The Baby I Didn’t Know I Needed
I really can’t say that any of my babies has been “planned.” Most, in fact, were conceived while we were actively (albeit inexpertly) attempting NFP. I guess Frankie would be the closest to a “planned” pregnancy. After finally figuring out how to use NFP effectively, and using it successfully for over a year, I really, really wanted to have a baby (slash really, really didn’t want to be doing NFP anymore
). So we quit NFP, I got pregnant on my first cycle and was immediately plunged into my most difficult pregnancy, labor, and baby
We knew we didn’t WANT to do NFP anymore, and didn’t feel like we had a grave reason to postpone, so for the first time ever, after Frankie, we just didn’t do anything. No charts, no stickers, no thermometers, no folded up pieces of toilet paper, no peeing on a machine, nothing. Just breastfeeding, but Frankie was my youngest to wean and my only one to wean himself.
So after Frankie was a year old, it really was whatever may come.
But now I had big kids
. I had kids who could do their schoolwork with less supervision than they used to require, and who could, in a pinch, help the younger kids with directions or concepts. I could run out to the grocery store if I wanted to without loading up a van-full of children, all of whom would need shoes. Ideally, matching shoes. I could even go out during . . . NAPTIME. Yes, entire segments of the day, closed for a decade, were now open to me.
And the evenings? Forget about it. Evenings were now a vast expanse of time I could count on to be able to ACCOMPLISH ALL THE THINGS! Frankie was in bed for good by 6:30 or 7pm, even the big kids around here are in bed to read by themselves by 8:30. I don’t need a whole lot of sleep myself, so that gave me hours and hours each night of uninterrupted doing stuff. It was pretty glorious.
I tend to get my cycle back around 10 months postpartum, which is also about when the baby stops nursing during the night. I have often gotten pregnant again right then. Well, Frankie had long stopped nursing at night, and had moved to his crib and . . . still no new baby. Ten months, a year . . . still not pregnant.
It was actually just before Frankie was born that I finished writing A Little Book About Confession for Children
(which is FINALLY coming out in early February!), but when he was about a year old, I dusted off the word processor and started writing picture books, and trying to find an agent or an editor who liked them. The first part was easy, I could write one of those suckers per night. The second part . . . I had a number of close calls, but never did have any takers. So, when Frankie was fourteen months old, I started this blog. And boy, if you’re looking for a very fulfilling time suck . . . blog — look no further.
It’s still a middling blog for sure (which is fine with me!) but it grew pretty fast, and I joined Facebook to promote it, and I was working on it every night. And then it was Lent and I was making all of our food from scratch and going on extra field trips and killing it homeschooling and even occasionally doing an art project with the kids.
And Frankie was fourteen months, sixteen months . . . and I still wasn’t pregnant. I honestly had hardly noticed the time going by. I wasn’t charting, so I wasn’t obsessing about what day it was and if I should take a pregnancy test. And really, for the first time ever, I wasn’t sure if I still had that baby ache. After all I was doing a lot of stuff now. Stuff that barfing a lot and/or holding a new baby might interfere with. I already had six children, which — let’s face it — in any but my own particular circle of Catholic/homeschooling is a LOT of kids.
I already had the genius, the caretaker, the goofball, the athlete, the beauty, and the troublemaker, how could I need any more?
But then I DID turn up pregnant again. The kids were super excited, of course. And I was . . . fine with it. I was never unhappy to be pregnant (which I actually couldn’t quite say about my first two little NFP failures which were met with tears of frustration and uncertainty). But I was, leery of it. I had gained this freedom. I had this new purpose outside of just stay at home mothering. I was helping/entertaining people. I didn’t want to give all that up.
The pregnancy turned out to be a pretty easy one. As long as I took a nap in the afternoon, I was still able to crank out blog posts until the wee hours. But there was still the question of what would happen once the new baby came.
And it’s still very early. She’s less than two weeks old and still in the “sleeps all the time even if I’m typing” phase, and I can still pass her off to someone if I need to format something and I know that this part won’t last forever and next comes the “she’ll only sleep on me and inexplicably wakes up if I sit down at the computer” phase. I know it’s coming.
And I don’t care.
Because I love her so much my heart might burst just from looking at her. I love every little thing about her. I love the smell of her breath and how she squeezes her face up and wiggles in her sleep. I love her little noises and little shudders. I love her warm searching little mouth. I love the smell of chrism oil
that lingers in her hair. And I know that there isn’t anything more important I could be doing than bringing her into the world and looking after her to the absolute best of my ability.
Hopefully that will include blogging. Goodness, it certainly has so far. Sitting in this glider all day for the past two weeks has made for the single most ineffective blog hiatus in the history of the world. I’m posting way more than I used to. I can’t be stopped. But in all likelihood, she’s going to take up more of my time, and the blog will take up less. For a season. As it should. And then in six months or nine months or a year I’ll be back to my over-accomplishing ways.
But I plan to keep a firm grip on my new perspective. Babies are way more fulfilling than blogs. I shouldn’t have needed a reminder on that one. But I did.
Lulu and the husband and I hit the very fancy and very old timey Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles Saturday night for his work Winter Ball. We were all gussied up, so in lieu of what I wore Sunday, here’s what we all wore Saturday night!
Happy Sunday everyone!