Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Family Planning

When we decided to start a family, it was a fairly easy decision. We both knew we wanted a family, but wanted to have a few milestones hit professionally and as a couple before venturing into the unpredictable world of creating and caring for a child. And very fortunately for us, when we decided it was time, things worked out and we were quickly expecting and life was set in motion.

However, as my daughter approaches two and the pressure builds internally and externally to “have another,” something I have always thought that I wanted…I find myself hesitant and scared to pull the trigger.

First off, as a full time working mom, I have written about the guilt I feel every day I leave my daughter, and while it has quieted the drumming in my ear every minute, it is still there. This ever present guilt, has me paralyzed that if I only get so much time with my one child now, how would I ever split that time between two and how would they (and I) feel about it. Now, having consulted countless other moms, everyone says you just make it work…and it all works out. But does it? Will I really be at peace with paying less attention to my daughter to care for a new little one?

Second, I finally feel like I have my legs. I finally feel like it is okay if I make time to exercise—even if it means waking before my child, finally letting go of some control and guilt to allow my daughter to spend more time with her grandparents so my husband and I can nourish our relationship a bit, and while it is not every night, I mostly feel like I get to sleep like a normal human again. (However, I don’t think I will ever like waking before 6 even if it does because my schedule.) And as I consider adding another warm, little lovable person to our family, I wonder how long or how much more quickly I will figure all of these lessons back. Will I revert back to not knowing or have I learned these valuable lessons and will be poised to be a better parent right from the start?

When I hold little babies, I gently hold them in awe, and shock that my “baby” is no longer a baby. I don’t know that I long for those days, because I know they will never be those same days that I did experience—with one perfect, little angel.

It will be different and complicated, and hard and exhausting. And it could take a while, which would be scary and stressful….or it could happen quickly, which would be scary and stressful in a different way.
Many of my friends and family, have quickly moved from one baby to the next, in fact many became pregnant while their babies were just little babies themselves and aside from flinching a little—these people said they intentionally wanted things to be this way. And as I watch my friend’s children close in age grow, I see so many of the benefits and differences.

I had a window that was briefly open a few months ago to add to our family, but I panicked and after half-heartedly trying one month, my husband and I both were okay to hit pause.

As time ticks on, and seasons change, how will I know when I’m ready again? Or will I not know, and it will just have to be something I discover the joy of once it happens?

Mamas, how did you know? Did any of you have cold feet when it came to your second?


  1. I was just crafting a post simliar to I have lots to say!

    We too are talking about when to have our second. M is now 14 months old, and I am loving every second of the life we have together. I cannot even imagine having another baby to take care of right now, but always imagined having my kids 2-ish years apart, which means I need to get on the ball soon...

    Which is a totally different story for us, as I can't get pregnant on my own. I need to actually schedule a date for an IVF so I need to be absolutely sure that I am ready to do this.

    The issue I am having with pulling the trigger is that my husband works about 80-100 hours a week (including most weekends). This is a different job than he had when we had baby M, and it will be a much different experience this time around, as I will be more of a single mom through the process. Which scares the shit out of me.

    And then there is the issue of not having any family close. Of course I know my parents will come up from Florida whenever I need them, but it isn't the same as being able to call them to come over to help out.

    And like you I struggle with the fact that I could have another child and love them even half as much as I love M!

    I have close girlfriend that had their second children before their first was even 2, and I can't even fathom that. I want M to be a little more self sufficient before I have a second baby. Not asking her to make her own bed and do the dishes, just maybe be able to communicate better, and possibly potty trained. I don't think I want 2 babies at the same time. But my brother and i were 19 months apart and were very close, and I want that for M (missed that window already obviously!).

    I look forward to hearing what our readers have to say about this...

  2. Well, as my friends told me you are never ready. My son G will be 4 in 3 weeks, and we are finally getting there. For me it was a mix of both of yours concerns - but I have a husband like Jess who works long hours and travels a LOT so its more "Can i do the single mother thing with 2". thats been my biggest concern b/c its hard enough with 1. but G is a year away from Kindergarten, so I have the security of knowing he will be in school a few days a week. I finally feel like I am ready and it took a long time to get to this point. I've talked to many people with kids 4-5 years apart who say its great b/c the older one is so self sufficient. I also see it this way. The days of them being little a cute fly by so fast. I want to enjoy my son alone for a bit longer and then as he gets older, I still have one in the "little and cute" phase.

    A lot of my friends did 3 year age differences and thats worked out really well for them. 2.5 years is a tough age difference until they are like 3 and 5 and then it gets better. For me also, my son has been asking for a "Kid to come live with us. one who talks and plays trains". Since i don't plan to adopt a 3 year old for him, I hope that he will be ok if a baby joins our family one day :)