It's a terrible name I know. No one is more cognizant of labels than I am. In one pronoun we have brought to light everything we are trying to downplay. You have yours. I have mine, but we have no ours. Sure, what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine, but nothing changes the cold hard facts. She has your ex's smile and your ears. He has my face and his father's hair. People say our children from other marriages look alike, but we know the truth. When that woman at the mall asked me if they were twins, I responded sarcastically: "Nope. They aren't even related." It sounded nasty coming out of my mouth, and I embarrassed her for no reason. My bitter, "first family grief" rearing its ugly head. So I find myself fantasizing about the "ours" baby constantly, and there is no other term more fitting.
I had a dream that my husband and I had a child together, but in the dream I mistakenly sent a text to my ex-husband to see if he would be opposed to me signing the child (the one I had with my current husband) up for hockey. Hockey was the strangest part of the dream because that sport has never been on my radar. I wasn't surprised at all that I had accidentally checked with my ex about the goings on of a child that was not his. I figured it was inevitable. Horrible, but inevitable. I realized what I had done as soon as I hit send. Even in my dream I questioned why they have not invented an immediate "unsend" option. There was a sensation of anger from my current husband, hilarity from my ex-husband who chose to rub it in, and terror from me. We ran around circling those emotions to no end, until the dream drifted off to something unrelated.
It's true, I don't know what it's like to plan a vacation without checking with an ex to ensure there are no scheduling conflicts. I can't imagine a reality where I don't wonder if I send them off to school in their best shoes, if those shoes will return after the weekend. I can't fathom a holiday that time with my child is not strategically scheduled between two parents. You mean every year Ours Baby will wake up here on Christmas morning? Who will I communicate with about school photos? Who will I argue with about the right to buy the dress for the dance? That entire way of life is inconceivable to me.
But that is not the only reason I dream about the "ours" baby. The "ours" baby is a shot at doing it the right way, the way families are supposed to be created. Not by accident or, in my case, by argument. Ours Baby is a shot at experiencing something life changing and magical, with a loving and supportive partner. I feel I was robbed of this experience last time. I daydream about my husband talking to my belly, helping me with coco butter, and maybe even a foot massage. That's not the kind of marriage I had last time. I think about whispering to him, "That's your baby growing inside me." I envision him telling everyone proudly that WE are expecting. I imagine planning this time, sappy maternity photos that include the whole family, a real nursery. We have two beautiful, perfect children from previous marriages, but you weren't with me in the hospital. I long to share that experience with my husband whom I love more than words. It's strange for us to share the rest of our lives together, so many amazing moments, and to have shared that pivotal event only with our exes.
Ours Baby is our second chance to bring children into this world smack dab into a home that is overflowing with love and bliss. We do worry about how it will affect the the existing children. Will they sense Ours Baby's difference? What will my stepdaughter feel when she realizes that half the time she is not here, but Ours Baby never leaves us? What will my son think when he sees that his half brother has two parents, both sides of their DNA, under one roof? Will the wonderfulness of the existence of the "ours" baby overshadow the uniqueness of the situation? I hope so. We want the siblings to share in the joy and excitement, but we are not blind to how the new baby's arrival might make them feel. In the end, we know they will be thrilled to have a new brother or sister. Once Ours Baby is more than a daydream, we agreed we would let the children choose middle names. We are fully prepared for a baby named Johnathan Creeper Booty Leiva or Stephanie Minecraft Fart Leiva. Perhaps, when Ours Baby is more of a reality, we'll work in a stipulation about the middle name having to come from a real baby book.
Can Ours Baby live up to the hype? Are we putting too much pressure on you, nonexistent Ours Baby? You have to know that I want you, regardless of the experiences you bring that I long for. I want you the same way every happy couple wants a baby together, plus a million other reasons that both excite and frighten me.