An unforgettable Father's Day surprise
Holidays and anniversaries tend to be largely ignored at the Whitfield residence, but this past Father’s Day refused to go unnoticed, and left an imprint in our memory books that we’ll never forget.
Leading up to that day, I’d been feeling pretty rough, but I’d dismissed it, thinking I was having some sort of bug. A little voice inside of me asked, ‘Are you sure you’re not pregnant?’
I scoffed at the little voice. ‘That’s ridiculous. Of course I’m sure.’ But the voice kept bothering me, so I bought myself a pregnancy test and kept finding reasons not to take it until that Sunday, June 17. Both my husband and I couldn’t believe it when the test came back positive. I didn’t move for half an hour. “Mina,” I asked my oldest in a weak voice. “Would you like a baby brother or sister?”
“No, we already have a baby,” she said. She’d clearly decided one was more than enough – once, months before, when her brother was screaming uncontrollably, she turned to me and quite seriously said, “Kill him, Mommy” and has also told me once or twice to throw him into the lake. “But he’ll drown,” I explained to her – only to be advised to “Get him a swimsuit.”
I could empathize - it hasn’t been long enough that I’ve forgotten the demands of a newborn, screaming in the middle of the night as I alternately swore at him, (to vent my frustration), and rocked him (to try and keep anyone else from waking up). I had felt like Sisyphus, the Greek king who spent his afterlife continuously pushing a huge boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down each time. The one thought that consoled me in those hard nights was that this would be my last time raising a baby. When I was younger, I always wanted three kids, and my horoscopes always told me I would have three children, but the experience of actually giving birth and raising infants had me convinced three was absolute insanity.
After finding out about our latest addition, I was besieged with doubts about my ability to raise three children. I only have two hands and two legs – and those were pretty busy with the two I have now. If I was to have a third, it’d be handy to grow an extra set of limbs, or a modern-day Mary Poppins to help out, or at least a robot that can change diapers, supply breast milk and help load three monkeys into the car when it’s -30 outside.
I asked a woman I knew, who’d had 14 children (that’s a lot of laundry loads!), how she’d done it. “It wasn’t always fun - but we managed,” she said matter-of-factly. Well, today, we don’t necessarily want to manage. Many of us choose not to have kids, or if we do, limit the number we have for convenience’s sake. After all, how many hockey practices, birthday parties, sleepless nights, college tuitions, etc. can two parents manage in a lifetime? For that matter, how many screaming or crying children can you handle at one time before you run off to the garden shed to explode into tears too? I refuse to believe some people’s assertions that choosing not to have kids or to have only one kid is selfish – it’s a vitally important life decision, and one you have to make with your head and your heart equally to do the best thing for not only yourself, but for your unborn children.
For me, I am a bit embarrassed about admitting to people this is my third pregnancy. Even though I know lots of people around here have big families, I worry that people will think my husband and I are on some mission to repopulate the earth, or create our own sports team, or increase the student population at local schools!
But my biggest question is if I can find enough love, time, attention and resources for each of my little ones. I bent over backwards to make sure I was giving equal attention to my daughter when my son was born, but a third means I will push myself further and give just a little bit more.
When I had my first ultrasound, I was amazed when the technician said there was a little person in there, heart beating away like mad. I hadn’t truly believed I was pregnant until that moment. I hadn’t been emotional looking at my first two babies in-utero; I had just thought, ‘Oh, there they are.’ But this time, when the technician turned the screen around, and I saw my baby girl there, I melted and my eyes filled with tears. I knew that as much madness as each of our other two children have brought into our lives, they have each taught and enriched us both – and I expect no different this time around. As I looked at our baby, my fears and uncertainties didn’t disappear, but they were dwarfed by the love I felt for this little girl who defied the odds, defied my expectations, and found her way into life and into my heart.
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