V told me the other day that i should have three more boys so that H wouldn’t bother her. then she thought a moment and threw in two girls to the mix so she would have sisters. i laughed. but it was an empty laugh.
i always shuffle around the question of kids. it’s not that i ever imagined that i would be driving around a special van with twelve little munchkins in the back, but i admit i imagined a family more like the one i grew up in: as in, more kids than two.
i’m definitely not claiming to know how it would feel to want children and have none because i wanted children and got some. but sometimes i feel like the universe lied to me a little bit. i had postpartum depression with H and then postpartum psychosis with V and so there was never a whole lot of holding and loving babies for me. i held them, and i loved them, but it was all under an umbrella of panic so fierce i couldn’t see the sun. (we were in cleveland, so there wasn’t much sun to begin with…. ) having babies is really hard on me physically, emotionally, mentally.
from where i sit now, i know i could never have another baby. it would take as many people as staff downtown abbey to get me through it and even then, i might not make it. my doctors have all advised against it. my own logic and reason center sees that having another baby would put me over the edge and it would be a fall so fast, i might not ever climb back up.
but even so, i watch my friends having babies. i see the tiny fingers, the eyelashes, the squishy faces and i wonder why my family got stopped at four. i try to tell myself that i’m glad i’m not changing diapers or getting up at night or bouncing back and forth in the kitchen. but am i? my mormon culture comes with an unspoken (so far, in my experience) pressure to have children. and sometimes i can’t separate it out. am i sad i don’t have more children because of me? because of what i see around me? i don’t really know.
my inventive little people still manage to have all sorts of shenanigans together even though they’re only two of them. they play duck, duck, goose with two. they play musical chairs with two. they build forts. they lay on their backs and listen to ramona quimby on tape. they build legos. they fight. they scream and hit each other. they write each other notes not to enter their respective rooms. in short, they manage all the same sorts of things me and my siblings did, on a slightly smaller scale.
i suppose, in the end, it’s a matter of coming to terms with an adulthood that doesn’t look the way you dreamed it when you were dreaming it. and that’s something we all have to get used to, one way or another.