Last week, while on the phone with a friend discussing dinner plans, I suddenly yelled out "Holy motherf**king SHIT!" You see, it was the 23rd that day. On the 19th, I had RSVPed to attend my good friend Jay's twin daughter's FIRST birthday party. Like a spaz, I totally forgot. Words cannot describe how guilty and stupid I felt.
Tail between my legs I called Jay (after confirming with my friend that an email was the coward's way to go). She was very good about it, God bless her, and we made plans for our families to have dinner. Which we did, yesterday. This time, it was the ladies turn to drink and the husbands turn to cook. We had beer. They made chicken wings.
At one point, we surveyed the chaos that comes with getting our 8 kids together. 6 girls (two of them identical twins). 2 boys. We sucked back more beer and Jay said "So, all this between the two of us, eh?" Yep.
When I'm around Jay and her twins, I say so many Mommy Drive-Bys that I am visibly embarrassed, but I can't help myself! Things like "So, how do you tell them apart?" and "Oh My God. There are TWO of them!" It's a compulsion that I am not proud of.
Erin, now almost 7, was enthralled by these two babies. So enthralled that while carrying one, she walked into the kitchen and said "Mommy. Can we have another baby? PLEASE?"
Jay says that the look on my face was priceless. So honest and quick that when I tried to duplicate it, I couldn't. It was a mix of terror/disgust/shock. I think Erin actually fell backwards from my stare.
I am still amazed at the clarity with which I am sure that I am done having kids. It's quite certain. Very definite. I want to say that the thought of having more has me in the fetal position sucking my thumb under the table, but you never know what flub of modern medicine might happen and I would find myself feeling bad for saying that.
After our first three, I was ready to do it again. Immediately. Right now. My first coherent sentence after Kristyn was born was "I can't wait to do that again!". We didn't wait long, only 16 months. After Erin, I once again could not wait to add a third. We tried for two and a half years, suffered three miscarriages and a rough pregnancy and still the first thing I thought after she was born was how I couldn't wait to do it again. I was sure I would never have that feeling of being done I had heard from some women.
I waffled a bit during my pregnancy with Alex. I planned his birth (a glorious homebirth) almost as though I knew this would be my last. Toward the end, my midwives and I discussed family planning for after his birth, where they again gave me a "The withdrawl method is not effective" speech. That was the first time I said "You know. I think I might be ready to consider some permanent options here."
When he was born, I'm convinced that all of my baby lust came out with the placenta. I was instantly sure. I don't think much of it had to do with the fact that he was a boy, but I won't lie and will say it was an easier sell to my husband, who still wanted to have 6 (and still does). Four just seemed like a perfect number. Even. Not too big a family, but still large enough that I can shock people, which I like to do.
As a joke, I've often said that I think God sent me Alex to help me in my decision. To know for sure that I was done. Even though I mean it as a joke, I do think there is truth to it. Colicky, sleep disorder and a holy terror at age 2, I get tired just thinking about it.
I find this whole topic fascinating because once again it proves to me how different women are. For every woman I've met who is sure she is done, I've met another who is not. Everyone has their reasons for being done or not and I guess I'm surprised at myself that my reasons seem so cut and dried. Cause, I'm NEVER like that.