For the past few months Poet has asked me, almost every day, if there's a baby in my belly*. I always reply: "Not just yet..."
You see, I have a lot of fear surrounding the idea of another pregnancy. It's a new-to-me fear; one that has come as a bit of a surprise, especially considering my love of being pregnant, giving birth and tending to a baby. Just the thought of a first trimester is enough to make me want to wait a good while before planning for another little one. It probably doesn't help that three times a week I'm teaching pregnant women; yes, the beautiful belly and joyous kicks are enticing but the exhaustion, nausea and heat is a constant reminder: pregnancy is hard work and always demanding.
I talk about fear a lot in my prenatal classes; I come straight out and ask my students what they're scared of. There is always a wide range of answers: fear of pain, tearing, loss of independence, lack of sleep, birthing an unhealthy baby, not being able to breastfeed, not knowing how to tend to a newborn, etc. Once the fears have been recognised we work on letting go of them. Sometimes it takes months.
For me, there is also fear about the reality of life with three children. Most parents admit that the jump from two to three is a big one - you really notice it because, quite simply, you're outnumbered. I'm also worried about having a newborn and getting Che off to school, the cost of a growing family, how I'll balance work and motherhood and the imminent and everlasting mountain of washing (a frivolous worry but a worry all the same).
There's a part of me that feels selfish for having these fears, especially considering the amount of women who experience much heartbreak to fall pregnant and carry to full term. Regardless of my worries I'm grateful for the opportunity to wait and accepting of the fact that, at the end of the day, nature decides if and when.
If you have more than two children, did you find the jump from two to three overwhelming? I've also been thinking about the age gap conundrum - if I leave it much longer will the gaps be too big? Maybe I should just let go of worry and see what happens...
*on discussing another baby with my parents a few weeks ago my Mum was genuinely disappointed that I wasn't already pregnant. "Oh," she said. "I thought you would have been working on that in Bali."