Thursday, January 12, 2006

Unrequited Baby Love

Sigh. Anneliese is turning 1 yr old in less than a month. LESS THAN ONE MONTH and my baby will be a full year old. We're planning her birthday party and getting excited about it. You know, trying to decide between the various party themes. If we go with the "Turning 1" theme do we want the pink frilly 1 with fairies or princesses? Flowers or Blues Clues? Exciting to her and her mommy but gets a raised eyebrow from anyone else heh heh.

In one short year, Anneliese has gone from a quiet, sweet newborn to a little girl with an opinion. She has a sense of humor and a GREAT little laugh. Her eyes are now brown and she has more hair (dark and straight) at 11 months old than either of her sisters had at 18 months old. She's a picky eater but when she eats something she likes, she pigs out. She loves to snuggle. If she likes you, she lets you know it. She adores her big sisters and is quite possibly the worlds most loved little girl. She has so much love and affection thrown at her that love is just part of every minute of her day. I adore her beyond belief. I adore who she's made her sisters become. I love who her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends become when they're around her. She's the center of everyone's universe.

As proud as I am of her... as much as I love seeing her grow up, I'm sad. I'm sad because with each day that passes and each stage she reaches, I'll never ever see those precious seconds or firsts or giggles again with any more of my own children. I just don't feel finished, and I don't know if it's because of the miscarriage I had before I was pregnant with Anneliese. Am I just missing him? I don't think that's entirely it, I do think I definitely would love one more baby and then be satisfied but there's no way that Manny will ever allow another planned pregnancy and I would never intentionally get pregnant without his support. I can't decide if I'm having trouble saying good-bye to the baby days or if I really do want another baby. I know all of the downsides... health, time (or lack of it), finances, space, sanity... but I can't imagine not being pregnant just one more time. Holding another newborn of my own one more time. Adding to our family just one more time. I don't know if I feel that we're missing a member of our little family or if I just am longing for a newborn to hold that I wouldn't mind handing back to it's mother. I'm feeling very conflicted. I think I'm feeling all of that. I'm just not sure what I'm feeling more of. See? Conflicted.

I'm just not sure I'm ready to move to the next stage of my life if it means leaving behind hope of one more baby. Our family moving to the next level where we can take vacations. Yes, I would enjoy that. Where all of the kids are more self-sufficient. I would definitely enjoy that. Where they don't have to be supervised every single minute of every single day. Not sure I trust them, but I'd enjoy that too. Where the night disturbances are fewer and far between. Where I'll be able to have all of the girls in school and start going back to work to help Manny ease the tension of the bills. I've loved every minute being a mom, even while I'm sure I hate it and made a mistake thinking I could be a good mom, and if I found out tomorrow that I was pregnant I'd be happy. But I know Manny would be upset. See? Conflicted.

That's something else. Marriage is harder when kids are involved. They often bring out the worst in us as someone else's partner, even if they bring out the best in us for everything else. I'm not sure my marriage would enjoy one more baby. I would, but it would definitely add some stress to our partnership. See? Conflicted.

So how do you reconcile permanently closing the door on a stage of life that you not only enjoy but highly value? How do you reconcile moving on and being happy with that as you leave so much behind? I always thought we'd have 4 kids. It's not like we had one and then said "I miss a baby, let's have one more" and so on and so forth. We planned 3 or 4 kids. But Manny decided "we're done at 3, I never said for sure I wanted 4." I feel ripped off somehow, like I didn't get to have a say.

I know, college tuition X4 is already going to be a bitch. But ya know what? My girls college is up to them. My parents never paid a dime for my college. I paid my own way, had my own grants and scholarships, and my own loans. Which I'M responsible for. I have no problem making sure that if I can help, I will, but making sure that college is their responsibility. I think it'll help them appreciate their grades a bit better if the money is coming out of their own pockets.

Sigh. Bigger sigh. Monumentally huge sigh.

This birthday of Anneliese's coming up is going to be big for me. It's a huge milestone for her, but it's going to be a big one for me too. I just don't know. My head is spinning a little right now thinking about this, trying to sort it out. So I think I'll stop for now, but I'm sure I'll revisit this one again.

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