Disclaimer: Where the word "you" is simply my way of addressing the general public, not you, my wonderful blog readers who are possibly the only YOU this doesn't apply to.
I realize that once your only child reaches the age of 3, it opens the door to a multitude of questions regarding plans for the “next one”. So, it doesn’t take me by surprise when I get that question from family, friends, mere acquaintances, and members of the general public. Do I seem unsure when I reply? Perhaps I am not sure how to respond to you. Despite that, people continue to question me, the inflection of their words implying that maybe I haven’t given thought to this matter at all. Is it possible that item didn’t pop up on my Outlook to-do list this month and I need a gentle nudge? Or maybe I am unaware that at best, my children will now be at least four years apart. It was helpful to have you around to assist with the math.
So, if I look like I am unsure of what to say to you, it is because I am. I don’t want to tell you about the last 18 months of medical nightmares. I don’t want to talk about the poking, the prodding, the tests, and the medication. I don’t want to explain that even though nothing serious appears to me wrong with me, things just don’t want to cooperate. I don’t want to explain that it is a big messy mixture of issues related to my reproductive system and issues that are not. Let’s just say that Blue Cross Blue Shield may throw a party if I ever were to switch medical insurers.
I don’t also want to tell you that despite all that, we did manage to get pregnant. I don’t want to tell you that we lost that pregnancy after 12 weeks of excitement and anticipation. I didn’t tell you about it when it happened and I really don’t feel like telling you about it now. I also don’t want to talk about how much more difficult that was than I ever could have fathomed.
I don’t want to tell you that it is difficult to manage the obligations that I have right now and I am a little gun shy after the havoc that has surrounded this particular topic for me. It sounds selfish, doesn’t it? Well, it is the truth. I don’t want to tell you that having a husband who is gone more than he is home is hard. There are days when I feel like it takes all that I’ve got to be the best mom that I can be to Kate. I don’t want to tell you that being a good mom is hard work and there are days that increasing that work scares me. I am a realist, but I know those are not the answers you are searching for when you ask.
But because you don’t know any of this, you still ask. And I still struggle with what to say to you, because I am not sure when it will happen. I am not sure if it will happen. I am not sure if it is something that could happen even if I were certain that I wanted it to happen. I am not certain when I’ll be certain. One thing I am certain of is that I am okay with whatever happens. But I don’t want to tell you that, because you won’t believe me and many of you will feel like you need to fix something, or will need to offer awkward words of encouragement or assistance. Some days, I stop and think that maybe God gave me Kate simply because she’s the only one I’ll get. So, if I am only going to get one chance, he was going to make sure I got the best of the best. I’m okay with that.
It isn’t because I don’t want you know (hello, I am writing about it on the WORLD WIDE WEB), I just don’t have it in me to go there and quite frankly, it bugs me. So, I’ve decided that I need to find an answer for when people ask this question. Looking like a deer caught in the headlights, stumbling over my words, and lacking the ability to say anything hasn’t really been all that effective. With that, here are my proposed responses:
“The crack was so hard to give up with the last pregnancy. I’m not sure that I can make that sacrifice again.”
“We can’t decide if we want a boy or a girl, so we are going to wait until we can make up our mind.”
“Oh, we already have another one. I just keep forgetting where I left him. Adjusting to two has been so hard.”
“I’m not sure how to make it happen, I seem to have forgotten. Do you have some instructions you could give me?”
“Kate turned out perfect and we just don’t want to “chance it” again.” (wink wink)
“The maternity line this season is so not me. I’m going to wait and see if they come up with anything better next year.”
“We can’t afford daycare for two. I’m waiting until Kate’s old enough to stay home and take care of the baby, so maybe when she is six.”
If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Since I seem to get this question daily, having an arsenal of replies at my disposal would be rather helpful. And since we're friends and all, care to dwell on your shortcomings, and any uncertainties of your future? It’s really quite cathartic.