I went through about a dozen titles for this post before settling on this one.
It’s clear that the underlying factor in my hesitation to have another child is fear. Fear of the tangible realities – pregnancy discomfort, exhaustion, newborn challenges, financial strain – but also, and maybe more so, fear of the unknown, fear of more change and uncertainty.
I have a two year old. It’s inevitable that I get asked “When are you going to have a second baby?!” – and I do, quite often. It’s not that I don’t WANT another child. I do! I know I will have one, it’s just a matter of when, and I need to get over my reasons for putting it off. Thanks for sitting in on this therapy session….
Let’s start with the tangibles, because although I realize now, after working on this post for quite some time, that these may play a lessor role in my apprehension, they’re still very much real.
Pregnancy lasts forever. FOREVER. At least for me it did. Friends told me it would go by quickly and it didn’t. Not even at the end. I was nauseas for more than half my pregnancy, I had horrible acid reflux from very beginning to end and I had severe middle back pain in my third trimester, where anything other than standing hurt. I had to take medication throughout, which was very upsetting to me. Although I was extremely grateful that the baby inside me was totally healthy, it was hard at times not to feel a little sorry for myself.
Then there’s the delivery – which for me was the least traumatizing part of the whole process, but the part I had heard the most horror stories about! Don’t get me wrong – it was hard, it hurt, I cried…but on the scale of things, it went pretty well. I had a really good, relaxed outlook going into the whole experience – which is something I’m trying to do more of – and I think it helped me a lot. I was actually empowered by the birth process and I’m not too worried about it the 2nd time around.
But then there’s those first months (read about our struggles in detail here). Between the breastfeeding issues, the reflux, the lack of sleep, the fussiness, and the baby blues, it was rough. Life felt SO different. I was above and beyond obsessed with my child but my world all of a sudden shrunk to the size of my house. I couldn’t see beyond my bedroom or past the immediate moment. My focus had to be so tight that my life “pre-baby” life seemed so far away, so foreign.
I wrote about the physical changes that took place the year after giving birth here. And while those physical changes were difficult, I think it’s the emotional changes that rattled me more. My first year of motherhood wasn’t ALL hard: around 4 months, my world started to open up again and by about 9 months, I was in the groove and Ellie was especially awesome.
I definitely enjoyed my second year of motherhood much more than my first. It could be because of all of the reasons I just mentioned – or because we were able to do so much more with a walking, talking, responsive, and brilliant child. Year two was awesome. The older Ellie gets, the more wonderful she becomes and the more I think, why change this? We love our time together as a family of three, life is good, do we really need to change it up again?
I see so many people around me (friends, acquaintances, people I follow on social media) popping out multiple babies as if its no big deal. I know better than to assume I have any clue about what goes into the decisions they make, but from the outside, it seems so easy for them. The fact that people are having kids so close in age nowadays makes me think they must not be scared like I am. I couldn’t even consider getting pregnant again until Ellie turned two. Personally, the decision to have another baby is a BIG deal to me.
It’s a big deal because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of it being the same as the last time around and I’m afraid of it being different. As hard as pregnancy and the newborn stage were with Ellie, at least I’ve done it. I haven’t been a Mommy to another kid – or two kids – and that uncertainty is what makes me uncomfortable. We’ve got life under control now, how will another child affect that?
I’m not crazy to think that life with two kids sounds scary, am I? How does life even work!? How do you ever get a moment to yourself, or with your husband? How do you divide your attention and make sure both children feel loved and attended to? How do you ever get out of the house, let alone go on a husband and wife vacation? And one of the most common questions of all – how do you love #2 as much as #1? I know its all doable, and my love for this child will surpass any challenge, but it’s a lot to commit to!
I have a tendency to over-think, over-worry, and to get ahead of myself. It’s something I’m working on.
I remember when I made the decision to try to get pregnant the first time around. I felt so brave. Not just for obvious reasons, but because I felt like it was one of the few decisions I have ever made to CONSCIOUSLY bring about a lot of change and uncertainty to my life. Life had been so good for so long and here I was deciding to mix it all up and see where it landed.
Something pretty obvious occurred to me while examining this fear issue. I realized that the best decisions I have ever made have been those with outcomes very unknown at the time of decision. For example, my summer abroad in a foreign speaking country at age 16, moving away to San Diego for college, starting to long-distance date my now-husband – and most of all, of course, deciding to have a baby.
Ellie is the most amazing little being in the world – she has changed me and my life, only for the better. As much as Chris and I feel sad when we think of it not just being the three of us anymore, I know that she will love having a sibling, and will be an incredible, nurturing and protective big sister. Another child will be a gift to her – just like he or she will be a gift to us. We just won’t totally know it until it happens ;). Gotta take that leap first!
So basically now that I’m done with this post, I feel much more ready to try this baby-thing again. I don’t want fear to lead my decisions – or worse – keep me from making them. Ellie has taught me so much about letting go, and I’m sure that life-lesson will continue with another child.