I have two beautiful kids. My oldest is a funny, clever, kind, creative, empathetic little girl. My youngest is a quiet, sardonic, clever, logical, sweet little boy. My daughter, let’s call her Plum, was 25 months old when my son, whom we’ll call Bop, was born. For over two years Plum and I were alone together, notwithstanding my husband coming home, or us going to visit family, or my grandparents coming to visit us. Plum was 11 months younger than my nephew, let’s call him Buddy. Buddy was, and is, as smart as a whip. By 6 months old, he was calling for his Mama by name and meant it, not just making sounds. He was actually speaking. I absolutely adored and adore my nephew. When he was born, it reiterated my sincere desire to have a baby of my own. I loved to snuggle him, and talk to him and smell him (especially his breath! There is something about that newborn, sweet milk breath that I find intoxicating!). My sister was amazing. She is a natural mother, and seemed to know what to do, and what babies were meant to do at different ages, and what they loved, and what was over-stimulating. When I became pregnant, I was over the moon. I would have a baby close in age to Buddy and the kids would be close cousins. My pregnancy did not go as well as I had hoped – my daughter was healthy, but my body did not take to pregnancy at all well. I am not sure why I expected a body that does not take to simply existing would sail through the production of a whole other human, but that’s what I had expected. I would work til just before the baby was due, I would look adorable in a perfectly curated maternity capsule wardrobe and I would “glow”. It would be amazing.
The amazing part was how delusionally I accepted the fantasy fiction of maternity – I did not glow, I boiled; my wardrobe was not perfectly curated, unless curated means “what does not tug on my belly?”; I did not work until the last, as my body could not tolerate the natural function of maternity, and I spent 6 months in sincere discomfort, laying on my mom’s couch, feeling like a miserable nuisance. Thank goodness for my Buddy, who kept me company while I could barely function. When it was time for my Plum to make her arrival, 10 days late (thank goodness! She was due on Christmas!) I could not have been more ready for my girl to make her appearance. I was so worn out, and ready to have control over my body again. A ludicrous thought, in hindsight, as I can not remember ever having complete control over my body at any time of my life.