the memories you couldbe making with the children you have simply because you’re too tired to make them.
It’s weird to wrap my head around the fact that it will probably be about 30 years before I have a front-row pass to babies again. I realize now where the longing for grandchildren comes from, because I already have it.