Month 19: Another One?

I'm afraid to have another baby. There, I said it. I am afraid that I won't be able to handle two, that another kid would strain our finances and our marriage, and even that we won't love another baby as much as the first. What if the second one's a holy terror? I mean, Miles has his moments, but he sleeps and eats like a champ, gets along with everybody, and has the cutest dimples you've ever seen. Why push our luck?

Of course, I didn't say all this to the five people in the past week who asked me The Question: "So, when are you guys going to have another?" I just smiled and said, "This one's keeping us plenty busy for now."

The truth is, C. and I had always planned on having more than one child. He's one of five siblings and I'm one of two. One of the few friends I have who's an only child told me it was lonely being around adults all the time. And Miles LOVES being around other kids. I've never seen him laugh harder than with another kid (like my niece here). It would almost be mean to deprive him of that.

So sometimes I think, of course we'll have another. Then I'll find myself in a particularly challenging situation and think, "What the hell am I thinking, having another one?!" Let's take the airport, for example.

The trip up to the grandparents' was OK. C. and I traveled together. One of us maneuvered the enormous baggage cart while the other kept track of Miles. We passed him back and forth on the plane and managed to keep him from grabbing fistfuls of the long, curly blonde locks of the college girl sitting next to us.

The trip back, however, was a different story. C. flew home early for work so I came back with my brother, SIL, and 11-mo.-old niece. At the airport, my brother dropped us off at the curb to return the rental car. My niece was napping, so she had to be carefully transferred to the stroller. Meanwhile, Miles had to be unhooked from the carseat and strapped into his stroller while we wrangled two carseats, two strollers, and umpteen pieces of luggage into the airport. I still have a hideous purple bruise on my shin from this undertaking.

Because of the long lines, we split up at the check-in counter. I had just moved our giant Pile O' Crap to one clerk when she closed up shop and told me to go over to some other line 20 yards away. Um, OK. Shall I just drag the suitcase over with my teeth? Fortunately, my SIL was close enough to keep an eye on the stroller while I checked in at the other counter.

Traveling with a couple extra adults also came in handy later. Say, when they blocked Miles from sprinting through the metal detector while I was taking off my coat, retrieved our stuff from the conveyor belt while I tackled a shoeless Miles on the other side, and pushed the empty stroller while I chased my son, who refused to get back into it. Tell me, how in the hell would I manage that with TWO children?

People who have more than one kid (and are apparently dying for everyone else to join the party) will tell you lies like, "It gets easier." Right. When one of them leaves for college? Some people have done complicated math to determine the ideal spacing between siblings. Some take the approach of having them as close together as possible to "get it over with." Some wait till the older kid's in school or out of diapers.

Of course, that assumes that a woman can get pregnant at will and carry to term, which we all know is false. A couple of friends who had no problems the first time are now struggling to get pregnant with baby #2. And there is the little matter of me turning 34 on my next birthday. I am approaching the dreaded Advanced Maternal Age.

I'm also feeling some pressure from friends who are already on baby number THREE! God help 'em. Apparently, three is the new two. Who knew? I say, once the kids outnumber the parents, you're done for. But what do I know? Like I said, I have my hands full with one.

So, C. and I have a lot of thinking to do. But for now, the answer to The Question is one I've stolen from a clever former colleague who had just gotten married. (See? It starts then and doesn't even end once you've had ONE baby!!) Whenever people asked when she was going to have a baby, she'd say, "Nine months after I get pregnant."

TIP O' THE WEEK: Anyone NOT make a New Year's resolution to get more organized this year? I just stocked up on cheap folders, calendars & other office supplies in the Target $1 section.


Rebecca said...

Heh, I completely understand the dilemma of deciding on whether to have another child and then when to have that other child. I kinda wish my little darling had been twins so I wouldn't have to make that decision.

writermama said...

We decided to stick with one child because we are happy as a family of three. Yesterday, Samantha asked if she could have a brother or sister and I said, "Sorry, honey, we're done. Just one kid and that's you."

I believe that she's the only only in her kindergarten class. This is a two or more-kid suburb. But so what? Why do we need to do what everyone else's doing? There are a lot of divorces and unhappy kids in our shiny little suburb too.

All those folks pressuring you are not thinking about that. And none of them will ask you how you really feel about it, what your natural limits are, or what feels manageable to you not just now but for the next 21 years.

It's the weirdest kind of peer pressure I've ever known. But it is possible to say, "No."

lizarosenberg said...

Can I borrow that "nine months after I get pregnant", quote? Our son is 3 and a half, and it took a long time until we succeeded in having him. Even people who know about our trials and tribulations still push us and joke with us about "number 2".

Not only do I agree with writermama about it being "the weirdest kind of peer pressure I've ever known", I also think that it's an incredibly personal question/ comment to toss out, and makes me want to ask an even more personal question back, just to shut them up.

Serenity Now! said...

I LOVE having two. My son is 5 years and 5 days older than his little sister and he dotes on her... he's so protective that he critiques Grandma's bathing techniques.

And he does a great job of distracting her some days when I need to write for 3.5 minutes...

But what works for one family doesn't work for others... sometimes people are just curious, sometimes they are big PITAs and think they know what's best for you.

Mom2Miles said...

I tend to think it's just something people say because they can't think of anything better. I mean, do they really care that much about our family planning decisions? Even so, yes, it IS a very personal question. Should I reply, "So, are you planning to get a vasectomy/your tubes tied any time soon?"

lizarosenberg said...

You're right in that it's just one of those things that people say, but I don't think that should make it okay. Throughout our journey to have a child, I suddenly became very aware of "things people say", and became increasingly more sensitive with each experience. There are so many comments and questions that seem terribly innocent until they're directed at someone who's suffering, or someone who's managed to have a child through unconventional methods. I realize that I'm expecting a lot here, but I think that people really need to be more sensitive. I know, I know. Not gonna happen. A girl can dream, can't she?

Love your blog, by the way!

MCmommy said...

I read this post and thought...that was ME about a year a half ago! I know exactly what you are feeling because I went through the same tug-of-war in my mind. And I'm not going to sugar-coat it...it's definitely tough with two. But as Oprah says, we had our "a-ha!" moment a few weeks ago. I just wrote about it in fact on my blog if you want to check it out.

As always, love reading your blog!

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