Let me be clear. I’m not writing this because I am ready for another baby. I’m writing this from the dark side of the moon, the dull edge of the knife, the non-absorbent side of a cheap towel. My fallopian tubes are as cold and dark as abandoned subway tunnels.
No, I’m not in the mood for more in my brood.
I have no interest in baby-making, and I think that makes me quite possibly the most objective observer available to you. Maybe your mother has an opinion about your reproductive plans. Of course she does. She has a hidden grandchildren quota. (And possibly needs a hobby.) Maybe your best friend has an opinion. She’s making sure your pregnancies don’t overlap so she can use your maternity clothes. Your doctor sure as heck wants you to have a baby if she’s an OBGYN. She’d prefer twins, actually. Can she put in a request for twins? If she’s your dermatologist, she’ll be even happier because of the destruction you’ll be bringing in on the surface of your estrogen-ravaged face.
No one in your life is objective. So how do YOU know you’re ready? Should you begin a journal to record your thoughts and feelings? Should you visit the baby aisle at Target, breathe in the fragrance, and wait for a stork to bust through the ceiling tiles and hand you a subpoena?
Fear not. Here are 4 foolproof ways to know it’s time to try again.
1. You’re reading this post.
This kind of a post attracts two kinds of people: the morbidly curious and those looking for validation of feelings they already have.
2. You’re bored, but with a faraway look in your eye.
When I am bored, I usually surf Facebook like my un-vacuumed living room isn’t eyeing me malevolently. This is because I’m not actually bored with life as much as I’m avoiding responsibility.
This is different when it’s time to try again. Your boredom doesn’t stem from lack of Facebook but from lack of…somebody. A need to embrace a responsibility that doesn’t yet exist. There’s a void in your day-to-day interactions and you feel it growing. It’s kind of awkward. It’s kind of unmistakable.
3. You’re factoring in an infant into “next year’s” plans.
Now don’t you think it would be obvious that someone is ready to have a baby if they’ve already got a Disney package booked for four instead of three? Like the girl who picks out her wedding dress before the proposal? Isn’t she aware that this is going to happen?
We girls like to “plan” in a very theoretical sense. We love us some denial wrapped in feigned legitimacy. It’s fun. It’s insulating. When I’ve gained a little weight, I pretend that it’s bloat from caffeine. Four pounds worth, no less. I admit I’ve gained weight, of course, but I won’t go so far as to call it what it is: FAT.
And when it’s time to have another baby, you might be storing the thought in the back of your brain like a squirrel stashing acorns for the winter — acting like winter is coming — but not wanting those acorns to look back at you. You’re holding the decision at arm’s-length, taming the idea within the confines of the theoretical world of “next year.” But winter is now, my friend. Winter is now.
4. “It’ll just work out.”
Boy, are you a goner. If this is you, I’m surprised you haven’t already leapt off the couch to locate your ovulation calculator.
You are the girl with a full-time job, 48 crepe myrtles to prune on a weekly basis, highlights to maintain, junior league responsibilities, three husbands (because you’re a progressive Mormon), and a preschooler that you are simultaneously potty training and teaching Mandarin. You are busy. You are rocking and rolling. Adding another little person to the mix is not only mathematically meaningless (how can you add 1 to infinity?), there’s not even time for the sex required to make this little person.
And yet in the back of your boiling brain there’s a quiet voice that sounds authoritative but says nonsensically: “It will work out. It always does.”
In all other areas of your life, this phrase sounds irresponsible. You don’t leave your budget proposal at work to chance; you don’t say the Fourth of the July bash at your lake house will just work out. But when it comes to adding another PERSON to the WORLD, a person you must feed, clothe, love and teach to be kind and generous — well, that, somehow, will just work out.
Come to think of it, you might be pregnant already. That kind of thinking only results from a severe progesterone spike.
But it’s a foolproof sign you’re ready. Right now. Do not wait. Do not pass Go or collect $200.
And, congratulations in advance.
For more from Julie, check out her blog at wetbehindtheearsblog.com.