God damn, is motherhood hard. Every step of the process, from the initial conception of pregnancy, to coping with sleepless nights and temper tantrums, life challenges those of us who have chosen to procreate. For me, the journey resembles a roller coaster, or a rocky mountain range - soaring high into the clouds before suddenly plummeting into the craggy depths below. I sometimes feel like I'm caught in an endless cycle of highs and lows. Moments of joy, triumph, hope, and optimism, are all too often followed by bitter disappointment.
And it's happened again.
Deciding to adopt, and beginning the process of researching and making plans felt quite a bit like being pregnant. I was having a baby. I was having a baby!!! I didn't know how long it would take, or exactly how it was going to happen, but for the first time since those first blissful weeks of being pregnant with CC I felt confident of success. The weight of stress and uncertainty had finally lifted. I just had to get through a few more weeks of shots and hormones (just in case I had somehow miraculously gotten pregnant on our last try. SPOILER: I didn't.) and I would be DONE. My body would be finished with what is, to date, about six years of baby-making.
It sounds silly, but the prospect of things like unrestricted exercise, dental surgery, and having my thyroid (finally) removed, sounded wonderful. Not to mention getting to have sex again just for fun. Imagine that.
And to top all of this goodness off was the knowledge that within the next year or two I would surely be holding a baby in my arms instead of just in my heart. I was thrilled, determined, elated, RELIEVED...
Little did I know that my spouse was having the complete opposite experience. As I researched agencies, consulted bankers, and launched fundraisers, he found his resolve slipping. The gravity of the financial burden of adoption weighed heavily on his shoulders, and the reality of life with a second child began to completely freak him out. While I was celebrating our choice to move forward with adoption he was regretting it.
When he finally came clean it was pretty ugly. I'm trying hard to understand his point of view and have compassion for his feelings, but I have a lot of anger and sadness to overcome. I felt betrayed, and couldn't bring myself to look past those feelings for several days. I'm still licking my wounds and nursing a grudge, but I have to admit that I am thankful for his honesty. This would never have worked without both of us on board.
I asked him if he even wanted a second child and he told me that he "wasn't against it". When it comes to having a child, being unopposed isn't really going to cut it. It's not going to happen for us without intention, commitment, and hard work. My heart breaks when I realize that I may never get this from him, and so may never become Mama to another sweet little soul.
With adoption pretty much off the table my attention is turned to the last alternative, IVF. I'm scared of putting my body through this process. I'm scared of feeling another life inside my body and then having it die. I'm scared of committing myself to taking all of that on and then once again being denied the chance to try.
In one of our recently bitter moments, my husband accused me of being obsessed with having another baby. He said that he thought it was unhealthy that I was willing to go through so much to have another baby and wondered why I couldn't just be happy with the child that I already had.
I've had these same thoughts too. Of course I have! The truth is that I could be happy with just CC. He's everything to me, and I'm endlessly grateful to have him. If I couldn't have another, I would be heartbroken over it, but I know that I would eventually be able to make peace and move on. The proof of this is present in every moment of joy I share with my son. He has made me feel happiness on the very worst days of my life. My love for him will keep my soul afloat - I have faith in that.
But here's the thing. I CAN still have a second child. And I want one. And I'm not going to give up on getting what I want out of this life. It's MY life. I only have one shot at it, and I know what I want. I know that motherhood feeds my soul and makes life worth living. I want kids - as many as the universe will give me. If I had the means, I'd have a dozen of them. But that's never going to happen.
I'll settle for one more, and no, I don't think that's an unhealthy ambition.
Besides, CC also wants a baby, so that's two against one. Democracy, am I right?