It's after 1:00 am and I'm still awake. I've spent the past two weeks working furiously (and excitedly!) on my new pursuit of a writing paycheck, and I feel incredibly happy. Crazy, stupid happy, like I found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow kind of happy.
My husband and I have talked a couple of times about the future, and we seem to be leaning towards not trying to get pregnant again. He is (almost irritatingly) easy-going about it all - he is "happy with whatever decision we make" about trying again or not, which makes me feel the weight of our eventual decision like a barbell across my chest.
And yes, I know we don't have to make a decision right now. I know we can let it ride for quite some time, technically. The thing is, I've spent much of my life hemming and hawing over making decisions, and I don't want to live the next several months (years?) wondering whether we should or shouldn't expand our family, making lists of pros and cons and changing my mind a thousand times in the process.
Truly, I've felt fine over the miscarriage these past two weeks - so much so, in fact, that I've begun to worry there is something wrong with me - maybe I'm just a heartless bitch? I've been embracing my newfound motivation to write, and the idea of doing something to diminish the amount of time I'm able to spend doing that (like, say, having another baby) isn't terribly appealing. Other things that aren't appealing? Sleep deprivation, managing day-to-day activities around the needs of a newborn, dividing my attention and time between two children and dealing with the inevitable push/pull that goes along with that.
Selfish. That's how I feel just typing that; I fear I'm offending throngs of women by admitting that out loud. How dare I suggest that having a beautiful newborn baby would be anything but a glorious miracle? Then there's the other end of the spectrum - the one in which I think back to when I was younger, much younger; when having a family of my own was just a twinkle in my eye. I used to imagine (if you can believe it) that having four children would be the ideal number. One, I used to reason, wasn't right because he or she would need a sibling. Two was fine, but that still made for a small family. Three was definitely not going to work - I grew up in a family of three children, and the odd number of us always made for a two-against-one mix (and I usually ended up being the one), so logically four was the ideal number.
It might take me a bit of time to get used to the idea of having an only child, if that's indeed the decision we make. Let me state right now that any preconceived ideas I might've had about only children being lonely and socially-starved has been thrown out the window long ago. Thinking back to my childhood, I don't recall knowing anyone who was an only child. I could easily be wrong, but even if I am it obviously didn't make much of an impression on me. These days, I know plenty of fantastic, well-adjusted, intelligent people who happen to have grown up as only children, and I realize it can be a really great scenario for the child and the parents, too.
Then there was last night. We went to a small party where there were a few other couples with children. One of the couples has a baby. So far, being around this baby (and any other) hasn't had any effect on me whatsoever - no emotional pangs or welling up of tears. Nothing. But last night, as I was holding this impossibly happy baby on my lap, my daughter came over to asked if the baby could sit on her lap. After okaying it with the baby's mom, we set up my daughter on the couch, and I put the baby across her tiny thighs. An emotional pang came over me seeing her carefully balancing this beautiful baby while I began imagining her as a big sister. As the night progressed so did my emotions. Eventually, I found myself retreating to the restroom to have a good cry. Even as I was crying all I could think was, "where is this coming from?" I've been fine this whole time, and all of a sudden, BAM, with the tears.
After I composed myself and came out of the bathroom, I ran into the party's host - herself a mom of two adorable girls. Suddenly, the tears overcame me again, and I found myself leaning on her shoulder crying into her sweatshirt. She was incredibly compassionate, which made me want to blabber all my conflicting thoughts out loud to her looking for answers or closure or... something.
And so now I sit back at home, half watching House Hunters and half wondering how I'm going to feel in the morning. Even just a few hours later I feel securely back in my original camp where having an only child seems like the thing to do. I can't deny, however, that something inside me (my ovaries, maybe?) seems hellbent on convincing the rest of me to try again.
Despite my desire to make a decision about this in order to gain a sense of finality, I will reluctantly suspend the decision-making process for now. So, deciding not to make a decision is sort of a decision, right?
It's decided, then.
Or something like that.