Two Worlds

We decided to take g to the zoo last weekend.  Somehow, the obvious only struck me somewhere in between the monkeys and the tiger: zoos are places for families with young children.  There is, of course, nothing remarkable about this observation but on closer inspection I was reminded that families typically consist of more than one child.  Siblings were everywhere, arguing, adoring, often just coolly ignoring one another.

And pregnant women.

Lots and lots of pregnant women.

I felt like I was watching from afar, removed enough to make mostly unimportant comments to myself about maternity fashion or the way that genetics plays out in the visages of the next generation.  Sometimes I walked casually among them, bolstered by the joyful observations of my own small primate, perched high up on his father’s shoulders.

The topic of having a second child seems to have permeated my existence from every angle as of late.  Several close friends who have toddlers g’s age are expecting their number twos in just a few months.  Others are plotting the logistics of making their move.  Some are torn.

We talk about it often and I feel comfortable enough to dispense my shallow version of childmaking wisdom in regards:

Listen to your heart, I tell them.  The finances will fall into place.  Deciding to have a first, second or any other child is not a decision based on reason.  You are not looking for extra hands to help with harvesting the potatoes or milking the cows.

I say these things because I believe them to be true but I don’t see them applying in MY world.  While THEY live in a world where children are planned for and pregnant women are lovely, I live in a world where children die and being pregnant means a series of long, terrifying weeks of counting the days until the next milestone: the end of the first trimester, the big ultrasound, viability…….

In THEIR world I can imagine how wonderful it would be to give g a little brother or sister.  I can believe that we could be so lucky to have another amazing little one.  In THEIR world, I could be ready to do it all over again, armed with my experience to make this time a little easier (under normal circumstances, the second is always easier than the first.  It’s a truth that has been tested so often that it has moved from theory to law, I tell THEM).

In MY world, I remember that I have conceived three sons but only one is here with me.  I know that things don’t get easier as you get older. I don’t know how I could weather another loss, how I could ask G to assume such a wearing risk.

It is also true that in MY world, I look at this boy, this one delightful toddler, and I can hardly believe that he’s mine.

In MY world, I feel very blessed indeed.


12 thoughts on “Two Worlds

  1. Great post. Lately, my fertile friends have been having scary pregnancies or worse, and I am so scared being around pregnant women at all. They talk about having Braxton Hicks or any health problem, and I’m like; “Sit down! Relax! Get off your feet!” I know I’m freaking them out. But I am just so nervous for all pregnant women right now. It’s really weird.

    1. Yes. It’s sad when something is usually cause for celebration stirs up so many fears. I just can’t get rid of the voice in the background that is so aware of all of the things that could go wrong.

  2. Hi, I liked your comment on Bunny’s post and clicked over. I’ll be following– I love your style. I lost 2 pregnancies (early), but now have a baby girl. I now just have a baby blog, which may or may not be of interest to you. Sometimes I talk about the problem of balancing research and babies (I’m a postdoc, but hanging by a thread!)… and I’m interested to hear more about where you are on all this.

  3. Thank you for REVEALING YOURSELF (insert dramatic music here). I’ve gone back and read your posts (which, you know, didn’t take that long) and $^*#)! you sure can write! Wow. And also, your story…totally heartbreaking. I’m so glad the curse has been ended. Every post contained something I wanted to respond to, so I think I am now in love with you, and hope you will write as often as possible. And if you wanted to share more of your thinking on your choice to leave academia, I’d love to hear it, and you have my e-mail address now.

    Current post: I went to the grocery store by myself (good times!) the other day, and saw a pregnant woman with two little boys, and was surprised at the force of my visceral sadness and envy. I mean, dude, I have a baby! And I’m incredibly lucky to have the possibility of more babies. Sure, it might not work out, but it’s there, and a source of incredible comfort. So I can only begin to imagine what it’s like to be surrounded by this question and to feel it’s not part of your world. I think it’s a testament to your character that you come away with gratitude, rather than envy and bitterness.

  4. Here from the roundup. Such a great post. I think there is a place in our world where the sadness of what we endured to be blessed with such lucky stars can exist side by side.

    Those are my good days, of course. The bad days, well, I wish I was part of THEIR world.


    1. Hi Serenity,
      Thanks for stopping by. I will admit, if given the choice, I would switch over in a heartbeat. I’m also reminded that I am beyond fortunate not to know anything about a lot of very difficult “worlds”.

  5. Lut C.

    (Here from Mel’s)
    Ah yes, the zoo. Gets me every time too.

    A year or two ago, I was consoling a fertile friend of mine who had suffered a m/c at the end of the first trimester. I was very sorry for her, but a little voice inside me said she’d be having her third child before I got close to a second. Sure enough, her third is now turning one. A my world – their world moment.

    1. Hi Lut C,
      I get this. We can be aware of the statistics and the fact that things usually do work out well but some of us are also all too aware that we fall on the other side of statistics.

  6. Here from the Roundup too … congrats!

    Great post. I know how it’s hard to plan for another in the same way that we would if we hadn’t suffered loss. We feel so blessed and gifted that we had a second healthy child, and we’re done asking for any more gifts. I worry, though, about making the “my world-their world” distinction … because there are so many people who we never know share our trenches … the moms in our playgroups, the neighbors on our block, the parents at the swimming lessons, the people at the zoo … it’s not safe to assume, when we could be supporting each other through what we all know is a treacherous journey.

    1. Hi Justine,
      I agree with you completely on the “us” and “them” issue. When you begin dividing people up into categories you end up with a bunch of individuals on their own little islands. In this post I was thinking more in terms of me and me. Under different circumstances (“their world”), I know that I would make different choices but I can only operate on the set of circumstances that I know (“my world”). Luckily, because of my experiences, it is actually a mostly natural decision but every once in a while I am reminded that it could have been different.

  7. Pingback: All things seem possible in May | slowmamma

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