But I wanted a baby

When I was a child, I played with dolls
but I wanted my own baby.
As a teenager, I babysat other people’s kids
but I wanted my own baby.
(I nearly had one. But I didn’t).
When I was 25, I got married and wanted a baby.
But he wasn’t ready, so we waited.
I turned 27, he said he wanted one too.
Soon, we’d have a baby.
I turned 28. Still no baby.
And then the day I turned 29, I was in hospital
giving birth to our first baby.
A year later, I turned 30 and our daughter turned one.
I wanted another baby.
He wasn’t ready. But then three months later, he was.
It didn’t happen. Not until the following spring.
And now our son is one. And I want another.
Not now, but maybe in a year.
People say: you have one of each – you’re done.
But that’s not how the heart operates.
I wish it was. I wish I could stop here, satisfied.
I want to be present; to enjoy life as it is now.
But I can’t stop thinking about having another baby.
He says two’s enough. (It probably is.)
He says: after the next, you’ll want another.
I know that I won’t. Though I don’t know how I know.
Because I want another one, I keep thinking:
Do I feel sick because I’m pregnant?

Am I tired because I’m pregnant?
Does my back ache because I’m pregnant?
I know that I’m not. But maybe I’m willing it to happen.
Because if it happened without us planning,
we wouldn’t have to make the decision.
And every year that passes takes me closer to the
menopause.
But I don’t know why they call it a ‘pause’, because it’s not.
It’s the end.
And what if I get there, and think:
But I wanted a baby.

© Annie Ridout

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