“I want another baby.” Those were the words that involuntarily blurted from my mouth yesterday morning. Luckily I was the only one in the car at the time. Gates and Indy would have been all over that in a moment; they both for some strange reason have baby fever. Gates has, in fact, already decided that ‘his’ baby will be named Brennan. He is obsessed with the idea of babies; however I am fairly sure that if presented with an actual, living baby he would be less than thrilled.
So what sparked my sudden urge of maternal longing? Just the sight of a trio of moms stepping briskly along on a power walk, pushing their babies in strollers. And realistically, I didn’t want a baby at the moment so much as I wanted to be ‘them’, the type of mother who has her pre-baby body back within six months, not six and a half years later. Just like when I see a pregnant woman with the cute basketball belly I want a baby because I want to look like that when I’m pregnant; which totally ignores the fact that after two pregnancies I can probably assume I will ALWAYS gain weight everywhere, my body believes in equal opportunity for the legs, arms, face and hips, not just the belly.
No, my baby dreams are not based on reality at all. And in reality I feel complete as a family. Not to mention that I simply can’t imagine having the energy for another child.
And, deep inside, they are based on the fact that I want a do-over. I want the chance to be the mother I thought I would be. I want to ask for help instead of trying to deal with my post-partum mood disorder on my own. I want to fight harder to keep breastfeeding. I want to have the labor and delivery I thought I’d have. I want to stress less, cry less and laugh more. I want to enjoy every moment I have with my children, to drink it all in and remember every smile, every word, every step. I want to discover Gates’ delays sooner and give him what he needs to make it all better. I want to trust my instincts more. I want to do all the things that I know now that I didn’t know then. Yes, truly, the only reason I have for even thinking of another baby (not happening, by the way) is that I want a do-over.
If I had that do-over, what would I be wishing for three years, six years down the road? Life rarely gives us the chance to do something over, but if it does then we just get some other part of it wrong. Sometimes we get it right, but not always. That’s life. (Oh dear, suddenly the theme song to ‘The Facts of Life’ is running through my head. If you are too young to remember that show…well, don’t tell me, because then not only will I have an annoying song running through my head, but it will make me feel old as I listen to it over, and over, and over.)
As I think back over my life I think of some of the times I’ve wanted a do-over, never realizing the blessing that would come from what looked to me like a mistake. If I changed my decision to drop my education degree and hadn’t spent ten years working in a dental office, I would have missed out on meeting my husband. If I had dealt with my post-partum depression, well, I’m not sure we’d be living in South Dakota. (Trust me, it all ties together somehow.) If I had done all of the ‘perfect’ mothering things, would I be able to relate to the struggles that all mothers have, or would I still be the self-righteous jerk I was before I tripped over my principles and fell flat into the mud of failure? If I had gotten my accounting degree first instead of my English degree, would I still be here, blogging? (And using overworked phrases like ‘the mud of failure’.)
No, I’m not going to get a do-over on the parenting thing, any more than I’m going to get a do-over in any other area of my life. So instead of longing for them, I’m going to be thankful for all of the blessings that have come from my messy, chaotic stumble through life. Mistakes and all, it’s my life. Rich with new friends, with new laughter, and new understanding as grace slowly seeps in, filling the empty places, healing the wounded places, and giving me hope for each new day. I don’t think I want any do-overs after all.