Ten days. I have ten days left until my due date with our second baby boy. Everything I’ve read, experienced, or heard tells me that means I could go into labor any minute now, or I could stay pregnant for a good 2-3 weeks more. I hope for neither.
I don’t know how to express it without sounding evil, but I’m just not ready for this baby. I told my dad that the other day and he came back with, “Well, you should have thought of that ten months ago.” I told him that ten months ago, I was ready, but so many things have changed since then. I got accepted into nursing school, then we had to unexpectedly move (gotta love the military), then we invited a family member to come live with us while she gets back on her feet, then things… things I can’t even tell you about… started to happen and complicate so many other things. But truth be told, I’m not even sure I was ready ten months ago.
Yes, this baby was planned. Yes, I wanted a baby so badly that I convinced my husband, who was content to wait a while longer, that it was a great idea. Yes, I wanted my 2-year-old to have a sibling, and I wanted it to be soon. Yes, I thought I was ready. But honestly, I think I knew, even then, that what I wanted more than a baby, was to be pregnant.
There’s a weird phenomenon that I’ve witnessed in some circles, particularly the close-knit “military wives” category, where when one person gets pregnant, at least 5 others do too. It happened when I was pregnant with my first. I hadn’t even been pregnant a month before I knew three other pregnant women on my street alone and a handful more from other places I frequented. Then we all had our babies, within six months of each other, and everything was awesome. Play dates, camaraderie, advice and fellowship and story-swapping with people going through the exact same thing.
Fast-forward a year and those same people were becoming pregnant again! How exciting!
Except when it doesn’t happen to you.
Now they are going to get that wave of attention and congratulations for their growing bellies, swollen with new life. Now they get to be waited on hand and foot by their loving and diligent spouses. Now they get to wear all those cute maternity clothes again. Now they get to stop working out and watching their figure. And of course, now their babies are going to have built-in playmates.
To say I was jealous would be an understatement. I think I even became mildly depressed over this surge in pregnancy that didn’t include me. I loved being pregnant. It was one of the happiest times of my life. Everyone was so nice and supportive and giving and great. It was easy and beautiful and exciting and great. Then it ended and I was a mother to this newborn who depended on me for everything, but it was still great. I grew to love him even more than I loved growing him. He brought so much joy into my life, and it all started with that wonderful pregnancy. It was just so unfair that all my mom friends were getting to do it all over again.
So with some husband-coaxing and some love-making, I found myself jumping right back into the “We’re having a baby!” club just a few months later. What I didn’t expect were all the feelings that followed.
Not three days before my positive pregnancy test, I had gotten the letter saying I was accepted into nursing school starting this fall. So learning I was due mid-November was a little bit of a surprise. Should I commit to the program and deliver the baby right in the middle of preparing for final exams, not to mention attending clinicals and study groups and whatever else your supposed to do your first semester of an incredibly involved degree plan? Or should I forgo that goal for now and apply all over again in hopes of starting the following year? I chose to do the former. I didn’t know how it was going to work, but I couldn’t stand the thought of delaying my education any longer than I already had. My husband was supportive and we vowed to make it work. We were young, determined, and able parents, both already going to school with a 1-year-old to care for. What was one more child going to do to change that? And besides, maybe the baby would be a little late and I could deliver over Thanksgiving break, only miss a day or two of school, and jump right back in the following week! It was totally going to work out.
But I had my doubts. I began to wonder if it was even a good idea to have a baby right now.
Nine months later, in a brand new place, with all of those little worries about my fall semester no more, I wish I could say that feeling has gone away. But it hasn’t. I mentioned that there were other things that have changed since I first decided that another baby was a great idea and it needed to happen right away. While I can’t tell you specifics, suffice it to say that whatever my husband and I thought we knew about adulthood, or about raising children, or about managing finances, or even about marriage, has all been challenged, sometimes daily, for a good six months now. We are tired. We are stressed. We are broke. We are hurting. We are expecting a newborn in ten days.
And I am not ready.