They Say Web Writing Should be Short and to the Point
When Sadie first started pulling up on furniture, trying to stand, the grandmothers would say, "She's making way for the next one." It was too soon, of course, but I'd already had some pangs of infant hunger--that longing to hold a baby and disappear into its world. And sure enough, I found myself pregnant again when Numero Uno was only ten months old.
Georgia was a nightmare as an infant. She was half blind (clogged tear ducts) and colicky and screamed 24/7. She cried so loud and hard she always looked like her head was going to explode. Sometimes I secretly wished it would. No one could stand her. Out of my friends and family, Kathy did the best, pacing with her for an hour so I could jog, and handing her off like a relay baton when I returned.
I remember going through the KFC drive-thru one day when Sadie had had enough of the hell on earth that was three-month old Georgia strapped in a carseat. Not yet two, Sadie covered her ears and shouted her long-held confession: "I DON'T. LIKE. THE BABY!"
"I DON'T LIKE HER EITHER!" I returned. I sure as shit didn't want another one.
But when she finally started walking, it happened again, that trick of nature. That longing, that sense of loss. That urge to nurse a baby in the middle of the night while Victoria Principal tried to sell me face cream. A year later, number three was in the oven.
Truth be told, neither Jack nor George was planned, as I frequently remind them. I'd wanted them, though, in that deepest place in my heart, where my unspeakable fears and dreams hide.
I knew I didn't deserve them. As awful as I thought my marriage was, I wish it had been that good. Besides that, I didn't have the patience or sweetness a good mother needs. I don't even like kids.
Nevertheless, Jack was a beautiful boy! And somehow, Georgia transformed from a hot potato into the world's most perfect little girl. Sadie, the family darling, spent most of the time with her grandparents, being groomed for garden parties and Masters' Tournaments. By five, she was an adult, listening to Pete Fountain and quoting Tennessee Williams.
Jack took his first steps, in our first house in Atlanta, on his first birthday. Shortly after that, we moved to the suburbs, the repository for first wives. My children were 3, 6, and 7 when my ex moved back to the city. I assumed there would be no more babies.
Then I met Biggy, who sat me down six months into it and told me he wanted his own child, and if I didn't want more, we could still be friends. I'd already started a list of names. Less than three years later, we were married, with an embryonic Lo in attendance.
I had a tubal ligation after Lola was born, a decision I regretted before the soldering iron had cooled. I've read since that doctors should strongly discourage a woman from making that choice while she's pregnant. As much as I loved babies, I hated being pregnant, see. Every swollen, oozing, aching, crabby second of it. Trust me, it wasn't any more fun the fourth time, at 36.
I was done.
Every couple of years now, I trade my regret for relief. I'll smell a dirty diaper and be happy my house smells like a pet store. Or I'll watch a new mother trying to eat her wrap at Wild Wings between jiggling an infant carrier and looking for the pacifier. (Usually, the husband is plowing through a dozen Colorado Goldens and pumping his fist at the wide screen TV.) I think about how nice it is that Lola only cries at Mexican and Thai restaurants.
As I get closer to menopause, the regret-to-relief ratio seems to be turning in my favor.
So why is it that when I was a week late this month, and suffering brief bouts of nausea that sent me lurching to the toilet, I wasn't horrified or afraid? How did I manage so quickly to get past "I'll be 60 when this child is Jack's age!" to "I wonder how long I could work from home?" Where did I come up with the twenty different scenarios for breaking the news to Greg?
Why was I so disappointed when the test came back negative?