I don't ordinarily subscribe to astrology stuff, but I will own up to having pretty standard Gemini characteristics. I can run hot-and-cold quickly, I am a perfect 50/50 hybrid of introvert vs. extrovert, and I vacillate between uber-punctual, non-spontaneous, list-making type-A and misplacing my keys, doing things completely last minute, and throwing a towel over the kid's pee-stained sheets just to catch a few more hours of shut-eye type B. I really have found the twins in my personality and whether that started out as a self-fulfilling prophecy or not, it is who I am now. So, when it comes to making big life decisions, like whether to cash in all your coins for a second child or not, it can make for a very indecisive girl.
It doesn't make it much easier, either, that we've been faced with a lot of competing financial priorities, many of which have to do with taking care of my existing family. Each one seems to test my resolve on how badly I want a second child, and on somedays, it's all I can do to keep from throwing forward every last penny and banging down the clinic's doors already. And then, on other weeks, I watch mothers of multiple kids struggle to get the time to comb their own hair and I figure that perhaps this is what was meant to be, to have one child, and that life isn't what I planned, but perhaps an even more genius design. And I can take that trip to Hawaii I've been coveting for so long after all...
And then, my other child, my not-yet future child haunts me so deeply that I feel like a piece of my heart has been haphazardly cut from me and I walk around trying to nurse an open, though invisible wound.
*Sigh* Infertility. Have I mentioned how much you still suck lately?
So, as far as the decision to go forth and multiply is concerned, I am at odds with myself and my Gemini nature. Below (bullet-pointed for your reading convenience though not nearly as neatly formed in my head) are some of the competing thoughts that occur to me almost daily:
Pro-Trying for a Second Kid (because trying is not the same as getting and a try is all I am guaranteed):
- The possibility that my son might not be a lone soldier in this world. He will have at least one other person to lament to about how crazy his folks are and this other person will totally get it, no drawn-out examples needed.
- As I've mentioned before, I can't imagine my son facing our end of life alone after I went through it as an only child. To leave him to that and to do so knowingly almost feels cruel.
- The possibility of more little ones to cuddle and love and grow. I love being a Mom. It's f*ing hard, but amazing.
- The banishment of some of the future 'what-if' thoughts (at least ones that I had some sort of control over). I will never wonder, "well, what if I had taken that chance when I had the money? Would we have someone else in our lives now?" Even if we don't succeed, I will have tried.
- The possibilities that holidays, forever more, will be fuller.
- We have an incredible part-time nanny who is itching to get her hands on another baby. Now that my son is going off to school, this would be the perfect timing, should we be lucky enough to succeed.
- Many of the 'inconveniences' of having a second would be temporary.
- While two kids is harder than one, the best things in life are not meant to be easy, but they are usually worth it.
- I 'may' get to experience pregnancy again, for better or worse.
Pro-Not Trying for a Second Kid:
- All of my attention and devotion will be directed on my son. I am sometimes a little scattered, borderline-ADD and get overwhelmed easily. Sometimes I wonder if having a second child would tip the scales in such a way that my kid would suffer to some extent. And he is a child who wants attention 24/7, especially from Mommy. I love that I can give that to him and know that I would be wracked with guilt if I couldn't. I know he would learn to live with this and probably be better for it, but it's still something to consider.
- I work part-time and am so excited that I get to spend at least a day or two in his classroom next year. I would not be able to do this as easily with a baby on my hip.
- As an adult only child, my Mother's hyper-focus on me was so intense, it was sometimes smothering. While this may have been a function of personality, the apple sometimes does not fall far from the tree. Just saying'...
- I think having one will probably be kinder to my marriage. Having kids is hard, harder than I ever anticipated. And because I did not get an 'easy' child (nor would I want one as the one I have is exactly how he should be, which is lovely, bright, deeply creative, wildly emotional, perfect, but challenging at times), I think Mr. S is so much more hesitant to take on another.
- We would have more freedom (and money) as a family to do things like travel.
- College savings will be easier.
- More time to concentrate on our marriage and friends and everything that sometimes takes a backseat when kids come around. Sometimes having an only child feels like a chance to have a little bit of everything.
- Finding a babysitter is always easier with one.
- No heart-pounding anxiety of early pregnancy. Or hell, even later pregnancy. I might have loved being pregnant, but I did not love how much I had to lose and how present that fear always was (not that it totally goes away once they're born, but it's lessened at least).
- No more losses or BFNs to grieve. We would be done with this game. The idea of moving on is seductive.
- And, finally, this.
P.S. Some of you might have seen this published earlier this week, and then disappear just as quickly. I was stumped by some weird formatting issues, and being the semi-perfectionist I am, couldn't let it stay in the light of day until I fixed it. Lo and behold, after two seconds of my husband's fiddling, it's fixed!