I realise that by writing this blog post, I am leaving myself open to criticism, and very deeply felt opinions, but I really REALLY feel the need to write it. I’ve been thinking about one thing and one thing only for months now on and off, but it’s now to the point where I think about little else:
Should we have another child?
I grew up with a sibling – an older brother to be exact and wouldn’t change a thing. I have vague memories of the odd brother/sister bickering, but I couldn’t recall what any were actually about. We got on (and still do get on) brilliantly and I’ve always assumed I’d have a two-kid family myself. But the truth is, I’m completely torn.
I never accounted for the pressure to have a second. A colleague of mine asked within weeks of Grace being born when we’d have another. “You will have another won’t you? I’m an only child and have to nurse my elderly Mother now. You have to have another one.” Now Grace is two, the question raises itself more and more frequently. Why do even vague acquaintances feel the need the need to ask such a personal question anyway? What the hell’s it got to do with them? Why are they bothered? Here are some of the things taking up far too much brain space at the moment:
- I had a horrible pregnancy due to morning sickness. Not as bad as some, but not something I’d want to go through again.
- I had a traumatic birth. See previous sentence.
- My Mum was diagnosed as terminally ill when I was 8 months pregnant. She died when Grace was 10 weeks old. I cannot even begin to explain the stress this caused at a time in my life that should’ve been one of the happiest: hardest yes, but happiest. Although I know I wouldn’t have that stress a second time around, I am afraid of the memories that will come back – especially at a time when you’re hormonally all over the place.
- My other half isn’t keen. He would do it if I wanted it enough, but he would be the first to admit that he wasn’t good with the sleepless nights. They affected him so badly that it just felt like an extra weight/responsibility on me to get her to sleep or to be the one to get up. (Most of the time, he would have to be up early for work, so I am in no way bitter about this, just anxious.)
- Grace has been hard work, especially entering the toddler years. Most people I know that go on to have a second have had a relatively easy first. I don’t know if I feel strong enough to going through it all again. People tell me you “just get on with it” but I can’t help but question the quality of life we’d have? If another child happened to be a difficult one, I have to be honest and admit that I’m not sure I’d enjoy it.
- I feels like we’re finally getting our independence and our life back. We can have nights away, full nights sleep, less and less paraphernalia to cart around, go everywhere and anywhere with Grace now with minimal fuss.
- We have one Grandparent to help us out family wise: That’s all. I love her to pieces and we are exceptionally grateful to her for all she does. As things stand we can occasionally leave Grace for the night, but we couldn’t do that with two as it’d be too much for her.
- I was diagnosed with depression after having Grace. NOT post natal, but “normal” depression due to loosing Mum, but I am terrified of any kind of depression reoccurring.
- I am very aware and feel very guilty that all the above reasons are completely selfish and are only for a short time.
Almost all the friends who had a child around the same time as I had Grace have either just had, or are pregnant with another. This makes me feel like it’d be a good time for me too aswell. Seeing those bumps and holding those little newborns does tug on the heart-strings and make me a bit broody, but not that broody. In fact, if I’m really honest, almost a little relieved I’m not in that boat. But then the guilt kicks in.
Am I being cruel? Or at best a little unfair not giving Grace a sibling and allowing her the chance to experience that special relationship? Would she resent that decision as she grows up? What about long-term, when me and Stu are no longer here? I don’t know what I’d have done without my brother when we lost Mum. I have someone who knows what it feels like – someone to always reminisce with. And yet, I also know of siblings who hate one-another, who are not close at all, who only remember fighting and who have fallen out over wills.
But suppose Grace lives abroad? Or doesn’t want kids herself? Selfish thoughts again, but thoughts non-the-less.
I asked a smashing little girl at Grace’s child-minders if she liked being the only one. “Yes!” was the firm reply as she carefully pieced her lego together. “I get my Mummy ALL to myself.”
I think the crux of it is this: I want to want one but I’m just not sure if I do. I am waiting for some kind of thought or revelation to hit me and BAM: decision made.
Nothing is forthcoming though, and I don’t know what to do.
What to do . . . .