I thought I was pregnant the other day.
This, in and of itself, isn’t that remarkable. As Marc has said in the past, I’ve successfully predicted 37 of my past three pregnancies. It wasn’t that remarkable that I’m not either, we use birth control, and I’m in my early forties.
What was remarkable was that I didn’t really want to be.
Every other time I’ve convinced myself I was pregnant, I’ve wanted it. Every other time (except for the three time when I was, in fact, pregnant), there was a part of me that was disappointed when I wasn’t. This was the first time that I just didn’t want to be.
I spent all day, trying to figure it out. What was different? Sure, financially, it would be hard, but no harder than it’s been other times. Yes, Julie’s pregnancy was brutal, and each pregnancy got progressively tougher, so you’d have to assume that this one would be even harder. Marc and I are both older now, more tired, and less patient. I’ve got three kids, all of whom NEED a lot. I’ve got Sam, who’s going to need a lot of additional time and effort because of the injury.
But that wasn’t it. There were all these perfectly logical reasons why a pregnancy would be a horrible idea, but that wasn’t it.
It was that another baby would make me that much more vulnerable. Another baby would be another baby who might get hurt.
I love these three kids. So much. And I let them outside, into the world, every day. I have to, I want them to be all that they can be, but I walk around, every day, with the knowledge that at any time, at any point, out of nowhere, they could be horribly, horrible injured. It’s not in the forefront of my mind. It’s not even something I’m conscious of, but it’s there.
I don’t know if I could do it again.
I look back over those six months, from January through June, and I am terrified of doing it again. Of watching him suffer, first with the crippling anxiety, falling deeper and deeper into a cycle of fear and terror – and not being able to stop it. Then the accident, and the pain… oh my God, the pain. Watching him hurt, hurt so much worse than I’ve ever felt, and not being able to fix it. Seeing him so afraid, holding him down for bloodwork and anesthesia, searching for answers and not knowing what was coming next. Watching his vision going dark, trying to balance out saving his sight with saving his sanity – because I legitimately didn’t know if he’d survive another hospital stay. Being in that place – when your child is suffering so much, and you can’t fix it… I don’t know if I could do that again.
I love these three kids, so much. And I’m so grateful for them. I can let them out into the world, and live their lives, because there is no other option. I send Sam off Pokemon go-ing in the afternoon, drop Julie off at tennis camp, and send Jessie off to Harvard for Model UN camp. I encourage them to go, to do, to not hesitate and achieve whatever they dream. But somewhere down deep, in a way that I don’t think about and have a hard time articulating… I’m scared all the time.
I can do it. With these three. Because the alternative is unthinkable. But starting all over again – with another baby, with a greater statistical chance of down syndrome or autism or a million other challenges that being an older mom with an older dad presents… the thought of it is terrifying.
I’m not pregnant. For the first time in my life, I’m relieved.