Awww, that baby is so cute! So is that one! Wait, look at that one, I want to sneak him in my purse and keep him forever.
Baby fever is striking me big time and I can’t stop daydreaming about pregnancy, labor, lack of sleep and cute baby poops. Yes, everything baby is attractive to me right now. My memory has clearly erased anything other than the pure joy that goes hand in hand with having a precious little nugget in your arms to love and cuddle. I want one and I want to enjoy every second with the bundle of cuteness.
39 may seem like a more advanced age to suffer from baby fever. To be honest, I thought this would be a fleeting thing for me. You know, back when I was 38, I thought by now the desire to procreate one last time would have been lifted. But nope, the longing for one more mini-me has only grown stronger with an overpowering force. It is here to stay.
I may have to suffer through this stage of my mid-life awareness, knowing I will never hold an infant-sized offspring of my own ever again, but the acceptance of dire, baby-less future does not kill my maternal flame. Why me? Why now? Why so strong?
Let me explore:
I am finally mom material.
Yea, yea, yea, I know, I am a great mom, my kids are alive and healthy, they are good people and they love me. I get it. I did okay the first time around. But, really, I was 24 years young when the two positive lines first appeared before my very eyes. Just a few years prior to growing this precious bun in my oven, I was peeing in the men’s bathroom at an establishment called Miracles on the outskirts of Albany, NY, where, for just $5, I was guaranteed an endless pitcher of beer and Jaeger shots.
My life experiences were shallow, incomplete, and I remained naive, and unaware of the world around me. I knew ego and self-centeredness; I did not know sacrifice, compromise, or humility. I just wasn’t ready. I still wanted to be the college girl at the bar, even when I was the young mom at home.
But now? Now, I am finally ready. Life threw some challenges my way, and my priorities changed. I slowly have learned to think less of myself and more of others. I am self-aware and recognize my faults and I work to improve them. Life has toughened me and softened me at the same time. Being a mother… well, it has taught me how to be a better mother. Naturally, I want to do it again, but do it better.
I want to mom full-time.
I am divorced and thus, 50% of the time, my children are with their dad. It is as wonderful an arrangement as there can be in a broken family, but it is sad. When my children and I were in the hospital during our post-birth bonding, I stared into their beautiful eyes, thinking they would be with me every single night for the next 18 years, give or take a sleepover at a friend’s house, of course. Yet, with divorce, comes missed moments, overlooked milestones, and a bunch of unknowns. We have all adjusted well, but I can’t help but fantasize that I could have a child, who would not be with me only 50% of the time.
I finally love myself.
I have struggled my entire life to find self-esteem. I always second-guessed myself, my decisions and I lived in constant fear of the judgement. After a lot of internal work and self-awareness, I love myself and I am ready to be a confident mother. I have always deferred to my children’s father to approve or deny my mothering decisions, because I never felt good enough. My lack of confidence caused me to hold back or quickly say, ask Dad because he is better at that than I am. Now that I finally love who I am, quirks and all, I want to share that confidence as a mother and be unapologetically me.
I am certain that I will not be blessed with a baby #4. But baby #4 lives in my mind and spirit. I often think what if? Could I? I imagine life with baby #4 and I smile as I picture little Evelyn (yes, I named her) in her bassinet next to my bed. But, hey, I am almost 40 and my baby fantasy clearly overlooks sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and the terrible twos (and threes, fours, and fives).
I can acknowledge this as a part of my midlife awareness. I am aware that certain opportunities may pass me by. I am aware that although I was not perfectly prepared to be a mom at 24, I did the best I could at that time. I can turn this into an opportunity to be grateful that I have been blessed with three beautiful, healthy children, who I love more than anything, and have compassion for those women who desperately want children, and never had them. The mind is a powerful thing and so I must tread lightly when I get caught up in the act of wishing, wanting, daydreaming. It is a dangerous practice for me, and it takes me out of the one thing that matters most: now. All I have is this exact moment.
I can wake up every day to the sounds of sibling rivalry and morning demands from the kids, and count my beautiful blessings. Hop out of bed, step over the mess on the floor, and seize the day that stands before me. I can waste all day dreaming about babies and motherhood done better, or I can be the best mom I can be to the best three kids a woman a could ask for and mother them as if today was our last day together.
Count your blessings, make every moment count, and take nothing for granted. I guess there is always grandmotherhood? Talk about feeling old.