The Stuff You Don't Know When You Ask: "So When Are You Having Another Baby?"

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One ChildI knew it would happen when we got married. People would begin asking about and expecting us to want/have/produce another child.

Over at Diligent Joy, my personal blog, I've made it pretty clear that parenthood suits me. I love my daughter and enjoy watching her learn and grow more than I ever imagined (I'd actually never planned on having children but am daily grateful for our little "unexpected surprise). That doesn't necessarily mean that I'm dying to have another baby any time soon, or possibly even ever -- this is the part where my family/neighbors, who are for the most part, conservative Mormons, gasp: "Who would ever want just one baby?!?"

I just don't know what I want when it comes to more children. One thing I know is that I very much disliked being pregnant and I don't know if I'll ever willingly go through it again. My pregnancy was a breeze as were Harper's delivery and my recovery. I just didn't like it. For me, pregnancy isn't beautiful or amazing. Motherhood is beautiful and amazing and pregnancy is nothing more than a necessary evil.

I'm constantly mulling over this issue of "more" kids. I go back and forth every day, considering all of the options and my thought processes are really contradictory and confusing. I've spent so much time stressing over this that I'm pretty certain I could write a book on this topic. I am going to sound selfish here but the truth is that I want to focus on my own personal development and career. I want time to read. I want to practice the piano. I want to enjoy life with my husband. What I don't want is to look back and regret only being a mother once. (I told you my feelings were contradictory.) There is also the big issue that I don't want to be pregnant ever again. but the alternatives of either adopting or raising Harper alone, aren't very appealing to me either.

I was adopted. I'm grateful for it. I always thought that I'd want to adopt. Then came this past year when I finally woke up and faced the issues my adoption left me with, and I decided I was unsure. I don't know if I want a child with abandonment issues like mine. Maybe it was just my situation. Maybe it's easier for people who are adopted as infants and who don't have to spend the rest of their lives calling their dad, "uncle" and their uncle, "dad." Maybe it's easier when you can imagine your birth parents as being wonderful, unselfish people who just loved you so much that they wanted more for you. I don't know.

I ignored my adoption for a long time, telling myself I was fine with it. Then 2010 arrived and brought confusion and anger, finally forcing me to look my abandonment issues in the face.

Adoption is wonderful for the parents who get a long-awaited and wanted child. For them, adoption is nothing short of a miracle. For my mom, I was the daughter she'd spent 20 years wishing for. For the adopted child, however, the road can be rough. It's been especially rough for me and I am just grateful that I wound up with the parents I did. There were other options for me. None of them would have been as wonderful as my sweet, loving, supportive parents.

I am an only child. Yes, my mom has two sons from her first marriage but I barely know them. They didn't even come to my wedding. They watch Nascar and drive big trucks. They hate minorities and enjoy telling awful jokes at the expense of anyone different from them. They are about as different from me as two people could be. When they didn't show up to our open house, I told my mom that she can never again be upset when I tell people I have no siblings.

I don't really know how I feel about not having brothers and sisters. Some days I'm okay with it and other days I wish I had a sister that I could laugh/go to lunch/travel with. Even though there are obvious financial and lifestyle benefits to not having many children, I don't know if I want to raise an only child. Most only children that I know are socially awkward (me included) and incredibly needy and self-centered (not me). They tend to think the world revolves around them. I also remember going on vacations with just my parents and wishing I had a sister or brother there to actually make it fun. I don't want that for Harper. I don't want her to grow up wishing for a sibling. There are a bunch of other issues surrounding being an only child that I'm just now facing -- boring holidays, no cousins for Harper, and the inevitable concern about being my parents' sole caretaker as they age.

It's true that being an only child benefited me in many ways. It freed my parents' time and money so that I could travel the world before I even graduated from high school. I also got to attend private school and take from the best piano teachers in Utah. Would I trade that for siblings? I honestly don't know. These are big decisions and I don't know if I'll ever be able to make a choice.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say to all of those people who ask/expect us to have more children is this: I'm on the fence. Right now we are just enjoying the one we have and we will be sure to let you know if that changes. I'm not saying that we are definitely have more but I'm not saying the opposite either. Right now, take comfort in the fact that I've saved all of our daughter's things "just in case." That's something of a positive sign.

Abby Adams

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