Every month this happens: I start to feel a bit… what is it? I’m cranky, tired, emotional. My body is swelling in my feminine parts. Panic sets it. Shit. I can’t be pregnant, can I? We’re careful, but accidents happen. I’d count back days to see if a romantic moment coincided with a fertile moment, but I’m not that rational. And it’s pointless anyway. By that calculation, Emmet can be nothing other than an immaculate conception. My body is a wonderland in which the math never quite works out.
Back to the panic. I can’t be pregnant. My life is full. Overflowing. My body is back, my career is on track. I no longer irrationally spew rage at my husband for suggesting a date night. “CAN’T YOU SEE HOW TIRED I AM??!!??”
Just last week my youngest bid good-bye to diapers. And with the conclusion of sleepless nights, sore nipples and chance encounters with human excrement, I’m bidding good riddance to the “physically hardest” parts of parenting.
I’m in control again. My children are talking to me and telling me how much they love me. They’re making me laugh and swell with pride on the daily. I can’t fathom going back to that first year of utter self-sacrifice. Here baby, take my body, my sleep, my sanity, my marriage. You’re awfully cute, and I love you in an utterly senseless and fiercely protective way. But it’s one way. I wonder who you are, what you’ll say. Today I know. And I don’t want to go back to not knowing.
When people ask me if we want a third, I don’t skip a beat. “No way. We’re through. I love my boys, but I’m done.” I’m not typically a decisive person, but this I know.
So, now what? Where would we even put a new baby? I know there’s a solution because plenty of American parents have more than 2 kids, but can someone tell me: where does that third car seat go? I honestly don’t know. Do you have to upgrade to a van? We can’t upgrade to a van. I can’t be pregnant. I was just selling Emmet’s crib online. Now what?
And then, inevitably. I get my period. I audibly sigh with relief. But something else happens. Every single time; and despite the fact that it happens each time, it sneaks up on me.
A sadness. My children are the no-question absolute most wonderfulest thing my life. And from some corner of my heart (or my uterus?) a voice says to me: “Now you won’t have more of the best thing in your life.”