I’ve known for a long time, but I pretend that it’s not true. I’m not having any more children. And it hurts. It is a physical ache, virtually unexplainable as to how all-body-and-mind encompassing it can feel. Until now, it hasn’t been a continued knowledge, though; it’s been an occasional realization of “damn” followed by a sigh and unwelcome resignation. I’ll get an email from Target about its baby sale. I won’t need those things. I’ll see a pregnant woman in A Pea in the Pod. I’ll never need to buy those clothes again (I should also go inside and tell her $250 is way too much for maternity jeans.)
Zaid’s birth scared the hell out of us. I think that plays a role in why my husband doesn’t want more (well, that and that we’re old(er), there’d be a 13 year age gap between the first and fourth, there’s no money, there’s no time, and there’s no space (but I’m not even fully using that bottom dresser drawer so bam!, I gots a bed if that’s his only issue.)) This is not to say that if I truly wanted to have another I couldn’t simply commandeer his penis and make it happen. What? It means grab/seize, right? Not confiscate. That’d be Lorena Bobbittish. Why do I remember her name?
There’s also this.
It’s crazy. Sometimes, I can feel movement in my stomach. Sure, it’s only gas or hunger, but oh, if I let my thoughts go there, it is a baby. I am creating another small human with the appropriate number of limbs, fingers, and toes. I am creating another person born of the love that my husband and I have for one another, another person for his or her siblings to look forward to, to love, and to potentially detest, fight with, and attempt to set on fire. It is at times a palpable, breath stopping realization that I am not pregnant. The IUD is doing its job effectively. Bitch.
I see infants and I stare. That could be me. I could be that pregnant woman. Originally, I’d given my husband 35 as a cut-off for children. “I don’t want to be pregnant after 35.” Um, what the hell was I thinking when I said this? Now, at 39, I have never wanted anything so much in my life. I can taste the frozen pizza I was addicted to while pregnant with Z. If I close my eyes tightly enough and stretch my arms around my middle I can imagine a growing belly, a tiny person filling my arms yet again.
I look at pregnant women and vacillate between congratulations and get away from me, bitch. Congratulations on this new journey, this new life. Get away from me, bitch; I hate you and your beautifully extending belly, your waddle, your sheer happiness at looking forward to decorating a nursery. I’m not going to knock you out and remove the baby from your womb. Gosh; don’t be silly. Yes, I’ve thought about it YOU ARE SO JUDGEMENTAL.
If only. If only there was money for a fourth. If only there was space for a fourth. If only there were time for a fourth.
It amazes me, this realization that the world keeps on going. In the midst of my paralyzing depression when I fully, truly, gave in to my third being my last, there was an overwhelming emptiness, an open space that I cannot, will not fill. Yet, the world continues. People all around me will continue to parent and have babies. Technology will continue to make things like the awesome Dropcam. I’ll never need a Dropcam. Some friends’ children will start to have babies soon. I will forever be left as the woman with three, of which none is a baby any longer.
Z is a big boy. He tells me so all the time. He doesn’t “need” me to do things for him. He is not a baby. My last baby is no longer a baby.
I will never sniff a newborn’s head again.
I will never soothe an infant to sleep again.
I will never bathe a baby and fear that I am going to drop it upside down on the hard tile floor again.
I will never buy tiny clothes, socks, or shoes again.
I will never need the newest gadget, toy, walker, stroller, car seat, sleep aid again.
I will never hold out my arms as a child learns to walk again.
I will never have breasts as abundant as when I was breastfeeding again.
I will never feed a baby mashed avocado again.
I will never need to think of creative ways to notify of a pregnancy again.
I will never need to send thank you cards for baby shower gifts again.
I will never confidently decipher toddlerspeak again.
I will never feel a baby move inside me again.
I will never look like this again.
I get to watch my children learn new things, read new books, master new skills. Fuck you, decimals.
I get to have real conversations, not those borne of unintelligible words. Or Dora.
I get to watch something that is not animated.
I will never have a human exit my body again, in a way that requires stitches ANYWHERE.
I will never have to carry a diaper bag everywhere again.
I get to paint nails, read Judy Blume, and play with monster trucks in the mud.
I get to run in the rain and convince all three to do it with me.
I get to listen to music that is not included on the favorite nursery rhymes CD.
I will never run into a child’s room in the middle of the night afraid that he/she has been abducted, is not breathing, or has been placed in the washing machine. I will still go to just watch them sleep, though.
I have three perfectly healthy children.
I am going to enjoy them.
But. If only.