It’s 8:25 pm. The day has kicked my ass.
I am beat.
20 minutes ago, I had just drawn myself a hot bubble bath Filled with Epsom salts, lit a big candle, and turned off the lights.
I sank my sore neck and shoulder muscles into the water and told myself to let the day go. Relax. Try, to relax.
3 minutes in, Sadie started screaming from across the hall. I hoped it would pass. It didn’t.
4 minutes of her screaming later, it turned into words.
“I need more milk. I Need More Miiiiilk.”
I stood up. Told her I was coming. Splashed all the bubbles off and trudged into the kitchen. Thank God Ryan came up at this point and took over. He delivered the milk and read her another bedtime story, and I sank back into my bath.
Forgive me these feelings, dear Audience. And especially you, Number Two, please forgive me.
I sank back into the bath, put my hands on my growing belly, and thought “What have we done?? Did we make the wrong choice??”
Some women Love being Moms.
Some women have dreamt about it for as long as they can remember.
Some women have an exact number of children they can picture in their minds before their family feels ‘complete’.
I am Not those women.
Children were an idea to me. They existed somewhere in my mind as a possibility, but long after all my friends had created families, I was still of the mind that life could be enjoyed just as well without them.
It likely would have stayed that way had I not wanted an engagement ring from Ryan as a symbol of our commitment, X amount of years ago. I think it was maybe 4 years ago that I started pushing for a ring, but I really can’t remember how long ago it was- we are the forever-engaged, never-married couple.
I was pushing for a ring.
And out of the blue one day, he said “you give me a baby, and I’ll give you a ring.”
Ta-Da! Sadie Greta Schofield was conceived.
I will Never say I regret having my child.
Nothing in my entire being regrets having my child.
In fact, I’ve never heard any Mom I’ve ever asked say that they regret their child.
Pregnancy is hard.
Birth is hard.
Babies are hard.
Toddlers are hard.
Children are hard.
Teenagers are hard.
Adult children are hard.
But I’ve never heard any Mom say they would change it if they could go back and do it again.
But here I am, pregnant, exhausted, sore and emotional, with a toddler screaming across the hall, and I’m wondering if we made the right choice.
One kid is hard enough.
What the hell were we thinking, creating Another?!
The days after Sadie was born, Ryan and I were so high on love and endorphins and oxytocin that we envisioned having another baby Right Away. We were like “OMG that Whole experience was So Magical, let’s make another one at 6 weeks postpartum!!”
Irish twins were very much our vision, until sober second thought kicked in a few weeks later. We agreed that we would revisit the sibling idea somewhere around Sadie’s 18-month mark.
On October 31st of the past year, I found out that my Mom had entered a hospital in Ontario with severe headaches and vomiting. There, they told her that she had lung cancer that had travelled to her brain. By November 30th, she was gone.
In less than a month, she was gone.
The experience was completely blindsiding.
It was also, incidentally, around Sadie’s 18-month mark. She was born April 13, 2019, so October 13, 2020 is when Ryan and I were supposed to have revisited the idea of making Sadie a sibling.
Until my mother’s death, I had been really on the fence about having a second child.
I had tabled Ryan and I’s talk about a second child because I just wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to do.
And then I got the call that my Mom was dying. At first, I went downstairs, fighting back tears, and instructed Ryan to book me a flight to Ottawa, a rental car, and somewhere to stay.
Then I went upstairs to cry.
When I got upstairs, I had this acute feeling that I was forgetting something.
It was like that niggling feeling you get when you leave the house. Did I remember to turn off the stove? Did I bring the house keys? Did I pack my lunch/my cellphone/bring those forms I needed to bring?
And then it hit me.
I had been on the ‘your Mom is dying, you should get on the next flight’ call with my older sister and my Aunt, but my other sister hadn’t been able to attend the call.
When I remembered that she hadn’t even heard this life-altering news yet, I called the school where she worked and got her paged down to the office. While I was waiting for her to get to the phone, I realized I didn’t have to do any of this alone.
I didn’t have to fly alone.
I didn’t have to drive alone.
I didn’t have to go visit the hospital alone in the mornings and come back to my AirBnB and cry myself to sleep at night.
I had my Sisters.
I Had My Sisters!!!
When Ryan came up the stairs, armed with all my newly forged travel plans, I told him to scrap all that- I was going with Victoria!
If it was possible to feel joy in that moment- I did.
And I didn’t think it was possible over the next few days as we packed up my Mom’s belongings and bid her goodbye in hospital, but there was Joy in that too.
There was Joy in remembering who our Mom was, Together.
There was Joy in telling our countless tales of our childhood and rolling around in laughter.
There was Joy in poring through old photos of our childhoods and remembering the good ole days. And some bad times too.
That trip ended up being ‘Fun’, because Mom had the good sense to create more than one of us.
We had each other.
When it came to Mom’s final days, she had friends come to visit. She had friends write and call and email and text. She had a Gloriously well-lived life, rich with friendships.
But at the end- it was her girls she wanted to see. Her daughters.
And as her friends came forward to pay their respects, the comment I heard over and over was ‘your mother was So proud of you girls.’
We found a picture of all three of us in her wallet when we were going through her apartment; the picture was taken on a Rowdy pub crawl that we three sisters partook in when we visited our eldest sister Sarah in Shreveport, Louisiana.
It wasn’t any of our Favorite pictures, it wasn’t the most current. But when I saw it in Mom’s wallet; I saw what Mom saw.
Her three daughters, all grown up, laughing, smiling and enjoying the Shit out of their lives- her three girls, all together.
I came back from that trip and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Sadie needed a sibling.
Now I’m laying here in my bed, writing this post, and hoping I’m not wrong.
Multiple Moms have told me since getting pregnant with Number Two that being pregnant, with a toddler, is Exhausting.
Many women have validated what I’m feeling and acknowledged that pregnancy the second time around is Not a walk in the park.
I’m writing all this to purge my thoughts, but it has also helped me to write it out and end up with a better focus.
Pregnancy is temporary. It ends with a human child that turns into an adult.
Toddlerhood is a phase. It culminates into a human child that turns into an adult.
One day, two decades from now, god-willing, I’ll have two adult children, and I’ll miss these days.
One day, two decades from now, god-willing, I’ll have my own picture in my wallet of my smiling, joyful adult children, standing together, arms slung over each other’s shoulders, and I’ll be so proud that I made this choice to have them, and to give them each other.
Momo- thank you.
Sisters- I love you.
One comment on “Forgive me These Feelings”
Emily, wonderful depiction of exactly what it’s all about! You go girl! You got this!! Piece of cake. You can catch up on sleep in a couple of years, it’s all worth it!!! Best, Helen
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