For about five minutes yesterday, I thought I might be pregnant. Even though I knew it to be physically impossible (we have done something permanent to prevent such eventualities, but we have also all heard the stories…), such things cross a girl’s mind when she’s running a little behind, shall we say.
I was surprised to find myself emotionally neutral about the prospect. No, it wouldn’t be ideal, not what we’d planned, would make it difficult to stay in this little house and travel instead of moving up. But I rationalized it all instantly. The child would only be four when Aimee could babysit. We already have the minivan. There’s full-year maternity leave now, an option I never had the last time (as an aside, I never wanted a full year – I have never wanted to be a stay-at-home parent; I took Aimee back to the bookstore when she was a month old and begged them for something to do. I would bring her in and she would sleep in a little playpen while I catalogued antiquarian books. It was a good fit for all – they got cheap labour, I got grown-ups to talk to). I had it all worked out – I would take the full year and write the Great Canadian Novel during baby’s naptimes. I would do it all different, a little natural experiment. This would be the dream child, doted upon by big brother and sister, its parents more patient, if less energetic than the last time (of course there would be siblings to compensate with energy), pefectly behaved in all respects. Either that or it would be a rebellious little disappointment who ended up in jail, or working as a high-school dropout ski bum, and it would be my fault because it was unplanned.
I was a little excited at the prospect of Aimee and Jack having the experience of a baby in the house. Unlike when I was pregnant with Aimee, I had no particular desire for one gender versus the other (with Aimee, I wanted a girl so bad I could taste it; with Jack, I just knew he was a boy, it never crossed my mind that he might be otherwise). I even started thinking up names (I like Rachel for a girl, not sure about the boy). Not too thrilled about the prospect of labour, losing baby weight (never had a problem with that before, but time changes everything), potty training. Bummed about the prospect of giving up alcohol and coffee, and my marathon ambitions for this year. Interested in the challenge of raising a kid with the perspective of age on my side. Another pregnancy would give us the chance to do things we never did last time, like take belly pictures, and film the birth (just kidding). Maybe a home birth (maybe not).
It did occur to me that I might have some ‘splaining to do, since my husband was the one who got “fixed” so to speak, but my argument was going to be that he never did go for the test, so we are not sure whether it actually worked perfectly (of course several years of cycles like clockwork pretty much proved it by default – I could get pregnant from a passing too close in the hall, prior). I would be willing to take a test, however, to prove my fidelity, were it genuinely called into question – but not without feeling genuinely insulted. This lead to thoughts of whether I would do any prenatal testing, now that I am approaching 35 and the risks go up. Interestingly, there was never any question but that I would keep it – no other option was even considered – regardless of the results of the tests.
Anyway, the whole exercise was for naught, and I was equally interested to note that I was not the least bit disappointed when it turned out to be nothing more than fantasy. I guess it’s good to know that if it happened at this point in my life I would deal with it. I guess I shouldn’t speak for my family, but for me it was like dreaming about what I’d do with a winning lottery ticket. It’s fun to think about but if you really want it, you actually need to go out and do something to make it happen. I like my self and my family and my life right now, so the prospect of it changing in a life-altering way, although interesting in the abstract, was not something in which I was so invested that I was devastated when it did not come true. I confess to breathing a little sigh of relief and then pouring a glass of wine.
I know people who wait(ed) with bated breath every month to find out if they had conceived/dodged a bullet, and I feel lucky to have been able to do what I wanted, when I wanted to, with no resistance from my husband or my body. I almost feel a little guilty that it was as easy as it was, and that I am in the position of not needing to worry month to month if a sub-ideal situation has arisen which needs to be faced.
So I raise my glass to my empty uterus and the self-awareness it brought me. And confess I am actually fairly releived that it remains unoccupied. Wouldn’t be a disaster, at least from my perspective (hey, I always said I’d do it again just for the nitrous oxide during labour), but at least our little family can continue on this path we have chosen, which is just fine with me. Just fine.