Turns out, unprotected sex really does make a baby. I’m pretty sure I sluffed school when my teachers explained that chapter. Oh wait, Utah removed that chapter entirely, explaining why I had no idea this could happen. Brian and I accidentally procreated again, making 66.33 percent of our young unplanned — wanted, but unplanned.
Here I sit one year after the birth of my son, stretch marks just now turning from violent purple to a pasty white, finally reclaiming my breasts as my own, even thinking about getting started on Benson’s bedroom when I’m yet again staring down a rabbit hole.
I’m freaked out that, in 10 months, two babies under the age of 2 will be crying for my attention. Yes, women have done it before, but those were real women; I’m more of a hybrid between a woman and a coward.
Baby 3 was always a part of my plan, but he/she wasn’t supposed to show up for another few years. When the stick read “pregnant,” I felt compelled to use three more because it couldn’t be true. I mean, it wasn’t part of “the plan.”
Therein lies that biggest heartburn in all facets of life: Plans rarely work.
I planned on marrying Brian when we graduated from college — nope, I didn’t graduate until three years into our marriage. I planned on becoming some big-time news producer — nope, decided to stay home. I planned on having my first child at 28 — uh, try three by 28.
If I heeded warnings thrown my way via life, I would have long ago abandoned planning, realizing I’m just not tenacious enough to follow my own advice. Having children in and of itself is a sign you cannot plan any turn of events.
Today alone, I can count numerous times things went off track, starting with my refusal to get up and run, ending with my dreams of both children in bed by 8. I had a choice: Push hard, stress more to get the schedule back on track — or enjoy the lemons tossed my way and, thus, the day. Adherence to “the plan” would only make my children miserable as they suffered through an insufferable mother.
After my latest surprise, I decided to throw out all planning — time to employ operation Go With the Flow.
Understand when I say “plan,” I mean a detailed script of the future. A rough sketch is nice, i.e. baby made, baby come, baby cute. I’m not saying a young couple dipping their toes into the family-planning pool should ignore all facets of planning, going willy-nilly with the irresponsible baby-making. I’m just saying a rigid adherence to formula causes more stress than needed.
It seems counterintuitive to believe planning causes more stress — until you realize what should be a joyous, exciting experience could be overshadowed by strict structure, like how I forgot how great it is to be having a baby.
Family planning is unlike any other, with many outliers ready to jump out, changing your life’s trajectory. Today’s health technology allows women to choose how many children, the spacing, even the timing of birth, but even with the guiding track, things don’t usually work that way.
Life can’t be planned. How many parents can say they painted the nursery blue, planning for the perfect baby boy, only to get a bouncing baby girl?
If all goes to plan, this baby will be my last.
I plan on enjoying every second I can as I rock her to sleep while she screams at the top of her lungs. I plan on relishing every poopy diaper, as it will be my last until my parents get old. I plan on being grateful for being so irresponsible not once, but twice, building my little family, spreading the Sanders-Solomon genes in our attempt to take over the planet.
These are the things I can plan on. That, and the surety this is going to be one cute kid.