I call it an ache. So summed up by the very definitions of the word, all three of them in fact. I ache, I suffer a dull sustained pain, feel sympathy and compassion, but mostly I yearn painfully. Yes, I have an ache.
It is an ache that wraps around my heart and squeezes so tightly I have to stop to catch my breath. It overtakes me in the moments I don't see it coming. It's brought on by celebrations of big firsts and accomplishments in which we celebrate lasts.
It catches me as I fight back tears that threaten to flow like a river if I don't blink quickly enough.
Sometimes dull and repetitive, a familiar feeling that I just can't shake. And sometimes it comes with a sharpness so piercing I don't have time to run from it.
The desire doesn't wain, it cannot be chased away by logic or common sense. It is the dull, sustained, yearning pain born of my want to watch my belly stretch and feel the sensations of new life growing. My want to sit in the dark at 2:00 a.m. gazing into my baby's eyes. My want to bring just one more into this world so that I can continue to experience the same firsts I have already walked through, while I celebrate the lasts with the ones that are growing.
But it is also the sympathy and compassion I feel for those who have the ache without the ability or possibility to satisfy it. It is the sadness that makes me feel selfish because I already have four but I desperately want more.
Hearing the blessed news of my friends, observing the trials and wonders of a journey through pregnancy, staring at those newborn photos that remind us how precious and fragile new life is, celebrating the first birthday's of toddlers and watching last babies enroll in kindergarten. They are mixed blessings and reminders that I am not alone in my aches.