Did I tell you guys that my sister is pregnant? I can't remember if I did.
Anyway, she is, and about to start her third trimester. Daniel and Matthew's baby sibling is due in mid-August, and I'm rooting for him or her to be born on the 23rd. Branwen would rather the baby come a little early, but I'd love to have my nephew or niece share my birthday.
My sister and brother-in-law never find out the sex of the baby ahead of time, which is of course their right as parents, but I was disappointed. I wanted them to find out by ultrasound, not because I care if *they* know, but because *I* wanted to know. All of us are kind of hoping that they'll have a girl this time around. I'd love a sweet little niece. Plus, I want an excuse to go out and buy pink baby clothes!
You can bet that if they call us from the hospital to tell us she's given birth to a little girl, a shopping trip will be in order directly. Along with a trip down to the basement to dig out all my favorite special outfits from Camilla's babyhood, of course.
But my sister being pregnant has got me thinking about how the idea of another baby pertains to our family.
Both times that Branwen has given birth, I've been pregnant. I was about twenty weeks pregnant with Camilla when Daniel was born, and about twelve weeks pregnant with Blaise when Matthew was born. So at Christmas, when Branwen and Larry told us they were expecting, I was excited for them... but my second thought was: "shoot, this means I'm next. I'm not ready!"
I am crazy, obviously.
First of all, it's not like I get pregnant as easily as my sister does. Even Blaise, who surprised us with how quickly he came along, was conceived after eight cycles. Most of my friends, if they had eight cycles without conceiving, would be wondering what was wrong. I was shocked that it happened at all, let alone that soon. With me and pregnancy, there is no inevitability.
Also, we do have some choice in the matter. Obviously, being Catholic, we are always *open* to whatever God's will for us is in this area, and we're open to another baby if he wants to send one along right now. But with discernment, we can certainly do our best to avoid having a baby for a while.
What's really funny, too, about my reaction to Branwen's pregnancy is that it was a completely moot point at that time, and remained so until just recently when my cycle came back. Imagine freaking out because you're not ready for another baby when another baby is pretty much impossible anyway. Silly.
But now it's no longer a moot point. Technically, another baby is now possible. We have no more ability to *create* a baby than we have ability to create a star, of course. Our subfertility struggles certainly taught me that. Every month, though, is the opportunity for procreation, and we have to decide whether to embrace it wholeheartedly, or try to sidestep it.
Back in March, Maggie wrote a post about the topic of Third Baby on her Catholic blog, and in my comment I mentioned my own understanding of what using NFP as Catholics means: getting to vote ourselves, but giving God the biggest (and ultimately the overriding) vote.
I am open to more babies. If I found out I were pregnant this very month, I would happily welcome the next baby into our lives and our home.
On the other hand, I am exhausted. When we were struggling to conceive Camilla, I couldn't imagine ever purposefully delaying a child in the future. But I didn't have kids then. I didn't imagine that I would go a year (or more) without sleeping four hours in a row. I didn't imagine the way that parenthood - while giving me more opportunities for grace and love than I'd ever thought possible - would at the same time drain me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
That's what happened, though, and that's how Bryan and I got to the place we are today. The place where, when the topic of whether to try to delay the next baby became suddenly pertinent, we were able to look at each other and agree immediately.
We would love more children, as many as God wants to send us. We would also love it if they didn't come right away.
We've been praying and discerning for months anticipating this decision, and it gives me a great amount of peace to know that we've come to the same conclusion.
For now, anyway. To me, this is what being Catholic, being "open to life" means - that every month we say to God: "This is what we'd like. What do you think?" And then we wait for his answer, and hopefully, happily, say "Amen." No matter what the answer is.
So here's how I feel about it: The idea of having another baby right away makes me feel tired. The idea of never having another baby makes me feel sad.
But in spite of those two things, here's what I don't feel: scared. Not even a little.
If that next baby comes right away, then obviously God really wants him or her to exist, and I can embrace that and (with copious amounts of grace) manage to juggle the demands of a growing family and find fulfillment and joy in doing so. I am certain that He will give me all the grace I need.
And if that next baby never comes... well, I can't complain. Even when we had just one child, I couldn't complain. Two is a blessing beyond measure. It makes me wistful to imagine never having another newborn, never having a sister for Camilla or a brother for Blaise, but if that's the road He's taking us on, I trust him.
It's a good place to be, this place. I like it here.