Maybe it's envy, a sin our priest cautioned against in his homily during Mass on Sunday.
Heck, whatever, I know it's envy.
At this stage in my life, the "friend's having babies" thing is starting to wind down. Sure, being Catholic, I still know people having babies but most of my super close friends are "open but not hopin'." Even if they desire more, we're at the point in our life where we have the baby thing down. Breast or bottle feeding debates aren't on our radar; we've made our "baby choices," we know how to parent that stage. We're more worried about the tween years.
Yet, still, I have friends whose feeds are full of ultrasounds and car seats and newborn clothes. The other day, I saw pictures of the car seat some friends will use, God willing, when they bring their son home from the hospital.
The kicker? She's 22 weeks pregnant.
At one time, I suppose as a first time mother, I would have made that choice. I would be looking at car seats and wanting one rightnow because OMGosh I only have nine months to get ready for this baby and nine months isn't very long and what if I made the wrong choice and will they have the color I want and what if my baby has to come home in a car seat that is the wrong color? But this isn't their first baby or even their second. I find it. . . odd. Because if I were to be 22 weeks pregnant right now, I wouldn't have an infant car seat in the house. I wouldn't even be looking for one. I'd be praying, praying, praying for many more months of pregnancy.
I'm too wary now.
At one time, maybe I could do it. At one time, maybe I could have my child's car seat purchased and waiting before I hit viability. At one time, maybe I could. By Cole's pregnancy, I couldn't.
In some ways, I didn't have to purchase anything. 16 months between births gave me a good "out." We had a perfectly good, non-expired car seat waiting in the basement. We had a bouncey and a Bumbo. The baby toys were still in use and the newborn diapers hadn't been packed far away.
Yet, I couldn't. I couldn't have too much laying around the house, staring at me, mocking me for daring to hope. It was such a delicate balance. How much did I need to get ready? How much did I want to do? And how much could I stand to look at if (Please, God, no) my child was born early?
Prematurity was a very real possibility. Thanks to George (and I mean that in the best way, not the most sarcastic), I had friends with extremely pre-term infants. Infant loss wasn't something that happened to random strangers, it happened to people I loved. I'd seen codes and tears and too much sorrow (and yet, so much joy) to get ready too soon.
Instead, I did everything in stages. I washed tiny preemie clothes, knowing that, well, at this stage, he would need clothes even though he would be in the hospital. I rearranged the boys room early- but not too early. I wanted George to get used to the new room before the baby came but not so early that I would burst into hysterical tears every time I walked into it. I installed the car seat 37 weeks. Everything was a balance, the balance of a mother who knew- and was terrified- of the other side.
Although Cole was healthy and term, if I had a fifth, I couldn't do it. I couldn't buy a car seat at 22 weeks. I might buy a blanket in case of an emergency baptism, just so there would be something white to put over the baby. I know I would have Holy Water on hand. I know we would have a name. Everything else could wait.
Do I envy those parents who, even on their second, third or twelfth child, can buy a car seat at 22 weeks? Yes. I don't envy them for their child or their life. I envy their innocence and wish I could go back to a time when fear (what if... what if... what if...) and anxiety didn't surround a pregnancy.
I wish I could go back to a time when there was only joy.