I’m folding laundry as Sam flips through his phone. It’s late and quiet, and we’re both lost in thought. I reach forward to grab another round of shirts and glance at him.
“Where are you at on wanting another baby?” I ask it abruptly, because there doesn’t seem to be another way to go about this. It’s a subject we’ve talked on many times over the years. After Bella. After the twins. After Kaden. After Char. And then – we just decided to put it on the back burner because there was always an unsolvable complication or an unknown.
He puts down the phone and turns toward me, propped up on his arms. “I don’t know,” he says slowly. “I mean, I’d love to have one more. Three would be nice. I’ve always wanted three.”
I can tell he thinks the same thing as me at the same time: we have five.
But I know what he means.
I nod and he asks the same question of me. “I don’t know either. I know my last pregnancy went ok, but postpartum was hard on me. Both mentally and physically. I don’t want something to happen and the girls be left with a shell of a mom. I don’t want to walk this journey of terror and constant fear again. But. I don’t want to look back when it’s too late and wish we’d tried one more time and I let fear get the best of me.”
“I would love one more, but I don’t know that it’s one more I really want. What if I’m going to always want the boys? And while I don’t expect another baby to make that feeling go away, I also don’t want to take a risk on us never feeling complete and still pushing to. Because maybe I don’t want another baby, but the missing them is making it feel like our family isn’t ever complete.”
He knows what I mean.
And we leave it there. No need to rush or make any decisions. Right now, we are ok with what we have, grateful we got another chance to parent again.
I’m not trying to be greedy, as my former OB so delicately hinted at my 6 week postpartum check up when I tried to explain I couldn’t take any birth control with progesterone which translated to her as “I NEED MOAR BABIES NOW.”
“Sometimes we need to be thankful for what we have,” she said scowling at me, as I blushed and tried to explain that wasn’t what I meant, holding my 6 week old who had defied all of her dire predictions each appointment through my pregnancy.
I wanted to tell her, “Sometimes we also need to be humble and realize even people with medical degrees can be very wrong.”
I like our life right now, and we still have a lot to work on. A lot of grief still, a lot of trauma for us both to unpack. I think in a few years we want to revisit this if our life is in a steadier place – not that there is a “good” time to have a baby, but there are better times than others. And this time needs to just be for us.
And maybe then, when we address this again, we’ll be ready to be done. I won’t have as much of a pang in my heart when I fold and put away the little clothes Char grows out of so quickly. The toys she’s already too big for. The phases I may never walk through again with one of my own. Yes, that’s hard to think about. No matter how grateful I am.
Then again, it may always be there. Because we missed three little lives already, so those feelings will probably never go away for us.