Hours after undergoing a C-section to deliver our first son, still hooked up to an IV and a urinary catheter, still recovering from weeks in the hospital after a traumatic pre-labor experience that involved a dog, overwhelmed with emotion and feeling like my body had been sliced in half and stapled back together, my husband asked about having a second child.
And he wasn’t kidding.
Luckily for him, I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed to strangle him.
There was no way I could even think about a second child. Not after a difficult pregnancy. Not after a C-section. Not after the first couple of weeks, when I thought I would never sleep longer than two hours again in my life.
Moms always say we forget the pain, the suffering, the swollen nipples, the sleepless nights spent Googling every symptom your baby seems to have. We forget it all — and then we have that second or third child.
But I haven’t forgotten yet. I remember every moment spent hugging the toilet, every laborious step to my front door when I was carrying 20 pounds of extra weight, every minute I suffered at the hands of a breast pump, every nap I never got. Oh, I remember.
But now that Landon is almost 9 months old, and he’s crawling (albeit backwards), laughing all the time, napping regularly, eating anything I put in his mouth and sleeping 12 straight hours a night (knock on wood), I have to admit I’m thinking about that second child.
Not because I loved the newborn stage and wish Landon wouldn’t grow up so fast. And not because I’m a glutton for punishment. I’m considering it because I worry about him being an only child — and I don’t know what that will mean.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with onlies. To be sure, many of my friends don’t have siblings and they’re fine. (They don’t like to share, but otherwise, they’re fine.) And a few of my friends decided to have just one child, and they’re raising onlines in glorious fashion.
But my husband and I have siblings — he has a younger brother; I have two sisters and a brother — and we see the value in those relationships.
But there’s a lot to consider on both sides.
For example, the cost. Already, college tuition for one child is going to bankrupt us. Our spending has tripled since Landon, with diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, clothing and toys to buy. We do way more laundry, we sleep far less, we rarely surf. And that’s just with one child.
I have a couple of friends who decided to have just one kid. They rationalized that, with one child, they could provide the best, everything the child needed, with the opportunity to travel, attend private school, enroll in art and music classes, get tutoring. With two, they’d have to sacrifice.
But I have friends who are raising more than one kid — and love it. The kids play together (rather, keep each other occupied), they learn valuable socialization skills, they love each other (most days), they’re not lonely.
It’s a tough decision.
I also have to factor in my age because, quite honestly, I’m older and the chances of me having a healthy child — or just a child in general — are greatly reduced every year I wait. I’m lucky: Landon is healthy, happy, loves to sleep, loves to eat. And he’s cute. That helps.
There’s no guarantee for No. 2.
It’s a hard decision — and one that I have to make quickly.
I’m worried that I won’t know how to raise a well-adjusted kid in general, much less an only child who needs to learn valuable social skills that come from being around others. And I don’t want him to be alone when we’re gone. He doesn’t have many cousins — and none who live here — and that concerns me.
Every day I feel differently. When I see posts on Instagram of sisters on trips or brothers playing in the backyard, my heart swells and I want that for Landon. But when I’m looking at preschool tuition and working on our family budget, I realize we can barely afford this little guy.
So what do I do?
Well, for now, I’m just going to enjoy this phase in Landon’s life, where he has my full and undivided attention. And maybe I’ll go back and read my pregnancy journal. Because maybe I am forgetting after all!