On this day, two years ago, I wandered through the forest in the Adirondack Mountains with my husband. I didn’t know it then, but it was the last day I would wander, anywhere, as a singular person. Yes, I would conceive my first child the next day, on a fallen tree.
And life would never be the same again.
As I was taking a walk with Emerson yesterday, I thought about the last two years of my life—never alone, always sharing my uterus, breast, arms or bed. I thought about that last day as a non-pregnant, non-mother woman in the woods, not yet able to understand how massively altered my existence would soon become. I wanted it so badly. I was ready. I had lived my youth fully—traveled, tried new things, moved cross country, loved and lost, danced until daybreak. I had more than three decades of sleeping through the night, private trips to the bathroom, lazy weekends and the use of both my hands under my belt. I was sick of my self-centered Universe…I ached to give, to think of myself less, to feel consumed and inspired.
But, as I walked with Emerson yesterday, I realized just how different the concept of being knocked up is for me now. There is surely still the rush of excitement and the impatient anticipation of what other magical creature(s) are out there waiting to be loved by me. There is still the heart-exploding joy in dreaming of a new little one being placed on my chest for the first time….of soft skin and a sweetly scented head….of coo’s and newborn cries that I have all the patience in the world to answer.
Yet, there is something else, too. The thing that I feel I’m not supposed to say out loud (or feel at all).
Because, I’ve been there before. I can conceptualize it the second time through. I know what it feels like to be pregnant and give birth and mother a newborn….infant….toddler. And though I’ve heard that every pregnancy and birth and child is different, there is still the deep and knowing understanding of the challenges that will accompany all that joy and love and amazingness.
You see, the first time around, I most definitely thought a lot about the decision. I asked myself a thousand times: “is this the right time? Am I ready?” But, it honestly felt much easier to take that leap and just go for it, not really knowing what I was about to experience.
On the flip side…ever since just a few days after giving birth to my first, I have felt like the decision to have another is so much more complicated and confusing. Of course, a lot of that (for me) is about ideal spacing, finances, career decisions, and logistics. But. A great portion of it is also about knowing that I have to take a deep breath and jump back to the starting place I’ve been slowly moving away from the last two years. Some of it is about clinging, ever so slightly, to the tiny amount of freedom and space I’ve regained….and the intimacy of a family of three.
But, I want more kids.
So, I figure my only choice is to have faith that when there are two lines staring up at me, I will, just like the first time, be overjoyed by the promise of a new, beautiful life and embrace the experience wholly. Because, the giant, scary leaps we take in life are the ones that bring the greatest rewards.