My daughter is about to turn 1, and the questions are coming.
Are you done now? Going for three?
The short answer is I really don’t know.
While my parents have touted what they call “the prime directive” (never let the kids outnumber you) for as long as I can remember, I never really thought I would be in the “two and through” camp. I always pictured a larger family.
After conceiving our first took a great deal longer than I would have expected, (I was in my twenties, it should have been easy!) I tempered that hope. I hoped for three or four, but accepted that adoption might have had to be the way that happened. We bought a 4-bedroom house and I prayed I’d be able to fill it.
When our daughter was conceived in our first cycle trying, I couldn’t believe it. I thought my dream of a big family could actually come true. I got excited. I looked for room in the floor plan for a fifth bedroom (Yes, I have a tendency to get ahead of myself) and read articles about how room sharing was good for kids, (you know, on the off chance I had 5 or 6…)
And now, even though I am so much better and I have all the tools I need to write a better postpartum story this time around, I am terrified.
I’m terrified to go off my medications (I like my current combo, and one of the medications is incompatible with both pregnancy and breastfeeding).
I’m terrified that the postpartum intrusive thoughts will return and transform me into a weak, jittery, perpetually-nauseated shell of a person.
I’m terrified that I’ll be unable to do all the things that moms do (like, you know, hold their children and change diapers) in the postpartum stage, and that my poor husband will be stuck pulling way more weight than he ever signed up for.
I’m terrified that I’ll have to go away for treatment again. I’m afraid of the lost money, and above all, the lost time. I’m afraid my son will actually form memories of mommy losing her mind and going away this time.
I’m afraid of feeling the terror again. I’m afraid it will squeeze out all the joy I should be feeling, and that only guilt and fear will reside in my soul.
I’m afraid that by trying to grow my family, I’ll lose all of them to the monster that is OCD.
I’m also afraid that my disorder is putting limits on my family, and it doesn’t deserve that much power. So, for the mean time, I’ll continue putting outgrown clothes into storage and hold on to that infant car seat, even though just looking at them brings back the memory of the most challenging time of my entire life flooding back.
Am I done?
I don’t know.
But I want that to be my (and my husband’s) decision, not OCD’s.