Last night I had a dream I was pregnant.
I was with people at a Target and for some reason I had to steal the pregnancy test and take it in a horrific bathroom covered in gross that had a creeper dude in it, leering at ladies while they did their business. And of course, it came back positive in that situation and I was hit with the sobering reality that for the first time ever, I had to tell Kyle because he was oblivious.
(With both of our kids he knew before I did. Kind of creepy, but also means we don't have super awesome stories about me telling him we're expecting. Much more of a joint oh shit moment and recovery.)
I was a wreck in my dream, because I knew that I had just doomed our family. We couldn't afford another child -- having three would mean a new car big enough to hold three car seats; I've been slowly selling and giving and donating away our baby paraphernalia and my maternity clothes meaning I wouldn't have enough to get through another pregnancy and not be saved by having hand-me-downs around. Our food budget is already tight and another mouth to feed might tip the scales, and we don't have an extra space to put another little person in this house. I was panicked in the deepest parts of my being mostly because I knew how very upset Kyle would be, and I feared he's accuse me of planning it, tricking him into another baby.
Because right after Tova was born, we were split on the procreation situation. I looked at that pumpkin-headed gingersnap's little face and I was sure that she was not my last baby. But he, on the other hand, was good -- we had two kids, like the families we grew up in, and with her entrance into the world we had both a son and a daughter -- to him, we were all set.
As time as gone on he hasn't really wavered in that position -- he jokes that he can't handle another round of sleepless nights and bottle feedings and itty bitty diapers because look, we're almost done with all of that now. But when we seriously discuss it, he truly doesn't want any more kids. He feels that it would be selfish and impractical to increase our household because of things like finances and location and the needs of the children who actually exist in front of us now.
Slowly, I've started to agree with him.
It's like there's a light at the end of this tunnel -- with Tova gaining mobility and Kiedis in real preschool, it's like the baby phase is behind us. Sooner rather than later we won't even have toddlers, but just kids. With every milestone there are new challenges, sure, but there are new rewards as well. Language acquisition means I can have conversations with my kids as people -- something I haven't had these past three years. Mobility means different kinds of transportation, such as being able to generally trust that Kiedis will stay near me and hold my hand in public places. And personalities mean learning more about these tiny people I helped to make, being able to talk about my kids to others with more pride and less of a checklist of accomplishments and delays.
I don't know that I could go back to all that tininess, that newness, again.
In my dream, I acted overjoyed to see Kyle (we were temporarily separated for some reason, like he'd been gone on a trip or something) and whispered to him quickly that we were pregnant. His first concern was how, with my IUD, and the subsequent viability of said pregnancy. He didn't want me to get my hopes up because he couldn't see how it would work out. And in the real world, it wouldn't.
I woke up about then, with Kyle telling me the time so I knew how long I had to get Kiedis ready for school before the bus came. I was befuddled, a little, not quite sure what had been real and what was my synapses just firing as I slept. Once I realized that I, in fact, had been dreaming, I reassured myself that this pattern of thought probably has to do more with the fact that a lot of my friends are just now having their first babies, two born in the last week alone, and that I probably in some small way am mourning the loss of my babies as they grow into children.
I told Kyle about my dream as I got dressed and he put his shoes on. I felt some of that nervousness still, the anxiety of telling him that even subconsciously my brain is thinking about having another baby.
He stopped what he was doing and walked over to me, taking me in one arm and kissing me strongly. He told me softly and without hesitation or defeat in his voice that if we were to become accidentally pregnant again, he would be happy to welcome another adorable baby into our home and our family, because she would be as beautiful as her mother, just like her siblings are.
I didn't even tell him that in my dream, I knew with every fiber of my being it was another girl.
People ask me quite often in passing if we're done having kids or if we'll try for a third. We often are warned by parents of three or more to stop where we are because beyond this you run out of hands to hold them with and become outnumbered even as a joint pair. I often feel like our life is crazy enough as it is, without more little people depending on me for their every need and want.
But there it sits. The conviction in his voice. The visceral reality of that dream. The feeling we both quietly admit to having when seeing photos of newborns.
There is no decision, no concrete plan, because if anything we've learned that whenever we make a plan, something without fail changes everything we think we know and makes us start from square one again. Just, for now, the odd comfort of uncertainty that we don't know what may be in the future and general content with what we have right now.
And for now, that is enough.