Why children are the best worst thing that ever happened to me

Ah babies! What a lovely, terrifying surprise. We want them. We love them. Some of us pay thousands of dollars just to get one to implant in our uterine lining. Soaking in amniotic fluid makes them smell amazing. They are adorable when they are laughing and holding our fingers with their tiny hands.  They are devastating when they leave us too early. Aggravating when they scream and disgusting when doodie spills up their back or they piss on your ceiling. Painful when they make your nipples raw and bleeding. Just when you get a handle on diaper changes and going out with eighteen bags of stuff you might need just to go to the grocery store, they start to grow. It happens so fast you can’t keep up with switching out the poop stained onesies before they are too big for them. When you sit staring at them sleeping to make sure they’re still breathing, you wonder how it was that you existed before they appeared and thank God that you made it through your stupid teenage years and drunk early twenties to be right here in this moment with the most terrifying and wondrous love of your life. No poem you wrote in school could ever express the angst in your heart for this new love, the greatest depth of feeling.

Then one day they start talking. And walking. They get into every damn thing in the house, things you didn’t know were there or even dangerous. Then after you clean it all up and lock it away for the third time they figure out how to get into it again or something else entirely innocuous that they have now made into an explosion of mess over your living room. You are exhausted, angry, frustrated and can’t wait for them to nap so you can drink some coffee or do the dishes or if you’re smart, just curl up next to them. You long for a few hours to yourself, to put makeup on and just go somewhere without baby stuff. But when you’re away from them, you only think of and talk about them. Like a new, exciting boyfriend you never shut up about.

Then one day, either easily or after much trial and disappointment, you find you’re pregnant again. It’s planned, joyous, scary. It’s hard enough getting one little person out the door, how will you manage with two? You’re tired now, growing a new person while taking care of a little one. Potty training becomes suddenly of paramount importance. You feel disloyal to your first born. You wonder how you can love this new baby when your heart has already grown to painful limits loving the first one?

Labor begins, this time, you know what to expect. You take more time at home, you shower, sing, relax, then when it gets intense, you leave home, ready to receive this new baby, new love. Progression is smoother this time, you accept what is happening to your body. You surrender, you know this is how to make things move along. Seven hours have gone by, what a difference from the thirty-five hours it took you the first time. You deliver him yourself, you laugh, relieved of the pressure in your body. The body that will never be quite the same, but that you are learning to love. Your spirit feels unified to all of womanhood that has gone before; before men with scalpels & forceps forced their way into the birthing room. This is for women alone, solely. No man can do this. They are unable. You are stronger now than any man. You have brought forth a new man. This is the culmination of everything you couldn’t do the first time and now you hold him in your arms. And you know, undoubtedly, that love doesn’t divide itself, it only grows.