Sunday, December 5, 2010


I've been feeling very ambivalent about this second pregnancy, even when you discount the why-can't-I-just-be-hooked-up-to-an-IV-rather-than-eat feelings and the tiredness and dizziness and shortness of breath and other symptoms that I will not discuss here but that Eric knows thoroughly. (I'm not a stoic person.) I thought it was mainly that it was a little earlier than we'd been expecting, and that it's disrupted our plans to try to move. Not to mention my occasional Daisy, Daisy/Everything She Wants* feelings that I'll never survive having two children.

But last night Eric and I were driving home from a party (with the honest-to-goodness singing of Christmas carols, no less--since most of the people there were trained singers or musicians or both, I sang quietly) and the baby was moving around, probably in response to the grapes and strawberries. I thought, "Hush, little baby," and immediately felt terrible, and suddenly realized why I've been feeling so ambivalent: I don't want to call this baby my baby, because I already have one. Chloë is my baby. It feels disloyal to apply that idea to anyone else, especially some stranger.

I realize, of course, that this is absurd, and now that I've identified it it's gone away somewhat. But not entirely. I'm still not excited about the idea of changing up our family just when we're settling into our roles and getting used to each other, at least as much as you can get used to a little girl who changes daily. Today at the dinner table she started to say "please" without prompting once we had identified what she wanted. She also ate maybe a cupful of lentils, after a plentiful breakfast and lunch and snack and part of an apple before dinner because she begged (read: whined) so hard when she saw them in the refrigerator. The girl likes her lentils. She spooned them up herself and then pointed the spoon at me and said "Hep" when it got too hard to do herself. She's marvelous. Why would I want another baby?

At our second baby shower all the guests made little scrapbook pages with comments and advice, and our friends Matt and Carol, who had recently had their own second child, wrote, "You will love the second one just as much." At the time I thought it was kind of funny they thought it was important to say that for the birth of the first, but now I see why, and I'm glad they did it. Right now I don't really think I could ever love another child as much as I do Chloë, but I'm willing to trust that I will, and that helps a lot.

*By Wham!, the relevant lyrics being:

I'll tell you that I'm happy if you want me to
But one step further and my back will break
If my best isn't good enough
Then how can it be good enough for two?

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