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?