VasecTimy: The One Where I Have Second Thoughts
Go ahead and pat yourself on the back if you called this one the moment I first posted about Tim’s upcoming vasectomy.
My name is Kristen, and I am having second thoughts about stopping the baby factory.
Despite the fact that all year long, I have felt as if I were done.
Despite the fact that parenting three children seems to push me just to the brink of overwhelmed desperation.
Despite the fact that the past five months of Eric’s infancy have been the most difficult months of baby-parenting that I have ever experienced.
Despite the fact that one of the things that got me through my labor with Eric was the phrase, “Well, at least I never have to do this again.”
Despite the fact that having four children doesn’t seem to be financially (or mentally or emotionally) feasible.
Despite the fact that a part of me truly feels that a chapter of our lives is closing, in a bittersweet and wonderful and nostalgic sort of way.
Despite the fact that I eagerly anticipate what will happen in the next chapter of our lives. Things like sleeping. And never changing diapers again. And having more independence. And sleeping.
Mere days away from the vasectomy–fifteen days, to be exact–I’m getting cold feet. (Or is it warm ovaries?)
I’m chalking most of these feelings up to a confluence of baby-fever factors that all seem to be rising to the surface right now.
The first culprit is the mediocre (but much-loved-by-me) movie, The Family Stone. It’s one of those movies that Tim and I like to watch every year at Christmastime (and yes–Tim was actually the one who REQUESTED that we watch it this year).
We love the warm and cluttered and lovely house in the movie. We love the wild and joyful family dynamic of the characters. And we love the idea/hope that our holidays will be like that some day with our own children.
The problem is that the family in the movie has five children. And so when we watched The Family Stone this year, it made me (and though he won’t admit it, Tim too) consider for all of ten or twenty minutes the possibility of having not one more but two more children. Because, you know, having more children will help us to replicate the experiences in this made-up movie script with shocking precision.
I know. It’s totally harebrained and stupid. It is not wise to plan one’s family around fictional characters and stories. Obviously.
But at the same time, I do come from a family of five, and it truly is that warm and wild and wonderful whenever all five of us are together. (Truth be told, it is pretty wonderful when just two of us get together, but it should be clear by now that it isn’t my brain who’s doing all the talking here.)
My brain just needs to get the message to my heart (and my uterus) that we can still have warm and wild and wonderful times with three kids.
Then there is the simple fact of Christmas and the general holiday season itself. It is prime baby-making time. (It’s no coincidence that September 16 is the most common birth date, after all.) I think it’s something about happy spirits (both the emotional kind and the alcoholic kind) and the general festive mood and the warm, cozy home and how cute kids look when they’re all wearing matching Christmas pajamas. They all come together under a figurative banner reading, “MAKE MORE BABEEZ.”
Or something like that.
Whatever the case, this holiday season in particular has pulled at my baby-making heart strings. Kind of like the persistent tug tug pull pull tug tug HEY YOU HEY YOU HEY YOU of a preschool-aged child when they REALLY NEED SOMETHING RIGHT NOW, MOM! Except it’s the persistent tug tug pull pull of thousands of years of human history imploring me to REPRODUCE AND SPREAD THOSE GENES AROUND, HEY YOU HEY YOU HEY YOU!
But it’s more than that. It’s way more than that.
This I know.
Because (deep breath, fight back the tears, stop being such a sap) this is my last baby’s first Christmas. This is the last time that one of my babies will have a first Christmas. No more firsts after this. No more babies snuggling up in red and green jumpers on Christmas Eve, no more pudgy hands scrambling to rip open wrapping paper, no more little eyes fastened in wonder on those first twinkling lights, those first sparkly ornaments, those first falling snowflakes.
And three weeks from now, this baby won’t even be a baby anymore. He’ll be a toddler. And never again–never, ever again–will I be the mother of a baby.
This is it. This is so much of it. This is right at the root of the hesitation and the sadness and all those irrational second thoughts I’m having.
I feel done, and yet so not done.
I am anxious to never have to think about birth control again, and yet how I look back with so much fondness upon those weeks when we tried and waited and wondered about the babies we made.
I have no desire to be pregnant again, and yet how sad I am that I never get to experience that miracle again.
I am grateful never to have to go through labor again, and yet how I wish I could revisit those moments of triumph and joy.
I don’t think I have it in me to parent a baby again, and yet my heart aches at the thought of never mothering a baby again.
It doesn’t help that as I write these words, my little baby, my sweet Eric, my baby who doesn’t sleep and who currently has a cold and who needs me constantly and who refuses to go to anyone else but his father…my baby is snuggled up against my chest, sleeping as I type, his heart beating against mine.
And I never get to do this again.
Imperfect mother that I am. Struggler with motherhood that I am. Impatient and exhausted and frustrated parent that I can be.
I do love this. I really, truly love this. I love having a baby. I love having these exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming children running around my house. I love it all like it’s an Impressionist painting, the details all muddled but the general idea there, and there so clearly if you just step back a few paces to see it all.
In these moments, these moments where I have the space and time to step back, when I have the chance to think about what I’ll never get to do again, I have my second thoughts.
And in these moments, I ask myself if I have the strength, if I have the grace, if I have the wherewithal to step forward and cross the invisible line in front of me.
I just don’t know what that invisible line signifies yet.