Her Bad Mother

Thursday, November 9, 2006

What The Heart Doesn't Know

(Hey, guess what? More hand-wringing! More guilt! More angst! Huzzah! Never gets old!)

(Um, if these things bore you? Just scroll down through the pictures.)

Some months back, I had a pregnancy scare. Except that it wasn’t really a scare, because I was convinced that I was pregnant and discovered, in my conviction, a real desire to be pregnant. When the pregnancy turned out not to be, I was disappointed. Deeply disappointed. Sad. But I consoled myself with the fact that I had learned something through the experience: I had learned that I wanted to be pregnant. That I was ready for a second child. I rejoiced in this discovery. I was ready.

But that was then. This is now. And now, I'm ambivalent. Is it weird that I might have changed my mind?

I think about having a second child all the time. I feel the clock ticking, I see WonderBaby getting bigger, I feel the proximity of our future as a family and I think, what about Baby Number Two? Is it time to start to sorting out the details of B#2’s invitation into these world? Do I want to start sorting out those details?

Do I want a B#2?

My response to these hypothetical questions is, always, this: a big, fat, resounding I don't know.

I can barely keep up with one WonderBaby. Or, rather - it’s a good day if I can keep up with WonderBaby at all. Most days, I’m laying trampled by the roadside, inhaling WonderBaby’s dust, before the day has even really started. As I’ve faithfully recounted in these virtual pages, I often feel like a bad mother, an inadequate mother, a mother who cannot keep up, simply because keeping charge of such a powerful, willful little being has proven and continues to prove to be such an overwhelming challenge for me. Much more challenging than I ever imagined it would be.

And here’s a further confession, one that causes me some shame: I feel this way, even though I have ample support in caring for WonderBaby. The Husband, as I have said before, is a powerfully supportive partner. And - and this is a huge and - I have the aid of an extraordinary child-caregiver. Ever since I went back to teaching part-time, we have employed a part-time nanny, who I have come to depend upon like oxygen. She cares for WonderBaby when I am at school, and when I am writing and preparing lectures and marking. She takes WonderBaby to playgroups and library programs and drop-in centres and the park and indulges all of WonderBaby’s energetic impulses. Three days a week, she does the hard work: the chasing, the wrestling, and the wrangling of the baby who never sleeps and never stops moving. She takes charge, and I am free to catch my breath and charge my batteries and take care of all of the other exigencies of our day-to-day lives. Why, then, with all of this support, do I continue to feel challenged? And what does this have to do with the decision to have another child?

I feel guilty about the fact that I hand WonderBaby off to another person a few times a week. I feel guilty that I feel liberated in doing so. I feel guilty that I so relish the time that I have to myself. I miss WonderBaby when she’s not with me, of course, but it’s the sort of ‘missing’ that is made keener by the guilt that I feel for needing the absence. The guilt that I feel for, sometimes, relishing the absence. (Oh, dear god, am terrible mother for even allowing the sliver of such a heresy into my heart!)

Such is the guilt I feel that I fall over all over her when we are reunited at the end of the day. Such is the guilt that I clutch at our hours together, insisting that they be filled with the closest togetherness, that every minute of those hours, every second of those hours, be filled with hugs and laughter and whispered stories and shrieks of joy. Such is the guilt that I cannot, in those moments, imagine dividing those hours, that I cannot imagine giving up even a second of those hours to another child.

My loyalties as a parent, as these pertain to time and attention, are already divided. How could I choose to divide them further? And they would become further divided. Every moment devoted to the care and nurture of a second child – in utero or out – would be a moment not devoted to WonderBaby. If I already feel guilty about the time and energy that are drained away from WonderBaby by other things, how much further will that guilt deepen if the well of time and energy becomes even shallower?

(I know, I KNOW. Enough already with the guilt.)

If I'm not happy with how I'm managing one child, what business do I have having a second?

The Husband says that I am being much too hard on myself. He tells me that I am a wonderful mother, a mother who gives her child more than any child could ever hope for. He tells me that there is plenty of love to go around, that WonderBaby would in no way be deprived by the addition of another being to love in our family. He’s right, of course. Love is not a zero-sum game.

Time, however, only comes in finite, and so zero-sum, quantities. As does energy. And attention. Whatever time and energy and attention I put in one direction is that much less time and energy and attention that I can put in another. Having another child will tax the available reserves. Having another child will deprive WonderBaby of some of the time and energy and attention that I might otherwise give her.

And yet, and yet… having another child will give WonderBaby something that I certainly can never provide to her on my own: someone else to love, and be loved by. Someone, other than me, for her to play with, conspire with, imagine with, fight with. Someone to grow up with. Someone with whom to muddle through the wonder and weirdness of family.

Having another child might also accomplish something else: it might force me to recognize that love is the best thing that I have to offer my children, and that love is something that I hold in infinite reserve. It might force me to recognize that I will never have as much time and energy as I would like to have, to devote to those I love, but that that, perhaps, doesn't matter so much as the love itself. It might force me to recognize that I am limited, but that I am not necessarily any less of a mother for it. It might, in other words, knock some emotional sense into me. Or knock the overfunctioning stuffing out of me. Either would be good, I imagine.

In any case, I am (we are) still undecided. What it will have to come down to is whether we want another child - not whether it would be good for WonderBaby or good for my psyche or whatever. It will come down to what we - what I - want.

And I still don't know what that is.

(SINCERE QUESTION THAT ALSO SERVES AS SHAMELESS COMMENT SOLICITATION: Did you know? Did you plan Number Two - or Three or Four, for that matter? Did you fret over your ability to manage, to cope, to love? I know that parents with more than one child thrive and love and wouldn't have things any different - but did you always know that it would be thus?)


Blogger macboudica said...

All of miner were surprises. I have had kids for almost 14 years now and I honestly still don't know what the hell I'm doing half the time. One thing I have learned is that we are all human, myself included. We all make mistakes. Life is but a work in progress, so don't beat yourself up over the little stuff (trust me, as they become teens, there will be enough time and stuff to beat yourself up over then!).

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm posting anonymously since I have a confession to make. I love my 2nd more. I'm ashamed. But it's true. I love my firstborn. But he is just SO HARD to raise. He has behavioral problems and our lives are pretty much filled with "what has he done now?" calls from the principal. My second is naturally loving and giving. While he gets into mischief, it's not the kind that brings on police. Sigh. This is my biggest guild as a parent.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Mouse said...

The wife and I intellectually reasoned out having two many years ago, years before we'd even started on #1. Our reasons include the sorts of things you cite--having another person who will intimately understand where our son is coming from is a big one--as well as the concern about the spoiling of an only child (which would only be intensified by likely being the only grandchild on one side of the family).

But the real decision, the acknowledgement that we would actively try for #2 (and it requires deliberate action on my part), didn't come until recently. Again, for some of the reasons you mention. I couldn't imagine having another one until my son's physical abilities and language reached a certain point. Yes, he still needs lots of help and relatively close supervision, but it's not quite so constant or intense (most of the time).

And maternal age is a consideration for us in not putting it off any longer. I'll avoid labeling as 'high risk due to maternal age' by a little over six months if things pan out here shortly.

OK, I've gone on long enough, but I have opinions on the whole childcare/guilt thing too. That will be later.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

It will be two years ago tomorrow that I peed on the stick and saw the little line that would become baby Pie. She's now three months older than Bub was when I got pregnant, and I'm realizing every day that it wasn't just the pregnancy that made this age so exhausting.

Bub was 20 months old when Pie was born, and it seemed as if he very suddenly became much easier to handle - more of a companion, less of an energy-drainage-pipe.

Maybe aim to get pregnant approx. 8 months from now?

(But do. Do. They give so much more than they take, these little ones - and to each other most of all.)

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so much as thought about the second and wham! pregnant! (granted, I do know how this happens and all, but still!)

While my brain wasn't prepared by heart was. I spent the first few months of my pregnancy sort of scared to death, but now I'm getting more comfertable with it. They will be 23 months apart. I'm scared for year 1 and years 13-18. I think everything else inbetween will be fun :)

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with HBFather... You're too hard on yourself. But it goes with the Type-A territory -and I've explored it well.

Guilt if you do, guilt if you don't.

As for #2, when I got pg in October (way back when) I was not NOT trying - but ahem, that's how it goes, right? And I felt awful for my daughter - like I was taking something away from her. I'm past that now - and I know it's a good thing.

No worries about loving them enough - although it's weird to think about having another one that I love soooooo much.

I'm just worried about myself - surviving it all again.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

We think we want 4...I know I'm nuts. I'll tell you, my first is like WB and I questioned it too, I didn't think there was any way I'd ever want more of the crazieness and wonderfulness that is Maya. And we waited as long as we could to have another and took the plunge mine are still a little bit under three years apart. But it seemed like a lot of difference to me at the time. And my second is so easy and so much calmer than my first and she came out that way. And they adore each other and I can't imagine not having had Nata. And there is enough love to go around and somehow you change a bit and time presents itself. But it's a personal choice and WB is only 1, so you don't need to decide now. Now the hard part...well I though I was pregnant until Monday and I'm still sad that I'm not and now may be the time where we think about #3, becuase the though of possibly being pregnant scared me last week, but when I found out I wasn't, it was unbelieveably hard to fathom not having a third in 8 or so months. So I'm no help really, but I think you may want to give it some time and come back to it later. Even 6 months of not thinking about it, may change your mind. Oh adn to answer your question, mine were both planned.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop thinking and listen to your heart.

7:08 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

I know I (we) want number two but I hear this really loud ticking noise, I see an exhausted woman in the mirror and I think "how can we do this?". I need number 2 so that I don't hold Bumper back and shelter her. I need number two to complete us. I know we have the love and stability but do I have the strength (both emotionally and physically)? I don't know. I'm not sure if this makes sense C but all I know is everytime I think of our future, it includes another bump.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

How funny that I just told this story to a friend today...

We had Number One Son and about 18 months later I decided it was time to try for Number Two Question Mark. My husband said to me, "Mary, this one took away 90% of my life. I don't want to give up the rest of my life." I persevered, as I am wont to do, and husband went ahead with the plan.

We tried for a couple of months and then many aspects of our lives changed including my beginning to work 4 days a week. Now is not the time I decided, so we stopped trying.

Every year at my gyno appt. my doctor asked me, "Are you going to try to have a child this year." I would reply no and then would say, "Are you ready to do anything permanent about it?" Again I would reply no.

About seven years after Number One Son was born, the husband and I talked and we realized we were probably not ever going to choose to get pregnant again. Also, I was 34 and not sure I wanted to get pregnant after 35.

One night, I was talking with a friend who asked me if Paul and I were ever going to have any more. I told her the above story with the addendum: "When the doctor asks me this year, I am going to tell him I am ready to do something permanent."

Lo and behold, as I was speaking those words I was already pregnant but didn't know it yet. Go figure!

My kids are 7 years and 49 weeks to the day apart in age. There were some challenges along the way and I'm sure still will be. But it is our family and it works for us.

FYI: Dr. Brazelton says in some book that the most important part of spacing children is the mother's state of mind. If she tries to have them close because she thinks she should, it is very hard on her. It is better for them to be farther apart if that is what it takes for the mom to be ready physically and emotionally.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eek I just got over a "better late than pregnant" scare (late, thankfully) so no idea how you if you're ready for #1 let alone 2. Go with your gut.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that you grapple with this at all is just further proof that you are a CAPABLE mother! And you will come to the decision that is best for you and your family - you must know this!

I never wanted babies. I wanted two dalmation puppies! But then I changed, one year nearing my 29th birthday I NEEDED a baby! I felt need like I'd never felt before! And after one miscarriage, I was even more sure that I wanted a baby. Then I had her - she is now a spectacular eleven year old. And when she was two, I knew with certainty that I wanted her to have a sibling. I had my son nine months later and I never, ever regret that decision! They bicker, they pick, but push come to shove, they will back each other up every time. It's great to watch. That said, I was just as certain that I didn't want a third. Two is just a good number for us.

You will find the right number for your family. It will just feel RIGHT! Go with the flow - you'll be fabulous!

7:41 PM  
Blogger j.sterling said...

dude. i am freaking out at the thought of having one with bf, because we both don't know what we want to do 100%. it is SO nice to think that blake would be out of the house in 10 years. it is nice to think that we are comfortable financially and having another baby would completely change all of that. not to mention the fact that we have every other weekend free (blake goes with his dad) and we wouldn't have that anymore. although there was a time when i had blake ALL the time and it wasn't that much of an adjustment. but i was single then. i don't know- i think it would be a HUGE adjustment for us to have a baby.... and we're not sure either. let me know what you decide and i'll copy you. lol

8:11 PM  
Blogger j.sterling said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:11 PM  
Blogger j.sterling said...

ps- i commented twice. so now one is gone.
pps- i also think that the age difference between blake and unborn kid would be cool. far enough apart that it wouldn't be chaos to have both of their schedules.. know what i mean?

8:13 PM  
Blogger moplans said...

I think you just know when your family is complete.

I know that I am done at two. I thought about quitting at one for all of the reasons you have given and more. It is nice to give your child a sibling, if only so they have someone to gang up against you with!

If it doesn't work out though I would be disappointed because we decided to try for two and it didn't happen.
I think there are lots of great reasons to have one child though. You have to figure out what is right for you.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is, indeed, a mindboggling task - whether to bring another child into one's family.

I'm still amazed that for some people, all the handwringing and careful planning and logical thinking doesn't really decide anything. But half a bottle of wine and a little whimsy pretty much alters everyone's life forever, no matter how hard you think about it the next day.

Life is indeed deliciously messy, isn't it? :^)

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is, indeed, a mindboggling task - whether to bring another child into one's family.

I'm still amazed that for some people, all the handwringing and careful planning and logical thinking doesn't really decide anything. But half a bottle of wine and a little whimsy pretty much alters everyone's life forever, no matter how hard you think about it the next day.

Life is indeed deliciously messy, isn't it? :^)

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the exception (as always) and we're one and out. KAATN got the big snipperoo when the child was 13 months old. She's perfect and our lives are so much better for her. But financially, logistically, professionally and personally, we only want one child. I, and I know people will flame me for this, cannot imagine sharing all the love, affection, patience, adoration, time, yada yada yada, with another baby.

Plus, there's no way I could handle another pregnancy. Pregnancy totally sucked. Totally.

8:38 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

We are still ambivalent. I'm interested to see the rest of the comments!

8:45 PM  
Blogger L. said...

Our first one was planned, and he was the Baby from Hell -- the amazing Spawn of the Devil, the Child Who Never Slept. I would have been happy to stop (and might have even been willing to put the first one up for adoption) but my baby-loving husband wanted another. My ever-supportive mother actually said, "You`d better not have any more children, since you`re not dealing very well with the one you`ve got!"

I was so terrified of chickening out that I said, "Dammit, let`s get it over with, NOW!" We conceived #2 exactly one cycle after I weaned #1 -- I was pregnant again by #1`s first brthday. In the second (c-section) birth video, you can hear me joking with the doctor: would he please take my ovaries out, while he was in there?

I told my mother we planned to hang on to some of the baby stuff in case we wanted more kids someday, and she told me "That`s the msot ridiculous thing I ever heard from you."

But 5 years later, we went and had number three, anyway. Thank god the babysitter raised the little guy -- he turned out best of all, so far. I think it`s probably because I went back to work when he was 14 weeks old, and he spent the least time with his PPD-suffering mama.

Now my husband wants number four -- ain`t gonna happen. I told him that in his next life, he needs to marry a REAL Catholic girl, not a half-assed one.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I almost hesitated to comment since I have one and will only have one child. This is not so much a decision I made, but one my body more or less made for me. However, I have two step children, so we are sort of a family of three kids. I think, by the thoughts you have shared, no matter what, you can't go wrong. Guilt will never go away, regardless of whatever you do or don't do. It's built into some of us. If you continue to focus on what you will be giving, then you will know which way to go. Time spent in groups can be truely some of the best times. You will never have to share your love, it will dynamically expand amungst you all and only grow.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

16 months between the first two, and a year of tandem nursing. 27 months between the next, 26 months, and then 2 1/2 years between the last two bio kids. 8 years from our last bio to our adopted one. 6 kids altogether. The house was a mess, I was pg or nursing for 12 solid years. I was tired a lot and really, really loved it most of the time. My kids, the oldest 25 now, say they had the best childhood ever. They do not remember the house being messy, they just remember me reading to them and taking them to the park. Would I do it again? I don't know, depends on the day. Would I recommend it? Depends on the person. See? I am not sure you ever get over the thoughts of you are not doing it good enough or whether or not you made the best decision.

9:25 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

You pays your money you gets your answer.
Big Girl was a huge surprise. Little Girl was planned.
Yes it does take time/attention away from child #1. But I think it was good. The focus, the importance of Big Girl was quite a load for her to carry, and she did not even know it yet.
That being said, I think that single child families are just as happy as multi child families. The focus is just different.
Follow your heart. It knows the way. WB is still so young, we waited three years before we even tried for #2 because having #1 just kicked the shit out of us.
Lottsa guilt in you these days....just had to mention ya know, cause you seem a bit riddled...Hope you feel better.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

bad...i didn't even plan #1. and wow..i've been having these same thoughts and discussions, and what i've learned, with shame, is that I cannot commit to another, no matter how much some of me might want it, i just can't do it. that said, if i was ever in a state of surprise, i'd suck it up and figure it out.

oh bad...you are such a lovely mum.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

For us the idea of just choosing a second child is moot as it was a long, grueling road to have our first lovely Monkeygirl. That being said, we have been talking A LOT about a second child for all sorts of reasons. And up until very, very recently, our decision would change by the day.

So we are going to try for a second knowing full well that the odds are extremely slim that we will succeed. But we want to at the very least know that we tried.

And HBM, you and I could start the guilty mom club. I am just beginning to whittle away the guilt that I am not super mom. That good enough is good enough.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Tears are streaming down my face because it's so good to know that I'm not alone in the Should We or Shouldn't We game.

I have no idea about #2. No idea what so ever. But know that you're not alone in indecision and confusion.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throttle back, sistah. (And you know I said that out of nothing but love.)

Kyle would have three or four or more children if I'd acquiesce. I was scared to have ONE. But I agreed to two, months before we got married - YEARS before we actually had Tacy.

CJ was planned. Our bodies cooperated stunningly well. I was scared, but oh so much better prepared than the first time.

I clung to Tacy like a drowning woman would cling to a piece of driftwood in the final weeks before CJ's birth. But I also forced myself to let Kyle fulfill her needs, knowing that I'd soon be dividing myself between two children.

The love for CJ surprised me, especially how naturally it came to me.

Coping has been a challenge. But it gets easier - especially with a supportive spouse - and it's been absolutely positively worth it.

9:55 PM  
Blogger OhTheJoys said...

We got pregnant with Rooster Girl when The Mayor was only five months old. We sort of thought having our kids close together would be a good idea. Heh. A plan that really looked better on paper.

While pregnant, I worried constantly that I wouldn't love the second baby as much as I loved The Mayor. How could I? I had never loved anyone quite like him. People kept telling me that your heart can expand to love more children and I didn't believe them, but they were right.

I don't love Rooster Girl in exactly the same way, but I love her just as much. The Mayor is my first born -- and there's something special in that. Rooster is my baby -- that's also special.

Whatever you decide, know that your heart has an amazing capacity...


9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please go stand in front of a mirror and repeat these words:"Although I will never truly have as much time and/or energy to devote to those I love, I am a GOOD MOTHER, and there is room in my heart for another baby if that's what we decide."

Did that help a little bit? All of mine were surprises, but the age difference of the boys turned out to be perfect. Ryan was 26 months old when Nathan was born, they have always shared a bedroom, and they are each other's best friend. I think you'll find that if you do have another baby, you'll see just how nurturing and loving WonderBaby can be.

9:57 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

My mom had six. I was the last, and she says I turned out best. LOL.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

I always knew I wanted more than one. I was desperate for number 2 to come along because I was getting tired of playing all the silly toddler games over and over again. I needed someone else to be there for him to play with. It is more work but it is also so neat to see the kids play together and interact. We are hoping to have a few more.

10:57 PM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

Wow! That's a powerful post. I'm not sure I'm suited for number two, tho' I think about it all the time. For me, it's not to be. If hubby and I were both ten years tounger (he's ten years older than me), we'd probably think about it. But he has two from his first marriage and R. has been more of a handful on some levels than I had bargained for. So, for better or worse, I am holding at one. I hope that's the right call.

But you're right -- love is not a zero-sum game, and I needed to be reminded of that!

11:02 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Wellllll....having a second child is pretty good for alleviating that feeling of "must be GREAT!" and "wow I feel guilty." At least in my own personal experience.

Yeah, the thing lost by having a second child was guilt.

First day of school with my youngest, I gave her hugs and kisses and dumped her in the room, waved jauntily and barely spared a pitying glance at the mothers who stood in tight clusters, wringing their hands and crying with guilt over leaving their baby.

That's right. That's what I said. I said I left HAPPY. With no GUILT. Or tears.

I felt so good, even though I was heading to work and not Free Time.

I also find second children the Great Equalizer.

Not to take joy in another mother's downfall but recently the Most Perfect Mother We All Know had a second child.

She is suddenly at a loss, whereas before she Knew It All and Then Some, including what the rest of us were doing wrong and what we needed to do instead.

Her life was Perfect: workouts, clean home, homecooked dinners every night, free time, Marvelous Husband and Marriage, and the Best Child in the Whole Wide World.

Then she had #2.


I had to go through IF treatment for my kids.

Nevertheless, I sobbed frequently my last trimester...what had I DONE?!?! I was RUINING our PERFECT life!!! OMG I RUINED my precious darling angel's LIFE!! What was I THINKING!?!?! How could I manage TWO!?!?!

Here's how: fly by the seat of my pants.

That's my parenting technique.

You want *my* truth?

One---which I thought of as a challenge---was a Cake Walk.

Two is Kicking My Haven't Lost That Baby Fat Yet ass.

On good days I feel like the bone between dogs. On bad days I feel like the dog, barking madly, trying to make my children afraid of my bite.

But then, we sit in bed together on a sick day and read Amber Brown books, the big one on my right and the little one on my left. They settle after jockeying for "I get the most of Mom" position and we giggle and sigh over stories.

At night sometimes the older notices the younger is ready for bed, or that we are having trouble getting the Energizer Queen to settle...and she steps in, takes her sister by the hand, leads her to bed, climbs in, cuddles her and says, "Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite."

After a tough day at school sometimes my older cries, and my younger comes up and cuddles her...and she lets her, whereas she pushed me off a minute before.

Oh yeah.

I lost the guilt. I gained a whole set of challenges NOBODY could have warned me about.

My heart aches more. But it hums more too.

There is no right decision you can know in advance. There is no perfect time.

It's bungee jumping.

I can say I never have regretted my children.

Not even when they baby powdered my entire house.

(Whew, out of oxygen, so I'll quit sucking up real estate in your comments.)

11:03 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Well, you know how I feel - you read my post...I'm like a comedy team gone wrong: "Ladies and Gentlemen, in the centre ring it's "To and Fro!",
"Back and Forth!", "Yes and No!".

Yeah, I know I'm no help, but I wanted to say thanks for posting it. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in the struggle. And if you ever want to chat, you have my email...

11:16 PM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

it seems like the second baby debate happens a lot. it's because we know what we're in for.

we don't want bee to be an only child. we want another one, but we also think that there are some not-so-great things that an only child has to deal with (like the burden of ageing parents). scary as the prospect of wrangling another kid is, it's gonna happen.

btw - me and chris both come from four. we're stopping at two.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Nadiah Alwi - Write at Home Mom said...

Last month, I was sure to have another baby (boy) but my hubby prefered not to for we're not settled financially. I wanted to push the idea, but then a few days ago, I realize that it wou;dn't be wise.

My daughter (2 y o) who's in a trouble-2 phase, needs more of my attention at this very moment.

So, I think, I'll skip it 'til we can manage ourselves (me and hubby) economically and 'til my daughter get out of the phase.

I think I'll skip 'til 5 years from now and wait 'til my daughter asks for a sibling.

BTW, this is a very inspirational post. Thanks for sharing.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop thinking and listen to your heart. That was a smart anonymous commenter (for a change, usually those anon peeps are rather unsatisfying in their delivery of comments).

Since you solicited, I'll answer. Our first was the shock of my life. I was 19 and in college. Not ready at all. The second, we planned. Strategically planned and timed it all out to fit into our lives perfectly. Then we tried, and tried and tried. Month after month after month. By the 13th cycle we became pregnant.

Don't over think it. I know it's a huge decision, but don't over think it.

Let life take care of it.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Virtualsprite said...

It's funny how life works. I always wanted more than one but I split up with my baby's father when the Ubergoober was 4 months old. I figured my chances were done. Then Nature Boy came along and he already had two of his own. We discussed having one that was ours. We wanted to. But then I had a cancer scare and a surgery and I can't have any more now. So we're happy with the three we have. As we should be. So, my point... fate will step in and help you out. Somehow. And it will be the right thing. Go with it.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Mayberry said...

I always knew I wanted two (or more). It was never a question. That said, I was in NO way ready to conceive #2 until #1 was two years old.

It's been a tough adjustment, absolutely. But the part of your post about the gifts siblings bring to each other has been true for us, and so amazing to watch unfold.

If pregnancy and birth weren't so hard on me, and if my husband wouldn't absolutely lose his shit, I'd go for #3. I'm pretty sad that I won't get that opportunity.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Bobita said...

I'm ashamed to say that all three of my children...accidents. And all three? Very difficult transition. But ultimately...I can't imagine life without them!

12:26 AM  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

See but if you have two...they play together...annoy each other....leave you alone for maybe 5 minutes a day..and those 5 minutes are gold.

We got suckered in to having no. 2 because no.1 was so easy.


Maybe YOUR no. 2 will be passive and quiet!

Seriously..we are (well I am) at that same angst about no. 3. Dh wants one....I am extremely ambivalent about the idea...I hate shutting up the baby factory..but I can barely handle the two of them and so I worry about what Iwould be like with 3.

Think about the good parts of parenting ...what you enjoy..how much you enjoy it....think about getting to do that again and doubling the pleasure....

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We planned #2. After my father died unexpectedly in the summer of 2004, I suddenly knew without any doubts that I wanted another baby. Life is so fragile and unpredictable; waiting suddenly seemed silly.

It's hard having 2 kids but it's also twice as satisfying yada yada yada. But it really is. No regrets here other than wishing I'd done it a little sooner.

And I'm paraphrasing here...it's something I read a while back. Sorry, I can't remember who said it but it resonated:

What's amazing is not that we love our children so incredibly much but rather that we love them as much as we do in spite of how hard parenting is.

Being a parent is hard work and nobody really loves that aspect of it. And that's OKAY. Enjoy your nanny and know that WB is getting fantastic care. Ultimately, that's what really matters most.

1:58 AM  
Blogger the mad momma said...

We planned ours. We were told 15 months after the first is the best time to conceive. But I got pregnant when the Brat was 14 months or so. I badly wanted two kids and while it exhausts me to be pregnant and handle a toddler, I know I will not regret it later.


2:15 AM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

very cheesy btw -
my mum always had a little family circus (gag) cartoon on the fridge that had a lady and the mom having an exchange that went:
"how do you divide your love among 4 children?"

"I don't divide it - I multiply it"

gross, i know, but apparantly, true. (we're still only having 2)

8:28 AM  
Blogger Mama said...

HBM - I relate more to this post than I have any other you've written. Even though it was 10 years ago that I got pregnant with my daughter, when my son was just over a year old, I remember feeling the exact same doubt you described. I didn't plan to get pregnant with my daughter and once it happened, I remember the nagging guilt I felt. I was sure, I was 100 percent certain, that I could never love the child I was carrying as much as I loved my one year old baby. I fretted over this my entire pregnancy. Going back and forth between guilt over not being able to love the new child and guilt over taking away precious time with my first born. Let me assure you, I learned at the birth of my daughter that the magic is just as magical every time. When my daughter was born, exactly two years and three weeks after my son was born, I fell in love with her. I understood at the moment she was born that the love inside me multiplied. And, my son fell in love with her. It was the sweetest picture ever to watch him welcome her into our family. Oh, life was challenging, things didn't magically fall into place. We all had to adjust and there was still guilt - as moms, we'll always feel guilt, it's one of the drivers that makes us good moms. But trust me when I say, there IS enough love to go around. I have three kids now and it really is like with each child you bear the amount of love in your life grows. After three very difficult pregnancies my ob/gyn advised me that I'd be tempting fate if I decided to have any more, so I had a tubal ligation. Part of me feels very sad that having another baby is something I'm not likely to do again. Mine are growing up and need me less and less. But, I still need them to need me.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

Totally hear you on this. The GUILT.
I struggle and struggle with the 2nd child question.
Last night I was talking to a couple of people about this and it came down to why don't I want another. And, I said that right now I can't deal with the heartbreak and guilt - of all of it. It's hard and I feel like I'm just beginning to be an okay mom. Can I do this for another one? But am I depriving my son if I don't have another one?
I know I'm at a different age/stage than you. But, I decided that this decision I will not even think about till I turn 30. Maybe then I will have clarity??? Who knows.
It's a HUGE decision. Of course you're waffling. And, I think part of it is having a crazy energetic child. I have one too.
My friends and sister - the ones who had easy going first children were all over having a second. I'm still questionning how on earth I could keep up. Literally. Could I strap a newborn in a Baby Bjorn and run after my toddler??? Seriously. What about doctor's visits. what about nursing? Ahh! Too much.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

Wow! You hit a nerve. What great comments. For us, we planned both of them and had trouble getting pregnant with #2. #3 never happened, I was sad for awhile. Now, a week after a hysterectomy- I'm glad we didn't have #3. I like my independent children. I like having something resembling a life back. I wonder if it is time to post about this rather than leaving another long comment here?

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you and I have been here before and I am still here. Have been thinking about this a lot and I come at it from exactly the same angle that you do: Is there enough of me to do this again and share all the love that I have in the fleeting time that I have with #1?

I know what it's like too,not to be able to stop thinking and just listen to your heart. I know there are people out there who handle babies with ease, but I am not one of them and for me it's such a big deal and so complicated.

I think about it every single day.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Two (possibly non-previously-stated) thoughts...
One, of course it is always exhausting even if you're not with the baby 24/7... when you have a child, suddenly your heart beats outside of your own body. It takes a lot of energy to keep that heart beating and nurtured when it's not inside your immediate personal control 100% of the time anymore.

And two, just like you're never fully prepared or "ready" for your first child, you'll never been fully prepared for the changes that a second will bring.

Whatever you decide, it'll be worth it. It'll be worth the joys of having a single child to focus on and NOT going through the rolercoaster of breastfeeding and potty-training and first-days-of-school and what all more than once. And it'll be worth the effort to create another person to make your family a little different than it is now. Either way. It'll be worth it. I promise.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Oh, yeah... and my kids are 4 1/2 years apart. I want a third, I do, I do... but if I woke up tomorrow to a positive pregnancy test, I would weep.

My son is 2 and a couple months. I can't have babies one right after the other... I need a year or two of toddlerhood to start thinking a newborn is a good idea again.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Sharon L. Holland said...

My first was a supercharged kid like WonderBaby. We tried for #2 immediately. My sister and I are best friends and we talk on the phone almost every day. I wanted to give my kids a chance at that kind of lifelong friendship.

We conceived #2 when #1 was 9 months old. The pregnancy was exhausting, and the first few months after the birth were gruelling. #1 was too young to be left alone with the baby for even a second, with predictably exhausting results.

But somewhere around the seventh month, when I moved them into the same room together, they discovered each other. During the morning and nighttime, when they were all alone together, #1 saw that #2 was the perfect audience for all her antics. Of course they bicker sometimes, but the real surprise is that #1 is less demanding of my attention now; she has someone else to entertain and be entertained by.

So even though it's none of my business, I say go for it. The relationships your kids can form can be great, and having babies close together means fewer interrupted years in your career and earning. Also, I don't know how college planning works in Canada, but here in the US you get bigger discounts if your kids are in college at the same time.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

I am new to your blog, but it's fabulous. I have not read the other 49 posts, but I imagine mine will be similar. I have 4, and no, I did not plan that. And yes, I did waffle back and forth about whether or not I could handle more children. The last two came together though, so I didn't have much say in that. But I am now confident in saying that I am done. I am also confident in saying that when you are done, you will KNOW it!! Good luck with you decision.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Kel said...

I am an only child, so for me the choice was already made. Unless I had serious complications with my first pregnancy, there would be a 2nd child.

When it came time for us to think about getting pregnant again, I don't know if there was a "right" time, just knowing how many years we wanted the children apart played a factor.

When Bean was born last Nov, I couldn't believe how my oldest son bonded with him. They are closer than I ever thought possible...and as close as I had always wished them to be. Granted they fight and get on each other's nerves, but seeing how Little Man interacts with Bean makes the exhaustion worth it.

I understand you are tired, I'm in the same boat. I know I won't always be this tired, it's my mantra...and sometimes it's what keeps me sane. I would rather be tired than filled with regret about what I didn't do.

I agree that it's time to stop thinking and go with what your heart tells you.

11:11 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

You're right that the love is the important thing. Whether for one or two, taking time to go to work does not diminish that. I think you're also right that it would give WonderBaby soemone else to play with, so maybe the time becomes a little less important, and you can all share your love and joy together. I agree... and yet I totally hear you on the ambivalence. It's all the what-ifs that are killing me. But it seems we are slowly srifting closer to a yes when we talk about the future now.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Everyday Superhero said...

I wish that I could write the way you do. We are also trying to decide about another child... the terms are different, seeing as it will be #4 instead of #2.... but the question is the same.

We have only planned one of our children (which turned out to be two (twins) and the third was a surprise)... and I loathe making the choice. I know exactly what I am giving up this time around. And I also know what I am getting into. Sort of.

Is anyone ever really ready?

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted number two, so badly I almost went crazy when we lost the baby, then trying for another was as nerve racking. I can't say what it will be like since we are still growing, but I am looking forward to sharing this experience with my first child.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some months back, I had a pregnancy scare. Except that it wasn’t really a scare, because I was convinced that I was pregnant and discovered, in my conviction, a real desire to be pregnant. When the pregnancy turned out not to be, I was disappointed. Deeply disappointed. Sad. But I consoled myself with the fact that I had learned something through the experience: I had learned that I wanted to be pregnant. That I was ready for a second child. I rejoiced in this discovery. I was ready."

This was ME in August....and I blogged it. And then pretended I didn't really want another baby, because my husband isn't ready. But secretly, I really do want another and I really am ready and I didn't realize it until my test in August came back negative.

You've tapped into my feelings and I thank you for that, Catherine.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Gabriella said...

Your post echoes my thoughts exactly. I am terrified of having a second baby. I honestly think it just has to happen because if I think about it it never will.
You're a good mom, trust your heart and you will get through anything life throws at you. Believe!

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julia was a surprise, but we knew we wanted kids so it was a good surprise (although I walked around in a state of shock for a good two weeks). I have a very, very small family and after my mom died I realized how important family is. I really wanted a bigger family, so Oliver was planned. We just didn't think his conception would happen so quickly after deciding to go ahead.

We are going to try for a third, but not for a while. Oliver is much too high-needs for us to think of that right now. Later.

It's a tough, personal decision. Good luck making it.

1:28 PM  
Blogger ms blue said...

Two weeks after our first was born, I mapped out the month that we would start trying for #2. She came to be the second we gave it a go. We are lucky that way.

It's like a new room in your heart, that you never knew was there, opens up. Who doesn't love having a bigger house? I wish my house of love was a mansion but husband likes our two room dwelling. He's afraid we won't be able to cope financially and emotionally with three rooms. I have to stop talking in tongues.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever since I could remember, I have always wanted 3 children. I came from a one boy, one girl household and always wished there was SOMEONE else for me to play with.
The first was easy and the second a little harder. When I delivered and the nurse handed me my second son, I cried. Everyone else in the room assumed I was crying with joy for this new baby, but no one knew I was crying for my first son. It was at that moment I realized he wasn't my baby anymore. He was going to have to share my time with his new brother. I was going to have to share my love that I had soley given to my first, to my second now. I cried for that. It was hard. BUT, I DO love them both so immensly. I have realized that NO ONE has to share my love. I have become aware of the fact that my heart has more love to give then I could have EVER imagined.
Now, like you, I am struggling with the thought of doing it all over again. I have made a list of pros and cons. The con list is HUGE......time, money, love, surgery, birth defects, late nights, spit up, worry, resentment, stress, a bigger car. The pro side is short. A new baby, a new life to love, a wonderful future. I have to say that the cons seem so trivial now compared to the pros. My heart says "99.9% Yes."
The answer will come to you. It probably won't ever be 100%, but I think if it crosses your mind THIS much and you worry and stress over it THIS much, then it means you are ready. If you didn't WANT...... that you would know 100%.
Hugs to you and best of luck.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is your confidence? Guilt, inadequacy, overwhelming, deprive, missing - these are your words??? What about the joy you will share with another child? What about the joy you share with YOUR sister? What will you say to your daughter when she asks you why she doesn't have a brother or sister (and she will). Most people's fondest childhood memories center around their siblings - not Mommy and Daddy.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Mocha said...

Of course there's guilt. There has to be. Right?

None of mine were planned. NONE. Yet here is my current state of guilt coupled with the do-I-or-don't-I dilemma: now that I'm financially able and more grown up than ever I want another one. The guilt comes from the fact that it may come from a very selfish place. But it's all fairly selfish to me anyway.

Man. Too meta for a Friday. Maybe after an afternoon martini I'll come back...

3:33 PM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

That's funny -- just yesterday I blogged about baby #2. #1 is only two months old, so I don't even know what I'm in for.

But I hear ya about the guilt. I think naptime, when I have time for myself, is the only thing that keeps me sane.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was almost exactly where you are a year ago and now I have two wonderful girls (2.5 and 4 months). It's hard, exhausting, and the guilt is crippling. But, they're worth it. The fact that you are brave enough to wonder about it supports the statements said throughout these comments that you are in fact, a very good mother. Good luck, whatever you decide.

BTW, Where did you get that shirt WB is wearing? it is so cute!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Seems there is something in the air ... er keyboard ... in the blogosphere these days.

To answer your question: I knew.

3:58 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

My first thought: please stop feeling so guilty about it all. You're trying really hard to do what's right for you and your family which is a good thing, a great thing, something I wish more people would do sometimes! You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about!

As for the question. Yes, we knew we wanted at least one; I was also abnormally afraid it wouldn't happen for various reasons and discussed what we would do if that was the case. Instead, we got pregant our first week of trying! So it was thrilling and scary all at the same time. MF is the light of my life, (even though I want to throttle him sometimes). As for Number Two, we also knew we wanted another one relatively close in age to MF. So we bit the bullet and went for it right after MF's first birthday... his little brother is due in March. They will be 22 months apart. I'm sure it will be crazy, full of ups and downs, but hopefully, it will all work out in the end. Stay tuned.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having a second child was a difficult decision for me. I say me because I knew that it would be me to primarily take care of the child while having to work and take care of our first born. It is challenging with two or more children but so worthwhile. The capacity to love grows with each child. Being tired never goes away though.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We planned, and we begged, and we prayed, and finally we're going to have our second. I can't wait until he gets here, even though all of the things you say are true -- I will have to spread my time thinner, and it will be harder -- but also, my boys will be close in age and we will make mischief and messes together, and it will be wonderful.

Good luck as you think about your decision. It has to be the decision that's right for you and your family -- no one else.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there are two elements being stirred together in this subject. The first is do I want another baby, the second is can I manage the logistics of a second baby. You seem to come down pretty squarely on Yes, I want another baby when the logistics are right for it. You can't win the argument of good mother bad mother because we are after perfection. I wanted to be an excellent Programmer -- but I wanted to be a perfect mother. My goal was not a goal, because it was not achievable, it was an archetype I was struggling to emulate. Motherhood is a ball of joy, terror, guilt, resentment and serenity I think. You are clearly in one emotion for a space and then the whole thing shifts like a kaleidoscope. I don't think that you need to have another child while you are stretched so far. I think you want to have another child and the time will come when the dazzler you have is able to understand and make choices. She is all impulse and developmental triggers right now. A day will come when for the most part you can get through a day with consistant, reliable behaviours from each of you. That is the time to have number 2.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I say this all the time, in comments, that you all are so supportive and it's so great, yada yada - but seriously, you guys have had me alternately weeping and laughing today with your stories and support. I know that i go overboard with the guilt and the angst, but these are the things that I always need to work out in my own head and heart. hearing about how it JUST DOES get worked out has been huge for me . HUGE.

Oh, and the t-shirt? From a store called Propoganda in Toronto. White silkscreen print on black (onesie). They have a series of goth baby tees and onesies. Very cool. Went well with the sparkly leg-warmers.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, as you know, I'm pregnant with #2, who was planned just like Cordy, and I still don't quite know how I feel. I mean, we wanted a second child, we figured this was the right time, but I still have days where I fall into a panic attack wondering what in the hell I'm doing.

As for worrying about time, I think it is perfectly OK to want time away from your kids, and kids need time away from mom, too. My grandmother told me that as a baby, she was laid on the bed for most of the day while her mother did other things, and the older kids watched over her. She still loved her mother. As a mother herself, my grandmother forced her three girls to play outside to give her some time alone. My mom is thankful she always sent her outside to explore her world.

My own mom (single mom) had a reliable babysitter who I was so close with I called her "Grandma Babysitter". She was a third grandmother to me, a family member to me, and when she died I came back from college to attend her funeral and mourned her loss. Loving her didn't make me love my mother any less.

I still feel guilty sometimes when I want alone time, but then I realize that Cordy needs time away from me, too. And I think having a sibling will give her a chance to have another person to love, and someone to play with or at least divert some of her attention to. There will still never be enough time, but as long as the time spent with my kids is quality time, at least I'll feel like I'm doing OK.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I have three kids and they were all planned, in that I just desperately wanted each of them. In each case, it was a blind leap of faith that I would be able to do it - and I was. More or less. Imperfectly.
When I was pregnant with my second child, I was terrified - how could I possibly love anyone as much, how could I split my time and my heart in two? And again, however imperfectly, it just happens.
Not that you need more than one, but you'll know if you do, if you know what I mean.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I told my husband we were pregnant with our second a week shy of our daughter's first birthday. We knew we wanted another, but were at the mercy of my cycle returning since I was still nursing our daughter- all the platitudes about having a greater capacity for love than you knew are true...I was hammered with guilt when I started to show that I was shafting my first daughter by giving her just a year of being the center of our universe. It was for not. I can tell you for us, after a tense 2 weeks at home with daughter number two, it was a love affair. These girls are devoted to each other and I am able to look at them and know that they will always have one another. I am in constant wonder that they are so different and that I love them both so passionately. Not that it's any of my business, but I say go for it mama.

10:36 PM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

#2 was a surprise for me... we experienced what is called 'natural childspacing'... I had some of your concerns -- mostly that we would 'not be up to it'. We aren't but I don't care.

I often think about what Mary P said when I expressed my concerns like these. The children are very much for each other and not something of/for us. With the birth of our son I think our daughter come to know love in a way she would not if she was stuck with 'just us' in our family. I tell her -- that is your brother and he will love you for your whole life. She get that.

So there you go one more thing! -- Disclose on this and similar in my post today

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes my husband and I think were crazy for wanting another child as this one is a lot of work! Other times its like oh it would be nice for him to have a sister and my clock is ticking too...

I think to get pregant you plan it...but you also have to have sex. ARE YOU HAVING SEX? I'm jealous if you are! LOL

8:35 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

My two oldest are 2 1/2 yrs apart (a little too close for me...but the second baby was a surprise!) and now that they are older, it really is great. I thank God that they have each other, no matter what...even though they might fight constantly, I know they love each other like crazy.

As for the whole idea of how the hell will my heart ever stretch enough to love another baby? I remember thinking that when I found out i was preg. with number two. The only way I could rest was by just allowing myself to know that that might actually happen (that's how strongly I felt it). I don't have to tell you, the second baby number two popped out, he was my LOVE! My baby! My heart physically ached because I loved him so much! So much for all my worries.

Now here's the weird part...in Aug. '05, I had baby number three and we (especially husband) are going to try for a fourth in the near future, but I am going through the same thoughts! I know they are crazy! I know for a fact it won't be a problem, but it's one of the main reasons that I can't even bear the thought of getting preg. for a long time (and we're not getting any younger!). I don't know how I could possibly love another baby. So stupid, since I've proven to myself it's not an issue as soon as they pop out. Ugh.

This has got to be some sort of biological trick that served some purpose a million years ago, but still sticks around for whatever reason, or why would almost every mom (old or new) feel it?

As for the actual day to day work, you can do it, but I'm not going to lie, it was not all happy happy joy joy, like some of my friends made it out to be. It was absolutely nuts for the first year or so (esp. since I nursed #2 for over a year). But, like every challenge, you just take it day by day and before you know it, everyone is peeing on the potty themselves, and the physical work starts easing up...only for the mental challenges (that older kids provide) to get worse!

Anyways, I hope this made some sense...and I wish you peace with whatever you decide. : )

10:27 AM  
Blogger Radioactive Tori said...

I have ALWAYS known I wanted a lot of kids. It was the only thing about my life I have ever been absolutely sure about. I wasn't sure on the actual number, and when we had three, I thought we were done, but when we had our surprise of number 4, I was totally happy. I could never say I was absolutely done (except now because of my hysterectomy) because I always knew I would never be sad about another baby.

BUT, some people don't know and have more, and some people don't know and don't have more. It is a very personal decision. Whatever you decide will be wonderful and perfect.

Imagine how much fun it would be to only have one and be able to help in the classroom, do anything your child needs or wants to do without having to juggle other kids. Now imagine having a sibling for your baby to love and grow up with. Another baby to love and learn with. A baby for Wonderbaby to teach and make them both feel super special. See? Both ways are good and whichever one you choose will be a perfect fit for you and your family.

Just because you are a great mom (and you are!) doesn't mean you have to have or not have another baby. Good luck deciding!

12:28 PM  
Blogger Mommygoth said...

Hoo, boy. Sometimes when I read your blog I wonder if I am in fact a somnabublogger, and actually typing Her Bad Mother in my sleep. And then I remember how much more articulately you convey this stuff than I do, and think, rats, that would have been kind of cool.

I too am struggling with the whole idea of a second child. I recently blogged about the decision that I do in fact want one, and I do. It's the whole actually doing it part that still seems to be in flux. So many factors, all the ones you mentioned plus finances, sanity, and ever getting a single decent night's sleep again. Weighing in against the idea that I will never feel little feet on my ribcage again, or smell baby hair, or know the great flooding rush of wonder that comes the first time your child says "Momma". I think all my reasons for wanting another child are selfish, as are all my reasons for NOT wanting one. I don't think anyone knows how it will work until they do it.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Scatteredmom said...

I noticed that there are very few, if any, parents of onlies here. I too wrestled with the same questions that you are, an ultimately ended up staying with one child.

My response is over on my blog at http://www.cookienotes.blogspot.com

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've landed myself three. My first is a sensitive thinker. After 5 years (which included one pregnancy loss) we gave him a gift of a younger brother. It settled and soothed him in amazing ways. He grew up in those first months from preschooler to older brother and drank it up like cool water on a hot day. It was a planned event, though it had taken longer than I had hoped it would, so there was some relief. The brother we gave him is just a little Puppy at heart who now follows him around making attempts to imitate, play, wrestle, and even helps himself to a juice box while grabbing one for his big brother in the same moment. It's beautiful. At age 22 months our litte puppy became a big brother (bringing the boy total to 3 in 7 years!). This was a surprise, a big one, as my middle child is well, spirited, sweet, but very spirited and hugely energetic, as well as also having health complaints (GERD, chronic ear infections,etc) Having to do toddlerhood with an energetic, strong-willed puppy dog of a boy while pregnant was well, a source of great misery to me. My whole body ached. The nursery he goes to for two days a week is an oasis in the dessert for the two of us. He had friends, toys, no frustrations because it was completely child-proofed, unlike home, which is well, a home with computers and dvds and potties which are "no-no touches." Everything at the nursery is centered around toddlers, whereas at home, I work here, I have to clean, there are competing agendas. I say no to the guilt, it is a gift to any toddler to have other people to care for them and make life happy and carefree even if just for the afternoon. And now my newest is the youngest and is delight to both boys. My 2 year old longs for the baby to be able to run and play and it really will be in just a few short months (we have to make it through winter). He is learning to give of himself, even offering up the beloved passy to the crying baby, trying to pick him up to play with him (saying I carry you, I carry you) and soothe him during diaper changes ("I know, I know".) I never thought my high-demand, always sick toddler would learn so young to give, to cherish, to nurture. It is having a profound effect on how I view him. He takes (and takes and takes) but he gives as well to all of us and it is beautiful. My big kid gets to escape baby world at school every day and my toddler gets to escape sharing mommy at the nursery. It's lovely for me and them and everyday I say no to the guilt! Have fun with your one and when you are ready number two (or three) will give you and even fuller experience of your older child - it's great to get to know other parts of our own kids that weren't visible to us before! And as always, thanks for your post!

3:59 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

Every day I redecide. Sometimes more than once a day.

5:22 PM  
Blogger joker the lurcher said...

i decided i couldn't go through the difficulties again (i had a miscarriage before my son and then huge problems with his birth and him being prem and all sorts of other stuff) so we decided not to have more.

as he turned out to be autistic and have adhd it became a bit of a relief as a second one would either be another whirlwind like him or be a victim of his rages. so having only the one was ok for us.

you need to work out what is right for you. it is not compulsory to have more than one if you think it would be tough.

6:52 PM  
Blogger tracey clark said...

I got the courage up to have another child only after my first born turned four. Once I got pregnant again, I freaked. Then I miscarried and freaked harder. It was then I really felt I wanted to have another but also knew that whatever was meant to be was OK with me. I was undecided in my own way and I understand what you are saying here. I wrote the story of my experience and had an editor for a big magazine read through it and he (yes, a man) said I was too wishy washy in the end of the story and that people hate wishy washy in articles. Um HELLO I thought, of course I'm wishy wahsy and undecided...my god HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BABY MR EDITOR?? OR BETTER YET, A MISCARRIAGE?
Duh. Anyway, all that to say, I hear you loud and clear and not knowing is OK my friend. It's OK.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am struggling with the decision of having a second child. While most of my worries are similar to yours-my biggest fear is somewhat different. Our first pregnancy ended with the birth of a beautiful boy, my near death and a hysterectomy. I am now debating having a second child via surrogacy. Your words echo in my ears and fill my eyes with tears..."having another child will give WonderBaby something that I certainly can never provide to her on my own: someone else to love, and be loved by. Someone, other than me, for her to play with, conspire with, imagine with, fight with. Someone to grow up with." Good luck in your decision, and remember the love for a child is so pure-I don't believe that you could look in the eyes of a second child and regret the decision to have him/her.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

Planned #2 - born almost exactly two years after the first.

Looking back, it was nothing short of a miracle.

You'll know when you know. Don't fret.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Since I am NINETIETH here, I doubt I'll have anything to add that hasn't been said more eloquently. But I will anyway:

1. Your husband is right
2. There's no right answer. There's also no right time.
3. I am freaking out about child #2 as we speak, which puts me in an interesting predicament, as it is already growing in my uterus.
4. You are loved, you are loving, you are worthy.

I cannot tell you what to do or what not to do. But I will so look at #2 hard.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, isn't that refreshing? Just an aberrant, no place to land comment. I read your list of blogs-to-be and noticed the one about weaning. I was asked about how I weaned my daughter years ago because most people didn't breast feed and there wasn't much in the way of resources out there. I felt stupid because I didn't do anything. My daughter just started eating more solid food and was eating less and less when nursing. I stopped offering until she indicated an interest and she never showed any interest on her own. Since that was such a brainless answer, I called up my daughter and asked her the same question. I had to laugh because she had the same answer. The only difference was that the grandson would put away enormous amounts of food. They had to start finger foods rapidly because anytime the spoon was not full of food and actually in his mouth he was yelling very loudly. He only has loud and off volume settings. His cup only held water until about the time he stopped nursing. They had sometimes offered him milk but he refused it. About the time he gave up nursing he accepted milk when offered and began to ask for it in his cup. He was then on dairy exclusively.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a secret about me: I am a little bit relieved that this probably won't ever be an issue for me. I'm 35 now and with the amount of time it took us to get pregnant the first time around, we are fairly sure that we won't have a second.
I've thought about how we might try in another few years, but I don't think we'll try that hard and I'm okay with that. It makes me feel like I'm off the hook from having to agonize over the decision.

7:51 PM  
Blogger scarbie doll said...

My homeopath recommended having baby #2 so I don't put all my effed up shit onto just one child. Plus, I'll be so tired after two that I won't be able to think about how shite I am at motehring. How's that for perspective?

2:36 PM  
Blogger tallulah said...

As a mother of four adopted, one biological and adopting another child in the Spring, I would echo your comment on having an infinite amount of love to give. Even if I don't have enough time in the day for everything, I know that I love my children and they know, feel and experience the love that I have to give.
It's a unique experience for everyone. Wonderbaby will grow up fine as an only child and Wonderbaby will grow up great with a sibling. Either way, know that you are blessed.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I think most moms struggle with this. Even after they become pregnant with another child. I worried that I'd be cheating my daughter out of time with me. I worried that I'd be chancing the happy fact that I had one healthy kid. I worried that I couldn't handle 2 kids.

The truth is, you're not cheating your child by having another. They gain so much by having a sibling and learn so much about social interaction. Time? Well, they get time with a sibling. Just as valuable as parent time. The health thing, well, just blind faith on that I guess.

I tend to think of the future and when I'm gone. I want my kids to have family even when I'm gone.

We've been trying for #3 for more than a year (shhh, don't tell anyone!) I told my hubby when we were discussing adding another child "If I have to choose between a bigger house and another family member to love, I choose the family member."

unfortunately it is looking like I'll have to settle for the bigger house.

"You'll never regret the kids you have, just the ones you don't."

12:29 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I think most moms struggle with this. Even after they become pregnant with another child. I worried that I'd be cheating my daughter out of time with me. I worried that I'd be chancing the happy fact that I had one healthy kid. I worried that I couldn't handle 2 kids.

The truth is, you're not cheating your child by having another. They gain so much by having a sibling and learn so much about social interaction. Time? Well, they get time with a sibling. Just as valuable as parent time. The health thing, well, just blind faith on that I guess.

I tend to think of the future and when I'm gone. I want my kids to have family even when I'm gone.

We've been trying for #3 for more than a year (shhh, don't tell anyone!) I told my hubby when we were discussing adding another child "If I have to choose between a bigger house and another family member to love, I choose the family member."

unfortunately it is looking like I'll have to settle for the bigger house.

"You'll never regret the kids you have, just the ones you don't."

12:31 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I think most moms struggle with this. Even after they become pregnant with another child. I worried that I'd be cheating my daughter out of time with me. I worried that I'd be chancing the happy fact that I had one healthy kid. I worried that I couldn't handle 2 kids.

The truth is, you're not cheating your child by having another. They gain so much by having a sibling and learn so much about social interaction. Time? Well, they get time with a sibling. Just as valuable as parent time. The health thing, well, just blind faith on that I guess.

I tend to think of the future and when I'm gone. I want my kids to have family even when I'm gone.

We've been trying for #3 for more than a year (shhh, don't tell anyone!) I told my hubby when we were discussing adding another child "If I have to choose between a bigger house and another family member to love, I choose the family member."

unfortunately it is looking like I'll have to settle for the bigger house.

"You'll never regret the kids you have, just the ones you don't."

12:32 AM  
Blogger Tere said...

Wow, Lady, you totally mirror my own feelings on this topic.

I hear ya, I feel ya. I've angsted all over my blog on this topic, too.

I feel very ambivalent about baby #2, and very pressured to decide something soon (by whom, I've yet to figure out; basically, it's all in my head).

Our first months with our son were SO traumatizing (and he was a GOOD baby - the change and adjustment and lack of sleep were just too shocking for us), and based on that, we're REALLY hesitant to go through another pregnancy.

And like you, I have an incredible support system - which makes me feel like a piece of shit that I feel like I couldn't handle another baby.

Seriously, it's like you read my mind.

8:21 PM  
Blogger The Estrogen Files said...

So since you're ALMOST at 100 comments, I'll share my story.

Baby #1, no plan, I thought I had the flu
Baby #2, planned, 3 rounds of Clomid
Baby #3, Surprise! Super PPD after
Baby #4, Uhhh...

I also had a couple miscarriages in there, but am so glad we had all four kids. You really don't know that you are missing someone in the family until they come along.

I hope that you will feel the same thing and not worry too much about adding another child. Babyluv is magic and all inclusive. As much as you LOVE WonderBaby with everything that you are, baby2 (or more) will be just as loved as she. Count on it.

12:12 AM  

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