I wanted another baby, but the timing wasn’t right.
We were exhausted after our second. He was up every three hours. He wouldn’t latch, so I pumped and then fed him, which required twice the time commitment. We had our daughter to take care of. We had our careers.
So we decided to wait.
We revisited the discussion a year after we had originally planned to have a third. But he was starting fellowship soon, and we knew I would basically be a single mom with my own demanding career. I had made partner and was running my own business. I had my employees and partners counting on me. I couldn’t possibly take maternity leave with limited support and make everything work.
So we decided to wait.
In the meantime, I watched my sister have three babies, and while I was full of love for my nieces, my heart ached. My brother had another, and then his wife was pregnant with triplets. I longed to share the anticipation and excitement of a new baby again. My husband’s brothers’ spouses both were expecting, one with their first and second, and one with their first, and three more babies were wrapped in their mommas’ warm arms. Mine remained empty.
I loved my babies, and I cherished the time we had together, but at each milestone—preschool, potty training, sippy cups, solid foods—my heart burned with a desire to have a third. I watched them grow up, knowing that the longer we waited, the less likely it would be.
We discussed it again. Still in fellowship with little at home, now wasn’t the time. “But what about next year?” I asked, hoping. With imminent retirements of key players at my law practice, we both knew any sort of maternity leave was out of the question.
But still, I yearned to hold another baby of my own.
Everyone, it seemed, was having babies, except me. Every married sibling was pregnant at the same time. I was the lone holdout. And my heart squeezed with sadness.
At family events, it unequivocally came up. Are we having another? I laughed it off, joking that two was plenty, and I couldn’t handle another even if I wanted one. Which I did. Desperately. But they didn’t need to know that. Every time I was questioned, I held back the tears I knew were threatening if the conversation continued, and I quickly changed the subject.
Growing up with three sisters who are my best friends, I wanted so badly to have another daughter. I longed to give her an instant best friend.
My sweet son kept asking me if he could have a little sister. He saw all of his new cousins, and he wanted a baby sibling to love.
All the time, I question whether our family is complete. My husband hasn’t.
No matter how much I wanted to give him a little sibling, my husband wasn’t on board. So we waited.
My daughter starts kindergarten this fall. A piece of my heart will break as we hit this milestone. I’ll be happy and excited for her to encounter the world, but I know I will also ache longingly at the thought of having another baby as my own keep growing up.
We will discuss it again. Maybe it will be the right time . . . this time.
In the meantime, I’ll snuggle my nieces and nephews. I’ll share in the joy of all these new little ones, despite my personal pain. I’ll laugh it off when someone asks us about our family planning, and inside, I’ll take another sliver of my heart that just broke off and file it away. Maybe someday it can be pieced back together. Maybe.