Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Fork in the Road

I ran another half marathon yesterday. This one went about a zillion times better than the last one, and I was within seconds of the goal I'd set for myself this summer. It was a long, hot few months of training, waking up before everyone when the boys got up (ie 5:30ish every morning. Yeah.) and heading out the door with friends or all alone. Doing speedwork and long runs. It wasn't my best ever, but it sure wasn't my worst, either. Overall I'd give myself a B.

I'm finally getting back into shape, running times that I haven't seen since before getting pregnant with E four years ago. Go me, right? There are clothes in my closet with tags on them, bought as grief therapy that now fit, or almost do anyway. O is sleeping through the night, E is settling in to preschool.

But um, here's the thing. Even though I've been working my ass off; even though I am sleeping again; even though I'm nearly done nursing; even though life is starting to settle down a little . . .

You know where I'm going with this, right?

I kind of want to have another baby. And the decision has mostly been made for me that it's not going to happen, but that's where I am.

I know, I know. It's nuts; I was a complete basketcase throughout O's gestation; it's unseemly and greedy to want another baby when I've already got two happy, healthy little boys, like tempting fate.

I keep telling myself that every woman feels like this, no matter if you have a 100%, or my 67%, out-of-the-womb survival rate. I mean, it's the primal need to proliferate, right? How do you KNOW when you're done?

So I'm at this fork in the road. One way takes me back to the start again. Back to worry and any one of a million things going wrong, and no sleep and stress and the possible sweetness and chaos that a new baby brings. Let's not even imagine me actually bringing home a live baby girl, shall we?

And the other way, moving forward with life, moving away from newbornland, getting back into shape and working towards new goals and let's not forget having a good night's sleep at some point. Maybe even, for once, sleeping past 7AM. (Or not--but a girl can dream.)

I'm coming to terms with taking the second path. It is bittersweet, often more bitter than sweet. If I stop to think about it too much my stomach twists into a knot and my head threatens to pop right off my body.  But I can't go on kidding myself much longer. The kidding has gotten me through lots of baby showers and pregnancy announcements and bitty baby girls being born . . . the kidding myself that if only I wanted it, tried hard enough, that could be mine too.


That's where I am right now.


  1. Oh Mary Beth. With the exception of the girl part, me too. I would dearly, dearly love to have another baby (yes, I'm nuts too) but I don't expect I ever will. Not really. And the only I am dealing with that is by kidding myself that it is still a possibility. And stopping to think about it gives me exactly the same reaction as it does you. Stomach knotting, head popping, the works.

    Well done on the half marathon, that is amazing. I'd give you an A+ for getting up every morning at 5.30 to go RUNNING!

  2. Sometimes I think I will always want another baby, no matter how many more I have. Partly because I will always have that nudge that someone is missing. Partly because I realize now that having a child really is like falling in love again. Partly because the thought of more children that "wouldn't have been" takes the edge off the longing for the one the "should have been."

    Thanks for sharing. Thinking of your little girl.
    - Kari

  3. My feeling after one, and then 2 at once was that there's always room for one more. We wanted 4 babies. I really wanted a girl (but Joseph had other plans). We went ahead to have have another, boy or girl. Then he died, and my womb was taken. What I would give to carry another baby. I'm at that fork in the road too. With an offer from my amazing sister to carry a baby for us (I still have my left ovary). Money will come from somewhere, and the money part isn't important. But, do I stop and count my blessings? Or, do I tempt fate and try to do this amazing thing. It's a fraught and powerful position to be in to want another and to make that choice. I can't imagine what it would be like to go through another pregnancy of my own after the loss of Joseph, but, if I still had my womb it'd be trying I'm sure. Anywho, I get where you're at. You see yourself coming back that little bit more with more indepenence from your boys and that's as alluring too. And, remembering Calla, always. x

  4. I understand much of this post. I'm so glad you shared. It makes me feel like I'm not alone. L and I have mostly decided we couldn't endure another pregnancy with the anxiety we had. There's always a chance we could change our mind, but the likelihood of one of us having a mental breakdown in the 9 months following are too high. And I understand about another girl.
    Totally pumped about your half marathon though! good job! I have been working out in my own way, and have dropped back into my pre-pregnancy clothes and was feeling really good about myself. I've been on break due a foot set-back, but hope to be back at it soon. Proud of you.

  5. I think you'll know the answer when you know the answer. I don't know if I can really say that we decided not to have more kids after C and R since the decision to get pregnant again seems to have been made for us. But, given the myriad options for making/acquiring more children, secondary infertility is really just a small obstacle. I just woke up one day and I knew I was done with it. I may wake up one morning in the future and suddenly know that I'm no longer done. Who the heck knows. It just is what it is.

    Also, congrats on the half marathon and everything that went into it.

  6. I thought having a girl this time around would make things simple. You know, having "one of each". Yet I sit here, just six weeks post partum, and I don't feel done. And I wonder if I'll ever feel done. I want Juliet to have a (living) sister. I'd love Angus to have a brother. I'd love my arms to have another baby to hold, because they still ache with the memories of the emptiness of three years ago.
    I just don't know, but what I do know is six weeks after giving birth is a batshit crazy time to be making decisions.
    I feel for you though, at your own fork in the road. I don't know what the answer is, but I'll throw this out there: never say never.

  7. Wow, what a tough place to be in. The decision to have children is tough in the first place (well, not for some) but add the possibility of it being a complicated pregnancy and it gets so much tougher.

    We initially wanted three children, two more after George died, but now that we have Clio we still want two more. I don't know, it is hard to determine what is the right choice.

    Wishing you some peace...

  8. I am in the same place as you, except I am not running half marathons! Go you! I choose to tell myself that I don't need to decide right now, although I don't have the luxury of lot of time since I am almost 38. I think that I probably can't stomach the stress of another pregnancy, but I hate to think about not holding another newborn in my arms. I feel like having another one is tempting fate and I also think I have to be responsible to my living children. So in essence, I think I am just putting off the admittance of the fact that I am probably done. But never say never.

  9. I have been sitting on a comment for this post for weeks now. I have read and reread it over and over. I am just jealous. really. Okay back up. I am so proud of you. Good for you to be with in seconds of your goal. I am totally curious on what those goals and times frames are. The think is...I am a, I used to be a runner. Well, it's complicated, but like baby death, not by choice.
    The last race I ran was the big sur Marathon in 2008. I defined myself as a runner. It was my identity. I found out I was pregnant after the marathon while training for the San Diego marathon and was running 11-14 miles. Unlike women who can just keep running, I was too uncomfortable, so I stopped. You see this was supposed to be a post for my blog...but whatever. After I gave birth to my first baby My bladder prolapsed, because I have good luck like that. It took me about 1.5 years to recover but running is just not an option. YES I was really depressed. It felt like a piece of me died back then. The bummer thing is, I don't have running as a way to cope with Camille's death. So I am jealous that you are running, that it is a way to relieve stress, that you have these goals that you are achieving. I guess I just wish I could be doing that too. It is what I crave. I used to cry when I would see people running with a jogging stroller...That was supposed to be me. Now I cry when I see people with a son and a daughter...That was supposed to be me. UGH. That being said, I am sorry you are at a precarious fork in the road. I can imagine wanting to have more babies and more babies because I will always be short Camille. No baby will ever fill her hole and I imagine that for you, no baby can ever fill Calla's "hole in your heart" I wish I was in my twenties and independently wealthy so that time and finances were on my side. More kids means more money...So I am sending you light and love and I know whatever decision you make will be the right one because it will be the one it is. AND when you are running and are feeling just less than optimal. Imagine and gentle hand from California pushing you along and wishing I could run beside you.