To The Second Baby I’m Afraid To Have

By Kimberly Zapata

Dear Little One,

I should probably start by saying that I’m not pregnant with you and I’m not having you. At least not anytime soon. At least not yet.

Make no mistake: I want to have you. For months now, I have dreamed of carrying your little body close — of tickling your toes and holding your little hand in mine. I have spent many hours trying to imagine what it would feel like to conceive you and carry you and hear your heartbeat for the very first time. I’ve puffed out my stomach and arched my back, wondering what I would look like; wondering what I would feel like. And I’ve spent hours talking with my husband (and your father) about why now is the right time — or the best time — to have you.

I’m trying to convince him why we should transform our trio into a family of four.

Yet even though I am “ready” — ready to carry you and nurture you and to have a second child — I am still terrified. I am still scared to death. Because things didn’t go as planned with your sister. Shortly after she was born, I struggled. I struggled mentally and emotionally. We — as a family — struggled financially. Your father and I struggled with our relationship. One day I nearly walked out; one day I asked for a divorce.

Depression nearly destroyed me. Postpartum depression nearly took my life.

And while that, in an of itself, is a damn good reason to be frightened and afraid, it isn’t postpartum depression that scares me most this time around. (Not anymore, at least.) No, this time, the fear is all about me, and my own personal inadequacies.

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