Warning: this is going to be a long and rambling mind-dump, because that's what I need tonight.
We have been doing a fair bit of traveling lately, and more often than not, T. carries Miss M. in the Baby Bjo.rn. We have an E.rgo Sport, too, but she can't face out in that, and we both prefer for her to be front rather than back. We use the carrier rather than the stroller, love our BOB though we do, because European cities obviously don't have the ADA, and NOTHING is handicap accessible/stroller friendly. You can only lug your stroller up and down so many flights of stairs before determining that it's just not worth it. It's lovely for long jaunts on foot, and we use it often for that. But for anything involving a subway/train/taxi/etc., it's all about the baby carrier.
Which is a long way of saying that Miss M has been spending a fair amount of time suspended in front of T while we wander around. Given that she is prone to smiling and waving at everyone around her, as well, she is quite the little conversation starter. People often ask if she is our only child, and without fail, T tells anyone who will listen--shopkeepers, grocers, etc.--that we are "negotiating number two" right now.
(By the way, we introduced cheese a few days ago, and she loves it like nothing else--it is the only thing she will feed herself, and she will shovel it in until you refuse to give her any more. We have been feeding her other food (her usual amounts) until she refuses any more, and then we give her cheese. We thought we'd finally stumbled upon an easy way to add calories. . .but she just pooped for the fourth time today. T just walked in here with her to change her, and you might be able to smell the patina on that one from here. . .thankfully he is taking care of the diaper. We might need to back off the cheese. I may be worried about her weight and how much she is willing to eat, but cheese apparently is not a panacea.)
Anyway, back to a second child. T is ready to go. He feels like he's not getting any younger, he's having a blast with Miss M, and he's ready for another. It was a bit shocking to me, I have to say, because he's home with her full time, and I sort of thought that he might be feeling a bit ragged. But that's not the case.
I, on the other hand, am not feeling ready. It is still a biological impossibility, in any case--my period has not yet returned. I am slowing on the pumping now, and think I may have ovulated a few days ago, based on how I was feeling, so I think this is a temporary matter. Even if that wasn't the case, though, I still feel like I need some time off, some time to reclaim my body from physically sustaining a child for a bit.
There are three other issues, though. One is the question of timing, in terms of Miss M. What is the right span between children? There are about 5 years between both T and I and our respective next closest siblings, age-wise. We agree that 5 years is too long. More importantly, we both think 5 years is too long for both of us to wait, given our ages. It is a biological imperative that we try sooner rather than later (that is kind of the second issue, so more about that in a minute). If five years is too long, what is the right amount of time? Two years? Three years? I read recently that a study showed that 24 months between pregnancies is ideal. Ideally, I think I'd like a span of about three years. It seems like the right amount to me. I can't say why, exactly--it just does. Enough time to enjoy with Miss M alone before we have to divide our attention, I guess.
The second issue is that biological imperative of time, however. With every chime of the clock, my fertility slips away. I don't know how long it will take us to get pregnant, if we can get pregnant (and I am assuming that we can, and that it will happen quickly--live in my utopia for a bit, will you?). We also don't want to be elderly before our kids are grown. So, there is the age thing.
Finally, there is the matter of personal timing. My current contract calls for me to be here until the fall of 2012. After that, if I choose to
renew, we may well be relocating to a so-called third world country. In fact, for a lot of reasons, that will likely be the case. Medical care may be mediocre at best, in that case. So, we'd be much better off being pregnant HERE, rather than waiting.
It would be ideal to have a baby between January and April of 2012. I could fit in a little maternity leave, come back, finish this assignment, and then the baby would be a bit older by the time we moved to wherever we move to next (assuming I stay with this company). Even better, our former nanny is coming to live with us in the spring. She's planning on living with us for a year, and would be here to help out after the baby was born, under this scenario. That would be really amazing. Miss M would be at least two by the time the baby was born, which is a decent span.
I guess I feel like that strikes the right balance between all of the considerations--my need for a bit of time off, the age thing, the span thing, the career thing.
There are other things that cross my mind on this issue. For instance, will I be ready in just a few short months? And are we sure we want more than one?
We're sure we want more than one child. We are both certain of that. Does the child need to be biological? I think T. might think so, although we have not discussed it. Truthfully, I could very comfortably adopt, at this point. I feel no need to be pregnant again. Indeed, adoption even appeals to me on many points. I doubt we will go down that road, due to the expense, the time consuming nature, the uncertainty, and the invasiveness of the process (I hate the idea of a home study, as much as I support the need for them). It all seems so unpleasant, the adoption process. The end result is obviously delightful, but am I strong enough for that? I don't know if I have it in me. It seems like such an emotional slog.
So, it's back to the final thing that is wearing away at the edges of my conscience. . .am I ready to become pregnant again? Am I ready to try? Physically, emotionally ready? I know that I am not. I don't just need my body back. I need to reconnect with myself, and with T. We are so focused on Miss M and so many other things. We need to refocus on US.
I guess what it all boils down to is that I need to recenter myself. I need to feel refreshed on all fronts, before I think about trying for number two. The problem is that I feel the clock ticking. We really do probably need to hit that window of time, if we want a second child. That only gives me until March or April to get myself patched back together.
I'm pondering how best to do that.