“I’ve got all this deep… this deep…”
That’s as far as I could get, trying to articulate all the regret in my head. The deepest, darkest shame. My brain tells me to shut up. To not indulge this brand of grief for a second. But my heart whines, urges me to wallow.
I want to flip off the universe by having more babies. I can’t believe I’m feeling this way, this almost frantic urge to get pregnant again and again and again. I want healthy babies, a circus-troupe gaggle of them, and normal labours for once, for chrissake, to prove my worth and be absolved of what happened to the boys.
I failed at this pregnancy.
The day before I went into labour I shuffled laps in the backyard after supper, crying and clutching at my belly, feeling like I just wasn’t cut out to carry twins. The night it happened I spent a few hours wracked in bed, then pacing, then sitting with a heating pad on my back. All trying to bear what I thought was third-trimester discomfort.
If I had come to the hospital sooner that evening, would Liam have less blood in his brain? This torturous thought creeps into my head, and I know it’s unfair and ridiculous. I know the damage was done long before I started feeling contractions. But I still think back to that night and want to scream at myself. I fantasize of time-travel episodes like those dreams of being chased, stuck in slow-motion. I’m screaming but she can’t hear me.
Having more babies would be punishment by sheer intensity of life. Forcing my body into another pregnancy, into proving something to the world with a lifetime of offspring-amplified chaos. Not long ago, anyone who would choose to have more than two kids was deemed certifiably nuts. And here I am, struck with this primal urge to have as many babies as I can at any emotional, physical or financial cost.
To run myself ragged for the rest of my life, powered by instinctual guilt.