Asking the question presumes a lot. It presumes that the woman is not currently pregnant. It presumes that she is not currently experiencing a miscarriage. It presumes that she's not experiencing postpartum depression and is emotionally ready for more children.
As I get older, I realize I've given my sons a gift by having both of them. They'll have each other as they go through all the ups and downs of life, even if the day-to-day fights over Nike socks and television shows doesn't seem so wonderful now.
I'm reluctant to have another baby. I selfishly want to prolong a period of time when I don't have to speak to my son in half-sentences with a quarter of my attention all while trying to race across the living room to keep the baby from killing himself on the edge of the coffee table.
It wasn't that we didn't know our daughter. It was that Only Child Week gave us a chance to bring her into sharp focus, without the distractions of work and school and French horn practice and babysitting commitments.
If we continue with the expectation that men will do the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively), then gender equality will continue to evade us. However, if high expectations are set regardless of gender, I think default gender equality is the most likely outcome.
I had a very difficult pregnancy and felt that I couldn't handle another child without sacrificing my marital and personal happiness. I don't feel any guilt about the decision; it's the right one for our family.
I somehow missed the gene that makes people think babies are cute. I hate to say it, but yes -- probably even your baby. And yet, when I reached my late 20s, I realized I needed a baby and started panicking about completing the requisite steps to get there ASAP.
This Halloween season, I have to be honest and say that I have my own ideas about the costume he could wear. I wished there was an I'm-a-kid-from-a-large-family-costume that would adequately disguise his very real "only child' status. Let me explain.
I keep reading because I'm scared. I have no frame of reference for a sibling in my life and it seems in this case, I'll have to follow my daughter's lead, loving unconditionally, sight unseen, and just open my heart and share everything I have.