>Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t want another child. I’m quite happy with the four I have, thank you very much, and as you well know, my sanity already is stretched to its very limits.
The mere thought of another baby scares the shit out of me. When I’ve imagined an accidental pregnancy, all sorts of interesting images have come to mind. I’ve pictured my family living in a couple of old refrigerator boxes on the sidewalk, using newspapers for blankets. I’ve visualized three small children clamoring at my knees as I banged my head against a wall over and over and over again. I’ve imagined myself shoplifting No-Doz from Walgreens. I’ve entertained dark fantasies in which I call Hubs to tell him I’m pregnant and in response, he gets in his car and drives straight to Mexico, never to be seen or heard from again.
So you’d think that when our temporary birth control method, uh, failed a few weeks ago, I’d be beside myself, sobbing in the bathroom and swearing never to have sex again, right? Right?
Instead, I quickly took a shower and then got in bed beside Hubs.
“It’s very unlikely that I’m pregnant,” I said.
“Yeah,” he answered. Both of us were silent as our heads filled with thoughts of another nine-month odyssey. And after that, another baby.
“I bet it would be another boy,” Hubs said.
“Oh no,” I said quickly. “It would be a girl. I had a premonition the other day that if I had another child, it would be a girl.” It better not be a boy, I thought darkly to myself. One boy is more than enough.
“Really?” Hubs said. He didn’t sound displeased.
Eventually, we both fell asleep and I dreamed of being pregnant again. I only dreamed about the good parts, though, like the way that food tasted insanely delicious and daily naps were extraordinarily satisfying and how the feeling of the baby’s foot pushing against the inside of my belly for the first time was a little bit like hearing the voice of God.
For the next few days, Hubs and I acted as if nothing was amiss. But as I made dinner and folded clothes, I thought of little girl names, and mentally calculated which baby clothes were still in the attic and which had been consigned or given away. I got on the scales more often, looking for telltale weight gain. I monitored myself for nausea or the bloated feeling I always got at the very beginning of both my pregnancies.
And then I got my period.
I expected a feeling of relief to wash over me, but instead I was sort of… sad. I’d enjoyed the little ghost baby that had been residing in my uterus and I missed her now that she was gone.
“So you’re not pregnant,” Hubs said that night in bed.
“I know,” I said. “We’re not going to have a little Clementine after all.” We both laughed.
“I don’t even like that name anymore,” Hubs said.
“Neither do I,” I replied. “I can’t believe we were considering it once.”
“What would we have named her?” Hubs asked. We both paused, thinking, and in the dark, I smiled, realizing that for all our claims that another child would push us into a rocky and unnavigable territory, he had enjoyed thinking about Ghost Baby as much as I had.