If you would have asked me- several years ago before being married- how many kids I wanted to have, I would have said three. So now, almost eleven years into mommyhood, what changed? Why am I unsatisfied with the number of little spirits in my family? I have been thinking about this a lot lately, really for the past two years, and today I want to write out my story and my reasons why.
My husband and I create such sweet tempered, chubbly little angels, who wouldn't want a whole house full of them?? My pregnancies were fairly easy (a little bit of emotional stress due to me being diabetic, but uneventful, thank goodness.) I loved the growing belly, the attention, the anticipation, and the darling little dark haired beings that result. I'm a baby lover, newborns are so wonderful. And right now my youngest child is six and a half. It's been a long time since I had a newborn to cuddle, smell, and adore. I miss that.
The image I always held of my family doesn't look quite like my real family does. Nothing is typical when you have a child with severe autism. JJ is my special child, my lovely, funny, affectionate youngest son. But somehow I feel cheated out of something. Cheated out of the experiences I wanted to have with him. The "firsts" that have never come, the stages of childhood (that I would probably complain about but truthfully love,) the growing up. It feels selfish to even write that. But I wanted that for us. And since the reality of his life is different, I still long for that and believe that another baby will fullfill that for me.
I'm not ready to move on to the next stage of life. I'm not very old (31, I guess it's all perspective) and friends my age are still in the middle of having children and building their families. A baby had now, years after CJ and I began, would be so different than the first one when we were still kids ourselves. I want to experience that with him. I want to have a baby that my kids can enjoy, a little brother or sister that can be toted around and loved on by older siblings. A baby we can all look forward to together. I want to appreciate pregnancy and a newborn even more because I desire it so much.
The sad truth is, CJ and I decided to take permanant measures shortly after JJ was born. It seemed right at the time. It was the sensible thing to do, and all we put into the decision was facts. I am diabetic, we were young and poor, and CJ only wanted 2 to begin with. It wasn't 3 years later we realized our mistake. We wanted more. We felt inspired to do something about it. A big family might have seemed like a burden back then, but we look at it as a blessing now. We didn't think it was too late, permanent procedures can be reversed. Doctors seemed confident that it was possible. So we saved, we scrimped, and we reversed the vasectomy. And we had such high hopes. But slowly, almost 3 years have passed since then, our hopes have been dashed a bit more every month. No "two pink lines." No happy test results. No more high hopes. Money, time, and dreams wasted.
So my lovely dream, of four or five fantastic kids to raise and love, has stopped at three. I have to move on. I cry as I type this, because this is the first time I have said that. I still continue to hope, to hold my breath, to pray every 28 days for my baby dreams to come true. It feels unfair. It consumes me. It's reality and it hurts.
I have to press on, to love who I have, to be grateful for the wonderful human beings that call me mom. To let those dreams go, and to discover new ways to fill that hole. I will, because what hurts me and challenges my spirit makes me stronger. And I believe, with all my heart, that someday, in some way, my righteous desires will be fulfilled. I can wait.
Read other Women's stories about infertiltiy and loss here.