I wrote this on November 17:
We had our first ultrasound yesterday and I had to face the reality that there’s a new baby growing inside of me. It didn’t look like a shrimp like in those early Dr. Ringler sonograms. It looked like a baby, with a big ol’ head and flailing arms and legs and a little flutter of a heartbeat.
Last night as I lay in bed before Harlan got home, I found myself thinking, I don’t want another baby! Definitively, passionately. I don’t want one! I don’t want another crying, needy child wholly dependent on me and my time and my breast and my love. I don’t want some needy newbie taking that time and breast and love away from Aidan.
We went out for Vietnamese food near Emerson after the endless doctor’s appointment and I found myself crying at the table, crying as I recalled how instantly and ferociously I loved boo. It took me by surprise that I could love with that intensity, and even as he becomes this person capable of irritating me like none other, that love never falters. I don’t want him to have to share me, I don’t want to have to dilute my love. Harlan already gets the short end of the stick. So, some other new being I haven’t even met yet? Where does the love come from? Does it automatically exist just because you’ve held him or her in your belly for ten months? Does it grow as he or she begins to kick and prod and remind you constantly of his or her presence in the night? Or does it burst full-blown a second time as you hold that bloody, wriggling, squawking ball in your hands for the first time? I worried about boo and wanted to meet him when he was inside of me, but I didn’t love him until I saw his face and felt him in my arms. God, I loved him so much from that first instant. Can I find those feelings again? Will they appear effortlessly? Leslie says they do. Rose says they do, in spite of a certainty that it will not be possible, that you’ll never love anyone the way that you love the first.
Part of me just doesn’t want to. I don’t want my love for him to be tainted somehow or diminished by my love for someone else. It breaks my heart in a million pieces to think about it, to think of boo no longer being the object of my all-consuming passion. The new baby will require my attention. Boo and Harlan will grow closer. Boo will resist and feel neglected. Eventually we will find peace and order and we will become a family that loves each other equally. Boo will have a sibling and that ultimately is what we’re doing this for. I certainly don’t think we need another baby in our lives right now. We don’t need any less sleep. Or any more stress. Or any more demands on my time. But we want Aidan to have that brother or sister to love and guide and fight with, to share his childhood and vacations and later his memories.
A sibling is a gift that we will be giving Aidan and that is why I must suffer just a little bit. Oh, I know there will be rewards, but there will also be challenges and hardships and further questioning of my professional life and my place on the planet and all those existential issues that have plagued me since Aidan’s birth. That will go on. But I have to remember that bringing my first child into this world and raising him and getting to know him has been the single most gratifying and beautiful experience of my life. I know without him I’d be a more productive writer, but knowing Aidan and the world with him, I know I couldn’t live without him. And I must believe that one day I will feel the same about the person that is currently squirming around in my belly, this little person, two inches long and already moving around playfully, restlessly, with no idea of the adventures ahead.