Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To Breed or Not To Breed

A and I have started talking a little bit about the possibility of having a 2nd baby. This question isn't an easy one for us - on the one hand, we never intended to only have 1. But on the other hand, the desire to focus all of our attention and resources on D, my reluctance to undergo another c-section if the pregnancy came to that, as well as the still-fresh memories of colic and continuing sleep difficulties make the image of another baby a bit less than desirable.

If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said I wanted 3 kids, each about 2 years apart. D is almost 9 months old and still nursing - a 2 year age gap would mean trying to get pregnant again right after his 1st birthday in June. That's a long-ass time for my body to not be my own. Selfish? Yeah, probably. But I'm human. I wonder if it's better to get it over with sooner or to take a break while planning on giving it up again in the future.

There are really only 2 reasons that come to mind for having another child:

1. Everyone I know who was an only child says they would give anything to have a brother or sister. I don't want D to grow up thinking he missed out on something; Which those of us with siblings have to admit, he would be missing out.

2. To avoid someday regretting that we didn't have another one. Selfish? Yup. But again, only human. I worry about potential regrets - things you can't take back or undo, missed chances. For me, they are the worst feelings in the world.

Sure, I could probably add others to the list, but these are really the only 2 that stand out consistently as important reasons, at least for us.

But I worry - can we handle it? How will I divide my attention? How will the timing work out? Will I still be able to work or would I have to quit? If I have to quit, can we really afford another one?

I mean shit, it's not like we have a college fund started for the one we have. (Note to self....should really look into that at some point......)

The timing thing really gets me. I love 3-4 year-olds. I can't wait for my son to reach that age so we can play with things like Legos and play-kitchens and all that. The thought of missing out on that time with my son because of a new baby in the house makes me sad. So I think to myself that a 2 year age gap would work, but if that didn't happen we would have to skip ahead to a 4-5 year age gap. But then I wonder - is that too far apart? My sister and I are 3 1/2 years apart and we're not all that close. I wonder how much of that has to do with age and how much of it has to do with her moving away with my mom when my parents divorced.

My husband and his brother are just about 2 years apart. They are also not close, but used to be. They have this competitive dynamic between them that just creates a major wedge. They can't talk about ANYthing in their lives without it becoming a contest somehow. I don't want that shit going down in my family.

I didn't love being pregnant. Most of the time, to be honest, I didn't even really like it. There were things that were cool, and many things that sucked. And I was lucky enough to have a very easy pregnancy, albeit one that culminated in a nightmare labor and delivery, but the prior 38 weeks were mostly a cakewalk. So I'm not one of those chicks who's like "Ooooh.....I can't wait to be pregnant again! It was the happiest time in my life!" No offense to any of you who ARE that chick, that's just not me.

Nor am I one of those chicks who's like "My baby's growing up so quickly......I just miss him/her being small and cuddly and I really want to have that again." Nope, again not me. I vividly remember the hours of my colicky infant screaming inconsolably and counting the days until the 12 week mark, saying to myself "That's when this is supposed to end.....3 months.......just make it to 3 months without killing yourself......." Then reaching 12 weeks and still no end in sight. It was about 15-16 weeks before it stopped. That was the longest 4 fucking month period of my entire life.

And sleeping. Ohmygod sleeping. This one could go either way - wait to have another one, get normal sleep back sooner but have to give it up again later, or be complete zombies for the next 2-3 years but get  that part over and done with so by 2015 or so we can maybe get 8 hours a night every night. Be still my heart......just the thought makes me swoon!

I want to hear from the peanut gallery out there. If you have a post on your blog somewhere about your decision to have or not have another child, link up so I can go read it. If not, tell me about it here in the comments. For those of you with more than one - how'd you come to the decision if it was on purpose? What was the transition like to go from 1 to 2 kids? Did you purposely space them? If baby #2 was more of a "surprise" how did you react? If you only have one and only want the one, how did you arrive at that decision? Etc., Etc., etc.

Basically, tell me all about it folks.

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Alyssa said...

I swear I could cut and paste your post and put it on my blog. We are definitely torn about when to have another - or even IF to have another. Other people talk about how they don't feel their family is complete, and are excited about having another child. I just don't feel that way. I feel like I want to enjoy our family the way it is right now.

I also keep thinking about having to split everything (time, energy, money) if we had another, and how would that even work? Right now, we can give our son the best of all those things, but if we had another we would have to sacrifice things.

We are trying to keep in mind our wants and needs in life as well. We don't have to be martyrs to our child(ren) - we can have a life too!

For what it's worth, I know a few people who are only children and LOVED it. But, I've also heard going from 1-2 is a pretty easy transition.

In the end, we're going to wait until our son is 2 years old to even seriously talk about the situation. Right now, everything (pregnancy, labor, newborn stage) is just so prevalent in our minds that it biases us!

Good luck with your decision, and please write about how you decide when you do!

ScientistMother said...

monkey and the inmate will be about 5 years apart. that was what worked for us in our lives. We always knew we wanted more than one kid, but there was no way in hell I was having another one until monkey calmed down.

Whether or not siblings are close, I believe as alot to do with parenting & personalities vs age difference. I am close to one sibling bc he is not judgemental and respectful, unlike my sister. I am not close to either parent, because 1 favors my sister and 1 favors my brother....Mr.SM is close to 2/3 siblings bc they were all treated equally. The one he is not close with, was always compared to Mr.SM and has some insecurity issues bc of it. Again, parenting and personalities.

Each pregnancy is different as well. I"m more tired in my current one that I was with monkey. Monkey was an easy baby, but his labor was hell. That can easily be opposite for this one.

Anonymous said...

A heir and a spare as they say.

I am an only child, looking back, I would only want another sibling if my parents were able to find stable jobs and provide a better life for us. Otherwise, I'm thankful they choose to have only one!

My mom was the principle earner in our home and dad could not find steady work. Another child, and I would have had to get a job to help with bills (like so many of my friends had to do).

Having another child means they can grow together or share the expense of existing long after you both are gone. If one chooses not to do the traditional things in life, you can hope the other will. And there is less pressure on each.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Hubby and I are already talking about #2; we're just waiting on things with career to settle a bit. But it won't be too much longer after that. I never would've imagined wanting a second during those first couple of months, so it was quite surprising when the urge struck a few weeks ago.

Also, thought you might find this post interesting/useful, about this blogger's thinking about having a #2:

Selena said...

I am probably the last person you should listen to about this but I am going to throw my opinion out there anyway.

If you really want to do it, don't worry so much about timing and don't try. Just see what happens. I think you'll both be happier if you don't worry and let "nature" take its course.

That being said, I will never ever ever ever have another child. If Lila had been one of those "easy" babies, I would have had a couple, but I seriously do not think I would survive another year like my monsters first year. I don't think that the decision to have or have not is "selfish" in any way. It's a major life decision, much like deciding not to shoot haroin or set your workplace on fire. No one would call those things selfish, no matter which way you chose (probably not the best examples).

And luckily, whenever I feel like I am doing her a disservice by making her an only, Lila (even at 3 with little friends with siblings) has made it very clear whenever I asked her that she DOES NOT want a baby in this house. That's all I needed to hear.

JLK said...

@Alyssa - I love that you and I are having the same thought process about all of this. It makes me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one. I also love that our boys are so close in age so we really are in a very similar situation timewise as well.

@SM - I hear you. I wish I could know ahead of time how it would play out. And here's hoping you have an easy pregnancy AND an easy L&D!

@Anonymous - We are fortunate in that we can financially provide for additional children. I am grateful to not be hindered in that way while making this decision. I love what you said about children growing together. Thinking of it that way casts a rosy glow over the more practical considerations of trying to juggle 2 munchkins.

@MicroDr.O - you are going to need to elaborate for me. What circumstances surrounded your new urge a few weeks ago? And thanks for the link, I'm definitely going to check it out.

@Selena - That's exactly what we did with the one we have now. We stopped trying NOT to get pregnant, and BAM. 2 weeks later I was knocked up. So on the off chance that were to happen again, he and I are treating the decision to "see what happens" as an assumption that it will result in a fertilized egg. LOL. I'm going to have to read farther back on your blog than I've made it so far - the whole first YEAR sucked for you? For us it was really only the first 4 months and then a week or two here and there ever since.....

GMP said...

Hi, first time here (followed over from Alyssa's place). I have one who just turned 11, another one who will turn 4 shortly, and am pregnant w No 3. As you can see, the age differences are huge. We had our first when we started grad school (not planned), could barely get by financially. I graduated, got a real job, moved away with 1st kid and hub stayed to try and finish his degree. When hub joined us 2 years after I swear I got pregnant the minute he walked in the door. :)
My hub was always very negative-to-lukewarm about having more. When our oldest was 5 and I started bugging him for No 2, he said no as we're still not living together and why get more perturbation in our lives -- we love the one we have. For No 3 it took me more than a year to convince him (I think I just wore him down), he was again not for it (we are finally out of diapers, who's going to finance all those college expenses, etc.)

Don't worry about the age difference. They will get along or they won't. I have kids because I enjoy them and I think I can raise them well to become good people. You cannot control their affections or relationships with one another. I can tell you that my 11-year old and my nearly 4-year old get along very well, the little guy adores the older one and is always trying to butt in with his friends. It's not the same as having them close in age but they can still be very close.

Good luck with the decision and sorry for getting carried away with the lengthy comment.

Anonymous said...

Nothing specific, we just both suddenly feel for a second. We've even contemplated having three (if #2 is a boy, since we want a little girl too - not that we can really control that ;).

There's no rational way to explain it; we just feel like our family isn't complete. I have no idea how it could have changed so quickly for both of us. The first couple of months felt like they would never end; now they seem distant and brief for both of us.

Maybe we just feel like we can handle it after the storm of PPD. Maybe we're just crazy. Probably a little of both. But I know we're ready...just waiting on logistics to work themselves out before diving back in.

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