Unintended Consequences

I’ve been looking forward to the end of February for some time now, I have two newborns to photograph and I have been furiously crocheting hats and going over the props and poses in my head!   The last newborn I shot was Madeleine, and I  used a doll the parents had as a “stand in” for the baby.  It came in super handy to position the doll for both getting exposure and checking how the light was hitting the body.

Ever since, I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect baby doll.  This was surprisingly difficult because of my strict criterion : Cheap, close to lifesize in length and also head circumference. The head circumference was important to me because I have started making up my own hat patterns and wanted a lifesize head to check my sizing.

Last weekend I went to Toys R Us, measuring tape in hand and started measuring the heads of various dolls… yes, I was that psycho lady measuring dolls heads in the aisles of TRU!  Strangely enough, all the dolls that were close to the correct length (18-20 inches) had disproportionately large heads or vice versa so I headed over to target and struck gold with the Circo Feed and Sleep Baby Doll.  It was 18″ (close enough) and had the exact average newborn head circumference (13.5) and was under $20. Score!

Here she is modeling on of my new hats:

My plan B was to buy something off of ebay, but that would have taken forever to get here, plus most of the “lifesize” dolls were those reborn type of dolls that have always really creeped me out.  I’ve never understand the whole reborn treating a doll like a real child phenomenon, though I know sometimes these are grieving mothers and there is no way for me to even attempt to understand the depths of that sadness and what behavior it has the potential to bring out.   I tried not to judge, but I admit I did a little…

And then, Jasper started playing with the doll.  I wasn’t prepared for how watching him feed a doll its bottle would flood me with emotions just thinking about how if things were different Jasper could have a little sibling right now..

Seeing Jasper interact with this doll I could just so clearly see him as a big brother and my heart just ached with sadness for me and him that in all likelihood it will never come to pass.   It’s been a lot on my mind lately, both because I’m approaching my 37th birthday and also because a huge percentage of women on the bump toddler and even SAIF messageboards are pregnant again or have already given birth to their second.    I feel guilty even feeling this way, knowing how incredibly lucky I am to have Jasper, but I can’t help myself.

I’m so glad I have a creative outlet to drive these thoughts out of my mind, and one that even allows me to be around newborns every once in a while..

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Raquel says:

i may have missed something as well… but… i had mine at 39 going on 40 and lots of my friends here in lalaland have as well so if the desire if there its worth trying!

love the pic and your site!

jesicalea says:

Aww he is so sweet with that doll.

I can sort of relate to your longing for a second child. I had a lot of difficulty getting pregnant. No IVF but other issues.

After a long time of trying we’d pretty much given up. I prayed for at least one child..boy or girl..I didn’t care. My prayer was answered 3 months later. I’m very thankful but the pull is still there a lot of the time. Especially now that my baby girl is 3 and asking for a little sister or brother.

I just don’t know if another will ever happen.

I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Take care!

Stephanie says:

No words of wisdom to share (in fact, I too would desperately love to have another baby and know that will likely never be.) I just wanted to send a hug and some support. Jasper is darling and is lucky to have such an amazing mom. :)

Susana says:

I want to echo what someone earlier said – you have unmet friends rooting for you. I’ve followed you since becoming-home and have learned so much from you. You are a terrific mom and I wish you the best.

Abi says:

im so in LOVE with your hat. I’m going to need atleast 10 of these for my sweet boy :)

Sara B. says:

I’m so sorry, Ariana. I can’t have another child for medical reasons (not IF). Details here:


It’s definately left me with a mixed bag of emotions: grateful to have experienced pregnancy and to have a healthy, wonderful child, but bitterness that I can’t make a choice about the size of my family (especially when it feels like everyone else in the world is on their 2nd, 3rd, etc…we have some friends and family pregnant with their 5th and 6th and its like a knife to my uterus!).

Sending you big peaceful ((HUGS))!

Juliana says:

Ariana, I just saw your post and I would like to send you hugs and kisses (here in Brasil a hug never goes without a kiss!). Like Heather, I don’t know if I have missed something in the posts before Jasper was born, but being 37 is not something that can keep you from having another child. Everyday you see examples of other women who had not just one, but two or three…
Meanwhile, just enjoy the time you have with your little one (as you already do, I am sure) and all the newborns that you will photograph! And, maybe, before you know you will just get the wonderful positive exam.

Lauren says:

I understand the ache. I know my son (15 months) would be such a great big brother and I would love him to have a sibling. I’m from a family of 6 kids… so that is all I know. I also struggle with infertility and Noah was an absolute miracle. Now with my age (42)… it will be the miracle of all miracles if I was able to have another. In any case, I think it’s OK to appreciate what you have and yet still have some yearning for more. It’s completely normal.

Kimberly says:

I’m sorry for your heartache… it would break my heart not to have another baby, too.
What an absolutely precious photo of Jasper!

kari says:

((virtual glass of wine))
((and another))

Samm Ivri says:

I’m sorry you’re feeling down.
I was thinking we may not have another one because the pregnancy and being a working mom had been so difficult for me. And I’m in my 30s too. But every time I see little siblings it makes me doubt my decision. So I understand that feeling you have.

Heather says:

I’ve only been reading for awhile so maybe I’ve missed something. If you want another will you try for another? Is there a reason you can’t?

If my questions are too personal, or seem insensitive please accept my deepest apologies. I was just confused. Being 37 shouldn’t be the only reason in my opinion. I’m working for the third mom I’ve had over forty when her first child [or children, twins in one case] was born. You seem like such a wonderful, thoughtful mom, I just wondered.

That picture is so sweet I want to…I don’t know…hug it?

I have nothing to say about having or not having other children. I completely understand (in different aspects) that sometimes it’s impossible to “count your blessings.” But please try to not feel guilty about your honest feelings!

More hugs coming your way! You are a beautiful person!

Alicia says:

Awwww- Jasper inherited your mothering/nurturing – soooo sweet!

The hat is really cute – can’t wait to see your pics – I know they’re going to be stellar!

I so hear ya. I was recently feeling the same way. Owen, besides not having a father, will probably never have a sibling either and it really breaks my heart to think of it too. But a friend recently told me about all these amazing character and personality attributes scientists have found quite common among only children. That helped slightly.

Catharine says:

I’ve been venturing into hat making myself. I don’t like acrylic basic yarns, so tried something funky. Just didn’t work very well with the hook though. Can you share what yarn you are using??

Heather says:

That photo is so cute, and I’m sure Jasper likes this new toy. My son loves going to my friend’s house who has two little girls with American girl dolls. He loves all the little pieces they have!
From reading your blog, I know it’s been a tough year, but try to have some hope. I met my husband when I was 40 and had my first (and only) son when I was 42 and everything worked out fine. I feel like I totally hit the jackpot, and couldn’t be happier with my little love. I used to be so sad thinking it might not be a possibility for me, but perhaps it makes me appreciate him even more. Good luck with everything…you have un-met friends rooting for you whatever happens! Sometimes knowing what you really want can speed things up in your life, but it’s hard to see when your emotions are in a turmoil.

ariana says:

Thanks JB.. I needed that hug :)

jbhat says:

That picture is killing me. What a sweetie he is. And I hear the heartache in your words, Ariana. I am sending you a big squeezy hug right now. {{THERE}}