Lately I’ve been dreaming about babies, but not the usual anxiety laden variety I am more accustomed to, but achingly sweet ones.
In them I have a small child, sometimes a boy and sometimes a girl, one that nurses frequently but is precociously verbal. I am suffused with the warmth and almost chemical love that comes from having a baby on the breast and the excitement that accompanies that aha moment when a child learns a new word.
I’ve heard that when women reach the onset of menopause they often produce multiple eggs at once, kind of like a biological going out of business sale. Perhaps I am having a psychological version of that; although who knows, maybe I’m dumping eggs, too.
All I know is that I am waking up full of nostalgia.
My boys are so big now and I rarely look backwards when it comes to them. My job is to grow them up as much as possible, not to wish that I could freeze them in time. That’s what pictures are for.
I’ve never felt disappointment at not having a girl, nor have I ever entertained the desire to try again for one. I am happy I had two boys and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Having a baby now would be nothing short of a complete disaster, yet I dream about it all the time.
Perhaps it’s because I started watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind where I related to the terror of the mother whose three year-old son was abducted. The child was ridiculously cute and his character was frustratingly single minded as three year-olds often are.
Whatever the reason, I suddenly miss the feeling of a baby at my breast.
That expert latch, the rhythmic suckling, the smell of warm baby skin, the feeling of a tender little body in my arms, the contentment that spreads from the baby to the mother, the moments of quiet and repose … relief.
My baby is no longer hungry, my breasts no longer ache, I can take a breath because all is well in my tiny universe if only for a few moments.
This is not endorsement of having children. Nor is it an attempt to make those who choose not to have children feel like they are missing out. It’s just me describing my experience.
If anything, I am acutely aware of the things I am missing out on because I have children. Like money, free time, leisure, travel, peace of mind, not having my heart let loose on the world, certain kinds of relationships. Yet I chose it anyway.
No one appreciates the sacrifices that having children requires more than me. And no one appreciates the good that one does by refraining from overpopulating this already crowded world; it is far less selfish to not have children in my opinion.
But having children was for me, is for me, and I don’t relish being put down as seems fashionable these days. I don’t appreciate being called a breeder and my children being disparaged any more than someone without children appreciates being questioned about their choices. Perhaps I am just too sensitive.
I am so over this war of x,y,z things to never say to people with or without kids. Anyone who says that kind of shit should be shut down immediately, TO THEIR FACE and not in some kind of passive/aggressive internet pissing match.
Either having children is for you … or it isn’t. Live and let live. Don’t hate. Be supportive of each other’s choices by being kind and having an open heart, like this guy. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a visual illustration of someone being supportive of people without children because it is more about what you don’t say and do, but that’s just as important, too.)
Most of all, appreciate that at least in America we get to decide whether we want to have children or not. And for goodness sake, fight tooth and nail to protect that choice when it comes to election time.