The other night I had a nightmare where I was pregnant for a third time and I had to go on bed rest because the pregnancy was causing my legs to literally rot off.
Suck on that one, Freud.
The house has been feeling slightly small for a while now (I joke that we have a one-in-one-out policy in effect), and D and I have been vaguely talking about moving if the right house just magically came along. Part of that’s just that we live in an older house with small bedrooms and even smaller closets. But we would regain a significant amount of our storage space if I would just let go of all of the Peanut’s baby stuff.
I’ve saved virtually everything of the Peanut’s, every onesie, every burp cloth, every blanket and toy, all to be used by some hypothetical third baby that we’re pretty sure isn’t ever going to come into being.
I don’t have the best track record in this regard. Compare my hoarding with the Peanut to Ms. B., of whom I kept almost nothing, because (1) the space required to store it was not a luxury I could afford, (2) I needed to sell her stuff to have the money to buy the new stuff she needed, and, I felt most importantly, (3) I was never ever ever going to have any more kids. I guess what I’m trying to say is, should hypothetical baby number three ever come along and read this post, they should not use it as a catalyst for developing some sort of complex about whether or not they are wanted, i.e., loved, thereby requiring excessive amounts of talk therapy in their late twenties. They might need that anyway. But it shouldn’t be because of this post.
I actually would really love hypothetical baby number three. So long as we are speaking hypothetically, that is. During the Peanut’s first year, D and I would discuss hypothetical baby number three as if he or she was a certainty. But as time has gone on, common sense has started to kick in. At Christmas I started drinking heavily around D’s grandmother, because I started getting the feeling that she thought I might be pregnant and I didn’t want to give her any sort of false hope. So instead of just blurting out, “I’m not pregnant, you know!” I made it really awkward by letting her think I was giving her great-grandchild fetal alcohol syndrome.
There’s the small things: Hypothetical baby number three would probably mean we would need a bigger car, and I don’t really like the idea of buying a car, for example. Also, I just don’t want to be pregnant again. Like, really really REALLY don’t want to be pregnant again. The Peanut is a light and a joy in my life, but my pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery with her was horror-movie terrible. Now quite rot-my-legs-off terrible. But close. Honestly. I don’t like to talk about it. Because I’m afraid once I start, I won’t be able to stop and I’ll turn into one of those crazy ladies who stop pregnant women in Target to say what a nightmare my personal experience was. I hated those ladies when I was pregnant. I just don’t want to go through that again.
There’s also the financials of hypothetical baby number three. We cover the Peanut’s daycare fees just fine right now, but if we were to add another kid, and double them, I don’t know where the money would come from. I really don’t. Not to mention the additional costs just associated with diapering and feeding a third human. Our budget has some wiggle room, but not that much. Not enough.
And there’s the issue of maternity leave. I used my grandmother’s inheritance to take almost a full year off work when the Peanut was born. The gift of that time was, I still believe, the best possible use of that money. But that money’s gone now, and hypothetical baby number three wouldn’t have that same luxury. And, on a personal level, I can’t stand the idea of putting one of my children in daycare at the end of my twelve-week maternity leave. Even if we had it, I don’t even know that my job would let me take another year off. They just held my empty office for a year. And it took a good eighteen months after I came back for my case load to get high enough that I was earning the firm the same amount of money as I was before the Peanut was born. That’s two and a half years where I was just a money suck for my employer.
If it were possible, I would stay home in a heart beat. Yeah. I said it. I’m a highly educated, only-six-credit-hours-away-from-a-double-major-in-Women’s-Studies-sure-I’ll-say-I’m-a-feminist, woman with a ‘career,’ and I’m saying I would love to be a stay at home mom. Because I can’t stand the juggle. The “No, Bossman, I can’t stay late for that meeting because I have to pick up my kids. No, beloved daughter, you can’t participate in that activity because I have to work and there’s no way I could get you there” juggle. Maybe its just that I really hate saying ‘no’ to my kids so much, but I like my juggle analogy, so I’m going to stick with it here. I suck at the juggle. My inability to juggle well means I’m not exactly ‘partner track,’ so what am I doing here anyway when all I really want to do is focus on Ms. B, the Peanut, and D? Hate the juggle. Loathe it.
But the juggle is my reality. And the thought of adding one more human being’s ball of wants and needs to that juggle just feels unworkable. I know it’s not, but it feels that way.
So, yeah. We’re done. No hypothetical baby number three for us. Except for there’s all this baby stuff in the attic. Stuff that D tried to sell to a coworker who was having a baby a little while ago. Stuff which I only then realized I was extremely unwilling to let go of. Because despite all the impracticalities and ‘probably never going to happens,’ despite the fear of it causing my legs to rot off, I can’t quite pull the trigger on letting go of hypothetical baby number three.