I have to start this by mentioning the 80s movie She’s Having a Baby. Do you remember it? Kevin Bacon (Jake) and Elizabeth McGovern (Christie) are a young newlywed couple who decide to try to have a baby. There’s one scene that always kills me – when Jake imagines his father-in-law in their bedroom with a headlamp on shouting orders about how to impregnate his daughter.
A while back I mentioned that we decided to have a third baby. Decided, as if it’s actually within our power to obtain said third baby. After blurting out our plans on the internet, I was surprised at how many friends and relatives wrote Facebook messages and mentioned it in person. I didn’t realize anyone would be so interested. (Were they imagining us doing it?)
It seems that once you’re married the questions about when baby #1 is coming never stop until you have your first child. The only way I can think of to avoid all of that pressure is to shout, We’ve joined the Peace Corps! See you in a year or two!
Shortly after baby #1, you’re bound to hear Sooo…when are you going to have another baby?
Sweetly encouraging, but eventually annoying.
So you have the second (unless you’ve decided to have one child and close up shop for good).
This is where it gets a little weird.
I’ve encountered some strong opinions about whether or not to have 3 kids or more. Two kids is a given, it appears. As if everyone is allowed to have 2 and anything more is almost greedy? Many times I’ve heard, You should just be happy with the two you’ve got and thank God that they’re healthy. You can give two children more than you can give three, you know.
(If the nay-sayers really want to be heard they should just shout, Don’t wave that thing around like that, for heaven’s sake! You could get someone pregnant!)
Well, of course I’m happy they’re healthy. And yes, God is thanked daily unless I have such an insanely frustrating day that my head pops off and I forget my own name and I start running into walls. Having a third is huge, worrisome for so many reasons, and – let’s not forget – expensive. And you know what else? It’s more joy to add to the pile. More laughs, more boogers, more first words, another cute tushy to wipe and another bright, smiling face tearing open presents under the Christmas tree.
This would ideally be the place where I say, Guess what, folks? We’re pregnant!
Nope. Not pregnant. Which is fine. Fine. It’s not like I feel entitled to getting pregnant on the first or second try. Uhem.
Did you have to “try” for any of your kids?
With our first it happened right out of the gate. One night we were like, So we’re doing this? And that was it. Luke was here.
Before our second child, we had a miscarriage. It wasn’t easy to go through something so sad and unexpected. Breezing through our first pregnancy experience with nothing but joy, the miscarriage knocked me on my ass and I was unprepared for the complex emotions I experienced. Especially anger. How could I having such strong feelings about this tiny, little not-even-a-baby-yet sesame seed? But I did.
Then Madeleine came along. I was elated now that I had a daughter. As strange as it sounds, having her made anything I’d gone through before seem worth it.
This time I figured it would take a month or two to conceive. Tops. I mean, we’re seasoned parents. Pros at the child-making part. And as far as the birth, I’m hoping it’ll be like when I buy 2 cupcakes at the bakery and get the 3rd free. But this time free of pain is what I’m going for.
We talk about it, laugh about it, and get nervous about it as we ready ourselves to face the world as a family of 5. One day, we hope. Each month goes by and admittedly I sigh for a second as I look down at the stick I just peed on. Then one of my kids runs into the bathroom and asks me about the new “toothbrush” I’m holding and I remember that there’s no reason for me to sigh at all. I already got lucky twice and things at the moment are just as they’re supposed to be.
No one’s complaining about the “trying” part, either.