Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Family of Three

Deciding to make a person is a huge deal. Or it should be. Shawn and I think so, anyway.

This little girl, this soul, this Violet, who showed up on our radar screen-- or at least our ultrasound screen--about 3 years ago, has upended the whole world. She reordered the way I look at work, at food, at birth, at money, at love, at music, at culture, at family, at marriage, at BLADES OF GRASS.

The willy-nillyness with which Violet's cells met seems insane to me now.

I don't see how we can have another baby without first commissioning a study or plotting a graph or at least making a budget.

How do we know this is the right time? How will I be sure Violet is ready for a sibling? Is there some sort of litmus test to determine if we can manage a baby AND an older child? Where can I get the guarantee that adding another Pierce won't be the end to the ridiculous wave of contentment Shawn and I have been riding for the last few years? What if #2 adds more stress than bliss? Would we be crazy to roll the dice?

The "It Will Probably Take A Really Long Time To Conceive So We Will Just Eschew Birth Control" method that brought Violet to Indiana now seems like a naive approach to family planning. People have asked me if Violet was a honeymoon baby; if Shawn and I wanted to celebrate our 1st anniversary with a newborn in tow.

The answer is no.

But of course NOW the answer is "Yes." A trip to Europe or a couple more months of newlyweddedness would have been fabulous. But not as fabulous as Violet telling me thank you after I sweep the kitchen floor. Not as magical as our family of 3 hiding in closets and bathtubs as we play hide and seek at 9:30 on a Friday night.

All of the things I worry about-- money, mostly-- but also the spacing between kids, the balance between marriage and parenting, the question of school and childcare, seem like enigmas. I just don't know that there will be a day when all of those ducks are in a row, when all of those concerns can be put to rest. We could bide our time, wait and plan, analyze every facet of each issue, and still decide next year might be better.

It was priority to me that Violet get to be a baby; that we not hustle her through her infancy because there was a fetus waiting in the wings. Violet would be 3 by the time another baby came on the scene. I think we've succeeded on that front.

Attachment is of the utmost important for me and I don't know how I could repeat Violet's 1st year with another baby. After our first 12 weeks together, I returned to work 32 hours a week leaving Violet with my Mom. Compared to most working moms, that deal sounds pretty cushy.

But I want more.

Ideally, I could be with Pierce Baby #2 full-time for the first year or longer. Mothering is a calling I feel more strongly than any other pull in my life and I would like to devote my all to it. Working apart from my baby for 8 or 10 hours a day feels unnatural to me. It depresses me. It makes me feel like a poor employee and a crappy mother. Before we add a person to the family I would really like to figure out a work/home balance that allows me to be the best mother possible to him or her. For me and for the baby.

Maybe the roulette method is the only way babies ever come along. Happy accidents, unanswered prayers, babies who were only sort of planned but were wholly wanted. Or maybe these questions that keep leading me to think "Maybe next month..." are a sign that I'm not ready yet. Maybe next year really would be better, more settled, lower stress. That annoying tick-tock keeps nagging, though, and I want to make sure that the clock doesn't make the decision for us.

I want Shawn and I to be the ones throwing the dice when we roll for 4.


Amanda Berkey said...

I love this post! I think that lots of moms struggle with those questions and ideas. I also wonder how you can love another human when you're so in love with a family of 3, but then your heart grew with Violet (and in my case Ava) so I guess it's part of unknown and sweet surprise. You will know when it's time or the universe will surprise you again. :)

Aly said...

I can't imagine Andy & I having Charlie at a worse time, from a planning point of view. And yet, I can't imagine where we would be had we decided to wait. He's absolutely the reason we turned our world upside down two summers ago. And god, he's definitely been worth it. :)

I don't know if there's ever a time when the stars perfectly align... but there WILL be a time when you feel less like waiting another month & more like seeing who the next amazing little Pierce may be.

Someone told me when I was pregnant with Charlie that love doesn't divide, it multiplies. (might even be a Babs quote!) It absolutely does. I couldn't imagine it when it was just Andy, Jack & I... but I get it now. Amanda's right, your heart grows with each addition.

Babs said...

Just a note for you, honey. YOU are here because Daddy and I had decided to use natural family planning, and the night you were conceived, when Daddy asked me if I was fertile, I replied "a little, yes." And he chose to risk it. Thank god!

Babs said...

Just a note for you, honey. YOU are here because Daddy and I had decided to use natural family planning, and the night you were conceived, when Daddy asked me if I was fertile, I replied "a little, yes." And we chose to risk it. Thank god!