We are enjoying a gorgeous cabin on the shores of a great lake, that we are renting with friends. Despite the fresh air, the sound of waves, and the beautiful view of forest, sparkling water and bears (no joke), I’ve been approaching panic for the past day or so.
It started out with a few brief episodes of nausea. These reminded me of pregnancy. “Could I be pregnant?” I’d think, then quickly dismiss the thought. The number of opportunities for impregnation has been extremely low, and the last one was quite some time ago. Not possible. I didn’t get my period until 11 months last time, and this time I’m breastfeeding exclusively. I’d expect my period to come a bit later than last time, not 8 months earlier.
Then I started to feel some rumblings in my stomach, kind of like cramps. Could it be my system gearing up to ovulate again? Could it just be stomach rumbling? Or, oh shit, could it be an embryo?
I noticed the tire ring around my waist and how I couldn’t bring it fully in, no matter how hard I tried. I thought about the weight gain I’ve experienced since the birth.
No, no, no! I tried to keep it out of my mind. But then I started to panic. Though I think I’d like a third child someday, I don’t want one now.
Firstly, my body is a mess. I’m still carrying around an extra 35 pounds and am in horrible shape. My body couldn’t handle another pregnancy now, at least not without long term or permanent damage.
There is my job. How in the world could I ask for another six month leave just five months after returning from the last one? Would I even have a job anymore? Or would I have to take a shorter leave – and how in the world could I manage that with two small tots?
There is the general panic about my inability to care for two small needy children and the thought that I’d be seen as a breeder, which has never been my primary identify. I also knew that another one so soon would probably drive Mark off the edge.
Then there are the children. River would end up taking a huge backseat with two babies spaced a year apart. And it wasn’t fair to Willow to have to stop breastfeeding her earlier than I intended, to not give her the individual attention I wanted her to have, to not have our full attention to marvel at her early accomplishments.
So I’d have to think seriously about abortion. Really, I wouldn’t want another child now. But then again, I’d really hate to have an abortion. I have nothing against abortions, but it’s something I’d prefer to avoid if I can. I’m so happy with the two children I have, I wondered if I’d always wonder what that embryo could have become. And while another child would be killer on me physically, and on both of us psychologically in the short term, we could probably swing it if we had to.
How stupid had I been? I wanted to avoid the hormones of birth control while I could, and also, I have a strange, but strong, curiosity about how my body works, when it will return to its cycles. But was all that worth the possibility of having another child within a year? Dumb.
I could take a test when I got back home, because there was nothing I could do about it on vacation. But a month is a long time to wait. Finally, I couldn’t take the stress anymore. I went out and bought a pregnancy test. This was only the third test I’d taken in my life and it was the first time I held my breath hoping, hoping for a negative.
The negative sign appeared and I gulped in a full breath. Thank goodness.