Wednesday, December 2, 2015

When Are You Going to Have Another Baby?

Titus is 3.5 years old and Haddie is 1.5 years old and we have reached the point when people start asking us, "soooo.... Are you thinking about having another baby?" I get it, I really do, because we have always wanted a third and it's about the time that conversation begins (and the time that feeling in my momma heart starts to think a baby sounds cute and squishy and doable again). But the thing I can't get out of my mind, the thought that chases me down and grows into a softball size lump in my chest is this: I'm not ready to have another baby because I'm not ready for my first baby to grow up. 

We have been discussing timelines and birth orders and relationships between siblings... (All of which only matters slightly since we probably won't actually be able to "schedule" when we get pregnant, I trust that God is bigger than any Type A plan I might come up with). But if I'm being honest, like 'don't-like-to-say-it-outloud-because-it-hurts-me honest,' I struggle with the timeline discussion because it always goes like this: "well if we had a baby in X amount of time, then Haddie would be X old and Titus would be X old." There are a lot of practicals that go into this 'distance between siblings' discussion (as a SAHM, can I handle 3 at home? Will Haddie be potty trained? Am I getting enough sleep currently to even consider adding an infant?) But one of my main struggles in fully committing to a third is that honestly the idea of Titus being old enough to go to school kills me and make me want to crawl into his bed every single night and sleep there forever. 

Right now we're in this sweet spot; he can communicate and obey (if he's in the right mood), play independently, he's an incredibly sweet and protective big brother and most importantly to his mommy, he thinks I've hung the moon. Every machine he builds, every "marble city" he imagines, every bedtimes story he dreams up, he's always begging me to participate in. But in just 18 more months (oh my, literally felt chest pains typing that, ugly cry about to begin) he will start school and spend more waking hours with someone else rather than me. All of his excited exclamations and creative thoughts and funny observations, those won't be exclusively mine anymore. And it kills me because even on the hardest days, that's MY baby.

So what does this have to do with the possibility of baby #3? I guess in some far off corner of my mind that is usually buried under rationality and practicality, I'm putting off thinking of baby #3 because I'm hoping baby #1 (and baby #2 when she stop feeling like a baby) will just stay little forever and always be more excited to see me than anyone else on the earth. It's easy to be in denial about how quickly your kids are growing up. But when you sign up for another pregnancy, you commit to a very firm 9 month timeline in which you know exactly what will happen: everyone, mommy, baby in utero, and older siblings, will get bigger and older. You can't help but shift attention to the newest arrival that will require so much of your time and energy in the beginning, which inevitably divides what you can offer to those around you. 

If there has been one phrase I've caught myself saying lately it's this: motherhood is weird. It's honestly such a melting pot of emotions, ranging from "I'm about to pull my hair out if you jump on my head/stomach/leg one more time" to "that giggle you've had since you were a baby will forever undo me- never, ever change." It's weird. It's everything and all the things, happening in the very same moment. You can't dissect it and you can't control it, it's an unconditional heart-bursting love while also being a crazy strong desire to be be selfish and left alone (especially when you need to use the bathroom). 

But this I know, I have less than a year and a half left with my first baby (whether we have a new baby or not) and I get to choose what those days look like. As much as I'd like to say otherwise, I'm sure some of those moments will be impatient and frustrated and angry. But my hope is that what my sweet baby boy remembers are the days when his mommy climbed under the covers at naptime and read him book after book and tickled him until neither of us could breathe anymore. That the picture in his mind would be of me building hundreds of marble towers with him and clapping and cheering when we finally got it right. That the soundtrack playing in his dreams would be daddy's record player blaring Christmas music while we dance like uncoordinated fools in the living room. 

To my forever baby; I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever. Once day you will grow up and maybe be a big brother to many, but you will always be the first to capture my heart in a way I didn't know was even possible. 

Psalm 113:9
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!

{Photos courtesy Courtney Halligan Photography}