Confessions of a Baby Addict
By Diane Stark
Just days before my youngest son was born, I was out shopping and I spotted an absolute must-have for our family’s newest addition. It was a little blue onesie that read, “Mommy’s New Man.” I laughed so hard that I actually had a contraction or two. (They weren’t enough to actually do anything, but they reminded me that the light at the end of the tunnel was in sight.)
I took home that must-have onesie and hung it up with the rest of his tiny clothes. I could hardly wait to see my Little Man wearing it. (In truth, I could hardly wait to see him. Period.)
Labor and delivery should have been a piece of cake this third time around, but things didn’t exactly go as planned. Things ended with a quite unexpected emergency c-section. Not exactly my first choice, but since a healthy baby was the end goal, I adjusted my plans.
On the operating table, just moments before they were planning to cut me open, my doctor casually asked if I was interested in getting my tubes tied, you know, while she was in there anyway.
I was stunned. Since having a c-section wasn’t even on our radar, my husband and I had never discussed it. I looked around for Eric, but the doctor said, “We had to ask him to step out. He’ll be allowed back in just before the birth. Now about that tubal ligation…”
I’d already been in labor for 21 hours. Now I was strapped to a
table, exhausted and more terrified than I’d ever been in my life.
Not exactly the best time to be making life-altering decisions.
“Just get the baby out safely,” I said through gritted teeth.
Five minutes later, Nathan Samuel was born, healthy and huge at nine pounds one ounce. None of his siblings had weighed over seven and a half pounds. No wonder I’d needed a c-section.
About a week later, I was relaying the drama to my sister. When I got to the part about possibly getting my tubes tied, Eric said, “Whoa, I didn’t know about that. Why didn’t you do it?”
“How could I get my tubes tied without even talking to you first?” I said.
Eric shrugged. “We’d already agreed that Nathan would be our last baby. I would have been fine with it.”
“I wasn’t exactly in the best state of mind when the doctor gave me the option,” I reminded him.
“I know, Honey, it’s OK,” he said. “But it just would have been one less thing to worry about, you know, since we know for sure we’re done having kids.”
For sure? No more babies? Ever?
The thought made me just a little bit sad.
The next two years went by in a blur of breast feeding, diaper changing and not a whole lot of sleeping. Nathan was a joy in every way, and I was too busy enjoying him to think too much about any future babies.
But the Christmas after Nathan turned two, I was holding my six-month-old nephew, Josh, and I felt an all-too-familiar tug on my heart.
The tug said, “Come on, admit it. You miss the baby phase.”
And I had to confess that I did. For the next year, every time a friend announced that she was expecting, I felt the tug. When I shopped for big boy clothes for Nathan, I’d glance longingly at the baby department, wondering what precious must-haves must be waiting for some lucky mom to take home. And when I held someone else’s baby, I couldn’t help thinking, “Maybe just one more…”
I never voiced the secret longing to my husband. He’d made it clear that he was “too old” to have any more kids. And I myself was just two months shy of my 35th birthday when Nathan was born.
Maybe we were too old, but it didn’t stop me from dreaming about a little baby girl, you know, just to make the numbers even again. It wasn’t an everyday thing, just more of a passing thought. But every few months, it popped up again.
The following Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law were the ones with the new baby. But as adorable as little Corey was, when I held him, I didn’t feel the tug.
I waited for it. Even expected it.
But it wasn’t there.
Maybe my heart was finally ready to accept that I was done having babies. Saying it aloud wasn’t as sad as it had been just a few months before.
No more babies. No more pregnancy. No more weight gain or heart burn or hemorrhoids. No more teeny, tiny must-have onesies from the baby department.
Somehow, I’d become OK with it.
But just a few weeks ago, my body started acting funny. I was having symptoms I’ve only experienced three times in my life.
I was pretty sure what the symptoms meant. I waited a week hoping things would get back to normal. When they didn’t, my imagination ran wild.
“Another whole year without an adults-only vacation,” I thought with no small amount of regret. “Just when Nathan is potty trained and getting ready to start preschool, I’ll be starting all over again. And I don’t even want to think about how long it will take me to get back into shape this time around.”
After my week of stewing, I finally took a test. The whole thing turned out to be a false alarm.
I was beyond relieved. Besides my desire for an occasional grown-ups only vacation, my apprehension about starting over, and my absolute dread over gaining more baby weight, I had not relished the idea of telling my 40-year-old husband that he, too, would be starting over.
But as it turned out, I didn’t have to.
And a teeny, tiny, CRAZY part of me is still just a little bit sad.
About this writer
- Diane Stark is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Her work has been published in 16 Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, A Cup of Comfort for Christian Women and dozens of magazines. She loves to write about the important things in life: her family and her faith.