Every so often Yoelish wakes up in the morning especially enthused, the birth of a brilliant idea rousing him from slumber. "You know what just occur to me that we do?", he'd say to this snoozeaholic' "Listen to this great plan for a minute. It's about you, us!"
Then he'd explain. I can't repeat verbatim, but in general he says something like this:
"I think... how about... this plan: we get YOU very, very fat! But not only that, we make you sickly, and vomit daily, and dangerously moody, and sensitive to smell, and unpredictably and ravishingly hungry, and slow in motion, and breathless, and full of stretch marks and varicose veins, all bloated and blown up, a lot of nighttime heartburn, and also, prodded by a doctor where you like it least? And then we'll get you to the hospital to be hooked up to monitors and huge needles, with scrunching, crunching contractions and hell-raising pushes of the pelvic muscle. After that you'll have postpartum depression and temporarily give away all our other children!"
He'd sit up with a jolt, extra pleased with himself, and ask exceptionally cheerily "hu?! What do you think?! I think it's time! C'mon, you want it too"
I'll tell you what I think, and I'll tell you what I want!
I love that bearded fella in the nightgown from the bed across the carpet, for my life I do, but I don't want to hear all that fuss around another pregnancy. When he ever attempts to mention a combination of the words "baby" and "more" my face freezes over with a stepford smile only a married man can understand to crouch from. I look at him in my morning mode, while making a mental note to send him away first after the heartburn and pushing. If I say I want it, that's one thing, but him?
My husband is suffering from Birth Control Anxiety Disorder, according to my expert diagnosis. That's the result of a drastic, spiritually defeating change of pace in his life. Before he got married he'd been assured that he's getting a woman, a few truckloads EPTs (maybe even some free stretchies and sweater-sets) and soon enough, the dozen or so children would be generated. He'd be able to give kiddish in shul for all to come, make vacht nachts, drag a troupe of boys with him in shul, make sizable bar mitzvahs and eventually, knakedige family celebrations. The notion of having less than ten kids never crossed his mind. It wasn't a possibility.
When I first started to trigger his BCAD disorder by mentioning cutting my supply to him of babies, after a fair share of physical and emotional pressure, his reflex was to repeat like a broken record player that "m'meg nisht,", you're not allowed, and "nobody does!". Eventually, it wore him down. I'd like to say it was the hat-stand I bought him as a gift, but maybe it was just that babies made him snap. Or even more likely, the sleepless nights made his wife snap, and that really left him desperately running for a rabbi.
I proposed the strategy. Walk into the rabb's house, learn a bit of something Lashon Kodesh for good luck, and then proceed to take the sponge-tichel clad rebbetzin hostage. Yoelish should call 911, and tell the police that he's not letting go of the wife or the shep-weapon lest the rabbi gives away a two year break. Then he could come home with some of their soup, (might as well do it all the way) and we'll celebrate the heist.
I didn't get the soup, but somehow, someway, I got a nice hetter, much to my husband's surprise. From then on, if a kid wasn't on the way (and sometimes even if there was) we get those guilt ridden BCAD morning rituals where Yoelish wanted another kid NOW.
To cure my absence of typical annual maternal yearnings, I attend the "Boineh Oilem" party once a year. The ladies come to the party having left all their valuables at home, except those with a an inbound valuable. We sit around, yelling above each other's voices about nursing clean and nursing clean and nursing clean, and by the time the speakers would be through we'd all nod in agreement that we better not complain. On the walk home, late at night, all of us would talk about how ungrateful we are for always complaining when others have nothing.
I do sincerely feel sorry for couples that have infertility issues, but I have trouble comprehending how 16 for me would make it better for them. What I do know, while I'm not eager to go through child bearing again so soon, is that I love my children with everything I got. Every single one, deeply.