I’ve got #2 on the brain. Not that number two. I’m talking baby number two. It’s not a coincidence because lately it seems everyone is wondering if I’ll have a second baby. I find this questioning only slightly less invasive than having my belly felt up when I was pregnant. D2 turns two in November and whenever anyone asks me how old he is, it’s always followed up with, “So are you going to give him a little brother or sister?” Last week at the salon my stylist put it much more bluntly, “So what’s the story, are we having a second baby or what?” *Gulp. Silence.* Heads swivled to look at me as I choked out the standard “We’re practicing!”line. Sheesh. What do I say to such a personal question? My uterus has barely snapped back into place and already the questions are flying.
I’ve been saying that we really would like to give D2 a sibling if we can. Actually, I sort of feel that we are obligated to do so because we are older parents. When D2 turns 20 we’ll be 60. When he’s 40 we’ll be …. oh God, I don’t even want to think about it. This sounds morbid but I fear that we’ll die and leave him alone while he’s still a relatively young man.
I think about my anxiety over possibly having another miscarriage, which I experienced before I had D2. It’s a tough emotional journey that many women don’t talk about – and it’s exceedingly common. I think about the letters AMA (Advanced Maternal Age) that will be scrawled across my chart that let everyone know at the OB/GYN that you are officially past your prime but some how your eggs have managed to hang on for the last call at the bar. (Quick side bar: Ignore the B.S. lies you read in tabloids about 40 something celebrities and their claims they got pregnant “naturally” even though they are pumping out fraternal twins at alarming rates. There is no f@$*^!g way. Not Judging. Just saying.)
I think of all of the pros and cons of having a second child. On the pro side I think about:
- D2 won’t grow up an only child and will have a sibling for friendship and company;
- having my first child at age 40 has meant that I am a more centered, focused and mature mother which has been good for D2;
- how I ‘m obsessed with my son and a second child will ensure I won’t smother D2 to death if I have another child to dote on;
- having children exponentially opens your heart to wanting more;
- how kids are just so much darn fun and Dr. D and I are having the time of our lives with D2;
- how much I loved breastfeeding even though it was hell on my boobs.
On the Con side I think about:
- whether I can love a second child as much as my first (I think I can but I worry about it);
- whether I actually have any good eggs left to conceive (My OB seems to still think I’m in the Green Zone);
- how pregnancy and recovering from pregnancy is pure hell on a post-40 body (my C-section scar still hurts);
- the fact that Dr. D and I are exhausted already with one toddler, can we really do two children under 5?
- taking three months off for maternity leave and the anxiety and paranoia it caused me.
- having two kids in college at the same time. Enough said.
All that said, I absolutely love being a mother and D2 is the single best thing that has happened in my life. I am thrilled watching him achieve all of the little milestones and yet also sad because it’s going so fast. I take in every day and am grateful for it. Even on my worst days, I really wouldn’t mind doing it all again.
So yeah, we are going to go for it. It’s not going to be easy. I know the statistics on getting pregnant after 40. But I choose to mainly focus on the positive; I’m in great shape and have a positive mental outlook. We’ll see if luck and the fertility gods are on our side. In the meantime, the next time someone asks me if I’m going to have number two I’ll just smile and say, “We’re practicing.”
I love your breakdown of the pros and cons. Its very similar to mine, well except for the eggs,lol. But dont let that deter you. Statistics are statistics and there are always many exceptions and if your doctor said go for it, I would trust him or her. D2 will be happy to have a little brother or sister and the heart can accommodate love no matter how large, so trust that you will have love like you’ve never had before with baby #2 as well. All the best
Blessing, as an engineer I know you are very smart woman so when you tell me not to worry about statistics you know I’m gonna listen! Thanks for the support!
It can be a tough decision especially when all eyes are on you. We decided on just one and feel good about the decision. However, we know that many people want siblings for their kids, so that does concern us every once in awhile.
Good luck in your decision. Enjoy practicing. 🙂
Really good post. Thanks for sharing.
Optimistic Mom, you are so right but I’m determined not to let external pressure be what guides us. We really want a second child also because we both grew up with big families (I’m the oldest of three and Dr. D. is the oldest of six!) and want that for D2. Now, only God and fate knows what’s in store for us but we are going to give it a go!
It is such a tough decision, and I think it is made even harder because so much lies outside of our control. I really wanted a second child, and having only being pregnant once in my life, and that produced a very healthy baby girl, I didn’t doubt that it would happen. It did not however, and then came the divorce (not due to infertility, but I can say that some of the issues contributed). I was devastated, and for awhile my brain went kind of crazy…thoughts of extreme actions to have another by myself. I’ll tell you what was a major turning point for me. The first time I heard my 5 year old daughter refer to herself as an only child. It stopped me in my tracks. Her statement was made as simply that, a statement of fact. No longing, no regret, none of the baggage I was putting on myself and her. Taking a look at her, her health, intelligence, humor, beauty, compassion. I couldn’t ask for more. I can also afford to give her things I might not be able to with 2, like a private education. I can attend all her games, not just every other one like my friends who are juggling 2 kids with games at the same time. And all my heart. It has been a long road getting to this place, but it feels good to be content with the joy I have in being the parent of 1.
Kajsa – what a heartfelt and intelligent response. I think you really tap into the journey that we each have to take to get to what ever is the right thing for us. I’m trying to steel myself for the reality that at “my age” it might not happen. That said, I’m really open to adoption (Dr. D. less so) so that may be an option. I love what you say about your daughter’s response to being an only child. It’s so true that our children often teach us more than we realize. Thank you so much for sharing.
I can relate. I have one, and my husband has one. For years people asked us if we were going to have one together and we always said “no” for we enjoyed the benefits of each having a child from previous relationships (who were 7 and 8 when we met) and being more mobile than people we knew with younger children. My daughter has enjoyed the privileges of being my only child as well. But now that my husband and I are trying for a child together, I sort of regret saying anything. Why? Because many people I have told have an opinion of what I should do to try and get pregnant, why I am trying when I am “so old” (38), don’t I want time to myself now that my daughter is 15, should we be trying in this economy… ANXIETY!!!! So now I am MUM!!!!
My take away? Don’t let other people dictate what you want to do or how you feel about children. Many people just talk because they are uncomfortable with silence or lack an appropriate one word response. Example, my friend just gave birth to her fourth child and a man in the grocery store had the nerve to ask her when she was “going to stop.” WTH?
As Kajsa mentioned, we also don’t know people’s stories so it is insensitive to judge how many children a woman has or doesn’t have. A friend of mine has three children- but only one survived the birth. Imagine somebody coming up to her and asking her when she’s going to have another? Imagine her responding by saying, “I did have others but they died.” So, we need to be careful and sensitive and supportive. Obviously she wouldn’t be that cruel to the other person who had no idea, but the point is, we shouldn’t give suggestions or advice, as much as it kills us not to do so. People are naturally curious, so it’s no wonder we ask questions- especially about people’s private lives. How many times was I asked when I was getting married?
More children may or may not be in my future, but watching my friends and famiy go through their own experiences has lead me to appreciate the child I have and the children that I am surrounded by on a daily basis.