As we start to try to expand our family I can't help but feel a certain mommy guilt I never knew existed. It's one that's way, deep down. One that makes me feel selfish. One that makes me feel greedy. One that makes me feel like I think my wonderful, amazing, only child is not enough.
Every month when I pull out that little plastic stick and hold it in the toilet bowl I feel a nervous, happiness, sadness, anxiety, as the pee trickles on to that weird little papery/plasticy test strip. Is this the time I will see the indication of an addition to our little happy family? Or will I have that wave of disappointment and relief all at once, again.
I love my daughter so much that I start to feel selfish about making another. I love every moment with her. It's that love that makes me want our time of "just us" to never end, but also that intense love that wants to give her to joy of a sibling. Will she be excited? Will she feel cheated? You can really go nuts thinking about every little thing? Am I greedy? Someone else would be so happy with the blessing of one. I love her so much it's hurts sometimes. But, I do want more I have always wanted more. The wanting more, and the journey for more, can make you literally insane.
Every month I just picture how I am going to surprise my husband with the news. Once, I even bought my daughter a "big sister" shirt because I was SURE I was pregnant. And, you wanna know something really shitty, when I realized I wasn't and I may not be while she was in that particular size and went to return it. The lady said, as she was scanning the tag on an adorable little long sleeved shirt from an expensive children's boutique with "Big Sister" written in gold script, "What, she isn't a big sister anymore?" Who the fuck says that? Idiot! And I started sobbing and screamed "No, she isn't because the tiny fetus I thought was growing inside of me is non existent, now swipe my card for the return you insensitive troll." Ok... I didn't do that but, I kind of wanted to! What the hell does she know? She didn't know what she was saying, ya know people get weird when they feel like they have to fill the silence. Let's all just stfu sometimes. Better yet....
Let's all do each other a fucking solid in this world and stop asking "are you pregnant?", "when are you going to get pregnant?" The state of my uterus and eggs are none of your business. "How bow dah?" This is not a casual conversation like "how 'bout dem Packers." The decision to start to expand a family is not something I have ever taken lightly and granted I am guilty of asking those questions in ignorance, but it's PERSONAL! Let's all try to do better! It's not a journey everyone wants to openly share with every stranger, co-worker, or sometimes even friends or family. It can hurt, it can be hard, it can be easy, sometimes we don't want to admit how hard or how easy or how God damn exhausting it is. The bottom line is you have no clue what is going on in someone's marriage, financial situation, health, or any area of their life that would impact their decision to conceive or NOT, now or ever. Or maybe they just don't want and little germ mongers running around their fucking house and guess what? That's OKAY too. It's none of your business. Sorry, it just isn't. I mean there are cues that would lead someone to believe that this conversation is ok, but most people don't read them, or don't give a crap. And again, I am 100% guilty of this I am not just throwing insults, I have LEARNED from uncomfortable conversation and experiences that I have had to apologize for my loose lips.
side note: In the emotional state I currently reside in, a quote from that book up top almost brought me to tears at a fucking Barnes story time:
. . . I wanted you more than you'll ever know,so I sent love to follow wherever you go. . . .
*I'm not crying you're crying*
Now, I am pretty open generally so I don't want people to not talk to me about pumping, nursing, raising a wild animal and remaining sane, wanting another, getting pregnant, ovulating, being a working mom, boogers, diapers, rashes, postpartum, the list goes on. But, to just ask someone's family planning in an off the cuff, mixed company, random situation is not really appropriate. Not in a time where some people's journey to becoming a parent can include 6 years $30,000 and a rainbow baby to get a single off spring, or two miscarriages, or bedrest, or a premature baby, or a baby with health challenges, or a spouse who doesn't want more, or a surprise pregnancy that sent their life off of the rails, or a successful or failed adoption, and you wanna turn around and say "don't you want kids?" Or "aren't you going to give them a sibling?" You may want to say goodbye to your siblings if you say one more dumb thing like that to the wrong person because it ain't gonna be pretty...
YOU don't know what someone else is going through or has gone through. You don't know if she just got bad news from her doctor, or got a negative pregnancy test, or a positive one, or is in her to two week wait after ovulation over analysis her every move and blaming herself if a pregnancy doesn't happen. YOU DONT KNOW. And, it isn't for you to know so you can sock away information on people like Gretchen Wieners. If you WANT to know and truly care, there are appropriate ways to have conversations, with people IF you think you even should have the honor of knowing their journey. What a blessing it is to know something so personal about someone. So private. To know their emotions and choices, to know what a family looks like to them, what they have been will to do to MAKE a family. What power you have to KNOW them better. What a gift.
I LOVE to ask mommies about making their first babies, or more babies, how and why and when and how many, in my sweats, in my home, with coffee or tea or wine. Not accosting them over their bag lunch in a crowded break room.
The frustration, the guilt, the relief, the excitement, the exhaustion, the tears, the stress, the blessing. It's different for everyone. So thank you mommas for sharing with me, I APPRECIATE you. I draw strength, energy, and support from you as we continue our journey. And I have your back too.
Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.