Wanting A Baby While On Birth Control

“Mommy, next time you daaven to Hashem can you please, please, ask for another baby?”

What should I respond to such an innocent request?

I remember when my Rav gave me a heter for birth control  after my fourth child. Things were rocky in my marriage. Work was only getting more demanding. And for the first time, birth control felt like the right option. I felt relieved, knowing my latest child was my youngest (for now). That she was my focus. That there would be no surprises.

“Come back to me after two years. If you need more time then, it’s fine.”

And I did. And it was.

My youngest just turned four – no longer a toddler. Things are starting to shift. My children are asking (begging!) for another baby. My husband is feeling ready. And me — it’s not so simple.

And oh, how I wish it was.

I’m not really looking for someone to tell me that it’s OK to wait, or that when you’re done, you’re done, or to just enjoy life, or that I should just trust Hashem and it’ll be fine, or how beautiful a big family is, or that I’m only getting older, you know. It’s now or never.

And I’m not really wanting someone to convince me that having another baby when I can barely manage the ones I have or shlepping my baby to sitters and pumping at the office and rocking it on my hip while I’m answering work emails or always feeling distracted is reasonable or in any way commendable. Or that my kids will be “OK.”

Please don’t tell me being a Working Mother is possible. I know that. But it’s damn hard.

And I’m not really wishing for someone to tell me my longings for another child are not real. That when I see a baby I don’t melt inside. That I don’t know just how to hold him, how to burp him, how to nurse him, how to rub a blanket against his cheek so that he finally falls asleep. Because I already have its name picked out and have practiced calling it, from the bottom of the stairs, to come down for dinner.

I can taste the morning nausea. I remember the first little inkling of that butterfly flutter in my belly and what it feels to have a child kick inside of me. Even the pain of labor doesn’t scare me. There’s nothing more beautiful than touching the deepest recesses of my strength and completely surrendering to G-d as my child emerges from inside me. Nothing.

But I am choosing to halt that beautiful, life-giving process.

Are you judging me?

I am waiting for some sort of timer to go off, some sort of signal to tell me its safe. But I don’t know what that sounds like. Is it a baby’s cry? Or perhaps the stillness of night?

Maybe I am a walking contradiction. Maybe it is illogical. Maybe I just can’t have it all.

Or maybe, things like this make no sense at all — mothering, babies, aging, fear, expectations, guilt, forgiveness, judgment, faith, work, fulfillment — and so much more teetering on my shoulders and bouncing inside my soul.

Or maybe, just maybe, I need more time.

More time.

“Mommy, next time you daaven to Hashem can you please, please, ask for another baby?”

Oh, sweet girl, nestled in my arms as you fall asleep. I love your smell.

“Yes, I will. I will daaven for that. And for the strength to be the best Mommy for you all… and for clarity.”