I saw you from across the park this morning. You had a preschooler and a toddler running all over the playground, and you were holding an infant in your arms as you watched them. You were dressed in sweats, and your hair was in a messy bun. You looked so tired, and so beautiful too.
We made eye contact across the playground, and you smiled at me. Then your toddler fell off the swing, and you had to rush over to help him. We made eye contact a few more times as I walked laps along the park path, and the envy in your eyes was painfully obvious. You might have thought that I was a childless woman enjoying a morning walk in the park. You might have thought my kids were grown and my baby days happily behind me. I know I certainly looked the part, with my well-rested eyes, my makeup and hair done, and my clean dress. For at least a moment, you wished you were me.
In reality, I have more in common with you than you think. I haven’t had three children, but I do know what it’s like to chase after a toddler and a preschooler. My eyes might be clear and my clothes might be clean now, but I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights, colicky babies, and spit-up stains. But my two children are older now, and my chances of having a third are slim.
You might wish you were me, but I would love to be you. I would love to be pregnant again, knowing that I held the newest member of our family within me. I would love to cradle a newborn in my arms as I watch my preschooler and kindergartner play on the playground. I would love to see my son and daughter fawn over their new baby sibling. I wouldn’t even mind suffering another year of sleepless nights, spit-up stains, and tired arms, if it only meant the chance to cradle another child in my arms.
You might have been jealous of me, but I was probably a bit more jealous of you. You might wish you looked more put together, that you had more time to wash your hair and do your makeup. You might wish that you could wear nice clothes without worrying about spit-up stains. I’m sure you wish you could have a full night’s sleep. I know I wished for all those things when my children were little, and now I have them. But when you suffer from infertility, you realize that having those things isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be (though getting a full night’s sleep truly is heavenly). You’re willing to temporarily trade all of those things (since we’ve already learned that these things do in fact come to an end) to have another baby in our arms.
I saw you from across the park this morning. I looked into your eyes, and I saw just a hint of envy. But what did you see in mine? Did you see my envy? Did you see how badly I want another baby of my own? Or did you just see what I want the world to see- a woman perfectly content with her lot in life, a mother who is happy to have just two children? But do you want to know the truth? You might wish you were me, but I would love to be you.