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torn about having a second child
Every time someone asks me about having more children, I respond with, “Oh, we are going to start trying for number two next month.” I have been putting off the “trying” for over a year, and my response is getting old. I am glad I have waited, but tonight at bedtime I read my daughter the book I am a Big Sister. As I read the book, she peered up at me and announced, “I can be a big sister, too. I want a baby brother.” And it was at that moment that it struck me: Am I actually going to have another child? It’s not that I had never thought of more children under my roof before. India actually makes this announcement periodically, and the gender always changes, but I usually can brush it off with a “someday.”
I have been enjoying the honeymoon period of single child-dom, but it seems for my daughter she may be craving someone other than her mom, dad and Tennessee, her Labrador. Not only I am enjoying the ease of an only child, but now that I have my body back and feel frisky and fresh again, why not have a little fun? And yet somewhere deep inside, in the underbelly of my uterus, I can feel my ovaries beginning to vibrate, letting me know that, yes, once again my biological clock is ticking. In October Although I do have some time, I am not getting any younger, as they say.
Later, I thought of a woman I know who is a mother of two pre-teen girls. I remember her telling me when she was pregnant with her second child, she was taking a bath with her eldest and thought to herself, “Wow, these are some of last moments I am having with my girl alone.” She said it was bittersweet. I can imagine that bittersweet-ness when an older child realizes they are no longer the center of one’s attention. I cherish these intimate moments alone with India; for me they are the halcyon days. India is my first child, and with her I learned of the trials and tribulations of motherhood; it was all so new and scary those first few days and months with her. My love for her has been one-point focused on her alone.
There is a big part of me that is afraid. How could I love another being as deeply as I love her? But with the birth of my friend’s second child, her love for her first did not diminish, it grew and transformed and bloomed.
I sometimes wonder how mothers of multiple children can love each child as deeply as the next. How do they do it? How can they be the best possible parent they can be with so many children? I am in awe of them, for they choose a life that is so full, full of a beautiful chaos, I imagine, and I guess a lot of love.
Last week I had a play date with three children in my house. Four of them in total, including India, running around like little bats out of hell. It was wonderful in a way, but I barely made it out of that experience alive. Okay, I am being a little dramatic; it was at the end of a long workday and in the middle of packing for a one-month trip abroad, but still, I must admit, I have become accustomed to the comfort within the discomfort of being a mother of one. Ahh, the one and only single child.
And then somewhere in my conscience, there seems to be a fantasy: a vision of me in a country house somewhere, wearing a summer dress and an apron, surrounded by children. Are they mine, or is it another one of those play dates? No, I see that they are mine, and I am smiling and happy.
I am not suggesting that every mother of one consider having more children. More is not necessarily merrier; it is a very personal decision that each and every family must come to together. Nowadays there is so much to think about. Overpopulation, global warming, finances and more, but those are other topics we can get into another time. For me, it’s not just my daughter’s desire to play dress up with a younger sibling, or the biology of procreation, it is a deep-seeded desire to continue on the learning curve of moving out of my comfort zone and deeper into my heart, and allowing the loving to grow, transform and bloom.
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