As Avery’s 1st birthday approaches, we are being asked all the time “When will you have another one?” I won’t lie, it is a thought that has been crossing my mind for months.
Or…..is one “enough?”
It’s a difficult decision to make. My husband and I are both only children. We both come from relatively small families. I only have 5 cousins, only one that I see regularly. My husband has a few more, but it’s been many years since he’s seen most of them. My aunt’s and uncles are all across the country from California to Florida, to Michigan, Dave’s are mostly in Florida.
When we first started talking about the kind of family we wanted, we both agreed that we wanted more than one child. Growing up as an only child is wonderful. You get all the attention, the focus is on you. You don’t have to share your toys or the spotlight. It’s wonderful. It also taught us both to be very independent, play on our own, and I think it really brought out my creativity.
As an adult, being an only child sucks. You start to feel a lot more “alone” Dave and I are fortunate to have our parents, but there will come a time when they wont be able to care for themselves, and the responsibility will fall on us and only us. Whether it’s financially, or in a caretaker role, we will be alone in it. It’s also very scary to think of what happens when they pass away (hopefully not for many, many years) again, as an only child, I will be left to deal with that by myself. I don’t want that for Avery.
Avery has no cousins. Avery has no aunts or uncles. (yes, she has wonderful godparents, and my aunts, uncles and cousins, but it’s not completely the same) I don’t ever want her to be alone.
The thing is, I really LOVE having just her. I love that I can give 100% of my attention and 100% of my heart to her and only her. She doesn’t have to share me.
I know for certain that NOW is not the right time. A mom of 4 once told me that she felt a bit sad that her first had to grow up so quickly and never got the chance to be the baby, it really struck a chord with me. I know many people have children less than a year apart. But I strongly feel that Avery deserves the chance to just be the baby for awhile. I don’t want to rush her growing up, I don’t want to miss out on her important milestones and the joy of her babyhood because I’m busy changing someone else’s diaper, or washing someone else’s bottles. She deserves to be the only one for now.
I also worry about the financial “burden” of additional children. I’m only using burden for lack of a less harsh word, I don’t think of a child as a burden, however they are expensive! Especially as they get older. While I don’t intend to “spoil” Avery or any future children, I don’t ever want them to feel that we are “too poor” for them to enjoy things. I want them to be able to go to summer camp, or play hockey or go to dance class. I don’t ever want to have to say “No, you can’t continue swimming because we can’t afford for you to do that AND for your sister to participate in gymnastics”
I also don’t feel like I have a whole lot of time to think about this. I’m 31, and in the life plan that I made in my early twenties I was supposed to be done having kids by the time I was thirty. Of course that didn’t happen since I didn’t get married at 24 (as I had also planned) But, I also don’t want to have children after 35. 35 is my personal limit. My mother is 30 years older than me and I thought that was perfect. I am almost exactly 30 years older than Avery, and I like that.
I also have a fear that my next labor and delivery would be just as horrible and traumatic as the first. It was just such a terrible experience on so many different levels, from pain, to a total lack of respect from hospital staff, to not feeling like I was able to enjoy being a mother, and having my newborn handed to me in a loving and joyous way, because of the negative experience, I just never want to go through that again.
Then there is the fact that Avery has spoiled us. She is truly “perfect” She sleeps through the night, and even sleeps til 10am on most days. She takes 3-4 hour naps. She loses her mind just once a month, and any other tears are usually from a missed nap or wanting another “bah” and are quickly dried up as soon as she’s put down in her crib, or given a “bah” She’s healthy, she’s thriving, she’s smart. She’s happy and quick with a smile or a kiss. And I know we’d never, ever get this lucky twice in a row.
That said, for her sake, I don’t want her to be an only child. I look at friends and see these amazingly strong relationships they have with their siblings (and yes, I know there are also some pretty awful relationships among siblings as well. I’ve seen those too) And while I have best friends that I consider family, I do feel that I “missed out” on having real siblings. (Growing up I always yearned for an older brother, though I don’t know how I expected my parents to provide that) I don’t want Avery to ever feel like she missed out on that type of relationship.
Then I have this paralyzing fear of having three carseats….
So, I guess now we’re “stuck” I know that I want more children, but I also know that Avery is perfect and I don’t want to “ruin” that. It’s such a conundrum. Will I regret not having more children? Most likely, yes. Would I regret having more children? Most likely, no. So I guess I have my answer, but I still don’t feel so clear on it.
So what about you? How did you come to the decision to either have more children, or to have just one?