Dear Baby I Want, But I'm Not Having

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 

Dear Baby,

I want to have you so bad.

I mean, lots of women want babies. But I really, really, want to have you, baby. I want to feel your slow underwater kicking in my belly. I want the startling suddenness of you dropped on my chest, all newness and screams, the immediate swell of a love both trancendent and ordinary. I want to sniff your fuzzy newborn head and nuzzle into your milky-sweet smell of neck. I want to carry you wrapped to my chest. I want to see your brothers’ faces at the wonder of you, hear their silly nicknames and constant requests to hold you. I want you, baby, so bad.

It hurts in my bones, baby, especially as my friends get pregnant again, especially knowing that if I got pregnant now, you’d be the same two years apart as each of your three brothers. My heart aches for the knowledge of you in my belly, for the surety of your coming.

But it’s not to be, not right now.

I’ve got reasons—very good, very well-thought-out reasons that boil down easily: One day, not now. I know this ache for you doesn’t compare to the pain of infertility. So many people want babies and can’t physically have them. This isn’t the impossibility of a child. We can have one, but we shouldn’t. It’s a different pain all together, this ache of lost possibility. We could have you now. We don’t. The choice hurts every day we make it, baby. We make it and we miss you.

And this missing you is real, baby. It’s not some rush of hormones, not some fleeting newborn nostalgia. People will scoff, I know. They’ll say I’m baby-crazy, just selfish for your newness. They don’t understand that I miss the unique possibility of you. We want you in all your wholeness: not just your babyhood, but your childhood, your adulthood, the endless unfolding of you. We want another person in our family. We are complete but incomplete, whole but unfinished.

I know I should be happy with what I have. And I am. I love your brothers. But that love has room for more. My head knows, Not yet. But my heart still says: Now, now, now.

So while my friends get pregnant, I will listen to their happy announcements and miss you.

While the year rolls on, past the dates I got pregnant with your brothers, I will wish to hold you.

While my friends debate the merits of midwives and homebirths and hot baths, I will think of you.

While the seasons turn, the summer when my belly would grow round with you, I will feel an empty ache.

One day, baby, I won’t miss you anymore. One day, I’ll have you.

But not yet.

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