I realized I was knocked up as my husband and I were toting our two-year-old and four-year-old through a mall parking lot. Huh, I’m kind of late, I thought, and I did the math, and my face probably turned white and I wanted to vomit and I felt all the things at once: happy and miserable and terrified and excited and oh fuck I’m pregnant. I managed to hide it for two days until I told my husband. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” he said. I cried. He was still an adjunct professor scooping up classes by the semester. We had no health insurance. We had two kids and an oops baby on the way.
A classic Catholic oops baby: oops, that Natural Family Planning you foisted on us instead of birth control didn’t really work, even though we practiced it perfectly, because women’s bodies do weirdo things sometimes, and eggs and sperm do weirdo things sometimes. And sometimes all those weirdo things come together in a perfect storm to create a baby. Which you really, really didn’t need, or you wouldn’t have put all that effort into checking temperatures and cervical mucus and stuff (yes, I said “cervical mucus.” I promise not to say it again).
Of course, no abortion, because Catholic.
Of course, we were suddenly going to become parents again.
Of course, this was a very, very bad time to become parents again.
Like my husband said, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
Everyone Assumed This Oops Baby Was Intentional
You don’t exactly walk around assuming people people got pregnant accidentally. At least, I don’t, unless someone has screamed forever that they’re one-and-done and I spot them with a giant-ass belly in Target. So everyone assumed that an underemployed Ph.D. candidate and a writer, sans health insurance, had simply decided to procreate … for the third time in four years. People chalked this up to raging Catholicism.
I was very, very angry at Catholicism just about then, because I did not want an oops baby. I wanted to parent the babies I had, and since I had gestational diabetes and hyperemesis, I was doing a fairly shitty job of it.
So we got a ton of side-eye from both his parents and mine. No one exactly said, “Again? Seriously?” But they totally threw off that vibe. And that pissed me off even more than Catholicism, because fuck your Yankee blue jeans, like Cartman says, “I do what I want. It’s my hot body.” So I got very protective of said oops baby. Then I wanted oops baby. Haters gonna hate. I’ll be in the corner alternately throwing up, stabbing my thigh with a needle full of insulin, crocheting tiny hats, and ignoring your judgment, thanks.
God bless my kids. They wanted that oops baby from day 1. When I was about sixteen weeks pregnant and we were trying to decide on names, my four-year-old piped up from the backseat, “His name is Simon and he will be born on Halloween.”
“We mean he’ll be born near Halloween, baby,” I said. “Not on Halloween.”
“His name is Simon and he’ll be born on Halloween,” my son said again.
Our oops baby’s name is Simon, and he was born Halloween night.
And Life Wouldn’t Be The Same Without Him
It’s cheesy and stupid and cliched to say that life wouldn’t be the same without your oops baby. But fuck you, it wouldn’t. Simon’s nicknamed Sunny because he’s so happy all the time. He’s tenderhearted and sweet. He once cried at the concept of bullying. Not that he was being bullied. Not that someone he knew was being bullied. But that bullying was a thing that happened to people in the world. When someone upsets him and apologizes, he unfailingly sniffles, “I accept your apology.”
But if he apologizes, they damn well better say, “I accept your apology,” or he’ll cry. “AUGUST DIDN’T ACCEPT MY APOLOGY!” he’ll yell. Then my middle son will heave a giant sigh and say, “I accept your apology.” And all is right in his little universe. Because Simon can’t fight with August. August, who we worried so much about becoming a big brother in the wake of an oops baby, is Simon’s best friend. Simon is August’s best friend. They keep each other awake at night giggling. They build Legos. They play Roblox. They watch Ninjago. They turn my yard into a mudpit. They even have similar ADHD.
Most of all, our oops baby has kept us on an even keel through the pandemic. He’s stayed best friends with our middle son, and they’ve forged a kind of normalcy that’s gotten them through some really tough times together. Our oldest tends to be more patient with him than with his middle brother. And I have someone small(er) to snuggle. He just turned eight, and he’s not as snuggle-able anymore. But he still snuggles.
That kid went from an “oh, fuck,” to a “how could we have possibly lived without him?” Kids tend to do that. And yeah, of course we wouldn’t trade our oops baby for anything. He’s special and wonderful and different from our other sons. Our oops baby got us plenty of side eye and caused a lot of panic. But I’d do it all again.
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