My head has been a mental maraca with these kinds of thoughts lately. The question of whether or not my wife and I should embark on having a second child has been lingering. I know it's not just my decision, but I want to be certain with my own stance on it.
Growing up with my younger brother was a continual contest of strength, strategy and wit. And by that, I mean we basically beat the living sh*t out of each other all the time. It must have been a herculean effort for our single mom to raise us and I can't imagine what what she went through when we entered puberty. My poor, poor mother.
But, the differences between my childhood and this phantom second child's would be many. We don't have a single-parent situation, my son wouldn't likely react as I did to a new sibling and stun guns are way more powerful these days. Finally, on the off chance we'd have a girl then every variable would be in complete flux anyway...
But I can't shake the feeling of constant and impending overwhelm that's present nearly every day. Financially, there is nothing urging us, telling us "you can handle it" and our resources have hit max capacity with Finn in many ways.
It appears our most ardent supporter of adding another kidlet would be our innate desire to procreate. Right? It's not an easy thing to deliberate. Maybe you guys know something I don't?
So, let's break this thing down a bit further and be brutally honest.
A few reasons having another baby might be a good idea...
I dare you not to want to make another of these... This was Finn at 9 months.
1. Love without measure: Finn's ability to make me laugh, make me proud, make me realize why I became a parent in the first place is so immense, that I imagine a second child would overflow my cup of happiness even more. 1 + 1 = ∞
2. Finn would have a friend: He would gain a buddy or "buddette". Wow, I just realized I'm functionally illiterate.
3. Have them closer together: If we did it (proverbially) sooner, we could condense the whole teething, no sleep, screaming into a shorter period. Yikes.
4. Kids with siblings are more well-rounded: Wait a sec. Not true. I'm pretty screwed up and have siblings. I know plenty of wonderful, genius-level people who were single kids. So scratch that.
5. We know more now: Hahahahahahahahaha...
6. The miracle of birth: Watching my son being born was an ultimate, joyful, profound experience. Like a skydiver on his second try, I could breathe in the adventure that much more, without the terror-soiled jump suit.
7. My growth as a person: I've learned more and become more of an adult than ever before. Until we had Finn, I thought I wasn't a lazy narcissist. I now know I was wrong.
8. A petty reason: I know other fathers that have multiple kids who are lesser men than I. Shouldn't I be able to take on the challenge?
9. My wife is a pro: Avara gave birth to Finn in under four hours. The nurses in the hospital were practically insisting she have 17 babies.
10. My family isn't complete: I can't describe it. I'm not looking for an egotistical copy of myself. I just have a sense that we're not done.
NOT IN FAVOR
A few reasons having another baby might be a horrible idea...
Please stop talking about this in a public forum, dada. I'm gonna write a book!
1. I'm not a great father: I love my son, Finn. I love being with him and protecting him and trying to teach him. But I am not the paragon of fatherhood. In fact, I'm calling Child Services on myself right now.
2. We can't hack it: Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and otherwise, I feel pretty tapped out. I'd hate to give two kids half of what I don't got now.
3. Those first few months: I look back on those first few months like a Vietnam Vet flashes back to being deployed into a jungle bristling with booby traps of dung-encrusted bamboo stakes. Oh, the horror. It's an experience that shaped me, but do I want to jump out of the chopper again?
4. There are so many children out there without parents: We could adopt. This one is a not-in-favor/in-favor thought. Why should celebrities get all joys of adoption? Regular people, in some ways, are better at it.
5. The turbulent world: I'm not saying people should discontinue making babies, but these are trying and challenging times. I have to examine the world to which I am gifting this baby.
6. We're only 19 months out the gate: Maybe it's too soon? It feels like we're getting back certain areas of our life that became complete and exhausted chaos. It's a small price to pay for raising a child, but going back to "normal" is starting to grow on me again... like athlete's foot.
We talk about this every other day. The decision, if you want to call it that, changes as often. To make matters worse, TONS of our friends are moving on to Round Two, and TONS of you bloggers and commenters are on Round Two. Thanks for making it easier on us...
But there is one thought that keeps me up at night. It's a bit morbid but I feel like it comes from a truthful place inside. It's the thought that one day, when Avara and I are dead and gone, my son will be alone. Sure, he'll have cousins and uncles and people who cherish him but he won't have someone of his blood who knows him as only a sister or brother could. And that thought, wakes me from sleep and rouses me before I can lay down.
So, based on the information before you, what do you think?
This post originally appeared on HowToBeADad.com.
Follow Charlie Capen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HowToBeADad