Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dodged a Case of Baby Fever

I've been thinking a lot about babies lately

One of my best friends - I have three - just had a baby. The four of us were sitting around the table the other day, purportedly to enjoy each other's company, but also because new baby snuggles are different than older baby snuggles and must be had before the baby is no longer new. Another friend who's said for years she doesn't want to have kids told us how she was going to have surgery, in large part to save her fertility. After seeing her peers have kids, she's still not sure she wants to have any of her own, but she wants to keep her options open. The fourth of our group has recently decided that while she used to think she wanted kids, she definitely does not anymore.

My work BFF is expecting her first child the same week as her first wedding anniversary. She's doing well, but also dealing with all the weirdness of a first pregnancy. It is so strange to temporarily share your body with another person. It's absolutely awful, except hormones sometimes trick you into thinking otherwise, and, even more importantly, there's the knowledge of the end result, which is pretty much the greatest thing in the world. Still, I mostly didn't love pregnancy, just the associated motherhood it implied.

We recently made a trip back to my parent's house for the weekend, originally to be at my my cousin's 7-month-old son's baptism, but it also happened to be at the end of another cousin's visit with her 2 1/2-month-old daughter. I definitely played with some babies. A third cousin is expecting her second child the same time as my coworker.

On a sadder note, one of my husband's cousins recently had her third 2nd trimester miscarriage and the delivery of this poor baby posed a lot of potential complications. Mostly babies are a wonderful happy thing, but every once in awhile something tragic happens and reminds you that it isn't always automatic.

I've been on the fence about having more children. Basically I think I want them at some point, but I don't want to be pregnant again, and then I feel selfish for not wanting to be pregnant again, and then I point out that plenty of kids are looking for good homes, so maybe we could adopt and then I wouldn't feel guilty for not wanting to give up control of my body for another 9 months (really 21, since I'd plan to breastfeed for a year after, and really more like 42, since we'd really like to have 4), but adoption is such a long expensive process, so maybe we could be foster parents and see if an adoption comes from that, although that's also difficult, and on and on ....

And then I think about Kyle's cousin and the losses she's faced and I think all of this debating whether or not to have more kids because I don't want to be pregnant again sounds really silly. Some people don't get the option to have more, or any, for that matter. Some people don't get to have control over the size of their family.

Actually, a lot of the details we stress about when thinking about having kids or thinking about how to raise them sound silly. Breast feeding/formula feeding, co-sleeping/crib sleeping, cloth diapers/disposable diapers, - these are not the issues to get worked up about. Are you feeding your child? Great. Does he have a place to sleep? Terrific. Do you change his diapers when they're dirty? Wonderful. Do you hold her when she cries? Then I think you're giving her all she needs to thrive.

One of the miracles of babies I can't get over is how different they all are and yet how perfect they all are at the same time. Each one needs something just a little bit different to be happy and as parents we get the opportunity to try to figure those differences out, and it's an amazing gift.

For now, my two amazing gifts feel like enough. If that ever changes, maybe we'll try to add another to the mix, but for now I am content. I am humbled. I am honored that I get to figure out what makes my two little people unique and how to best bring out their special gifts.

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