What If We Didn't?

Whew, so I finally have my computer back after almost two weeks of having to beg, borrow, and steal (literally, my sister was about to kill me) to try to get online. I feel like I have so much to discuss, but really there is only one thing that has been on my mind these past few weeks. There was no amount of painting, or re-decorating, that was going to answer the question for me (although it was a nice distraction let me tell you) and even as I'm typing now I am not 100% sure where my head is at.

It all began a few weeks back when my husband sent me this article. He came home and asked the question that neither of us had even considered over the past two years; what if we didn't have another baby. Sure, we have asked, what if we can't have another baby, but we (especially me) had never once considered not having another child, by choice. Until he said those words I can honestly tell you this thought never crossed my mind. Never. For as long as I can remember I always thought that I would have two children. I never once discussed my family without using the plural "kids." I was an only child (until late in my teenage years,) my mother was an only child, my grandmother was an only child, and even my father was for all intents and purposes (that applied to me) an only child (his siblings were much older.) We used to joke that my entire family could fit in a Toyota Corolla, it was funny only because it was true. Because of this I have always craved a large family. When it came to having children I truly believed that I was in some way harming my Little Man if I didn't create a sibling for him. I realize that this is a completely irrational thought, and I know many people, my family members included, who are happy with the fact that they were able to grow up as an only child. I also recognize that just because you have a sibling, this is no guarantee of closeness among the children, and I certainly have seen families where the competition between the 2 or 3 kids, absolutely outweighs any type of loving relationship. I recognize all of this, I understand it, and on paper I can wrap my arms around it, but what I couldn't do is translate this to my own child. I believed (and part of me still does) that my LM would/ will be better off if he had a brother or sister.

I'm pretty sure this is why my husband sent me the article. In short, it gave me an out. An out that I have never once allowed myself, and an out I am now struggling with whether or not I should take. In short, (in case you don't to read it) it says that studies have shown that only children are actually (statistically) better off. It says that they are more successful (depending on how you consider success) and more emotionally secure. This is solely due to the fact that they are the only one. All the attention, resources, and time is given to only them. People used to think this created spoiled and needy children, but studies are now showing that this just isn't the case for the majority of only children. The last thing I want to do here is argue whether that is or isn't correct (take that up with the editor of Time) and certainly having the relationship that I do with my sister, I can see value in my life that was never discussed by the author of the piece. So while I may not whole heartily agree with what was said, reading that really opened my eyes to the fact that we simply cannot have another baby because the LM will be harmed if we don't. What I took away from reading it is that he is going to be just fine either way. So if we aren't having a baby because we have to (remember this was my line of thinking) than why do we want to bring another child into this world?

This is where the lawyer in me kicked in. In my head I drafted a pros and cons list.

Yes, I'm being serious.

The obvious pro is that I love being a mother. I love everything about motherhood, the ups, the downs, all of it. I have never been more comfortable in my own skin, and more in love with anything than I am with my little man. For good or bad, he is my life, and I can only imagine what having two kids would mean to our family. From what I've heard you love your second as much as your first, and although right now that seems unimaginable to me, I know that we have more than enough time and love to raise another child. Also on my "pro" list is that I cannot ignore the fact that I gave up my career to stay home and raise babies, plural. I'm not 100 % sure I would have made the same decision if I thought that in 5 years I would be able to go back to work. In just two short years my little man will be in school full time, and I will have been out of the workforce just long enough to be pretty much unemployable. Yes, I can find something else to do, but when I made the decision to stay home I considered it to be one for the long haul, and I have never regretted it. I guess I'm afraid that if we don't have another baby than maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to give up everything I worked for.

Also in the pro column (and my husband thinks I'm crazy for this one) is that I just can't shake the thought that if we only have one child, and something happens to him, how on earth are we supposed to go on. I know this is morbid, and is certainly not a reason to have another child, but I always think back to this blog I used to read written by a mother who lost her son to terminal cancer, and I am haunted by the statement when she said that the only reason she gets out of bed every day is because she has her other children to live for. I can not even fathom the grief she must feel every day, and how much that would only be intensified if you were to lose your only child. I also think about the fact that there is no guarantee that my LM will grow up and stay close to us, emotionally or geographically. Shouldn't this factor into wanting another child? (I do realize that that there is no guarantee that any of this can't happen with the second child as well.) Of course there are the other considerations, financially, physically, emotionally, etc we can absolutely raise another child and if we are lucky enough to get pregnant than why wouldn't we go for it? (Obviously at this point that is a big if.)

On the other hand there are cons. Cons that I never considered until a few weeks ago. Right now we have a pretty great life. I have a beautiful, energetic, and healthy son, and as my husband likes to say, we've "made it" with him. He is walking, talking, sleeping through the night in a big boy bed. He is fun to be around, easy to travel with, and the three of us just seem to work. If you consider our lifestyle one kid just makes sense. We love to travel, plan on living in the city forever, my husband is very dedicated to his work, and the little man seems perfectly happy being the center of our universe. I also simply cannot ignore the fact that it would be A LOT easier to just stop now. No more sleepless nights, and crying, and teething, and temper tantrums. Having been through that all before, I can tell you I'm not really looking forward to that infant stage again (although the snuggles really are like nothing else.)

I also have been very much swayed by the idea that if we only have one child than we can give everything to him. Not in a spoiled, silver spoon sort of way, but there would be no doubt that he could travel the world, go to any school we wanted, public or private, and generally get all of the time and love that we have. And if I believe, as I do, that we are not hurting him by not having a sibling, than is there anything wrong with being happy with just him. If you add in our struggles conceiving, at what point do we (I) decide the Little Man is enough?

If I'm being honest here one of the main reasons why I have wanted a baby for so long is that I felt like less of a mother because I only had one child. I realize this may sound insane and I don't see other mothers of singletons like that, but internally I have felt like everyone around me is going through the trials and tribulations of raising multiple children, and because I only have one,  I've felt that I'm not working hard enough, that I'm only giving 100% and that they are giving 200-300 percent. A friend of mine laughed when I told her this, and tried to convince me that people can only give 100 percent and the more kids you have that percent is divided rather than multiplied, but even now I still feel like we have it too easy if we just stop now. (To which my husband always says, you do realize this is supposed to be fun rater than work all the time.)

Not to drone on and on, but these are the thoughts that have continually been running through my head for the past two weeks. This is all heightened by the fact that we are about to start another IVF cycle in two weeks so it really is make it or break it time. I know you're thinking we should just put it off, but with my husband's travel schedule for work, and family obligations it's either now or next April, and honestly I just need us to decide one way or another. I feel this is something that has been hanging over our head for over two years now, and it is time for us to come to a decision about our family.

I am putting all of this out there and I honestly don't know where I am at. I am definitely leaning one way, but even typing this I have so much doubt. This weekend I was really okay with not having another baby, even a little excited that the weight could finally be lifted of my shoulders, but then after taking to a very good friend who said, "once you see your second child you will never regret having that baby," I am just so torn. My friend is right, I would never regret another baby, but I could definitely see regretting the choice not to down the road. Really, I don't want to take the easy road out just because it's easier.

So there it is.

I ordered the fertility meds and last night my husband and I decided that we would be stupid not to go forward with the plan next month. I have to admit that I was very angry with him for a while for putting this doubt in my head, but now I am more thankful than anything because if this next go-round doesn't work than at least I know, for the first time, that I could be very happy with out family of three. I really don't know what is right for our family, but my gut really is telling me that if/once we have that second baby (which will 100% be the last) we will not have made the "wrong" choice.

I would love to hear any thoughts that you all have on this. I have received some amazing emails from you over the years on this topic and I am so unbelievably grateful for all of them. I'm sure that some negative commentators will have a field day with this, but as always the positive feedback and support that I receive from you all every day absolutely outweighs any of that silliness.

Ugh, being a grown up really sucks sometimes. Don't you all wish we could just get one quick peek at the future?