How do you actually know? How do you know for sure you want to have another child? How do you know for sure that the one you have is the only one you’ll ever want and need in your life?
Always torn between the longing of having a big family, I always think it will be different from my own, that we’ll get along, live nearby one another and be doing well in life. I don’t know this from experience, and I haven’t seen it modelled very much in my life, but I think it can happen, I feel like it can. I would love to see my husband be a dad to another child, he is amazing with our sweet two year old son. I would love to see our sweet toddler be a big brother to some one and teach the new baby how to do things, I can imagine he would be great at it, patient, kind, naturally sharing like he is with our mothers group kiddos. I think myself how lovely it would be to experience this kind of love with yet another person, having a son has opened my heart in entirely new ways, and has helped to deepen my relationship with my husband in so many ways too, it feels secure, it feels strong and I love that feeling.
There are parts that still get me tied up, the parts that make me keep using birth control and keep with our family only having one child. This morning we were having smoked salmon on croissants for breakfast. How decadent really and it’s in part because I am a stealth shopper, but also because it’s just the tidy three of us and our food money can go a lot further. When I think back over the weekend when we went to two different community style festivals, it was awesome for many reasons, including that since there’s only one child, the burden of looking after a child in a crowd is distributed, we can each carry him and still give him attention while we explore ourselves with a bit of freedom for each parent. I guess it’s freedom that is the part that always comes back to me when thinking of staying just with one child. The freedom of being able to quickly get up and go when we want, the freedom of a set sleeping schedule that allows my husband and I time to do other things at night that interest us. I like the idea of a large family, but for practical and slightly selfish reasons I think having just one is great, we can go on trips easier and for a lot less money, we can help educate him in so many different ways because we have the time and resources to do so.
Sleep is such a big deal. Maybe it wouldn’t be if I were in my early 20s and am considering having another child, but now in my late 30s it is a consideration. I like sleep, I need sleep, and when I get enough sleep, everything else feels better in my life. I also like to have independence and now that our son is a toddler, it’s great because he can play on his own and then we can play together, and it allows me a bit more breathing room, especially compared to early on.
Speaking of early on, those newborn weeks, and months, were the darkest, hardest, most gut wrenching and challenging time I’ve ever had. It was compounded by the fact that my body was in such poor repair after the emergency caesar, slipped disc, sciatica, and DVT in my left leg, but also emotionally from having been in the hospital for nearly 3 weeks straight, having to take pain medication when I had set out to have a natural pregnancy and natural birth, and then not knowing if either of us were going to make it through the delivery, then the 5 weeks in the NICU never knowing if he is going to die, or if he can come home and all of it being so emotional, so bizarre, and so surreally horrible. I know I had, or perhaps still have undiagnosed PTSD. I have so much fear wrapped around pregnancy and birth and when I allow myself to really think about the whole process, I don’t want to go through it again. Even now thinking about how horrible, isolating, and confusing that stage was, brings tears to my eyes and my stomach goes in knots. I don’t know if I can actually do it again.
Then, and I know what ifs aren’t so good, but really, what if… what if the next baby has something that needs special attention too, what if it’s special attention beyond just the newborn phase, like a disability or something else? What if adding another child to our very cohesive family messes it all up and we really struggle? There’s no guarantee of who will come next and I know from my mother’s group that they really are their own person, a fine mixture of nature and nurture and sometimes it feels so very much like we just totally lucked out to have such an amazing, well behaved, kind child. He really is special, I mean, it’s like we have totally won the jackpot with our son, I’m thankful all the time. It was such a tremendously challenging start, but gosh, he’s really great. We’ve all started to really find our groove and I don’t know if I want to rock that boat.
The other part of this, which is a huge part, is that I am in my late 30s… and that means a deadline is looming. Maybe it’s not really by the end of the year, but I keep getting fooled into thinking that I have to do it now or never… that if we are going to have another child, if I am going to give birth to another child, then I need to fall pregnant by the end of the year, before I turn 38 and hope that my eggs are still nice and healthy to produce a nice and healthy baby.
I go back and forth with this decision. Having endometriosis just adds another dimension to it because the doctor said that if I have a baby then it puts the oestrogen on hold until after… so if I get pregnant, sooner than later is a good choice, because I *may* have to have a surgery again, this time to remove some of the endometriosis cells, and if it all goes south, then even more would need to be removed. I also have found out that the endometriosis cells have pretty much covered over my left ovary, which is likely why I get so much pain on that side, especially around my cycle time.
So it’s my body, it’s my mind, and it’s my emotional health that all needs to be in consideration ALONG with my own family dynamics. It isn’t a straightforward thought, and honestly since I was deadset against having children when i was younger, I didn’t have the whole dream of a big family after a big white wedding, that simply wasn’t me and wasn’t my life plan, so it’s not like I can just fall back on some projection that I’ve already made. Well, expect that one image that came out of no where when I was living in Brazil… it was so far away from where I was in my life, but I knew it was what I was needing in my life… and in that there was a house on some land with veggies, fruit trees, animals, a natural water source and the ocean nearby, with me, my husband and two little people… two. I don’t know where it came from, it had shocked me at the time… so part of me feels like I need to fulfil this. Maybe I just need to focus one step at a time on my health and well being and then worry about whether or not to have children after that… Gosh I just don’t want to miss that boat, if that’s the boat we really do want.
Shaking my head. Still not clear.