The bathroom door clicked shut behind me, and I was alone. The nurses were finally allowing me to shower four hours after delivering little Josie. My legs were a little wobbly, my mid-section looked and felt like silly putty, but with the hot water pounding down on me, I started to process all that had happened.
The induction, the pain, the pushing, the fear, the pain. And then the baby.
Such a sweet wonderful baby, Josie had latched and nursed the first couple hours of life. She now lay peacefully sleeping in my husband’s arms. It had felt strange handing her over, being away from her, but I really needed to shower.
She was a beautiful baby, but there in the shower I shook my head and pursed my lips. Then and there I decided that four kids were enough. More than enough, maybe. That I was never, ever, going to do that again. Never.
I was determined to make Josie my last baby…just as I had been determined in the same way after each and every one of my previous babies.
Childbirth, it seems, make me a little overly dramatic.
Those feelings of never ever have faded a bit in the 3 months since Josie was born, but not entirely. I know, intellectually, that I will have more babies. I want more, really. In fact, the thought of not having more babies is so very sad to me. But, the idea of doing all of that again–the pregnancy, the labor, the delivery, the new born days–well that seems somewhere between unappealing and clinically insane.
The process of creating, carrying and delivering a baby is so intense that during those first days I felt convinced, seriously convinced, that no one had ever or will ever experience something like that. That it was some sort of terrible, wonderful miracle that I alone had experienced.
But of course, millions, billions of women have babies, and they all likely feel this way after the birth of each of those babies. The birth of a baby–on time, early, medicated, unmediated, unplanned or planned–is a life changing event and not just because a baby enters your life.
That’s just how fertility is. The work of making and having babies opens us up to infinite joy, but also unknown pain and life changing challenges.
As Catholics my husband and I practice NFP, as best we can. We see the value in it and we are committed, but it’s hard. It’s hard to abstain while married. It’s hard to leave the door open to children, even when the little rug-rats have already overrun your life. It’s just hard, and no matter how many times I listen to Christopher West or chart or try new methods, it’s still hard.
Because fertility is so much more than charting. It’s so much more than the Cretin Method or the Marquette Method or Symptothermal. Fertility is sex and babies and marriage and love and pain and joy and openness to all of this.
Fertility is stepping into the unknown with the hope that we will survive what lay ahead.
A few friends and I have been talking about fertility and NFP and the struggles we all go through during these years of babies and miscarriages and pregnancies. We are determined to create something HONEST and FRUITFUL on these topics, something that allows a chorus of voices to tell their fertility stories, in a way that acknowledges ALL of the struggles.
And, most importantly, we want to create something that brings our husbands into the story.
Because sex is the key to all of this, isn’t it? It’s how we connect as married people, it’s how we create children. It is the very center and base of our marriage. A discussion of our fertility journeys without our husbands just doesn’t make any sense.
This project is still very much in the works, and I’d love for you to be part of it. I put together a very simple survey. Click through and mark the boxes of all the struggles that have been part of your fertility journey (infertility, miscarriage, hyper-fertility, etc…) And that’s it!
Let us know where your struggles have been because there is more one way to be challenged during these years of fertility.
As always, the answers you share on the survey will be 100% anonymous. I plan on sharing the results with you all here next week, and I am excited to share more about the little project with you soon.
Thank you again, for all that you have and continue to share here,