When it Comes to Having Children, Is One Really the Loneliest Number?


I always believed that I wanted two children. One boy, one girl preferably. My husband felt the same. It was nice to know where the other stood prior to starting a family. When we got pregnant about seven months after our wedding day, we were both ecstatic. Oh, how we enjoyed the doctor's visits. Listening to our little one's heartbeat. Feeling the kicks that came a bit later. When we welcomed our son into the world on Valentine's Day after a day of intense labor and an emergency Cesarean, something changed within me. 

I loved my son more than life itself when I first laid eyes upon him and I didn't think it possible, but that feeling has continued to swell inside my heart ever since. He is my world. I could talk about him for hours. What I could not talk about however, was when we were going to begin trying for the next one. This was something that everyone asked me and it's a reasonable question I suppose. And every time I was asked, I repeated the same robotic answer: "We want to space them two years apart, so sometime next year." In the deepest part of my heart though, I didn't believe it.

I silently wondered why one wasn't enough. My husband said that he wanted to get things started for the next one. That's when I broke down and confessed that I just wasn't certain anymore. That I didn't know if I wanted another baby. He didn't say much. This is what we had planned all along, so I'm sure he was a bit confused. And unfortunately, I didn't understand completely myself. The thoughts continued to swirl around, but I couldn't find a way to formulate them. To address my fears, my concerns, my desires.

Last night we finally talked about it. It was a wonderfully enlightening conversation for both of us. The truth is, he isn't 100% either. I think we were both beginning to rush it for a multitude of reasons.  

First, because it was something that we had agreed on prior to starting our family. Because we weren't fully communicating about it after having our son, I think we were temporarily trying to spare the other's feelings. We wouldn't have gone through with having another child if one of us wasn't ready or didn't want to. This I know. 

Second, we have both been wary about allowing our son to be an only child. We both grew up with siblings and felt that we would somehow be depriving him if we didn't give him a brother or sister.

Third, we were feeling a bit rushed because of the timeline we created for ourselves. I know it might sound selfish, but I didn't want to wait so long that I felt like I was starting my life all over again. I'm sure some moms can relate to that. The idea of my son growing to a certain level of independence and then beginning the process over with a newborn, scares me. It truly does. The sleepless nights, the diaper changes, the crying as the only form of communication. These aren't end of the world type things, but when you've grown used to another way, it can be a shock again. I also didn't want to wait too long to have more children, because I wanted to still be able to travel and have fun later in life after the kid(s) are all grown up. 

When you get down to the bottom of it, none of these reasons should necessitate whether to bring another life into this world. You have to be ready, you have to want it. I want the next baby (if there is a next one) to be wanted, loved and cared for just as much as my son is right now. I want to feel completely certain about it, with no doubts. 

I have also come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter if my son ends up being the only child. He will still be loved and nurtured just the same. Maybe even more so (which may or may not be a good thing for him when he becomes a teenager) because he will be our sole focus. 

Sometimes the idea of not having another baby makes me a little sad, but in the end I'm going to do what feels right for my family and myself. And just because I don't want to right now, doesn't mean the doors are closed forever. As I'm sure you know, things change. So do people.

And plans.



*I just want to note that people become very passionate when talking about two things: Politics and Parenting. Sometimes it's hard to navigate around other's feelings when you're trying to share your own. But I firmly believe that EVERYONE has a right to their beliefs, opinions and decisions when it comes to whether or not to become a parent, what age, parenting styles/decisions or how many children you have or don't have. What matters is the readiness to do so, the love provided to the child(ren) and the impact on your sanity. (I think we can all agree that sometimes kids test our patience) :)



Jen B.


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