As you may have noticed, I think about whether or not we will have a second child a lot. I feel like our society piles a lot of guilt on parents who choose to have just one child. Although this isn't proven to be true, the accepted standard is that only children are spoiled creatures who are more like adults than kids. The thing is, there is no way you can easily categorize any child - whether an only child or one of eight. I believe each child is born with their own personality largely intact and we as parents are just there to help them grow into themselves.
I had a discussion with DH on Sunday about our family. After the holiday weekend, I again came to the conclusion that I just don't see myself having another child. I know that a lot of people change their minds about this once their first children are a bit older, like three, and things become more manageable. But for me, I think about how I will be turning 35 shortly after Anna's third birthday and that means that I would have a child under three until I am 38 or 39 years old - depending on how long it would take to conceive. That will be practically a whole decade of my life where I am juggling so much and just trying to get by. I do realize that second children are often a lot easier to manage - well, most of the time. But sigh, it's just so hard for me to get over that hump. To think about going through pregnancy again, nursing, dreaded pumping, oh my goodness it's all so overwhelming. I feel like during those times I lost so much of myself and was just a nourishing machine.
I love my sister so much and it's wonderful to have a sibling to go through life with. I know my husband feels the same about his brother. But I don't WANT another kid. Right now I think about having two as a way to give the gift of a sibling to Anna. But then I think perhaps the best gift I can give her is a mother who is balanced and opportunities to develop friendships with her extended family and peers. But somehow I just feel like I am failing as a parent if that is all I can do. The dreaded guilt - it rears its ugly head in so many ways.
I know so many women who already know they want a second and for some a third or a fourth. This is how they feel in their hearts. I don't judge them so I don't know why I am judging myself so harshly on this or why I keep dragging it through my head time and time again. I think to myself - what if I had only started this whole process earlier? Would it be different if I were younger? Not that I had much choice since I met my husband at 28 and we had to go through that whole process of you know - getting to know each other and getting married, etc.
I guess it's all an exercise in futility. All I know for sure is what I feel in my heart and right now I feel like Anna is it for us. We'll see how it goes.