I am done having babies.
I'll say that again: I will not have another baby. We are going to be a family of four. In our community, this sometimes feels counter-cultural: There are a great many families with three and four children.
The truth is, for a long time, I felt torn about this. I wrestled with whether or not to have a third baby. I considered how high my odds of twins must be, with my father a fraternal twin (and he's not the only one in my close family). I thought about how we would have to move, and I love our house. I thought about how much I wanted to live those disorienting, raw, extraordinary first months with a newborn one more time.
But ultimately, what I realized was that what I really wanted was for this not to be over. I didn't want this phase of my life, this golden moment, to end. I wanted another opportunity to live -- to do a better job in -- all the weeks and months and years that have already clanged shut behind me. And that is not the same as wanting a third child.
Understanding this distinction, which was somehow blunt and evasive at the same time, clarified everything for me.
I absolutely loved being pregnant. My two labors were the most extraordinary and empowering experiences of my life. It's true that I would not want to revisit the severe postpartum depression with which I struggled after the birth of my daughter, my first child. But the babyhood of my son, my second child, was absolutely luminous, and I remember those weeks as some of the happiest and most alive of my life.
But I don't want to have a third child. I want to have another spin around the rink, to feel again that gasping, outrageous miracle of small feet pushing up into my ribs, to sense something somersaulting inside my body, to surrender once more to the incandescent pain of birthing a baby. But all of that is because I don't want this to be over. And in my heart of hearts, I feel as though our family is complete. We are L, M, G and W. We fit.
Realizing this is not without a sense of real loss. It is complicated and then, startlingly, simple. We continue down the not-deciding road of "maybe, we'll see, perhaps one day" and time slips away. One day, we realize that not-deciding was deciding. And, while I wasn't looking, those days I didn't want to end, did. We are in a different season now. These joyful hours are brilliant too, and they are, like infancy, numbered.
Here we are. Our family of four. My Grace and my Whit. My drum and my descant. Set to the music that they make, our lives roll on.
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