I should start by saying that I am not pregnant. I’m really not.
But sometimes I want to be.
I never planned on Simeon being our only child. I grew up with siblings and I believe there’s something sacred in that relationship— something I don’t want my son to miss. I think of lazy Saturdays playing monopoly, the winner sneaking money to the loser just to make the game last a bit longer. Or Halloween night, when we spread our loot on my bedroom floor, bartering for our favorite foil-wrapped sweets. I like the idea of a busy house brimming with fights and friendships. I like the community of family.
But I am afraid.
I go between fear and love. Fright and longing. I play scenarios in my head…
I fear jealousy. Siblings are a natural measuring stick. We move through life together, becoming grown ups, hitting milestones. But Simeon’s milestones will look different than a typical child’s. Am I inviting comparison? Am I inviting strife?
I fear resentment. Trips to the hospital, overnight stays with Daddy, missing school for appointments followed by the inevitable “special” lunch. A swamp of jealousy lies there. And (though the very writing of it makes my chest clench and my breath stop) what of when Greg and I are gone from this world? Simeon’s independence will come with help, aid, check ups. Is it fair to have a baby, knowing that someday they may be called upon to care for their brother?
I fear heartbreak. Perhaps the problem is mine. Perhaps I cannot have a healthy child. What if I am broken on the inside? What if the fault is my own? Are not some people destined for a life of sorrow? What if I am Job? What if I am Job’s wife?
I fear judgment. I imagine walking down the street, belly big, face aglow, my son on wheels behind me. Will people congratulate my good fortune or will they grow solemn and offer prayers that this time things go right? Pregnancy should be joyful– I am afraid of not seeing my joy reflected back at me. Or of hearing whispers saying, “I hope this baby is healthy– for her sake.” What if people assume I am being reckless?
But then I stop. I picture my brother and my sister. I picture late night movies. I picture dress up and wrestling matches. I picture the abundance of pain, the ways we have wounded each other, and the love that blankets us still.
I think of how I adore my practically-perfect little boy.
I take stock of the love around me now.
I see there is more to come.
Choosing not to have another baby because I am afraid is like choosing never to see the ocean again because I am sunburned. Will I miss out on the beauty because of the sting? Will I choose fear over love?
I choose to sit, red-cheeked and wounded, on the shore.
It will be warm.
It will be breathtaking.