Stevie and Everett are my whole world. They are the hands I hold, whether we're in our back yard or at the park or on the city sidewalk. These two kindred spirits are my sweethearts, my heartbeat, my greatest voyage. They are mine. And I am almost painfully grateful for the gift it is to serve these two gentlemen with my life. Feminists, no need to cringe - I am treated like royalty by these two. We've got a mutual admiration society going in our household. We honor and serve one another, and my hope everyday is that Everett is catching on to that culture. Taking the cues from his Dad and learning from his mom. It's such a privilege, this opportunity to shape his worldview and raise his understanding. I am just in awe that I get to do this parenthood thing.
But with all of that love and adoration and basking in the adventure, I am often so exhausted I go numb. I am baffled by the enormity of what it takes to be a fully-present wife and mama. I am dumbfounded by how other women do it. How are they doing this so gracefully? Of course this leads to comparison and mom-guilt, which is stupid and unproductive, but it's real. How do women who work full-time do it all? How does that mama of 4 children do it all? I can't seem to keep my house clean, let alone manage all the other needs of this gig. These two boys have completely absorbed my life, and every last drop of my energy has gone into their happiness and wholeness.
Any mom can tell you that having a baby is hard. And any mom who chooses to breastfeed can tell you that choice is a sacrifice. And any mom whose baby won't take a bottle will tell you that it's an alarming scenario, because that means you can never ever EVER leave your child. And I will say "Amen" to all of those circumstances, because that was my situation when Everett came into my life. He was such a surprise. Such an immense blessing. The greatest gift I never asked for. And the most unraveling of my psyche. Being a mom is hard you guys. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing I would rather do than what I'm doing right now. But it's not a passive gig, having a child. It's not all Instagram cuteness and snuggles and reading books. It's sleep deprivation and body fluids absolutely everywhere and doctors visits that scare the hell out of you and being faced with decisions that you're 100% not ready to make. That's what having a baby is.
Is it crazy that I kind of want another one?
Yes. It is absolutely ludicrous.
I am grateful for the past six months. I feel like the pendulum has swung back in my direction, gifting me with my brain and my senses again. The first year of Everett's life was so intense and full-on, I felt like I was in survival mode to keep my head above water. I felt moments where I was tanking, and I often reached out to my right and my left for help. I am so grateful for the lifeboats all around me, those sweet souls whose words of truth and encouragement kept me afloat. And now I feel like I am really driving my ship again, doing my very best to steer in the direction I want to go.
Which is why, I'll be very honest, the thought of having another baby is a little frightening.
When I see my son playing with his little cousins, and I know he would thrive with a sibling in the house. Especially one that is close-ish in age. And when he sees other kids that are younger than him, he points and yells, "Baby! Mommy, baby!!" and is just so thrilled. I am certain that he would benefit enormously from a little sibling. And Stevie and I want a big family. We are both super close with our siblings and feel so much strength and camaraderie in those relationships. I certainly want Everett to experience the closeness and life-long companionship that is the gift of sibling-hood.
But honestly, it feels scary to go back to newborn land.
Is that selfish? I guess it probably is.
It's not just my selfishness that causes me to pause. It's also the fear that I won't love another baby as fiercely as my first. I LOVE my Everett so much. His presence in my life is the most illuminating gift I've ever been given. He causes me to see the world completely differently; so much better. He is hilarious and smart and silly and super free. I can already tell he is confident. He is poised to devour the world with his curiosity and humor. I can already sense his weaknesses. Even when he is prostrate on the floor, in an all-out tantrum, I can't help but giggle a little bit, because this boy has some fight in him. And I genuinely love his will and that spirited nature of his. He certainly won't go silently into the night. Heck, Everett didn't go silently into the night for the first 6 months of his life. As in, HE DID NOT SLEEP FOR 6 MONTHS STRAIGHT. But truly. How can I possibly love another little person just as much as this gorgeous, game-changing boy of mine? I mean, SERIOUSLY. What if the love just isn't as strong for another? How can my heart possibly expand any more? These might seem like silly questions, but they are the questions in my heart.
I'm just being really transparent. And my transparency is melting all over the weakest places in my heart and leaving me to wonder - will I ever, really, be ready though? I wasn't ready the first time around.
Are we ever really ready. For anything. Ever.
I have no poignant way to wrap up this conversation, because it is an ongoing dialogue in my head. But I am interested in hearing from those of you who decided to continue growing your family. I would love to hear the rationale behind the timing of your decision, how you spaced your kids apart (if you had the luxury of planning it!), and your fears, feelings, and joy about the outcome of those choices.
I know one thing for certain. I am ridiculously blessed to be Everett's mom. Best thing I've ever done with my time, ever. EVER. I guess that's kind of my answer right there, isn't it?