I’ve been trying to make a real effort to not complain about this pregnancy because I don’t want to lose sight of what a blessing it is to have a complication-free pregnancy and carry a baby to term. But as the days and weeks pass it’s getting harder and harder. I’m achy, I’m tired, I’m getting bigger, the comments are getting ruder, and I find myself wishing the end of this pregnancy away. For some reason I feel like it might be different if I knew this was my last pregnancy. I might savor it more, enjoy the passing of this phase of life.
But I don’t know.
Years ago, when Tom and I first started talking about having a family together, we always said we wanted four kids. We wanted a big family, lots of kids, lots of chaos, lots of fun. Now we know that was ambitious talk for two people who had no idea what it was like to have kids.
In the weeks after I had David, I kept thinking over and over, “There’s no way I can ever do this again.” All of it — labor, recovery, nursing, sleepless nights, figuring out how in the world to dress a baby boy — it was all just so much harder than I expected.
Then I had Mary Virginia, and things were just easier. For starters, her birth wasn’t couched by a series of natural disasters. She was a sweet baby (though, sleepless from the start), and the biggest difference was that I knew what to expect. And, soon after she was born, I found myself thinking, “I suppose I could do this again.”
Now here we are, I’m very pregnant with baby number three, and with every ache and pain I think, “If this is what a third pregnancy feels like, no way can I survive a fourth.”
But I’m not sure.
As exhausting and unmanageable as our life feels right now, I still have a hard time thinking we’re done. Maybe it’s just the finality of the decision that’s hard for me. I’ve been either pregnant or nursing for over four solid years now, and it’s become a bit of my identity. (Even though I’m also starting to feel like a brood mare.)
I might feel differently after this baby comes and I’m, once again, wrapped up in the whirlwind of a teeny tiny newborn. I find myself hoping that, once we’re a family of five I’ll either throw my hands up in the air and celebrate, “This is it! Our family is complete and perfect just like it is!” Or I’ll look at that baby and say, “One more, just one more.”
Meanwhile, Tom says that if this kid won’t sleep then we’re done for sure. And he’s not kidding.
I just wish I knew.
But how do you know? Is that even possible?
We already have kids of both gender, so there’s no pressure to have just one more to “try for a boy” or whatever, and we have plenty of space in our van for at least one more carseat.