Sunday, January 9, 2011

One! Two?

     Today I am thinking about number 2.  No, not that number 2!  The second child.  Every few days something happens to make me think about it and today is one of those days.
     I may have said this before, I can't remember, so I'm going to go on as if I haven't.  Here goes:  I am scared of having another kid.  It is the same kind of scared I had when deciding to have Ro.  The decision to get pregnant went like this:
We're not ready.
What does "ready" mean?
Do we have enough money?
How much money is enough?
Are we ready to give up our twosome-ness?
What if I resent the baby for taking up all my time?
     That last one was my own, all the rest were shared with Ethan.  Eventually, as I assume you've derived, we decided to go for it.  The thinking was that "ready" might never happen.  We would find ourselves graying and finally saying, "We're ready!".  Oops, too late.
     So here I am, thinking the same exact thoughts about Rosanna's possible sibling.  The difference is that in the previous scenario, I knew I had to have a baby of my own.  Today's scenario finds the previous statement fulfilled.  I don't have to have another baby.  I am supremely happy with my one.  I could live on feeling my motherly urges satisfied.  However, we always said that we at least wanted two.  We always said that siblings were important to us.  Not only that, but we wanted the two of our children to be close in age so that they could be playmates and confidants.  This looked like me getting pregnant when child number one had their first birthday.  A quick look at a calendar confirms that said time line will require a pregnancy in the near, near future.
     So here we are.  It's not that I don't wanna be pregnant, I thought it was quite the magical time in my life (with the exception of early nausea).  The fate of my current miracle is what troubles me.  I love what we have going on here (these are the same words I said to my husband before we conceived) and I don't want to resent the new baby for messing it up (hmm, sounds familiar).  I don't want my relationship with my daughter to suffer because I have to split my time tending a newborn.  And what of my "2nd child" theory?  It goes something like this:  #2 doesn't get the undivided attention like #1 had (and how could he/she?  It wouldn't be possible) so #2 causes 'problems' in their life.  For example, they are difficult, troublemakers and act out as a result of their #2 status.  This is no one's fault, a single child is the recipient of all the parents' attentions, two children can only occupy parents' attention as long as the other one is willing to be still.  It a rough draft of a theory, and I would say that I am full of crap, except I can think of plenty of examples.
     I want to wrap this up with a final thought.  Having another kid also ups my chances for heartache.   It's a subject I can't think about with out tears streaming down my face.  Upon seeing my baby's face for the first time I was overwhelmed with fierce love simultaneous with "what have I done?".  The "what have I done?" part refers to the realization that I couldn't live without her.  That if I hadn't had her in my life, I wouldn't have so much to lose.  More children=more to lose (don't get me wrong, I'm not lost on the fact that they ADD so much).
     So I implore you, what are your thoughts on additional children?  What is your honest experience?  I don't promise to follow your advice, and I would love to hear your perspective (especially if you are the parent of 2+).
In the mean time, here is my #1 girl


  1. You are not alone. I think about the spacing of our children and how many probably more than I really need to. Going from 1 to 2 is a huge step and I wanted all the advice I could get when I was trying to figure it out so I would love to share my experience with you. Not that I know anything but I like to think I do.
    I have a rule that says I will wait until my baby is at least 18 months to conceive again for the health of my body. I got that idea from a study I read about on that talked about spacing children.
    My kids are two years and 8 months apart and I liked that my first was potty-trained and somewhat independent when baby came.
    Some people worry they wont love the next as much as the first but I was afraid I would just love my new baby and forget about the first. But there is plenty of love to go around.
    I hear you on the heartache fear. More love means more risk for heartache.
    Basically, I love my two little kids. Their different ages and stages bring a lot of work and joy. I only want to take on what I can handle and right now I can't have another but I still get baby hungry and know the time will come when I will be ready for another.
    One more thought, I look at baby spacing not how it will effect the relationship of the kids but rather what the parents can handle since it is the mom and dads family. The kids will adapt and there are pros and cons to any spacing.
    I don't know if that makes sense or is helpful, but that is what I got. Follow that inner voice and do what feels right.

  2. I think what Amy said about spacing make a lot of sense. Maybe a little bit longer until Ro is doing the potty stuff on her own?

    Granted, I do not have kids. I have dogs. And oddly enough, the second dog scenario that she didn't get the attention he got? Yup, very true. But dogs are children. Though both are extremely adaptable!

    Talk to my Mom, Mel. She's seen a lot. Erin and I are a touch over two years apart. Glenn and Jeannine? About the same, I think. Did Erin and Jeannine suffer as middle kids? Feel left out, not get as much attention?

    Honestly, I think every kid will claim that at some point! And Ro will likely love having a new sibling, whenever you give her one.

    And talk to Jer and Rachel!

  3. I think that the love in your heart will just grow. Yes- your first will always be your first, with your second- I wonder if I'd appreciate more of the smaller stuff that passes by where with Em I was too tired/worried to enjoy it. I was too worried about "the other shoe dropping". I think with #2 I'll take it slower, and try not to worry as much.... whenever he or she comes. And for you darling- Ro is amazing, and you are a wonderful Mom. You have so much love to give. Whether you & Ethan decide to have one or many, know that God has given you all that you need and He will provide. He will continue to give you the desires of your heart as you follow him, I love you lots. And just because Ro is so gorgeous and fun- I hope you have a #2, and 3, and 4... :) I love you!

  4. I had a couple of thoughts when I first read this post. One: I used to be all about kids having siblings, too, for all the reasons you mentioned above and more. I have siblings, and even though they drive me batty sometimes, I wouldn't trade them for anything. (Well, a million dollars, maybe. KIDDING!)

    Over the last few years, I've come to question my own, and our culture's, theories on parenting. I don't believe any more that children HAVE to have siblings to grow up to be well-adjusted, etc., and I think that parents should have the number of kids they want to have, not the number they "should" have. Ro will grow up to be an amazing woman with or without siblings, of that I am confident.

    The other thought I had was that you seem really worried that Kiddo #2 will play second fiddle to Ro. Yes, Ro gets your undivided attention now because she's Kiddo #1, and if/when Kiddo #2 arrives, they won't get that. But what about when Ro goes to school? Who will be there, alone with you, then? You know, when my brother Mal (Kid #3 in my family) went to Kindergarten, my dad worked part time so he could pick Mal up from school every day at noon. For an entire school year Mal got this amazing gift that neither Nathaniel nor I got: my dad's undivided attention. (Quick FYI: I don't resent my dad for this and I'm not jealous of Mal. This is just an example.)

    My point is, yes, if/when you have a second child you will have to divide your undivided time between your children. And even though I'm not a parent, I do know how difficult that is. I teach preschool and that means dividing my attention between many kids, and every day I worry that I'm not doing all I can for every kid in the room. But the thing is, no matter how many ways I have to divide my attention, deep down those kids know I love them and that I would walk through fire for them. Two kids means dividing your TIME, not your love. You have a heart the size of the ocean, Mel, and I know you have enough love in you for two children.

    And sure, Ro and Kiddo #2 won't get lots and lots of your undivided attention, but they'll get lots of your SHARED attention. I love being alone with my parents, but sometimes I love being with them when my siblings are there too even more.

    Okay, I'll end my novel now :) Look into your heart, and do what you think is best for you and your family, Mel, and everything will work out.