You know - The Other Side?
The side where you go to bed with the knowledge that you won't have to wake up for 8 whole hours. The side where you tell your kids to go take a bath and you'll be up to read them a story after you finish your whiskey sour. The side where you tell them to get their own damn milk, I'm not your maid for crying out loud!
Right now I am on the opposite of The Other Side. With a 2 1/2-year-old, 15-month-old and 2-week-old I am so deep in the trenches I can't see daylight.
At first the thought of being out of the trenches seems glorious and magical, sort of like finding a $20 bill in the back pocket of your jeans. Especially right now. Because when you have a newborn everything about your life gets put on hold.
And while on hold temporarily, it's on hold indefinitely.
Everything I've struggled to learn over the past 15 months with two children I have to totally start over and re-learn how to do with three. Our trump tight morning routine. Getting into and out of the car. Lunch.
Every milestone - eating at a restaurant, taking the train at the zoo, going to the park or just playing in the back yard... now that we have a newborn it's back to the hovel we go. We're starting again from scratch.
And my body... oh sweet lord my body. Since grade school I've had about 10 - 15 extra pounds hanging around, so it's not so much the weight that's bothersome so much as it's the... well... this shit is jacked up in a serious way. It just ain't right. With each pregnancy it's gotten progressively worse and now it's to the point where I don't know if I should call a trainer or a priest. I've got things bulging here and hanging there... by the time Nick is legally allowed to come within a 50-foot-radius of me again he'll need a road map. Maybe I'll just tell him to follow the stretch marks that run north and south.
Including the two miscarriages I had before Ellie, I've been pregnant 34 out of the past 48 months. And you can pretty much fill in the rest of the blanks with breastfeeding. Call me selfish, but I'm ready to stop sharing my body parts. I'm ready for things to stop leaking out of me. I'm ready to be able to take cold medicine the next time I'm sick.
I'm ready to reclaim my body, my career, my life. I'm ready to go on a family vacation to the beach and take a girls road trip to the American Doll store in Chicago. I'm ready to pee without an audience.
But then there's the other side of being on The Other Side.
I'm just going to say it - and you're going to call me crazy and send me links to everything I've written over the past five months - I'm going to miss being pregnant. I waddle into a room and immediately become the girl everyone wants to talk to. Strangers everywhere want to know everything about me, want to share their own pregnancy/baby/parent stories and before I know it I've made a room full of new friends.
People scramble to get me second helpings of ice cream. I even got a free case for my new phone because the AT&T sales person said I looked like I was "miserably suffering" as I tried to walk across the store.
And then there's the excitement, the unparallelled awesome anticipation of meeting the person that you created with your husband (or one night stand - I'm not judging) for the first time. Having their little personalities revealed to you bit by bit, one day at a time, like a flower opening up to the sun.
The first smile, the first word, the first steps, feeling their gentle breath on your neck as you carry them, limp and sleeping up to their beds... well, there are just no words in the English language sacred enough to describe what these things do to your heart.
And it makes me sad to think about that coming to an end.
I'm 35 now - the sun is starting to set on my child bearing years. And I'm really, really ready to get out of the holding pattern and let the good times roll.
So am I absolutely, positively sure we're done having kids? Yes. No doubt. Absolutely.
Am I going to let my maternity clothes hang in my closet for a couple more years just in case? Yes. No doubt. Absolutely.