They were all three feet tall, and in white tutus. The edge of the tulle glittered with sequins, and their tiny crowns sparkled in the light. With tears I shouldn’t have had in my eyes, I watched the three-year-old ballet class dance bashfully to the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.” I dared not share the knot in my stomach with my husband. Instead, I waited patiently for it to be the six-year-old class’s turn, and watched proudly as my stepdaughter jazz-rocked it out to Hannah Montana.
“I think my clock is ticking again,” my friend said to me as she folded the third shirt in a six-foot-tall pile of laundry. “When I was still pregnant, I even told my husband to remind me of the way I felt right then should I want another kid. But now, I’m just not sure.”
I dropped my cappuccino. Could someone else feel the same way I do?
Baby Einstein babbled in the background in languages I don’t speak. Her eldest son was slamming the swing seat up and down, my son screaming while gleefully flinging Cheerios, her youngest son bobble-heading in his exersaucer. We constantly discuss the rigors of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, and the monotony of milk- and finger-paint-stained child rearing. We feel the relief in being the producers of boys, the lack of slutty children’s clothing, the problems that excessive estrogen in a household can bring, and the fear of teenage pregnancy.
Suddenly, there is an unspoken understanding that those things need not be discussed right now. It’d be much more interesting to toy with the idea of another child, maybe one bringing a bit of femininity into our homes.
My son is still learning to remain in a sitting position by himself, and hasn’t yet started on third foods. My three-year-old stepson loves princesses, and my six-year-old stepdaughter beams from ear to ear when you give her something pink. Somehow, the void isn’t filled. I remind myself that in addition to my son, I have been blessed with stepmotherhood. It would be selfish to want more, wouldn’t it? It would be irresponsible to bring another child into the world with the economic uncertainties that plague the nation, and the unfamiliar territory we will be charting after my husband leaves the army, right? Raising kids is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, and I’m not even nine months into it! The heavy feelings of fear and self doubt fill my chest and shoulders.
But, somehow, I can’t ignore the nagging feeling that a tiny pink bow or twelve would be nice …