“Surprise!” screamed the subject heading. I already knew what the email from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law was going to say, but I was still so excited to see it. They were having a baby. I was ecstatic for them, of course, but there was an odd twinge of envy that I was so not expecting to feel. I didn’t want another kid, did I? How could I? I already have the best family, replete with husband, 4-year-old boy and 19-month-old girl. I had even recently dreamed that I’d had another baby and tried to leave him at the hospital. So why was I jealous that my sister-in-law was pregnant?
I thought maybe it was just a passing feeling, like dying my blonde hair red. Something I think about for a second and then nix because I know it won’t suit me. But no. This feeling was sticking around. Trips to the pharmacy became slow strolls through the baby section past the bottles I no longer needed, reverently touching the tiny pacifiers and bibs, giggling when I saw the breast pads. What the hell was happening to me?
I began to long for those magical three months of smelling my newborn’s deliciously sweet head and cradling a soft-as-velvet tiny body next to my breast. But then I thought, Magical? Was I insane? Had I completely forgotten the frantic juggling of two young kids, almost zero sleep, and leaky boobs? The longing ache for another baby was clear proof that I had lost both my memory and my mind.
I’m not yet 39, but I feel like I’ve aged 10 years since I had my daughter. The long months of broken sleep, bending down to pick her up, reaching this way and that to get her into her car seat and letting her ride on me like a horse have often made me feel like a 60-year-old. My back aches, my knees creak and I can hide snacks in the bags under my eyes. And getting two kids to various appointments and programs, and rushing to get my son from school while lugging a diaper bag, stroller and toddler through the daycare doors at the end of a long day can leave me totally frazzled. How could I possibly consider adding a third kid to that mix when I only have two hands?
And like one tends do when they want to get pregnant, I began noticing swollen bellies and watching the women with three kids who always had a smile on their faces and a spring in their step. I didn’t quite have the same warm and fuzzy feelings about being pregnant again because really, I’ve been there and done that. Although there’s nothing like that plus sign on a pregnancy test, it wasn’t the pregnancy I wanted. I didn’t have babies anymore – and I wanted a soft, sweet, tiny baby to care for again.