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The Gray Zone

We’ve reached Friday. Another week of winter is done. Another week of the school year is done. One week closer to summer vacation and as my body confirmed this week, another week that I am not pregnant.

It’s been three months since the miscarriage and I feel frustratingly torn by my emotions. It’s a weird state of desperation to get pregnant again and a simultaneous feeling that I’m not ready to be pregnant and perhaps, never will be. The last statement isn’t meant to garner “yes you will!” responses about faith, resiliency, and optimism. I know I can get pregnant. Three pregnancies have proven that. What I am concerned and struggling with is whether or not I want to be and if so, when?

I’ve always envisioned myself with a lot of kids. Two was never my intention. Hell, it was only my beginning number. Three was a definite. Four was a maybe. Five would have been a dream.

Now…I’m wondering…

I’m questioning…

What if I’m not meant to have more?

My children are of an age of independence. They can dress themselves. They entertain themselves. They can get their own drinks. Not for nothing, but they can get me drinks- coffee and wine included. They’re two years apart and have an unshakable bond. They’re each other’s best friends. How would a third fit into that? Would they? No matter how joyous, a third baby would disrupt their lives. Throw a wrench in our routine.

Our lives are settled and stable and now I question whether or not I truly want to start from the beginning again. The sleepless nights, the bottles, teething, the toddler temper tantrums, potty training, diaper explosions, smelling like spit-up for a year. I’m so far removed from the trenches of parenthood. Do I want to crawl back in and exchange my structure for chaos? I think I do, but every passing month that I’m not pregnant, I wonder if it’s foolish to try and be.

Furthermore, the last three months have caused me to unfairly judge myself as a mother. My children are sweet, creative, imaginative, kind, intelligent and empathetic. I feel as if these two adorable, evolving individuals are the way they are because of the environment they’re in, the amazing father who gets on the floor with them and builds LEGOs, their compassionate teachers and their extended families that nurture them to no end. I feel, as of late, that I’m a lackluster mom. Someone who is a shell of her former, fun self. My patience is low. My kid-centered creativity is nonexistent. I feel like a taxi driver, a book reader and a perpetual nag for them to brush their teeth, get on their clothes, clean up their messes and eat their dinners.

I’m not, once again, seeking some type of “you are a great mom!” response because yes, I know I’m a good mom at the end of the day. Rationally, I know I’ve helped shape them into these amazing little people, but if I were actually thinking rationally, I wouldn’t be writing this.

I love them with everything I have which is a true sign of a good mom, but I question if I’m enough. Enough for them and enough for another baby. If motherhood were a job, I feel like my boss would be having a very awkward meeting with me about my “declining performance” and my “uncertain future.”

Babies were always my kryptonite. I’d melt around them. I was the creeper in Wegmans staring at your baby, waving, playing peek-a-boo from across the aisle. Now? I feel despondent towards them. They exist. They’re there. Sure, they’re cute, but they’ve lost their luster. It’s like that Marie Kondo phenomenon: do babies spark joy within me nowadays?

No.

That makes me sad.

I’m jaded, there’s no doubt about that. I’m healing, I’m aware of that. I’m a little broken, I get that. But how the hell do I fix all of that?

Don’t tell me that it takes time.

Don’t tell me to see a therapist.

Don’t tell me I’ll get pregnant soon.

None of these are cures. They are people’s default responses to an awkward conversation that, by the way, people are over having with me. It’s safer, easier and more acceptable to just shut the fuck up about it. Part of me doesn’t talk about it because I feel as if I should be stronger and be “over it” already. The other part of me doesn’t talk about it because I don’t want people to judge me for not being over it already.

A new baby isn’t and shouldn’t be a band-aid for my miscarriage. A lost baby isn’t something that you can replace with another one. It’s not a goldfish. It’s not a pair of shoes. But at one point, babies were a source of happiness for me and now, I’m indifferent.

Indifferent towards babies that are not my own and indifferent towards babies that could be in my future. I hate that feeling.

That feeling of being in the middle.

The gray zone of life.

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