I’ve told a few close friends and family about our decision not to have another child and the responses have ranged from concerned disappointment to respect for thinking it through so thoroughly.
My feelings about it follow the same trajectory on a minute to minute basis. I vacillate between confidence and fear. Sadness sprinkles in momentarily and then is replaced by facts and conviction that we are doing the “right” thing, for our family, that is.
The argument goes like this: ( forgive me if I repeat myself, this is how I work stuff out)
1. Financial- presently we absolutely do not make enough money to warrant having another baby. It is possible that we could do without organic produce and top of the line supplements but both your father and I have lived most of our lives struggling and at this point in time, really don’t want to struggle anymore. We are good now. With us three. We are good.
2. Physical- we are old. Well, not ancient old. But old enough to feel the strain of sleepless nights very differently then say a 30 year old would. We don’t bounce back like the kids do. We feel it, and we feel it hard. My body as well, from pregnancy, birth, and holding you, creaks and groans like it never used to. My feet tingle when I touch the floor in the morning. There is a constant ache in my left hip. I have the beginnings of some nasty looking varicose veins waiting to pop out of my leg. The good news is that at my last annual check up, Dr. Dwight said everything seemed great in “there” and that I was very lucky my bladder hadn’t prolapsed. I guess bladders and uterus’s have a way of doing that. He wondered out loud, why do you guys want to have another baby? I told him because we were good at it. It sounded flimsy. It felt flimsy too. I started to wonder myself, why do we want another? With the potential- at my age- for so much shit to go wrong, is it worth chancing it? Plus the fact that I am due to have TWINS! Yes. Twins. Twin boys it would be too, no doubt. Boys…ahh Pony. I love your delicate girlness. I do. I don’t envy my friends with their rambunctious boys tearing around like tornadoes. I feel terrible saying that, but it’s true. And then there is the undeniable fact that we have been trying for several months now, and nothing has happened where with you it was wham, bam, thank you Embryo! Maybe the “mystery” is trying to tell us something? Maybe I am projecting again. I tend to do that, if you haven’t noticed. By the way- your Mom is stellar at rationalizing ANYTHING. It may be a skill, but I think it’s a hindrance.
3. Emotional- your father and I only knew each other for 4 months before we got pregnant with you. Which was absolutely orchestrated and deliberate on our part. I realized the whole reason why people had babies when I met your Dad. Because they loved like we loved. And that love has grown stronger and deeper. We are still crazy about each other and love being around one another. We are just beginning to be able to have some of our “adult” time back and it is glorious. The idea of sacrificing all of that again, putting it on hold for another 2-3 years, at least, sounds daunting. We’ve got a good thing going right now. Our little triangle family has a good rhythm. Life and love feels very possible today. My fear is the weathering the “impossible” moments again. Because they happen with babies, they just do.
There you have it. I rest my case. It makes sense, right? Logical, rational, undeniable sense.
So why do I feel sad?
Why am I still wondering when we’ve already made the decision?
Because of two reasons- one is YOU Pony P. Your uniqueness baffles me and entertains me to no end. Who your are, as a human being, amazes me. I am your biggest fan. And it makes me wonder about who this other person, or persons, could be, that Tim and I could create, and would he/she/they be as phenomenal as you, and if so, how could we deprive the world of that? And the other reason is that I have been carrying a space for the “second” baby for so long now. It feels like a slight amputation to let it go. I know we agreed that if we somehow made more money and really wanted to have another child we could adopt in say, five years. Which I think is so noble and grand of us. But I really did feel this other little being hovering around is this entire time. And now I have to say good-bye. And a part of me doesn’t want to. I want to say hello.
That is why I am sad.
Parenting is filled with so many conflicting emotions. I had no idea. That I could feel elated and deflated at the same time. That I could eagerly anticipate the future and want to savor every moment at the same time. That I could have an intuitive knowing of how to do something and no skills to actually do it. But I guess that is life and becoming a mother has given me a crash course in all the things I never learned out there, fumbling and bumbling about.
When you read this Pony, you will be much older, and maybe sad you don’t have a little brother or sister. I hope you understand and have lots and lots of friends. Girlfriends can sometimes be better than a sister anyways, or so I have been told. And you have LOTS of cousins. All boys. You won’t lack for some rough and tumble play. And you will have all of our love and attention. Fancy that! Lucky girl.
So I’ll cry a little now and let the universe decide, are we selfish or responsible?
Maybe we are both?