Part I of this story (link here) was penned when I was just beginning to master my footing as a new Mama. The thick fog of post partum depression was just beginning to clear, and things were ... fresh. Ever since then I have been wanting to take another stab at it ... to have or not to have ... more children, that is. Back then, as I held tightly to my little babes who was only just a year old, that question would appear before me, "...are you ready for another one yet?", and my immediate internal reaction could be described as, well, I suppose, almost ... allergic in nature.
Now that not just a year but years have passed, I have been feeling like the time to approach this topic again has been nearing. Sav is now 3, I am no longer a new Mom, and I have been busy watching my daughter with complete adoration as she grows into this little human who can now sit beside me at Starbucks, sipping hot chocolate and saying things to me like, "so, Mama, how was your day?" We have found a rhythm to our life, and for all of it, I have been feeling incredibly gratified. I have been thinking hard since I posted Part I of this story, and I'm not going to lie, the thought of having more children has been in the back of my mind at times. I've been keeping a super close eye on what I guess I'd call my gut feelings, as I've watched and cheered on others in my life who have decided to have second and third babies ... and as I've held, cooed at, and cuddled each of them, my ovaries, well, they have not so much as tingled. Baby fever? I've remained immune.
Ok, so, all lighthearted ovary statements aside, I know that there is more explanation hiding behind these "anti-having-more children feelings". To be totally honest, mostly, I just have not been able to shake the memories, the gripping fear and all encompassing guilt that still feels trapped somewhere surrounding everything that was felt during the first year of Sav's life. I was so content with moving forward and away from all of that, that I just could hardly bear to look back. And so, with all of this said, what I can one hundred and fifty million percent confirm is that never in my wildest, my most primitive dreams could I have ever imagined that when I finally decided that the time was right to address Part II of this story, that I would be typing it out with my laptop rested on my swollen and ever so steadily growing baby bump.
But, look at me getting all ahead of myself here ...
It wasn't as if over the past few years there hadn't been a time or two that I had let the idea of what it would be like to have another enter my mind. Or that my husband and I had never discussed it. There have definitely been moments, that is for sure. Like the time I was cooking dinner and heard an unusual crash come from the direction of our theatre room where Sav was playing and watching a movie. I rushed in to see what had happened and noticed that she had dragged two, 5 foot tall metal giraffe sculptures from our hallway into the theatre room (and for those of you who are questioning this from an interior design perspective, let me just quickly reassure you ... these things managed to slip through the cracks and were somehow grandfathered in from Danny's bachelor pad days). She had placed them perfectly in front of the television, so that their pointy, little noses faced towards the screen. She looked at me with eyes that sparkled with utmost pride and announced,
"Mama, these are my sisters."
And even then, during such a crazy adorable moment, I couldn't fully wrap my head around it. I felt some sense of responsibility to my daughter, to allow her to experience life with a sibling, and I mean a real, live sibling, not one of the inanimate metal safari animal variety (although, can I take a moment to give a quick shout out to the kid's imagination!?) ... but then, as soon as I'd allow that sense of responsibility to soften into something a little more heartwarming, like a vision of her leaning over a cradle, holding tightly to a newborn's tiny hand, there it was again, that squeezing sensation around my heart, the raw and dispirited recollections. They would win the internal discussion absolutely everytime.
So, on that cold November night, just a few short months ago, when a certain brand of nausea rolled through my belly with a viciousness that I had only ever felt once in my life before, and the home pregnancy test I decided to take began to spell out for me what I already knew (yup, you're) -PREGNANT- in 10 seconds, rather than the standard 120 ... I could do nothing but ... freeze.
Later that evening, when I was able to breathe again, I decided to share the news with my husband and then also (via a phone call), my Mom. Both of them, with alarm in their voices, emphasized how I was feeling inside; "are you ok, Michelle?", "how do you feel about this, Michelle?", "I am scared to lose you again, Michelle." I began to feel myself crumble. It was Christmas time and I remember lying beside our beautiful tree and just ... crying. I was scared of the thought of losing myself again, too.
But then, so much faster than I could have ever hoped for, something happened, like when the sun rises on the field outside of my window in the morning, and this incredible, slow moving flood of cotton candy pinks and canary yellows flows across it. This feeling, this sense of calm entered into the parts of my heart that had been withering. This little voice started whispering at me, "you've got this Mama." And as it grew in volume I began to feel more than just a growing happiness or confidence, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness.
Suddenly, all that I could think was, "I get another chance at this thing!" How lucky am I? ... Are we? To experience it all over again, and this time with the sun, not the rain. Another chance to, from day one, moment one, savour as many of the moments as we can. I've always felt like the first time around, so many of those first, as I've called them before, glory moments, were stolen from me. This time I am going to cling to them like my life depends on never letting them go. I plan to embrace motherhood with absolutely everything I've got. My spirit feels strong. It feels ready.
I now know that there is even more purpose behind my reasoning to write Part II of this story. It's funny because I always kind of knew this chapter was in there somewhere waiting to be told, I just didn't quite see it unfolding the way it has. I hope that in writing it and sharing it, it gives anyone who has been through something similar a little bit of hope. If there is fear inside holding you back because the first time around you couldn't see through the fog and you felt like you just were not cut out for so much of it, this does not need to mean that the next time around it will all be the same. I may be naive to feel so sure that this time around will be different. But, what I am not naive to is knowing that this time I am equipped with so much more. The wisdom to know that the exhaustion is fleeting, the feelings of uncertainty are natural, and most importantly, the heartache, if it appears, can be mended ... I know that this time, I cannot be afraid to ask for help. Supermom, she doesn't exist, we all have our kryptonite. And you know what? That is ok.
So, if I could raise a glass (of wine, that is), I would ... here's to knowing that the multiple late night wake ups to come mean more cuddles. And here's to knowing that having even less time to myself will mean that I am about to be blessed with another human who needs me more than I'll ever be needed by someone again in my life. And here's to not fearing this thought, but embracing it. I couldn't see things this way during Part I of my story. I was stuck somewhere deep in the shadows. But you know what? All of that? I think it gave me the perspective to, this time, be able to say thank you, I got this, and I fully intend to scope out the warm and glorious sun as intently as I possibly can. Bring it on, sweet little babes of mine. I can't wait for you, my Part II.