Note: The decision to have two children was mutual between my husband and me! In this article I go between “I” and “we”, but rest assured there was a lot of joint discussion on the matter. Also, this was my hardest post to write yet. I appreciate your support in how vulnerable something like this is to write and share. I felt very "alone" when we were trying to decide if we wanted one or two, as I don't think it's something many people feel comfortable talking about. Hence my motivation for writing this post.
One unexpectedly difficult thing about having one child? People asking us when we were going to have another. It’s like this strange societal expectation that when you have one child, you must want another - and many people feel totally comfortable asking when that is going to be. I get it (partly), and I know I’ve asked the same question in the past. But, having been in a place where whether or not we wanted one or two children was a decision, I have a different perspective now.
What about the people who only want one? Or the people who thought they wanted 2, 3 or 4, but now aren’t sure if they do. Or, the people who are unable to have more than one child, but want more. Getting the question of "when are you going to have another?" can be tough.
I’m not sure if this is a hard question for everyone, perhaps it’s a happy question for those who want 4-5 kids and have an easy time getting pregnant. I KNOW it must be a hard question for those that struggle to conceive. We all have a different story, a different journey, and my journey to having two children is not the story I thought it would be (always the case, right?).
Spoiler alert: I think having two children was deep down how we knew our family would look, but it just took some TIME to feel ready. And by time I mean 2 years - which isn’t a lot of time!! The question of when another baby was coming started so early on, when we just wanted to enjoy the one baby we did have. And because we were getting asked so often, it felt like it took us a long time to come to this decision - when really I think 2ish years is totally average.
As I’ve shared a bit on social media, I had a really hard time in the months after my son Finn was born. The best way to describe it - the highs were really high, and the lows were really low. Nursing was painful and a serious struggle for weeks. Finn had Torticollis (very tight neck muscles, likely from being in the birth canal for so long) and needed Early Intervention at 8 weeks (likely part of the struggle with nursing)...but that aside nursing is WAY harder than I expected it to be! I really lacked the ability to do basic things for myself for weeks. I cried every day at some point for the first 8 weeks.
So, I do think that this struggle had something to do with our hesitancy around having a second, but it’s certainly not the only piece of the puzzle. I know there are people out there who actually have a quite "easy" time in during the newborn phase (but maybe had a tough pregnancy!) and still question whether 2 or 3 or more children is right for their family.
Another part of our internal struggle with wanting one or two children was that life was just really good with one. We were in a great groove - Finn sleeping through the night (mostly), at a place where we could do much more with him, and he was more independent. And he was just SO fun and filled our world in so many ways. The thought of adding another child to our family was just something we really had to think and talk a lot about, and wasn’t just a given.
But at the end of the day...it wasn't the talking with each other or with friends that made our decision, it was time. Time to enjoy our baby and feel ready to welcome a new one into our lives. Time to find ourselves again. Time to reflect on our life with one, and realize for so many reasons unique to our family, that indeed we wanted two children.
So, here we are - I’m 29 weeks pregnant with our second. I’m sure you’re wondering how I feel about it? After many conversations with my husband, friends, and soul searching - I suddenly knew, I wanted two. I had been so back and forth, but when I really sat with "maybe we're a one child family," suddenly it became crystal clear for me. I felt excited and relieved to have strong feelings one way or another, after being in a state of back and forth for so long.
Very soon after this “revelation” I found out I was pregnant! I was SO excited, which felt great after not knowing how I’d feel if this happened for what felt like so long. I just entered the third trimester and I can honestly say nothing has felt more right in my life in a long time. I am beyond ecstatic to welcome this baby girl into our lives - I feel so connected with her already. Excited for Finn to be a big brother and for Adam to be a Dad to a little girl. For me to snuggle a sweet baby again, and to go into the newborn phase with a new perspective. I know it won’t be perfect, it won’t be easy, and we will have our challenges. But I also know I have so much space in my heart for this new member of our family, and so much more perspective. The hard times will pass. I will sleep through the night again. The difficulty of the first few months is not my “new normal” and it too shall pass. And lastly, I will make feeding and caring for myself a priority this time - if I write it down here, for the whole world to read, I have to stick to it, right?!
Thanks for reading. For your support. For realizing how vulnerable a post like this feels to post, yet how important it is to share <3.