We went home to their house to get some sleep, and headed back to the hospital in the morning. It was so nice to be back in my sweet college town, and just have unhurried time to hang out with family. I absolutely love being around newborns- tiny humans with a huge energy about them.
Being around the baby reminded me that life is precious and exciting.... and also that babies and pregnancy can be sensitive issues. There are all sorts of medical risks for the mom and baby. But wait! Even before that point, there is the trying to get pregnant part. Since I've recently gone from my 20's to 30's, it's like a switch flipped and suddenly every one is trying to get pregnant, and those experiences vary widely.
I have friends who are a married couple and tried to get pregnant for over seven years. They finally decided to consider adoption, but even that has been a slow and arduous process. The whole thing baffles me as I know they will make the most wonderful, loving parents. Some other friends have been trying to get pregnant for just a few months, and they are already experiencing the stress and frustration of that. Then I have other friends who just got pregnant, right when they planned- the exact same month that the wife defended her dissertation and got her PhD. The timeline is totally different for every family.
We were taking family pictures last weekend with the aforementioned seven grandchildren. It was suggested in jest that I shouldn't be in the family picture since I didn't have kids. It was, of course, a joke. But don't they say that people only make jokes when there is a nugget of truth?
The thing is, having kids is a private issue. Sometimes it feels public because it's so visible- a big pregnant belly, or loud, energetic kids running around. We connect to cute children, want to talk to them and play and feed them and keep them safe, even when we don't know them. It takes a village, right? But it's important to remember that everyone has a different reality of medical, personal, philosophical, financial, and logistical issues that might not be appropriate to just bring up casually.
A few years ago when I lived on Orcas Island, some acquaintances of mine got married. I was talking to a good mutual friend who had just gone to the wedding. "So, are they planning to have kids?" I asked. "Um, you could ask them directly," he replied. "And it's not really anyone's business but theirs." At the time, I thought his comment was really harsh. Looking back however, I now agree a lot more with that sentiment. I'm all for having babies (yeahhh!!) but also being conscientious about how we talk about it.