Friday, August 15, 2008

Screw the net. Get the tranquilizers.

I'm totally stealing this question from Moxie because I can't stop thinking about it.

Anonymous writes:

"I have a question that I’ve never really heard discussed anywhere. Why does anyone want to have a second child? Full disclosure—I’ve never been one of those women who desperately want to have kids. Until I married my husband, I would have been fine not having any, and even then I would have been fine adopting. My husband was adopted so he really wanted to have a biological child, and we decided to go for it. I told him then that we’d have one and see how it went. I had a fairly easy pregnancy as pregnancies go, but hated pretty much 95% of those 10 months. I had a home birth, which I’m quite glad about, though it was a long labor. Our son, who is now 24 weeks old, is perfectly healthy, the happiest little boy I’ve ever seen, and really rather easy. I was thrown for a loop over how much time and energy and self-sacrifice was and is required, but not to the point of PPD, and I’ve been seeing a therapist for awhile because I was a bit worried about that. I returned to work at 3 ½ months and am now working full time. I love my son more than anything in the world, but my husband is already talking about Child #2, and I absolutely cannot imagine going through this again, much less going through it again while having Child #1. I was ready for him to get a vasectomy the day after I gave birth. I didn’t like being pregnant, I never want to be this sleep-deprived again, I’ve always needed me-time and am having a hard enough time getting that now. I realized the other day that I might feel a bit differently if I didn’t have to work full time, but there’s no option about that. I’m also amazed at the number of people who automatically assume we’re going to have at least one more child. Part of me thinks that I’m being smart at realizing my limitations. But part of me, of course, feels guilty and selfish. So I guess I’m just wondering, is there anyone else out there that feels this way?"

As hard as it is to believe, I've thought about having another child. (I know, I know. Get the net.) Maybe it's because Will is leaving the "baby" phase or because he went to sleep ALL BY HIMSELF last night or because I have this crazy idea that I'd be able to relax and enjoy my pregnancy the second time around (the net! The net!) but the thought of adding to the family doesn't sound terrible. Being an only child is great (take it from someone who had 4 separate Christmases) but I want Will to grow up without the constant spotlight of parental attention. Plus they'll play together, he'll have someone to help him share the burden when Matt and I get old and crochety, we'll qualify for more financial aid for college... Granted, it's easy to fantasize about something that will probably never come to pass, at least biologically. Being of "advanced maternal age" (is there a less flattering medical assessment?) makes getting knocked up tricky, and it wasn't exactly a walk in the park the first time. Plus we both feel a strong desire to adopt since we were so close to doing it last time. (I found out I was pregnant just hours after we made the appointment with the agency.) But at the same time I can totally see what Anonymous is talking about. Raising kids is tough and anybody who tells you different (or makes you feel crummy for feeling that way) is plain mean. I love my baby beyond beyond but there are days I'd totally trade him for a trip to Bora Bora.

What about you? Any thoughts on having second children? Does having another make you better, faster, stronger or simply tireder? And do they really play together? (I always suspected that "they'll entertain each other" line was bunk, but it sure sounds good.)


filthEdesign said...

i can't imagine having 2...although i subscribed to the child free by choice philosophy...until john was born :) i have no regrets and wouldn't change a thing - though it was hardly a typical pregnancy, birth, etc...but yeah...1 is where it's at :)

Jezer said...

One is the number for me. I cringe at the thought of doing it all again. All the time I was pregnant, I thought, "Seriously? People do this again ON PURPOSE??? I continued thinking that throughout the entire first year. I'm just too selfish, old, and not-rich (Oh-emm-gee the health insurance and daycare equal a NICE car payment)to do this all again.

Also, I think I'll avoid the feelings of breaking up the happy party of 3 with an intruder/sibling that almost every one of Moxie's commenters cited.

pursuedbyabear said...

I want more. But then I am of questionable mental stability, if for no other reason, because I want more.

Missy said...

God knows why I wanted to do it all over again after the experience I had with the first one, and maybe there was a little bit of "I want to do it 'righ't this time." (Oh how foolish I was!) But really what it came down to is that I liked having one so much I just wanted more. Only one more. I can say that yes my kids do keep each other company, and occupy each other. They get along really well a good portion of the time. It did not just happen however, we promoted it from day one. BH and I do not have the greatest relationships with our siblings and it has been a regret to both of us. So promoting sibling harmony was a big priority to us.

Colleen said...

I think you'll probably know when you're done. It hits at a different time for everyone.

After Lindsey was born, I was immediately thinking "next time" but both my husband and I knew we couldn't handle another one for a long time. Between that and fertility issues, it was nearly four years before we added number two, and it has worked out great. They still play together a lot (may help that they are both girls). I would have freaked and probably gone off a cliff if they had been spaced less than two years apart--and even that might have been a little bit close!

We closed off that option about a year after Dinah was born--I was a little sad b/c I love babies, but I know my limits. I'm a good mama to two, but beyond that I think I would be much crankier and not able to be the kind of mom I want to be. Plus there's the whole BIG issue of money, space, etc. We also had a hard enough time getting pregnant that it was a relief to just have a period again and not cry for two days b/c I wasn't pregnant, AGAIN.

My friend had two ROUGH bedrest pregnancies but still wanted one more--finally talked her husband into it, and said immediately after that baby was born she was at peace and said "OK, now we're done." Just like that.

So bottom line--if you're feeling at peace with no children or with one, why not stay that way? More and more people are stopping with one, and I see nothing wrong with that at all.

elisava said...

hi again ~ i'm the one who commented a few days ago... i have a three year old daughter and a nine month old daughter. i'm a SAHM... and being around two so close together on a day to day basis is very tough. you simply cannot get a damn thing done. you think it's hard to get a shower or eat a real meal now!

we wanted two close together because it was what we decided before marriage, it determined the kind of house we purchased and a) we think (HOPE) it will be easier in the long run (whatever the heck that is after mommy has gone totally insane) and b) because hubby and i are getting up there. we didn't want kids still in high school at the time of retirement. however, with college costs begin what they are, i don't really see any "retirement" in our future.

however, what is boils down to is that i have been pregnant or nursing, or weaning so i could get knocked up again, for nearly five years. since the LAST ELECTION for pete's sake!!! bad sleep, no parties, and trying to shove my extended self into non-maternity clothes for half a freakin decade. oh, poor me. (they were both planned... i gots no one to blame but my crazy self).

so anyway, if i had any advice, i'd say spread 'em (the kids, not your legs) out a little more. maybe wait til the first is at least potty-trained and comfortable in some pre-school situation.

sorry if this sounds glum. my two cents...

Valerie said...

There was something hormonal around when they turned 1 and again when they were 2 that made me want another baby b-a-d-l-y. Whooboy. Then my answer would have been 'more please!'

Fortunately reason won out (barely) and then I was able to turn it off or at least down and now I'm not sure. I'm starting to feel our family might be complete I don't have the definite feeling of 'we are done', but I also can't imagine doing anything about it until the boys are in school. That wouldn't be for another 2 years and would make them spaced out quite a bit and I'm not so sure how I feel about that, or how old I'll be at the time.

Probably done but we'll see.

Valerie said...

Oh yeah, a small point to make - if my first pregnancy had not been twins we totally would have had another by now I'm sure.

I keep forgetting we're 1 child ahead of most folks after 1 pregnancy. :)

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Pisssh! I say! Fie on your "advanced maternal age"!

Let us not forget that I was older than you are RIGHT NOW when I had the twins, shall we?

So pish! to your AVM argument. If you WANT to get pregnant, have a look at the Fertility Friends site and be seriously anal about temp taking and all that. That damned thing worked. A little TOO well, perhaps? Aiee!

As for the more than one question, Eric and I struggled with that question for a long time. Then we said no kids until after he finished law school. Then it was until he got a job. When that prospect kept pushing farther out, I told him we needed to decide one way or another because I was getting older and headed for 40 fast. Then we sat down and really talked about whether we should or shouldn't.

It all boiled down to whether or not one more (Hah!) would be better for us as a family or worse. You may not be able to make that decision until Will is actually old enough to either help you decide or weigh in on the question. Caitlin made it clear she really wanted siblings (At least until they came in the two-pack.). We figured she'd have someone else in case anything happened to us. We also thought about sharing the burden of our old age. We pondered the environmental impacts. The repeat on diapers and potty training and sleeplessness.

It all really came down to this: Damn! Caitlin is awesome! Maybe another one would be awesome, too? Let's find out!

And then there were two when there should have been one. Whoops!

Oh and I second what Elisava says about spacing the kids. Having Caitlin in school while pregnant/dealing with tiny infant twins has been a sanity saving move. And yes, she DOES play with them. Sort of. It will get better as they get older and can play back. Right now, they're more like animated dolls as far as she seems to be concerned.

You're gonna need a bigger apartment though, if you do have another....