But why

For the second pregnancy in my life a cherished friend came over and asked me Why? It came up in context of telling me how surprised they were that two of their friends share their values so little that they are willing to have a third child. Don’t we think that is a terrible thing to do?!

I understand population growth issues. I do. I understand that having fewer children in general is wise. I get it.

I also have a desperate need for family that just isn’t going away and there isn’t another way to manage this problem. I’ve tried the chosen family thing. Guess what? At crunch time… folks go back to their “real” families and I’m left on my own. Except now I’ve created my own real family and they really like me and want me with them on every single instance of those days when everyone else leaves me to go back to their families.

I know I am selfish. I want a family. I want a big family. I can’t tell you what it means to a dirty little unwanted street brat that I have this growing, extremely loving family. I have a home. I have a place. I am wanted here.

I mean… someday my children will grow up and create more boundaries. But all signs point to my children wanting to still know their parents some day. They won’t live in our back pockets forever… but we will talk.

I get the strong impression that my children are the sort who will enjoy coming home for holidays at least sometimes. And I’m the sort who would say, “If coming home sounds boring is there any way I can sweeten the deal for a visit?”

Bribery is awesome.

There are lessons about parenting, about being a mother that I desperately still need to learn. Like, so far I have two children with wildly compatible personalities. What are the chances of that continuing as a trend? Ha. Ha. … ha. Oh shit. At some point I’m going to get a child for whom I am going to have to drastically change and grow.

I look forward to that.

My children are a spur to my behavior changes unlike any other in the entire world. I brought them into this world and I believe I fucking owe them a relationship that accommodates where *they* start out. It’s not all about me. I love that mothering has no patience for self absorption, well… not the way I do it. This is why I lock myself into rooms sometimes so I can be as self absorbed as possible for a bit. When my kids are present… I’m basically not allowed. I have too much I have to focus on outside myself. I have to worry about their hunger as much or more than my own. I have to worry about their energy level as much or more than my own. I have to consider about their emotional state.

I require myself to see my children as autonomous people I don’t understand yet. It’s why I ask so god damn many questions. Because I don’t actually know you even though I’ve spent thousands of hours staring at you. You are still a mystery. A glorious, beautiful mystery I will spend my entire life figuring out. Thank you for being here with me.

I want more children because I walked into this relationship saying three…. maybe two children.

I’m terrified of the fourth. Fuck. I’m terrified of giving birth to any more. I’m not so talented at labor. It is really hard to contain my rude feelings when my dearest friends talk to me about labor. I want to be kind of all JUST DON’T TALK ABOUT YOUR SHINY LESS THAN 24 HOUR LABORS. I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR SUCH STORIES UNLESS AND UNTIL I HAVE ONE OF MY OWN, CAPICHE!?

I don’t really mean it. But I’m feeling really scared of labor. My last labor almost fucking killed me after 9 fucking days. I’m allowed to have some big feelings, here. Can we talk about y’alls short labors after I am on the far side of this terrifying labor that may take who knows how many days because my body just doesn’t want to work harder.

I’m seriously ok with a c-section this time. I now believe that a c-section probably wouldn’t be much worse than my last god damn vaginal delivery. And I’d have good drugs. C-sections have a 6 week recovery period but you are supposed to be up and walking around as quickly as you can manage. I will probably be able to manage in less than the 2 weeks it took me to walk after my last god damn delivery.

I take it pretty seriously that labor used to kill half of all women. That woulda been me not many decades ago without question.

So I’m terrified of giving birth. But I want the people on the other side of this travail so bad I shake.

But whyyyyyyy don’t you adopt?

I hear this question so fucking frequently.

Do you not understand that I have a mother-wounding bigger than Alaska? In adoption… the baby has lost their birth mother for some reason. That’s a wounding. With the wounding I already have I truly believe I would be bad at centering the needs of a child with a similar wounding. I believe it would be hard for me to comfort someone for decades about the fact that I am not the person they want to have comforting them.

Which isn’t to say that all adoptions go badly. I know some families who have adopted and done very well together. The mothers are wonderful. I admire them deeply. But I believe they have a well of something inside them that I lack.

I am pointing out my failures. Not failures in the entire system.

I really need to be someone’s person. Not someone’s tolerated replacement. I can’t do that. The way my children love me? That’s a balm to my soul. That calms me down and gives me focus for changing and growing that nothing else has ever done. I’m supposed to be here with them. I’m supposed to take care of them. It’s not that I’m supposed to suffocate them forever with attention and smothering… but I’m supposed to be part of their constellation of support.

I’m also supposed to make sure they have friends and other adult support because let’s find a healthy balance here. This isn’t all about me.

But I belong here. I am an integral part of this dance.

No one in this house will tell me I’m not their real mother so fuck me. They will tell me they hate me. Some day a child will probably tell me they wish they had another mother.

But even that has less sting. I wish you weren’t what you are. But you are it.

Ok!

I’m allowed to take care of these people and it isn’t creepy and codependent. It’s necessary and appropriate! The overwhelming instinct I have is ok here. I’m not wrong.

Do you know how it feels to me to not be wrong sometimes? It’s kind of fucking rare. I assume I’m wrong in the vast majority of circumstances. I’m too loud. I’m too intense. I’m too needy and no one fucking cares. But however I show up to the role of “mother” is ok.

I’ve been reading stuff about Carrie Fisher as a mother. I’m not nearly so wacky. And that’s ok. Mothers have to be different. We have different kids and different lives and different capabilities.

I’m super interested in this third child. Noah and the kids who are here keep talking about a fourth. That’s where I get into my hemming and hawing.

I’m scared I won’t have enough to give. I’ll be 38 or 39 when a fourth child is born. That’s fucking old in my shitty body that didn’t like giving birth at 29. I know it isn’t old in the scope of women giving birth these days. But my body is shitty. These little factors matter. Not to mention that my pregnancies suck ass.

I believe with all my heart that I will do well parenting three. I’m nervous that four will actually hit my limits and I’ll fail. I’m scared that I will let my fourth child feel even a little bit the way I did as a fourth.

I do not want to create a child who will feel like a burden.

I keep saying we’ll see when folks bring it up. Because I don’t know yet and I’m afraid to guesstimate the capacity I will have in three more years. What will be going on medically? Not a fun thing to think about.

I’m 19 weeks pregnant. One more week till I’m halfway. I’m definitely feeling movement already and have been for a bit now during quiet moments. And given that I have IBS and constant abdominal pain from gas and shit moving around I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FEELING OF GAS BUBBLES AND THE FUCKING BABY MOVING AROUND–STOP ARGUING WITH ME.

Near as I can tell, I have more Come to Jesus talks while pregnant than anyone I know. More people feel free to tell me while I’m pregnant that I shouldn’t be pregnant than any of my friends. I guess that’s what being a train wreck in motion will do.

It is hard that it is always close friends I love and respect a lot. At least this time I wasn’t told I would be a failure because of my mental health. Just that I’m not considering everyone on the planet’s well being as I’m being selfish.

Ok that isn’t how it was phrased. But communication is a mixture of what you say and what I hear. I’m always going to turn your mild criticism/off-hand comment into a reason why I’m a disgusting monster who should die. Because communication is about what I expect to hear too.

My friends tell me that no one says things to them while pregnant. Even if they are having the child under very different circumstances.

I mean good fucking grief. I’m married to the same person I’ve always been married to and we get along really well and co-parent together like whoa. I’ve lived in the same house for 11 years. I’m financially stable and secure and my children all have substantial nest eggs for their future. My existing children are really happy and secure and well adjusted.

But I should still totally be talked to about how terrible it is to be pregnant. Because I’m me.

No, because my friend was marveling at the fact that they can’t understand how their friends have such different values about “living green”. (I’m not the only one in their  inner circle to have a third child and they just don’t understand us.)

Selfish twats. There’s your answer for why.

(Ok, I shouldn’t speak for this other mother. That’s rude.)

There has been one week of my children’s life when I was not coherent or capable of parenting because of grief/mental breakdown. I called in the cavalry of my extended community and my children weren’t alone for a minute.

I handle my shit.

I’m not perfect. I’m not the best mother in the world by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m not shitty. I’m not in competition for being in the worst 10% of mothers either. I’m doing ok. Why do I want more children?

Because I want there to be another child in the world who is wildly wanted and who is looked at from birth like they are a person of their own who deserves to be considered and I have exactly one way I can make that true.

Really I have very little power in this life to effect the lives of other people. But I can do this.

I believe that someday, when I learn the lessons I’m working on with my own children, I will be an excellent foster mother. But I sincerely believe I haven’t learned all I need to learn yet and I don’t want to make those mistakes with foster children who have already been hurt enough. My precious bubble wrapped babies can absorb a few fuck ups without losing resiliency. Their lives are pretty awesome. Mistakes that won’t make them flinch will derail someone else’s bonding ability. Perspective matters.

Why is fostering so different from adopting to me? I don’t know. In fostering there is way less implication that you are “getting your own kid”. You are helping to raise someone else’s kid. It’s just full fledged acknowledged. And that I can do. I’m good at that. As long as I know my place and I know it isn’t “mother”. But I am not ready.

I need to learn more about sibling rivalry and in-house fighting with people who more or less get along and love each other. What I know about sibling interactions is so fucking toxic and I’m trying to replace the information in my head. It takes time.

I never learn as fast as I wish I did.

I’ve read a lot of books about being in healthy families. I need to have these feelings in my body because otherwise it’ll be like me teaching that kid trig when I was a teacher. I can teach a thing I don’t understand and can’t duplicate myself… but it’s really hard and I leave feeling drained and worthless and stupid.

Even though Noah thinks I should feel proud and capable… I leave knowing I still don’t understand. I’m just reading it out of a book. I don’t understand in my heart and in my mind and I really want to.

A hollow parroting of what feels safe and healthy to someone else doesn’t feel good to me. I need to understand.

Something I have been noticing, that is a slight left turn. I’ve been noticing that I want more tactile interactions with friends. I’m not using my words and asking for them. But I feel the impulse to ask for snuggling during visits. This is a kind of weird impulse because I’ve spent a lot of time in the past two decades making sure everyone knew to keep their god damn distance except sex and brief greeting/departing hugs. But I’m feeling different. It’s weird. It feels like an interesting shift.

I don’t want to jump everyone. I just want to lean my head on their shoulders. I just want to snuggle the way I get to with my kids. I want to feel that more with adult bodies.

I’m pretty sure this is the strongest this urge has been in my life. I want non-sexual contact. That’s weird for me. For so long it was threatening. I had to turn it into sex or else.

But I’ve been doing this different thing for a while now.

I get to pick up Noah in about six hours. I’m looking forward to that a lot.

6 thoughts on “But why

  1. Shelly

    Back with me usual “oh adoption is damn hard” comment 🙂

    Side note… my sister will be 18 in 9 days.

    I have….. feelings….. about folks giving you crap about kid 3. They’re not pleasant.

  2. Pam

    I have tons of reading and opinions about adoption and fostering.
    I actually think fostering is a lot more challenging and a LOT more needed in this world than infant adoption, so in the scheme of things, could be considered the superior choice if the goal is making the world a better place.

    Global population is a pretty big deal, but nobody is perfect, not even meeee. Sister and I just had a conversation where she was appalled I only just now started to avoid palm oil. (And it is still in stages.) I am around a ton of vegans here, and so far I am only willing to reduce my meat intake, not cut it out all together. (I’ve thought about it all and have Reasons.)

    I think, like with everything, (including a certain controversial decision we’ve talked about in years past,) you come to decisions after a LOT of thought and consideration and weighing the options. If you decided to do this, I know it’s because you decided this was the better choice for reasons that may or may not be apparent to me yet. And I always trust that you make controversial decisions in the most responsible way possible. And who knows. Maybe your third kidlet will be amazing and save the world from climate change.

  3. Michelle

    That makes me so mad. I think what you are building is beautiful and thoughtful.

    The world does need more kids like yours.

    I hear you about platonic touch.

  4. Noah

    Randomly: I really hope you meant this one line as the awesome grammar-troll it came out as.

    > Really I have very little power in this life to effect the lives of other people. But I can do this.

    Based on context you probably meant “affect”. And yet, for somebody to call you out on it… You *do*, in fact, have only this one way to _effect_ (“call into being”) the lives of other people.

    Much like Taylor’s “pendantic” (not a typo), this is wonderful.

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