The other night I had a dream that I was pregnant. We were so happy, so uncontrollably excited. We had just found out and had gathered my family to share the news. I can still feel the nerves and joy fighting in my stomach. I woke up and disappointment flooded me; it’s still lingering. The next day I started my period. It felt like a defeat, expected but crushing nonetheless.
I know that if I was pregnant, part of me would be ecstatic, but I’d mostly be freaking out. Money, space, time, money, money, money – all of the usual practicalities of expanding a family. But there’s also the boys to worry about, how would they react, adapt. And me. I have some health issues, both physically and mentally. I’d probably have to go off of several of my medications. I can’t imagine that would end well for anyone. My biggest (to this date irrational) fear is post-partum psychosis – that step past depression that ends with something very very very bad happening. It’s terrifying to know you have that potential locked in your mind.
I get asked if we’re planning on having a baby at some point. I never know how to answer. I say no because it’s easier. The long answer is: I probably can’t, at least without medical intervention of some sort. That was a horrible thing to hear from a doctor years ago, when I knew I didn’t want children. Now? It rolls around my mind continually. And I can’t take birth control. We’ve lived together for a year, not trying, but not not trying and it hasn’t happened, so I’ve dropped that “probably.” It makes every period a reminder that I’m broken in some way, which is a whole other bag of crazy that doesn’t need to be opened right now.
So we would have to make that decision, make sure we had the money to follow through, make sure we had the energy for an infant when we barely have energy to make it through a day now. I’d have to be able to surrender $600 a month to add a baby to my health insurance through work. We’d have to make sure that the assistance the boys get wouldn’t be in jeopardy somehow. We’d have to think about the fact that I’m 32 and my guy is 50. That I work full time, that he’d be home with a baby, two autistic children, and a fairly stupid dog. That my family is 2 ½ hours away, that his is further.
But! But. Then there’s all of the irrational, baby-wanting things that yell at my practical side. We’re good parents already. I know we’d make a cute kid. I want a baby. I want a baby. I want. I want to grow a little person and deal with all of the horrible and all of the wonderful and do that with this man I love. And I want a baby who would be mine in every sense, in a way the boys will never be. As much as I feel and act like their mother, I’m not. There will always be another woman who gets that title. It’s a shitty thing to think, but it’s there, yelling at me from the uglier, selfish side of my brain.
The idea, the hope, the want – they’re going to stay that way. I know this. However much I want, I know we won’t. I know this and most days it is a non-issue. The rational, sleep-loving, stress-hating, disposable-income-having majority of my mind is loudest most days. I love my family the way it is now; I love these boys and this man and that will be more than enough, it will be everything and I’m lucky to have the life I do. But. But. There’s always going to be a hard knot of what if stuck somewhere between my stomach and my heart. So I won’t think about that other life except in dreams.
Or until we win the lottery.