I am lucky enough to be part of a huge (virtual) group of women who have been friends since we were pregnant. We met on a site called “The Bump” back in 2011 because we all had babies due in the same month. Some time later our group migrated over to Facebook, and we have been close ever since. I “talk” to these women on a daily basis-we share potty training tips, breastfeeding woes, milestones, and heartbreaks. It really is truly amazing that for the past three years we have shared so much, and I’m blessed-I have made amazing friendships, I’ve met many of these women in person. I have an amazing virtual support system that I can not imagine my life without. One of the things that I have noticed, though, is that a number of my friends have already had another kid. Or are about to have one any day. Or are in the process of trying to conceive. And then there is me (and a few others) who have one kid with no current plans for more. Somewhere over the last two years since our kids were born, I have become the minority. Noticing that us “one and done” mamas were dwindling made me really start to think, and since the post I did on Mamahive about the “one kid dilemma” was so well received, I wanted to bring the discussion to you guys, too.
So here is what it breaks down to: I don’t think that I want more kids. I have one (amazing) daughter, but honestly there is not a single part of me right now that wants to have another child. And you know what, I WISH that I wanted more kids. I am quite literally envious of those mamas who want a six pack’s worth of Lil’ Bumbles, the mamas who feel like they were cut out for motherhood. I feel strange pangs of envy and shame when I see pregnancy announcements; they somehow feel like a personal affront, a stinging reminder of the things that I believe I am not (maternal, warm, selfless, etc.).
Many women say that the one thing that they were always sure of was that they wanted to be mothers, that it was their calling in life. I never really had that, you know, the “I really want to be a mommy” sense. That is not to say that I am not overjoyed to be a mother. I love being a mom! I am so glad that my husband and I decided to start a family. My daughter is my world and I can not imagine my life without her. But I don’t think I have it in me to have more, unlike my husband whose dream has always been to have five tiny football players in his likeness. Most of the women I know that have a child my daughter’s age already have another baby, or are actively trying for one. And so I feel defective, like there is something just fundamentally BROKEN about me. I find myself stressed and anxious and feeling inadequate. I want to be the best mom I can be, and when I feel like I’m failing as a mom to my one little (even if it’s something as small as her refusal to eat anything but yogurt for dinner the last few nights) I just can’t imagine having more children.
How do you mamas do it? And WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME? And why the hell is parenthood so damn emotionally taxing??
That newborn stage was hellacious. Really. It was not enjoyable. I get panicked just thinking about it, and it wasn’t because my baby was “bad” or anything like that. I was going through a terrible bout of PPD/PPA and I could barely function. I could barely breathe. I felt so terrified. So maybe that is also part of my resistance to having more children, thinking that I may very well have to go through that hell again. Does that make me selfish? Maybe.
And so, the dilemma – to have more kids or not? I keep thinking to myself, ”maybe in another year, or another two years, maybe then I’ll be ready for more”, but what it comes down to is, what if I’m never ready? Where does that leave my husband, and his vision of a van full of kids? Where does that leave my little, who I would love to give a sibling? Where does that leave me?!
Clearly I don’t know where that leaves us and I have no idea what the answer is. And I do not function well without answers. My life is structured around concrete facts and time schedules and making it all work because I know what is coming next, so the unknown is a panic-inducing nightmare. I just try to remind myself constantly to focus on the here and now, on the moment, on my daughter, on what is present. What will be will be, and the answers will come….I just wish I had them all now.
*Gorgeous photography by Lainee Read