Saturday, March 1, 2008

Oh, Baby!

I love babies. I seriously do. I held my sister's newborn son today, and as I snuggled him on my shoulder, slouched comfortably in the armchair by his bassinette in the NICU, I murmured to my sister, This is what it's all about. This is it. I could do this forever.

Not everyone loves the infant stage. But I do. And it passed quickly enough with my first child, especially because I had a tinge of the Baby Blues and I felt Worried, Irrationally Worried about Everything, and I was a working mom and before I knew it my time of staying at home, baby on chest, rocking interminably, was OVER.

When the second baby came, somehow I was saner, more grounded, but I was also distracted. Distracted by the first, and by Life In General. So infancy, again, was woefully short.

So the rational part of me knows that to long for an infant, for another child, is to long for something unattainable. It is to wish for the sanctity of that firstborn experience, without the pain of confusion and insecurity. My life is too busy and complex to expect that I would have very many of those quiet rocking moments, without needing to drive somewhere to pick up an elder child, or prepare to feed them. After all, with a firstborn, it's excusable to starve the parents. After that, it's hard to sacrifice everyone at the Altar of Baby.

And then there's the Planet Earth Argument. We have two children. We have, so-called, Replaced Ourselves, which is somewhat environmentally okay, according to...Popular Opinion? But to create More Consumers than I and my partner represent is a different story, and begs, somehow, for my justification. My parents rationalized having five children by arguing that they would raise offspring who would better the world. Quite a gamble. Though I will assert that my siblings and I appear to be Good Characters.

Which leads me, as always, to examine, Why In Hell Exactly I Have Any Urge to Procreate ANYMORE.

Help me here, anyone. Because I know perfectly well that the environmentally sound decision is to create fewer people in general (all birth/death rate arguments aside). And I even know that from a financial standpoint, our two mostly-charming daughters are Quite Enough, Thank You.

And then there are the Stress and Logistical Factors, i.e., how much (or how many) am I and my husband personally equipped to handle, and can we, as Working Persons, arrange to take more than two children to lessons, practices, etc.?

Not to mention that while I generally love being pregnant, during my last daughter's gestation I broke a rib, which kind of cast a pall on my third trimester. And my uterus opened at my former C-section site during labor. So I don't go into pregnancy and delivery lightly.

We've thought about adopting a third child, an option which excuses us from a) environmental concerns, b) pregnancy concerns, c) ticking biological clock concerns. But it still leaves financial and logistical concerns, as well as unknown factors--which come from agreeing to be parents of any child, biologically yours or not.

So I can't explain why, from time to time, I have these strong urges to catalyze the wonder of translating our genes into a new human. I'll be bold enough to suggest that they are probably largely biological, but likely narcissistic on some level as well.

I just want another baby. It's not logical.

And when I have these feelings, I know to appreciate that my husband and I are, in fact, capable of having children naturally. And to appreciate that that fact is not reason enough to keep having them.

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