Monday, April 20, 2009

one more soul

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had had one more child?

My first grandchild, my granddaughter Grace, will be here within the next few weeks. By summer's end, my grandson will be here as well. I know that they will enrich our lives beyond belief. I will cherish them as my own babies. But they won't be my babies, they will be my grandchildren, and that is not quite the same, is it?

My daughter Celeste, who died when she was four months old, would have been four now. My youngest at home just turned seven. This is the longest I've gone with empty arms, an empty womb.

When Celeste was in the hospital, I remember telling my husband that I wanted to have another baby, whatever happened to our baby girl. I wanted to "normalize" the experience of having a baby again. I was so traumatized by what we went through with her that I was certain the only healing I'd come to would come with the arrival of another - healthy - child.

After she died, I needed time to recover. And soon the months and years flew by, and I was suddenly who I am now - an "old" woman of 44, a grandma-to-be, a mother of "only" seven children, with six here who still need her, one in heaven praying for her.

Should I have had another baby? Have I been too selfish, too concerned with money, or time, or health, or freedom?

Did I deny my husband, my children, the world, another person who should've been here?

My grandbaby will be here soon, and I can't stop thinking that I'm not sure how this works. I've been a mother - just a mother, only a mother, always a mother - for 23 years. I know what it is to hold a newborn in my arms and love it completely, because it is my baby. I'm so anxious to meet my grandchildren, but I think perhaps I am mourning the end of an era.

And I'm haunted by the thought.

Should I have had another baby?

Have you ever wondered the same?

11 comments:

Lolo said...

I think you're really asking "Should you have another baby"

Yeah! It could be a baby aunt/uncle!!! How cool!!!!

;)

marcy said...

It is so human of us to what if ourselves, isn't it? God just wants to bless us where we are and to count our present blessings. I lost my first son at birth and suffered two miscarriages, but am blessed with three healthy children and five little grandchildren!

Love your last name and people thought Borkowski was tough!

blessings on you always,
marcy

Bia said...

It's hard not to fall into the "what if?" trap.

I often wonder "what if we had married earler?"; "what if we had had children right away?" "what if my third pregnancy hadn't been complicated?"

But then I think, it is so, and for me to wonder is to deny the moments as we were living them . . . moments in which God was present.

GrandmaK said...

Providence has guided you this far. Allow it to do the work it is meant to do. You are good and tender. And though a grandchild is not the same as your very own, carried and nurtured, you, as a grandmother will have a LOT of nurturing to offer. Grand babies cuddle and snuggle and are held the same way. They will cherish you and love you in a whole new way. Their hugs are priceless and their words and laughter you will never forget!! It's an exciting adventure being a grandmother. Jump in with both feet. The water is fine and there'll be a lot of splashing going on! God Bless!!! Cathy

momto5minnies said...

(((((CATHY)))) ... I'm not sure I could answer that for you, but maybe in time you will know. I bet being a GRANDMA will be kind of cool. You can snuggle, love, and spoil them and at the end of the day hand them back over to their parents.

You are also not OLD. Pray hard and maybe in time you will have your answer.

I have fleeting moments where having another baby sounds heavenly. Maybe that's why I got another puppy ... LOL!

Giovanni said...

You should adopt a baby!

Lerin said...

This is precisely the reason why my husband and I worry... we worry that we will NEVER be "finished" until our fertility shuts down. There's always room for one more, right? ;)

And I like Giovanni's suggestion... the real question is, are you "done" with this era or not, young lady?

Teresa Giorgio said...

Beautiful post! I've never been here, but I linked over from your thoughtful comment on the F&F blog.

Though you wonder if you should've had another baby, it's almost pointless to speculate. You may have tried and not been successful. I'm one year up on you, age 45, and have nine kids ages 4-18. My last baby, Gianna, was born when I was 41 and weaned when I had just turned 42. When I was pregnant with her my husband and I both thought she'd probably be our last, but right after she weaned we had a heart to heart talk and decided to be open to another.

Here we are, three years later, with no baby. I did have two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage - one that had looked hopeful with a good ultrasound at nine weeks. Though I am still hopeful in my "old" age to conceive again, I am slowly resigning myself to the fact that I probably have to say goodbye to my childbearing years. Sigh....it makes me cry just typing this! I guess because for the last 19 years I've mostly been pregnant or nursing, and I have such an awareness of what a profound gift it is to be co-creators with God in bringing forth new life. That is probably too why you are mourning this loss. It is bittersweet, isn't it, to have to move from one glorious stage of our lives to another that is unknown to us? But we know that God is good, right? And that He has the best plan in mind for us.

Regarding adoption, which someone mentioned. We seriously considered that last year, but boy oh boy, are there a lot of hoops to jump through. We even called Mother Teresa's orphanage in Honduras to see if we could adopt a child from them, and they were delighted and assured us we could. We found out the hard way that it would be very unlikely because of the government regulations. We also found the lengthy process of applying and scrutiny our family would have to go through to be exhaustive and costly, with no promise of an actual adoption. We are an older couple - with me 45 and my husband 51. As a dear friend who has adopted put it, "Adopted children are usually the most difficult of your children to raise. Are you sure that you want to take that on in this season of life when your energy is waning and you still have many children in the nest who need your attention?" I don't mean to discourage you if God has placed adoption on your heart; I just wanted to share our experience.

Try not to be haunted by the thought of whether you should've had another baby....it sounds like you embraced your family life whole heartedly and God has guided your decisions along the way. Being a grandma should be a blast!

fondly,
Teresa Giorgio

Laura said...

You are going to be filled and overwhelmed with so much love for GRACE that you will be overjoyed to have the time to dote on her.
GRACE will fill your heart.
I am so excited for you.

Almost empty nester said...

My daughter just had my first grandson - he was 4 weeks early. Yes, my role has changed but my love for him is just as strong as my love for my babies... My heart is so full I think you will see you will feel the same.
:)

Kim H. said...

To answer your question....

EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!!!