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LONGING

My longing to fill the void in my life was felt on a cellular level pulling me in the direction towards another pregnancy.

I knew I could easily opt back into the workforce again, but I was already a stay-at-home working mom with a steady, reliable job living in a brand new house with two great kids, so I rather relished the thought of welcoming another new life into our family.

“In longing we move and are moving from a known but abstracted elsewhere, to a beautiful, about to be reached, someone, something or somewhere we want to call our own.” – David Whyte Consolations

I desperately needed something or someone new to call my own; someone to fill the emptiness that was growing inside me. With my kids now in school, it felt like my life jumped the track and I was derailed.

Having another child would fix that, would fix me. I was sure of it.

Boxes of baby clothes packed away years before were hauled up from the basement and sorted through. The first box contained dozens of onesies and just holding the thin white fabric in my hands again, was powerful enough to fling open the floodgates and release the high tide of emotions I’d been trying so hard to hold back.

Since we already had a daughter and a son, it was exciting to imagine how the tie would be broken. Still, I felt nagging anxiety over just how much our family dynamic would inevitably change. Not only that but also how my body would also change, again. It had taken me years to lose the weight I had gained with each pregnancy, and now I’d have to wage that battle all over again.

The terrible heartburn and the myriad of other not so pleasant things that would come with another pregnancy and the sleepless nights and round the clock nursing and dirty diapers that would come with having another baby had me questioning my sanity some days, but I felt sure we were making the right decision.

I honestly never imagined I would ever have another child or more to the point that I would ever want another child. While pregnant with my son I was acutely aware of this so I savored every minute of being pregnant with him, believing he would be my last.

I was sure he would be the last to perform parlor tricks for people he hadn’t met yet – a kick to the ribs, a shoulder or an elbow or a knee jutting out suddenly against taut skin sometimes so dramatically that the coffee cup I had balanced on my belly would threaten to tip over. Knowing my son and his passion for snowmobiling, it’s easy to imagine he was already boondocking in there.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my hair curled. Gone was the stick straight hair I was born with, somehow several months into that pregnancy it morphed into curly waves. Now I was left wondering if it might switch back.

I was left wondering about a good many things during this time, like could I or more to the point would I, be the same kind of mother I was to the two children I already had once a new baby came along.

And what would other people think? Surely, they’d think I was crazy to finally have my children in school full time only to start all over again, and an incessant little voice in my head reinforcing that message wasn’t helping matters.

But my longing never wavered. I desperately desired something that would ease my constant ache. Having another baby checked all the boxes precisely because I’d be starting all over again. My days would once again be filled with a sense of purpose, and I could put off having to think about what else to do with my life for at least the next five to six years.

I never thought to ask myself what would happen if I couldn’t get pregnant. Each of the four times I’d been pregnant, I conceived on the first try, so despite my having two miscarriages, I felt sure that this time around would be no different.

But it was.

And so was I.

The longer we went without the result we anticipated, the deeper I sank in the well of my pain and loneliness.

If I wasn’t able to have another child, what the hell was I going to do with my life?

“Longing is nothing without its dangerous edge, that cuts and wounds us while setting us free and beckons us exactly because of the human need to invite the right kind of peril.” – David Whyte Consolations

It was supposed to be like that big red easy button. I had it all planned out. I would push it, and all my problems would be solved. I was prepared to be pregnant again. I was dreaming about it already. I wasn’t prepared to have made such an important and difficult decision only to have it backfire on me.

Then one day, after spending the afternoon reading to the children in my daughter’s classroom on Read Across America Day, aka Dr. Suess Day, I casually asked her what she would think about the idea of me maybe having another baby someday.

She looked at me quite seriously and took her time thinking about it before asking me if I would still be able to come to her classroom and read to her if I did.

I told her no, probably not, to which she replied, “Then no. I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

Her candor and her simple, direct statement sent my head spinning in every direction.

Maybe she was right.

At this point, I at least had to allow for the possibility.

That same night I had a dream so vivid I still remember it clearly to this day.

I was holding my new baby, a girl, and was attempting to nurse her but she refused my every attempt. Each time I would try, she would become more and more upset until finally, exasperated, she looked up at me and said, “Neither one of us wants this, do we?”

 

PART II of III

NEXT WEEK: MATURITY

 

About Amy

I am many things to many people. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend. I am a worshiper of nature on a journey inward, rewriting my story one word at a time.

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