We have a 3 year old son and have always planned on having anywhere from 2-4 kids, with about a 2 year spacing. When the time came to start trying for #2...I was terrified, (I think we both were) so we decided that a 3 year spacing would be great. When the time came to start trying, we got pregnant right away...but only found out about it in the ER because it was ectopic and ruptured my fallopian tube. Long story short, it was a semi near death situation. It was really scary, especially for my husband. Immediately after that we started saying that it's just too risky and scary to go through all of this pregnancy stuff again, and we were just grateful that everything turned out okay and that we have our sweet son, and we don't want to mess that up.
Fast forward 6 months to the present, and now having #2 is back on the table. Since I know I can't be the only one with these thoughts, I thought I'd get them out, and see what some of you have to say. With my 1st, it was as if I needed a child. I ached for one. ...and now it definitely feels different. ...which I think is normal?
- I'm scared of rolling the dice and having it interfere with my son's life if baby #2 has some sort of issue. (retardation/birth defect/etc.) (I grew up seeing the effects my cousin's retardation had on their family)
- I'm scared of going back to the baby years and also doing it now with a toddler in tow. We have no family or close friends nearby, so it's been rough. I see friends who are able to drop the kids off with a relative or friends at a moments notice, and get pretty jealous.
- I feel like I'm just starting to be able to get myself back and focus on me for a bit, with a more balance life, and I'm scared of tossing that all aside again.
- My marriage. It would just be nice to be able to have more, not less, time with my husband. (where one or both of us isn't tired and frazzled) We've been on 5 dates in 3 years. ..and never an overnight.
- Pregnancy and Birth were not super easy on me. Signing up for that again is scary. (a bit of bed rest, and a 36 hr unmedicated labor with some nice tearing.)
- I fear things like bed rest, being sick all day until 14 weeks again, and being soooo tired while taking care of my super active/mischievous/stubborn/busy toddler....with no relatives or friends around when I need them, in a pinch.
- I struggle with depression/anxiety/ADD, as it is. I had PPD last time.
I just don't understand how everyone makes a conscious decision to sign up for a second. I think a lot of them must have at least some help.
So, why do I want one?
- I would love to have a girl. A mini me.
- My son would love to have a sibling. I had a sister, and I feel like it would have been so lonely without her.
- It seems like it would feel more complete.
- I've always wanted several kids. I do love the mom gig. ...but didn't envision my family scattered all over and us living in a brand new town.
I wonder if we will regret it, if we only have one child, because it seems easier and less risky.
Oh wow, if you're still reading, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I'm apprehensive too! My DD is five now, and I just can't imagine how different this is going to make our lives. I know it's all going to work out, but part of me is all "what are you doing?!"
I can barely get my head around it, to be honest.
That's some background about me. Let me weigh in on the points above:
- rolling the dice again - I know babies are born with special needs all the time but the vast majority are healthy. I think the "rolling the dice" analogy kind of elevates the perceived risk. This is like reverse roulette where the vast majority of outcomes are wins. This particular point actually makes me glad that I'm pregnant early; my eggs are a little younger and in my mind that makes my chances of a healthy baby slightly higher. If I have a second baby, my chances are very good of it being a healthy kiddo. If I don't try then my chances of a healthy second baby are zero. DH and I have been through a lot together and if we do have a child with special needs then we will do the best we can for both children. That's all we realistically can do and that child will be lucky to have a loving family. If this does happen then DD will learn compassion, love and tolerance in a unique situation. There may be long term consequences but for me being an only child has its own drawbacks that I'm not comfortable with. Just my take on it.
- Oh the baby years - for me this is more like getting through the baby/toddler years in one long stretch then being DONE!!! Done with diapers, done with nursing (though I do CLW as much as possible and am very pro BFing), done with learning to walk/talk (hopefully), done with night waking (again hopefully) and done with being a SAHM (I hope to go back to school and change careers once both kids are in school). As for adjusting with DD, I think going from being a working woman to being a first time mom was the biggest possible change in my life. There will be tough adjustments for sure. I'm in the middle of purging and decluttering my house to make housework easier in preparation for becoming a mom of two. I do have some help but not a lot. I can't drop DD off on short notice except in an emergency. She comes with me to prenatal appointments for instance. It will be hard but I'll get through it. There will also be lots of sweet times and sibling love. I don't have high expectations of an immaculate house, just a safe, livable one. I feel a lot more confident this time. I know about nursing and diapers and fussiness, etc. I've grown more patient and tolerant and I recognize when I'm near my breaking point. I just feel more ready and more prepared and babies don't scare me anymore. I'm terrified of bedtime but trust that something will work somehow.
- balanced life - I want the chaos done with once and for all and look forward tO having children instead of babies/toddlers. The larger the gap, the longer I have to wait before I can have the freedom I need to do things for myself.
- relationship with DH - same as above. We are getting through it but it's not easy. Our last 5 "dates" were errands/groceries/medical appts when we could get a grandparent to watch DD for an hour or two.
- pregnancy/birth - again I feel more confident, having BTDT once. The first trimester sucked big time and DD watched waaaay too much tv. We got through it fine and weaned her back down to an hour or maybe two in the morning but not even every day. As the weather warms up, we will spend significantly less time indoors and I hope to cut down further still. Birth isn't fun but it's doesn't last long in the grand scheme of things. It will suck but it'll be over.
- mental health - I had mild PPD with DD (there was nothing mild to me about the feelings at the time) and I have a good plan and a good idea of what to expect. It won't mean i won't have PPD but I'll recognize it easier and get help. Again I feel like I'm more prepared.
As for regretting not having a second child, I KNOW I would. That's just me. I was terrified when I got pregnant earlier than planned. Over time I made peace with it and now I'm excited. I don't know of that helps any but I thought I'd share my reasons. Good luck mamas! This is not a decision to make lightly.
I just wanted to say - I totally get it! We have one who is about to turn 2, and I cannot fathom it. All of your concerns are my own. DH and I still do not have enough time together, we do not have support, we are thankful we made it through a crazy pregnancy and birth (also a loooong labor) with a healthy mama and baby. It was a roll of the dice for us in a big way (mostly due to my health), and we are so thankful it worked out. I don't want fear to rule my decisions, but...there it is. We are grateful for our trio!
Also, I want better things for our family. And that means major decluttering. It means growing more and more of our own food, cooking healthy meals, staying on top of cleaning, etc. Our home has been a disaster area since DS was born (super high needs) - I'd like to have a cleaner, more streamlined home where we can entertain friends regularly. We need to do some big renovations, and money is tight on one income.
I've only *just* gotten to the point I can take a 5 min. shower without a major meltdown (most days). Where I can cook fresh foods for my family most nights of the week. Where I can chip away at organizing things. AND DS just started sleeping longer stretches (only 2-3 night nursings - at least that I remember the next day, we co-sleep). He's generally sleeping at night, too - which was a problem until he started dropping naps.
So, based on my personal goals and those for our family, I think we are stopping at one. Still, it's spring - I am a spring baby, and DS is one. Lots of newborns in my neighborhood, baby animals, blooming flowers + ovulation hormones make me want a big pregnant belly and a teeny tiny baby *so bad* out of nowhere some days. So that is my guess - people give into that urge and then figure the rest out later.
I can usually "sober up" by thinking about the long-term implications, and everything we already need to afford/complete before I would want to add to our plate. If we can work some of these things out in the next few years, who knows - maybe we'll start the baby clock over again when DS is 5 - at the moment, the thought is as likely to make me shudder as smile!
edited to add - the one place I differ from you is the sibling thing - my sister drove me batty, and we are just now becoming closer through much effort - my husband and his brother had major issues (we are 2 years apart from our sibs) - so I don't have rose-colored glasses about sibling love. I would hope for a different outcome for our child, especially through differences in parenting, but even so - so much depends on personalities.
~ Lucky wife of DH and loving mama to DS (04/11) ~
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It is a hard decision/ From your post it sounds like you are not ready for baby#2 right now., Do you have to decide now? Can you say- maybe at some future point, with a different age spacing than I had originally thought but maybe I'll just sit with the indecision for now until I fell more clear- ?
I go back and forth on it sometimes too- and my son just turned three- but I lean more towards keeping him an only- like a lot more. I get baby cravings and other kid cravings but I ultimately feel like one might be best for our family.
I would say all those reason you outlined for not having a second are really strong reasons. the other side matters too- but of course what if you had another boy?
I also feel like I will miss out on having a daughter- but oh well- I think it is just a choice- you have to deal with consequences with either decision -
Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
I wonder if anyone really ever feels ready. I remember feeling so scared to take the plunge to try for #1, even when I really knew that's what I wanted. I'm an over analyzer for sure. I think that might be my real issue.
I think one of the main reasons I want to decide is because I'm starting to think about making plans for my life. For example, I'm thinking of going back to college. If I'm going to get pregnant again soonish, I'd rather just wait and do it later when both kids are older. I know tons of women go to school while pregnant/nursing/etc. With all of the sickness and tiredness, I just prefer not too. ...and I don't want to have to start and stop again (which I've done a lot). I just want to go straight through and finish.
So, it's just for simple planning reasons and I just get a sense of peace when I have somewhat of an idea of our plans for the next couple years.
well what about a few years down the rd- when you see your family do you think you would more enjoy two kids than one- I mean having two little ones is hard- but when they are older do you think you will wish you had two or miss the more easygoing pace of one?
When I think of having another it just feels really overwhelming. As it is I don't get enough alone time with dh and we seem to be pretty busy with just this one! Having another to me would feel like dh and I had to each take one lots of the time and would get even less time together.
but I like a slow paced life. Many people feel that one feels incomplete and welcome the fast pace and work of a second or third or etc child the same way I welcomed the work of one- busy but worth it.
you have pretty clearly outlined your pros and cons of each side- do you have a deeper feeling inside aobut what is the right decision for you or do you feel really 50/50 on the fence?
Oh, I can definitely understand your point. I used to babysit twins and sometimes found that easier and more enjoyable that when I went to watch one child. The twins would always play (or fight) with each other and at least keep each other company. I would feel more exhausted entertaining one. (twins do have the benefit of being the same age, and the same play dynamic won't kick in for a few years with a regular sibling....but it will kick in eventually)
That is a really good point, btw. Thanks.
Well, I'll just drop my 2c here because we made the decision to TTC (or at least not TTA) #2 when I definitely did not 'feel ready.' We did it because I was about to move into a much more flexible/forgiving job that was going to last 2-3 years and I wanted to have a baby right at the start of that period, and also because I was 33 and wanted to leave some wiggle room in case we ended up wanting a third. (Ours are 28 months apart.)
So long story short I was terrified at the idea of being pregnant again (hated pregnancy, vomited 2-5x/day till past 20 weeks, DD1 was and is a high-intensity baby and child) but just took the plunge because intellectually I thought it was a good time. And all through the pregnancy (which was again horrible, although marginally less so than the first one - somewhat less vomiting at least) I kept thinking *what the @!$#!! am I getting myself into*???
And I am now supremely happy that we went ahead and did it that way. DD2 turned out to be much, much, much easier than DD1 and her baby time has been an unmitigated joy. And the sibling-entertainment thing kicked in quite quickly - even when DD1 was maybe 7-8 months old DD2 used to love feeding her little bits of food at dinner, which entertained both of them and gave DH and me a chance to eat. And now at 18mo and just shy of 4 they do play together quite a bit so I can occasionally do a load of laundry, make some dinner, etc. - whereas DD1 alone would probably still have been needing me to entertain her. I expect it will only get better with time. And we are thinking very definitely about #3 and I am very very glad that we did not wait another year or two to have DD2, because that would have put even more time pressure on this decision than there already is (I'm 35 now).
Me, DH, DD1 (5/2009) and DD2 (10/2011).
I'm not crunchy. I'm evidence-based.
Vaccines save lives.