I became a mother at the age of 34, after years of being seriously crazy and somewhat unhappy. As the child of crazy and unhappy people, I was pretty sure I’d be a terrible parent and was unfit to have a child of my own.
And I didn’t particularly like kids. I never felt pangs of maternal longing, never wanted to hold other people’s babies. I thought they were lumpish and weird, and I was positive they’d break if I dropped them.
Jack and I were together for more than 10 years before I even considered getting pregnant. And then I realized I’d need therapy—a lot of therapy—before I had any business bringing a child into the world. So I spent several years getting my shit together, and then I took a deep breath and jumped.
And fell in love. From the moment I saw that pink line on the pregnancy test, I was crazy in love with the baby who turned out to be my son. People told me how much they loved their kids, but I certainly wasn’t prepared to be swept off my feet by a fetus. Then I gave birth to this perfect baby boy, and it was as if I’d known him all my life.
I knew I wanted JJ to have a sibling, but I couldn’t imagine there was room in my heart for another baby. My pregnancy with The Peanut was so different, probably in large part due to a completely dissimilar hormonal cocktail, but also because I was mourning the loss of the relationship I had with my one and only child. But then I discovered that what everyone told me was true: my heart has an infinite capacity for love, and The Peanut had her place in there right next to her brother.
Our family is complete now. There will be no more new babies, no more sweet milky faces or sleepless all-night nurse-a-thons. Even though I know that everyone’s here, I have moments of sadness when I realize that the only newborn babies I’ll hold will have sprung from someone else’s body. As The Peanut nears her second birthday and both children are becoming more independent, I know that a new chapter in our lives is just beginning. It’s glorious and heartbreaking and wonderful and tragic, and I only hope that I’m as good at letting them go as I am at holding them close.