People have started asking us if we plan to have more children. The first person to ask me the question seriously startled me. I glanced around to make sure she wasn't talking to someone else, because me? I still have a little tiny baby! Look at her, she's an infant! Not possibly old enough to have a younger sibling!
Reality check. The "infant" is closing in on one year old, is dedicating herself full-time to the important tasks of learning to walk and talk, and at 22 pounds weighs more now than her 15-month-old cousin. It's not ridiculous for other people to wonder if want to have more kids.
The short and absolutely true answer is that of course we want to have more kids. We're open to the idea of as many as God chooses to send us, and we'd be thrilled if another baby came along in the not-insanely-distant future. This is what we generally tell people when they ask if we're trying for number two.
The details of the situation are more complex, as details tend to be. For starters, ecological breastfeeding is doing its job with a vengeance around here. In my current cycle-less state, we could be "trying" until the cows come home and there'd be about as much chance of my becoming pregnant as there is of Camilla sleeping through the night before her birthday. (Snort.)
But even after my cycle comes back, we don't have an Ideal Plan for More Children, When and How Many. Considering that according to our original Ideal Plan our first child would be about three years old right now, we've decided that Plans are useless to us in this area. We have no illusion of control over how new members of our family are created, since Creation is decidedly not our domain.
I find myself thinking and speaking of our next child in terms of "if" rather than "when." I've got no picture in my mind of whether, let alone at what time, our next child might come along. Some people might call this pessimism, or being shy of hope, but I don't think that's it. I think it's a result of an important lesson that waiting for Camilla taught me: that God's got a plan in mind for us and that it's best if He decides what the components of that plan are.
I earnestly hope for more children and I pray for them every day, of course. But right now I feel okay with the fact that whether we have more children is not up to me. My stubborn refusal to let go of my idea that what I needed and what I wanted were one and the same, along with my mistaken conviction that I deserved the thing I wanted, made finding peace a lot harder than it could have been the first time around. I'd like to avoid that in the future. I've found that the lifelong journey toward holiness is greatly impeded by the act of digging in one's heels in rebellion against the One from whom all holiness comes.
Besides that, there's the fact that we do have Camilla. Although I bore her I did not make her; He did, and He gave her to us to have and to raise and to love. This is entirely miraculous, and nothing short of mind-blowing. Expecting to have another baby as a matter of course feels rather like expecting lightning to strike the same place two days running.
Being childless was a trial. Being second-child-less would no doubt make me sad, but if we ultimately have no more children will I stand there on judgment day and say, "Lord, you cheated us"?
I think not.