Sunday, January 10, 2010

the baby maker

overheard from the other room a few days ago:
jim: " lily, would you like another baby sister?"
shelley: what the..? say no! say no! say no!
lily: " no."
shelley: that's my girl!!

this was a scary moment for me, and the second time more children have been brought up recently. i am writing this post, inspired by my friend angie who recently visited this topic. and, yep it's about babies and childbirth and all sorts of ickiness, so boys, you are free to leave. if you stay, i am warning you, it may be unpleasant, boring, painful or a combination of all 3.
i had a nightmare last night. a 6 AM, wake-up-with-a-start-in-a-flop-sweat-nightmare.
i dreamed i was pregnant.
and when i woke, for a brief moment, i thought it was real. horrors. i'm sorry if this appears to make me a bad person, but it was a dream, so i cannot be responsible for my dream self: after discovering the bun in the oven, i hopefully stated, "well, maybe i'll miscarry."
i know. you can stop being my friend now, it's okay.
if you are still here, thanks. but also, you must understand how little i want more children. i mean - nightmare. and though i have stopped short of sterilization, because i feel as though i am too young to make that sort of decision, i am VERY protected. there ain't no way an egg is getting fertilized in this body, no siree bob. here, in random order are the reasons why more children are a wretched, wretched prospect:
1) my "baby" is 27 months old, and is nearly ready to leave diapers behind. she is talking clearly, asking for what she wants, singing her alphabet, getting herself onto the couch, getting her own juice out of the cupboard and more or less on her way to becoming the independent little being she is destined to be. no longer reliant on me to entertain and do everything i am free to do other productive things like cooking, cleaning, family errands, run, blog, check facebook. yup, that pretty much sums up what i do. but who are you to judge?
2) after a few years of my body being on loan, like i were some sort of rental car company, i am GRATEFUL to have it back. it was the vehicle to house and nourish these lil' buggers for 3 odd years, and now it is mine all mine, again. i can run like a bandit without losing control of my bladder, i can work on my core muscles without squishing a growing fetus, i can eat (and drink!) whatever the heck i want without regard for anyone elses safety or gassy tummies. i can train faithfully at my sport and know that i am safe from not making it to the starting line.. for that reason anyway. it is a wonderful feeling, as truthfully there was a part of housing and nursing them that made me feel as though i were in prison.
3) i would have been a much better mother to 1 kid than i am to 2. i am short in the patience department, and the two of them together make me frazzled beyond belief sometimes, and the best they can hope to get out of me is present and accounted for.. not engaged and conscientious, like they deserve. if you added a 3rd, lord help them, they'd probably all turn out to be little criminals. it would not be fair to the two i've got to spread myself even thinner.
4) it's really really expensive to raise children.
5) i gave away or sold all the little baby things before they went so out of fashion no one would want them anymore.
6) i just bought a whole slew of size 32 bras, and size small underpants and over MY COLD DEAD BODY will i ever wear a larger size again!

have i painted myself a complete monster yet? still here? my, you have guts! the truth is, i may be typing something that a lot of you gals have thought yourselves. it's hard, this life of at home mom. it's fun.. but boy, it can be mentally, emotionally and physically breaking. and i have really good kids... i'm not just saying that. i see the little hooligans at the park, and my girls are angels in their midst. i can't imagine being a mom of truly difficult children. if you are... you need a medal.

please don't think that i am saying that i don't love the little dears with all of my heart. and the real truth, if you want to know, is that i loved being pregnant. though in my photo you may see a large mass of a woman, how i felt and how i perceived myself was better than any other time in my life. i felt strong, sexy, capable, ripe. i was so impressed and awed by what my body was doing. and as angie reminded me, there was this beautiful sense that you were never alone. then, while i spent those 9 months making life, i spent another good while after their births nourishing it. if there is a man here or a woman who hasn't nursed a child, i cannot begin to explain that connection... that their entire existence is owed to you, and their survival is the responsibility of your body. it defies description.

when i hold a new born in the nursery at church, i feel a tug somewhere deep inside of me. the memory of the first moment i laid eyes on each of them is as alive as if it were yesterday. the fierceness with which i wanted to protect them. when they were delivered to my arms i felt like a lioness, only with a bigger roar. at that moment i realized i would do anything... go to any length to make sure each girl was safe, provided for, and loved.
sakes, to hear me talk like this, you'd surely think: it ain't over yet.
and the real truth is, it may not be. i am 29 years old. sure, in dog years that's really old, but in people years i'm a freakin baby. or baby making machine. yikes.

there is a nice family at my church. when i met them they had a 7 yr old son, a 5 yr old son and a 6 month old. "happy accident?", i said. her response was a surprise:
"no. i had my first two boys really close together. it was stressful and i was always rushing to get them grown up, get on to the next stage. but once they were bigger i realized how much i missed, that i never slowed down to enjoy them and we decided to have another one. i am having so much fun with the new baby, now."

at the time, i was pregnant with my first. she's nuts!, i thought. they're out of diapers, into school full days, her life is hers again (well, some of it) and she makes another one!? not me!, i thought.
but i can see it now, i can see what she was saying. one day the school bus will come and both of my children will climb aboard, and there i'll be- all alone. how do i know that an ache won't build in my womb to fill that empty place? i don't. will jim want the same thing? who knows. what i do know is that it ain't over til it's over. and i figure i got about 10 years before it is well and truly over. but right now, it is just about the furthest thing from my mind.

i've peppered this post with beautiful pictures of my children. the children of the intelligence and beauty and adoration. God, i love those kids. and i am glad that they have each other. i am very happy with our rag tag band of 4... maybe someday it'll be more.


Barefoot AngieB said...

I love your photos! You look radiant :) I bet you look like that crossing a finish line too. We have lots of time to change our minds but for now to enjoy what we've got!

Allison said...

Love the pregnant pictures... you look amazing. I am close to 10 years past you, and my body is just barely coming out of my last pregnancy (8 months ago it ended with Jackson) and I totally relate to how you feel about getting your body back. And I think, like you, my baby days are done. And that's ok! Just because you are only 29 doesn't mean you have to keep churning out babies til you're my age. Or have more... whatev. :)

shel said...

angie, actually i look like i've been dragged behind a bus X number of miles when i am crossing a finish line!
maya's birth was so amazing, in all of the photos from that night i look lit up like a christmas tree. no drugs, no IV, no nonsense... just a dark room, the nurse, jimmy, me and some cookies. (funny story about the cookies. remind me to tell you sometime ;-) )

Anonymous said...


shel said...

wow. i've been getting some pretty snide anonymous comments lately. if you want to diagree with the content or critique the form - let's go! but the personal jabs are entiely uncalled for. wonder if you had the balls to state your name if you would be so crude? you know, as a friend recently pointed out, this blog is not required reading. so, this is your last warning d-bag, from here on, all of your comments will be deleted.