When I look at my friends who are done having kids, I must admit that I am a tad bit envious. They have a certain freedom about them that I wish to one day have myself. One friend and her husband, who have a daughter, knew right away that their little girl would be the only child they would have. Now that the child is in kindergarten, my friend is pushing forward in her career – throwing herself into her work and seeing great success. She and her husband are buying a house, and their plans for the next couple of years are set.
On the other hand, when you know that you are not done having babies, “simple” details and plans (like moving forward with a career) are anything but simple details and plans. They are huge obstacles that seem nearly impossible to overcome.
I have a young son. My husband and I have been doing the baby / toddler dance for 18 months now. We were blessed with a “spirited” child: a colicky, sleepless first four months, tantrums as soon as he hit one year, a penchant for climbing anything he can get his little feet on, and a child for whom “no” means “dare you!” We love him and all the feistiness he brings. But we also know more than anyone how all-consuming, difficult, and exhausting dealing with a new little person can be.
Admittedly, it has gotten much easier recently. Our son is more like a real person these days, and not just an opinionated blob with no words. (Now he is walking and opinionated, with words.) He can eat what we eat and go where we go without too much fuss. And he sleeps now! Oh, the sleep is fabulous. I dreamed about this sleep for months and months and I don’t take one minute on my pillow for granted. This big kid of mine is growing up (sigh, tear), and before I know it he will be in school part-time. And then full-time. And soon enough, I will have time for myself. I will be able to work more and maybe even start that business I have been thinking about for almost a year now.
Except…I have a biological clock. And it is ringing pretty loudly these days. Clanging really. While my husband still needs a little more convincing that we should have another baby, I feel strongly that I want one more.
I know deep down that Baby Number Two will bring all the joy and cuteness and love and happiness that my son does. I know this. But he or she will also usher in countless more months of sleepless nights, rigid schedules, pumping paraphernalia, carloads of gear when we go out for the day, and the need for my undivided time and attention. At least until it’s time for school.
I am one of those mothers who tries to do it all, but I am well aware that I cannot. I work part-time and that is all I can muster with my son at this young age. So introducing another baby to the family means putting my ambitions and dreams on hold for a little longer. I am up for the challenge, but I would be lying if I said the thought didn’t exhaust me. And I would be lying if I said that it wouldn’t be nice to just get it all going right now – get that career and more elaborate family vacations underway. But my deep desire for a second child will not disappear. And if I forge ahead with my career and ignore that incessant ticking in my head (and heart), I will always regret it and wonder what life would have been like had we given my son a sibling. I know I have more love to give, so the love for myself will just have to be put on the back burner for a little while longer.