Thursday, July 12, 2007

Family renovations

Warning: I know some people who read this blog are still struggling to bring home their first child, so if you're sensitive to the subject of trying for an additional child, then it's probably best to skip this post. I won't be offended.


I started writing this post almost two months ago, but I never felt very good about it. The gist of it was trying to justify the idea of possibly stopping with just one child, despite wanting two for as long as I could remember. If you'd asked me then about wanting another child, I'd probably have said, "No way in hell." Two months later and I'm still not fully swayed in the other direction, but I'm coming around to at least being receptive to the idea in the future. Not anytime soon, but sometime in the future. I've got a mess of thoughts in my head, plenty on each side, so I'm going to use this post to sort them out as best I can right now.

As I said, I've always wanted two children; I grew up with one sibling, which I loved, and the world seems to be made for a family of four. But several things make me hesitate about trying for another one. One, of course, is the knowledge that trying for a baby doesn't automatically equal a baby nine months later. Possibly going through another miscarriage is a daunting thought to me, especially now that I really know what I'd be missing with that child since I do have one of my own now.

Going through another pregnancy is a mental block at this point, too, for a couple of reasons. I know each pregnancy is different, but it's hard for me to imagine enduring the constant, severe morning sickness I dealt with before--but with having to take care of a young child on top of it. So many days I was completely incapacitated and it was all I could do to drag myself to work, so it's exhausting to think about going through that again with more responsibilities on my plate. Looking back, I think my gallstone attacks during pregnancy were worse than the great labor and delivery experience I had (no epidurals are available for gallstone attacks!), so the increased risk of such attacks makes me nervous. However, the second half of my pregnancy experience, as well as my labor and delivery, were very easy compared to what they could have been. I never got any swelling. I didn't get huge. I didn't tear or have an episiotomy. I didn't require a c-section. I had to push for only 30 minutes. Nursing, while difficult in the first two weeks, turned out to be a successful venture. However, there's no guarantee that I'll have it that easy next time around.

Baby B has been a dream baby so far; she's so happy it's almost unbelievable, and we've been so fortunate with how good of a sleeper she is. But what if the next one is a "terror" (again, on top of having to deal with Baby B)? What if the next one doesn't sleep as well as Baby B has since the beginning? Would Baby #2 always be measured up to Baby B and never quite be able to fill her big shoes? All very valid questions without answers.

Then there's the idea of two children, especially if they're close in age. Would I be able to devote enough of my time to both of my children, especially since I have to work and already have just a few hours with Baby B each night as it is? I wouldn't want to neglect Baby B, of course--that's not fair to her--yet a newborn requires so much attention. And the thought of two kids in diapers at the same time is a little intimidating. And could we afford daycare for two?

But I can't help but feel uneasy at a decision to not have another child. If it turns out this is the only baby we're able to have, I would eventually be 100% okay with that, as I do not take Baby B for granted and thank the universe every single day that I have her. But something deep inside tells me I'm not done, that things are not yet as complete as I'd like. Growing up with a sibling teaches you so many things that you just cannot learn elsewhere, not even from a daycare or school environment. I think I'm better for having grown up with a sister (especially one so close in age; we are 18 months apart), and I know Baby B would be, too. And you know what? Sure, having two young children would be a challenge, but I've always embraced the thrill of a challenge in other areas of my life, so the fear of the challenge shouldn't be enough to keep me from trying to take that path.

Of course I know that no decisions need to be made right now. The Husband and I will probably re-visit the subject periodically so we can make sure that whenever we do reach a decision to try to add to our family, we're on the same page about it. As of right now, having kids approximately three years apart sounds ideal, but give it another month, six months, or another year, and that opinion will likely change (likely several times...and probably in both directions). In the meantime, I really try to make the most of my time with Baby B, taking in all the little joys of being around a young infant, just in case this ends up being my only child, either by choice or by circumstance.


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