This is a post that has been on my mind for a long time. I’m finally writing after reading some other posts this week by Kim Simon (AKA Mama by the Bay): first, this beautiful tribute to doulas and fighting PPD, then the story of becoming a family of four, and finally, this. Talk about tugging my heart strings!
Kim’s story with her first child seemed so like mine, in many ways, and it was SO easy to get caught up in the healing she found with her second child. Her writing had me in tears; it was, in many ways, beautiful and uplifting, but it sent me on a downward spiral, because, in my heart of hearts, I don’t think her story will be my story, and that was depressing.
THIS is my story. Maybe it is your story, too.
My little boy will turn three in just over a month. In the past ten months, it seems like everyone I know with a similar-age first child has either had a baby or announced a pregnancy — both real-life and virtual friends. So now it’s just me.
I guess because I made it clear fairly early on that G would most likely not have a sibling, I’ve avoided a lot of the, “So, when are you guys going to have another one?” questions, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on my mind.
Most of the time, I’m over 90% sure that one is a really good number. But sometimes I get caught up in wondering: the chance to grow and nurture another life; a re-do of our first year; a shot at another (different?) birth story.
It’s tempting to look at my peers and think, “Everyone’s doing it, so I should, too.”
But my story is my own, and when I really think about it, I can’t think of any really good reasons to have a second child. At least nothing that overrides my looooong list of reasons why, for me, for our family, one is a really good number.
My one child is awesome (and exhausting and sometimes frustrating). Could I handle another one? Could we make it work? Yes. Maybe. Probably . . . . but why? (No, I don’t really want answers to that last question.)
It’s hard to find closure on this when I wonder if I’ll regret it later. And these are still “early days,” in many respects — will I feel differently when G is 4? Or 5? Or 10?
As he gets older — more independent; less needy; more fun, new stages — I’m afraid the temptation toward a second child will only grow, especially when couple with increasing time and distance from those challenging first months and years.
The best answer I can come up with is to live in the present, challenging though that may be for this “have it all planned out” gal. For NOW, one is a really good number (except those times when it still feels like too much — I’m a mommy wimp!). For NOW, I have a sweet, healthy, smart, adorable little boy, and I love seeing the world through is eyes. For now (and, yes, quite possible forever), one is enough.
If I am still living in the present when I am 40, 50, 60 . . ., I won’t look back and regret. The real tragedy would be getting so caught up in the worry and what-if that I miss the amazing, wonderful NOW.