It seems lately, everywhere I go, everyone I see, has one burning question for me:
‘When are you going to have another baby?’
Since my daughter is now two, it appears, according to all who ask, that the clock is ticking and the stork is circling.
I can literally feel the pressure on my ovaries.
The short answer is I don’t know.
I don’t know when, or if, I will have another.
I always imagined I would have two kids…
…until I had one.
As much as my adorable daughter completes me, she sure sucks a lot of physical and mental energy from me in the process.
While it is getting easier, as she learns to do a few more things on her own, she still needs a lot of my attention and assistance.
I can’t imagine tackling potty training, tantrums and discipline with one, while trying to breast feed, rock and change diapers and spit up on another.
As a baby, my first was colicky and cranky, therefore it was a daily battle to deal with her.
I struggled with post-partum depression for the first year or so with my first, so I’m scared to death that a second screaming baby will send me spiralling backwards. Doctors even warned me that it’s very likely, if I have another, PPD will return.
But at least I know what to expect, and since every baby is different, maybe my second wouldn’t be as difficult?
But even the best of babies are more than a handful. So as I strive to find time for myself as it is, how do I divide myself between two demanding children, while trying to remain sane?
And I have just finally returned to sleeping through the night. So I wonder if all those pressuring me to have another would be willing to come over for the midnight, 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. wakings with a new baby?
Maybe if my husband worked at home, it might be a different story. But five days a week or more I’m a single mom, so I don’t have that 5 o’clock relief – someone to take over when mommy’s about to lose it.
And now that I’ve finally regained my pre-baby body (aside from the apron of scars and baggy eyes), I’m not so keen on ballooning into a blimp again.
Then there’s all the fun that comes with pregnancy – ‘don’t eat this, don’t drink that.’ Up every hour to pee in the middle of the night amidst trying to sleep with a watermelon growing out of you.
How about all the worries that haunt you throughout pregnancy? What if I have another miscarriage, as I did before I had my daughter? What if I lose the baby?
What if I can’t have another baby?
This may seem like a list of excuses, and as a few people have told me, perhaps I should just “suck it up and have another.” But those feather-ruffling comments are clearly a case of the ‘easier said than done.’
Of course, looking down at my blonde-haired blue-eyed little girl, it was all well worth it.
I wonder, if I never had another child would I regret it?
But as I am just starting to thoroughly enjoy life with one, do I dare mess up a good thing with another?
There’s a lot of pre-conceived notions about the only-child syndrome. Apparently I am committing some sort of crime against my daughter if I don’t give her a sibling.
I don’t doubt that a sibling would bring some joy to her life, but between all the fighting for toys and attention, it also might bring her, and me, a lot of grief.
Clearly this is not an easy decision (and I’m obviously struggling with it).
Having a baby is a lifetime of commitment, it’s not like picking out curtains or flooring. You can’t just take a baby back because you decide you don’t like it or can’t afford it anymore.
So for now, I will sit on my fence, enjoying life with one!
– Jennifer Smith is a reporter/photographer at The Morning Star. She writes a rotating At Random column for the newspaper.