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(Definitely) Didn’t Expect: Momnesia

by Carrie Friedman

We met a friend’s newborn for the first time last night. The minute I spotted their baby girl’s tiny toes peeking out of her bunting as she was draped across her dad’s shoulder, I was done. I started tingling in my lady bits, felt feverish. My heart ached.

A reaction that surprised me, followed by an even more surprising thought: Oh shit. I want another one. Now. 

To review: we have been blessed with two amazing daughters, the youngest of whom has JUST gotten out of the baby phase and is finally a bonafide kid, developing her own personality, sense of humor, artistic panache. We are only a few months out of the baby years yet it feels like that was a decade ago. I remember nothing from that first year, save a mix of olfactory memories: the smell of milk, baby powder, rice cereal, the hot plastic of just-sterilized nipples, mashed peas, and that delicious, addictive baby smell.

This baby lust is a kind of amnesia, isn’t it. This is how they get you to come back for more: with the smells and the sight of their wrinkly little feet and hands. Clomid for the senses.

Seeing our friend’s sleeping newborn reminded me of the beginning, how much they grow and so quickly. It reminded me of time passing. If we’re going to do this we should do it now, as I am still technically in my mid-30s, I thoughtI had been having dreams about having another baby. It’s always another daughter in my dreams, and we pick out the cutest name for her in said-dream. Also in my dream, as if my unconscious knows what’s up, there is a new “thing” called an “Express Pregnancy” which I opt into and am only pregnant for three months (and they’re the middle months, not the bullshit first few where you blow chunks in your car, nor the last couple of months when it feels as if a human being is lodged in your ribcage because it is). After three beautiful, glowing, blissful months of “Express Pregnancy,” I greet my gorgeous third daughter who has the best effing name, and our family is complete.

I snap out of my revery and look over at my husband to discern whether he is having similar feelings. He is shoveling chips into his mouth while watching a basketball game on our friends’ TV.

I had broached the topic with him once before, when I was drunk at my own birthday dinner last year. Turning another year older mixed with mojitos made for a complicated cocktail. “Do you think we should have one more?” I had asked him then, trying not to slur my words. He had swallowed his bite of food, wiped his mouth with his napkin and said calmly, “This is why I let our kids jump and land knees first on my testicles when we’re playing. Because I knew this day would come.”

But that was almost a full year ago. Now, in our friend’s house, these important few months away from the baby years, I wonder if his feelings have changed. Sure, it might still take some convincing. I start to plot my plan of attack/seduction, when…

…Our friend’s baby wakes up. And starts crying. It’s that newborn cry, the one you try to forget. High pitched, a mewl more than a scream, until it gets going, and then it’s how I imagine a baby pterodactyl sounded when it hatched from its egg.

With that, it all comes flooding back. The wailing, the immobility, the teething, the soul crushing fatigue. The showerless, sleepless helplessness.

My Mom-nesia subsides, and I feel a steel door slam shut in my uterus.

I’m good with two.

(That said, if someone handed me a one-and-a-half year old baby who already had a sleep schedule, my husband’s eyes, and a mouth full of teeth, I could make it work.)

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