By Amy M.
Before Alex was born, I thought I wanted to have two kids. Throughout my relatively easy pregnancy, I still felt that way. And then Alex was born. I won't go into detail about what a difficult infant he was -- suffice it to say that when he was just a few weeks old, everyone in my family was already assuring me if I had another child, it would definitely be easier. I guess they saw the look of sheer terror in my eyes when they even mentioned the prospect of another baby.
The look of terror waned, but Brian and I remained adamant about NOT having another child. We loved Alex to pieces, of course, but parenting, as you all know, is HARD. Brian admitted he dreaded coming home from work at night in the early months because he knew he would be "on duty." Which meant trying to console an inconsolable infant, who would not even entertain the thought of sleeping between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
Things got easier, of course. But we still didn't want another one. We would go through "honeymoon" periods when we thought MAYBE we could handle another child, but then Alex would be particularly trying and we would push the thought of another baby far from our minds.
We continued that way for more than three years. We rarely talked about having another child. I was probably more open to the idea than Brian, but I wasn't desperate for another baby. Seeing a newborn -- even smelling its downy head -- did not make me long for one.
But seeing toddlers did. I was reminded of what a newborn -- no matter how challenging -- would become. And I could see Brian softening in the presence of bumbling, babbling toddlers, too. For example, when our niece started to walk and talk and, in his eyes, become a little person rather than an infant "blob," I noticed a change in his demeanor toward her. And that's when I knew that, deep down, he wanted another.
Still, we didn't really talk about it. But we also didn't take the necessary measures to prevent a pregnancy. It was sort of an unspoken agreement; we knew pregnancy was a possibility, but did not consider it a likelihood because Alex was sort of a miracle baby (my doctor had told us it would be near-impossible to conceive naturally).
Which brings us to the positive pregnancy test I took at the end of August. Yes, a "happy accident," as one of my friends called it. A very happy accident. Because we really did want to round out our family with another child, and give Alex a sibling. Sure, we often have "Oh my gosh, what did we do?" moments, but I think we're finally ready for this.
I just hope I feel the same way when the baby arrives around May 1.
Amy M. lives in Pennsylvania with her son and her husband. She works full time as a writer/editor for a large university.