I think having a kid is the hardest, most trying roller coaster ride that could possibly exist in a human life cycle. I think pregnancy is nothing even close to the cuteness of the word “baby-bump.” I think childbirth is a prolonged panic attack. I think a baby is an exercise of tolerance that I cannot believe I survived. I think a toddler is punishment for whatever it was that I did that irritated my mother the most. I think being a parent is the most polarizing experience from your former self. I think the planet and the human race feel like they are mere moments from imploding on themselves, and it was probably really selfish for me to bring a human into the world in the first place. But most importantly: I think I want another baby. Nay, I am DYING to have another baby.
Why oh why do my 42 year old ovaries even desire to put this option on the table? “You can barely handle the one you have,” I can hear my dead mother snark. And she’s right! I mean, she’s dead and doesn’t even know I have a kid, but still. She (aka the voice I invented in my head) isn’t wrong. My finances (and likely my marriage) couldn’t handle another bundle of bonkers. We live in 800 square feet with only one bedroom. Our toddler may or may not, in fact, be a wild raccoon. I just now feel like I’m starting to reconnect with my former pre-mom self, yet here I am. Saying out loud that I want to do it again.
Sweet lord baby Jesus, someone call a 5150.
Do I really want ANOTHER baby, or am I simply yearning for a “do-over” with the first? Hindsight is 20/20, and of course we’d all like to go back and do those first two years with the knowledge of having done it. Oh no. Is that why people have second babies? Is nature tricking us? Likely. Nature kind of tricked me into the first one. The great unknown. Just get pregnant, and the rest will work itself out. The reality, of course, being the fact that I’ve shaved my legs thrice in 31 months.
But with every milestone that comes and goes with my boy, I cry two sets of tears. Happy tears because my baby has just learned to wipe his nose (smear snot all over his face with a tissue), and the gesture is so cute it’s of what memes are made. And sad tears because the moment has passed. It won’t come again. A thing I never knew I’d miss is gone. Remember those tiny little legs when they’re first born? The ones with no knees? I miss those. I also miss not crying at every single ever-loving thing. But I’m that kind of mom. I plan on just weeping myself through the rest of my life.
There’s an element to having a child that seems very selfish and self-important to me. Like I’m so great that I need to create an actual copy of my genes to stomp around the world once I’m gone? If it’s all about parenting and bettering our future, then why am I not adopting a Syrian refugee? Shit. Maybe that’s what I should do. I mean certainly our modest home in sunny California is by far and large “enough” for any child in need. Great. Now I’m confused as to if I’m selfish for wanting to create another life or selfish for not taking in foster children.
I’ve really never been this conflicted about much else. I knew I wanted to have a kid, so the first decision to pull the birth control goalie was easy. However, having a second seems like such a big decision with a very sharp deadline. I love me some “Janet Jackson Age 50 New Mommy,” but I’m a non-rich civilian, so it’s me against the ovary clock. I’m ok if nature shoots me down; I just fear I’ll regret it if we don’t try. Yet, I equally fear that I won’t be able to handle it, it’s selfish, or I will die from an overdose of baby poop and toddler sass.
When I started writing this, I guess I was hoping I’d come up with a succinct “aha moment” answer. A conclusive decision that I would never doubt. I did not. But I did just hear my toddler announce from his crib, “Hello mama. I’m awake! Hug?” and that is all that I need right now.