I had to scroll back through a LOT of posts to find the one I was thinking of, the one where I told you Paul and I weren't going to have any more babies and I was not, in fact, okay with that.
It seems like that sort of thing could stand to have an update, and so I will update now: that in August of 2010, close to two years later, I feel like I might be okay with that. Maybe MORE than okay with that. Maybe ready for Paul to make an appointment to have The Snip.
This has not been an easy or simple process. I fully realize how krazykakes it seems for a woman with five children to be having a HARD TIME NOT HAVING A SIXTH, especially in a world bursting with women who would kill their own mothers to have a first. I know, I KNOW---I mean, as far as it is possible for me to know, which is admittedly insufficiently far. But what I'm saying is that I know enough to cringe when I talk about it, because I can at least IMAGINE how it would sound to someone who had none, or one, or anyone who had not as many as they wanted but fewer than five---and I can only hope that the feeling of "wanting a child" is strong enough and clear enough that we can empathize with each other over THAT, even if it feels like I'm the woman sitting on a pile of gold and whining for another bag of coins, while other women are sitting on the bare, coinless floor. Or some other analogy that makes more sense.
The first stage---a long one---involved having tears spring to my eyes any time I thought of it, which was many times a day. I felt as if the sixth child already existed, but that I was not being allowed to take that child home. I felt desperate, like I had to convince Paul not to let our child be LOST, or something. A person's LIFE was at stake, and Paul's whim was KILLING IT. Like that.
The second stage---even longer---involved feeling like I UNDERSTOOD that we PROBABLY would not have any more children, and that I SHOULD be content with what I had---but I still HOPED Paul would change his mind, and I still thought he SHOULD change his mind, and I still felt like it was wrong that he would get to make this decision when really it wouldn't be that big a deal to have just one more.
The third stage involved feeling as if there might be SOME upsides to not having another. It WAS kind of nice to be able to get rid of the clothes Henry outgrew, rather than storing them. It WAS kind of nice to be able to buy a 5-opening frame and put the five newborn pictures in it, without thinking about having to start all over if there was another child. It WAS kind of nice to all fit in a 7-seater minivan. It WAS kind of nice to see the caboose on things such as playpens, choking hazards, and potty training. But if Paul changed his mind, I'd still go with it because I'd rather regret having than regret not-having.
And the fourth stage has just begun: a feeling that, actually, even if Paul changed his mind, I might not want another child at this point. A feeling that things might be good the way they are. A disinclination to start over again. A feeling of fear about accidental pregnancy, rather than a feeling of hope. A feeling that five might already be plenty to handle. A willingness to consider Permanent Options. A feeling of gladness to have the "they're all in school" moment visible on the timeline ahead. A willingness to look forward to grandchildren instead of children of my own.
So. I realize that this schedule might be wildly different from person to person, and that ALREADY HAVING FIVE CHILDREN certainly factors into it, but that's been my schedule: desperation, unhappy resignation, seeing an upside, and, finally, possible contentment. (I think if I had one child, or two, I probably would have stayed in unhappy resignation with occasional seeing an upside.)
I'm posting this in part because I think it's unwise to send Paul to the doctor on what could be a passing mood, and I want to be sure I know how much time has passed since I started feeling like it might be nice to be done with birth control and babies.
(Do we predict an accidental pregnancy this month, or what?)
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