Postponing Motherhood and the Consequence I Never Considered

I never thought of the possible consequences of postponing motherhood but  lately, I’ve been missing that new baby smell. It’s crazy that I am saying this out loud because it feels a little like something I should be keeping to myself but what they hell, I figure when I go through these difficult times, I’m not usually the only one feeling this way. I can’t be the only one who has regretted not having more kids or wishing they’d started having babies earlier.

The thing is that I always wanted a big family. I come from six brothers and sisters and even when it was crazy, crowded and hard there was a simple peace in knowing that I had 5 built in ride or die bitches at my disposal. I mean, we’re the kind of deep that if one calls to tell the others that we just murdered someone, there is no asking why or questioning our morality and sanity, there is only, “where do I need to be and what do I need to do to protect you?” These are the people I would die for or at the very least murder for. I’m not afforded the luxury of dying for anyone since having children, except for them.

Anyways, the point is I kind of wanted my children to have that. They do. They have each other and I have taught them specifically what it means to be each other’s ride or die bitch and they know that’s how family works. The family is everything. They know that. They embrace it mostly except for when they are telling the other one that they wish they were an only child. That really burns my ass because I worked hard for the two I have and they should be grateful that they have one another.

When I was a little girl, I wanted at least 4 kids. It wasn’t as many as my mom or my grandmothers had but it was a nice even number of children to love. I wanted two boys and two girls. I got the two girls. But life and circumstances just didn’t provide us with the opportunity to have four. I would have settled for 3 but then I had the miscarriage and then I was just too freaking beaten down and betrayed by my own body and I gave up. I was afraid; terrified of another loss. That was 4 years ago.

We waited to have babies until after we had been married for five years. My generation was taught that getting married and pregnant right away was old fashioned. We wanted it all and that meant being a little selfish and being happy without worrying about some future children that didn’t even exist.  But in truth, I was ready after year one of marriage (my mom had 5 kids between the age of 23 and 29) but the Big Guy wasn’t so convinced early on if he even wanted kids. We had fallen in love and gotten married so quickly. In all that hustle, we completely forgot to hammer out the important details like whether or not we both wanted children. It was a really shitty spot to be in knowing that you absolutely loved your husband but that you would both have to make a decision whether or not the marriage could survive the sacrifice of not having children. I knew I wanted to be a mother. It wasn’t something I was willing to forgo. I knew if I did, I’d regret it later and probably end up hating him for it in the long run. It was all coming to a head when we decided to plan to plan to get pregnant. Life had other plans. We got pregnant on our five-year anniversary getaway.

It was a really shitty spot to be in knowing that you absolutely loved your husband but that you would both have to make a decision whether or not the marriage could survive the sacrifice of not having children. I knew I wanted to be a mother. It wasn’t something I was willing to forgo. I knew if I did, I’d regret it later and probably end up hating him for it in the long run. We were postponing the inevitable. But it seemed ridiculous to divorce someone who you completely and unconditionally loved but it also seemed unbearable to not be a mother. It was all coming to a head when we decided to plan to get pregnant right before our five-year anniversary. There was no specific date or plan of action but we had agreed to plan to get pregnant at some time in future. Life had other plans. We got pregnant on our five-year anniversary getaway.

The point is we got pregnant and after the shock wore off, we were both absolutely thrilled with the idea of being parents. So thrilled in fact that we immediately planned to get pregnant again. We wanted the kids to be two years apart and so that’s what we did. Again, it was amazing. The Big Guy is not only an amazing man in general, he is an outstanding father. I mean he’s the kind of dad that you see in the movies. He not only loves his girls unconditionally, he is involved in their lives and not only talks to them but listens to them; like really listens. He even hears what they don’t say. It’s kind of beautiful and every time I see it, I fall deeper in love with him. So, we planned to go for baby #3. I really wanted a boy because the thought of raising a son with my husband, molding another boy into a man like my husband; let’s just say, there need to be more men in the world like my husband. Living in different states made it impossible to get pregnant. Then, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. We had a surprise but it didn’t take and then fear tricked my heart into believing that we were done.

Now, here I am, past my own personal fertility expiration date and I can’t stop thinking of that one more baby. I get glimpses of what another baby would look like in our family but it’s too late. My time has passed. But it doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about what a son raised by the Big Guy would have been like. Then I find myself sad because I feel like we missed an opportunity to do something amazing. I’m missing that new baby smell. I’m feeling a giant hole where baby #3 should be. Maybe it’s just that time of year and I know we had it in our grasp and we lost it. We had it and it’s gone, like those damn Pokémon that ghost out on you after using 10 superballs. Once your balls are gone, they’re gone. I don’t know how to fill this hole. I don’t think there is anything I can do but learn to live with it.

I can’t be the only woman who’s felt this way. I imagine there are plenty of people who have decided to forgo becoming parents or put parenthood on the back burner only to feel regret later. I’m actually certain that there are people who’ve had children and wished they hadn’t. Only I know that I wish I had our third. It’s my only regret in my life. I’ve always believed that where there is a will there is a way but, in this case, there is no possible way that I can have another pregnancy or have another natural pregnancy. I have the tools and all my parts are still working but the risk just outweighs the reward and the odds of failure are much higher. I don’t want to go through that but how do you learn to live with not being able to fulfill a heart’s desire?

Part of me feels like I have no right to feel sad about this, after all I have two healthy and happy children. I know there are women who battle fertilty and never get what I have. I know I am blessed to have what I have but still, the void is real.

Did you wait to have children? What do you think are the biggest consequences of postponing motherhood?

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