I used to think moms with more than two kids in New York City were unicorns. You heard about them from time to time, but they were something of an urban legend. You know, like mole people.
It turns out that these particular unicorns actually do exist -- and they shop at Gristedes, ride the Q train and watch Pat Kiernan in the morning, just like the rest of us. It may just be that I have a lot of Well Rounded friends, but it seems like every few weeks I'm hearing about some brave mama who's pregnant with her third, fourth or even fifth baby in the big city. And with each pregnancy announcement, and every new baby Facebook post, I get the tiniest pang of jealousy. Because, isn't it true that more is more... is more... is more?
In my early 20s, I couldn't imagine having a single baby -- let alone two -- in New York City. I could go weeks, even months, without encountering a single child in all my daily (and nightly) travels. But 10 years and two kids later, I'm surrounded by little people day in and day out. Now I can't imagine having a baby anywhere else.
Still, when you live in New York City, where space is scarce and life is, well, expensive, adding another little one to your brood can require some pretty big sacrifices. And I'm not just talking about waiting an extra 20 minutes for a bigger table at your local brunch spot.
Don't get me wrong; I'm lucky I was able to have two gorgeous, healthy girls, and I know that for some women, having just one baby is an incredible feat. But when I look at my good fortune, I can't help but think: couldn't we be having double, or triple or even quadruple the fun?
Here are a few reasons a mama -- in New York City or anywhere else -- just might want to increase the ranks.
1. So you can get it right this time. The first time I was pregnant, I read every book, listened to every piece of advice and even took some parenting classes. Yet Baby #1 just keeps on... [fill in the blank]. True, every baby is different and you never know what you're going to get. But there are some things you can control, like your own behavior. And this time, that baby is just not going to walk (or crawl) all over you. Until they do. So you have to have another. Then another.
2. For the bragging rights. You ladies who have two little ones know exactly what I'm talking about: when you have one baby, you're a rock star, but when you have two babies, you're a rock star headlining stadiums. It's double the work (or so we like to say), which makes us doubly good moms (or so we like to think, even if we don't say it out loud). I can only imagine that having three kids -- or four or five! -- would ensure our Rock & Roll Hall of Fame status, or at least lots of brunch mentions: "Did you hear she's having another baby? Good for her!" (Translation: "Did she ever hear of birth control? She's going to end up in a mental hospital.")
3. Because it keeps you humble. Having my first child was the most grounding experience I've ever had in my life. Suddenly there was this other human being that I had to think about before myself -- that I wanted to think about before myself. Now that I've added another little one to the mix, I am bowled over by that sensation in double measure. On those days I get wrapped up in work/friend/family drama, a sweet baby giggle snaps me right out of it, and a silly toddler song reminds me to leave the rest of that junk outside the door.
4. The more of them there are, the more use those oversized baby toys can get. When you are having a baby, you somehow get talked into buying every possible baby apparatus ever invented, on the off-chance it will give you 20 minutes of peace and quiet while baby enjoys it. Not a great selling point: you'll use this item for 20 minutes a day, for about two months, until your babe moves on to something else. And yet, I've got a storage unit filled with dozens of things that bounce, buzz, jump, wiggle and sing, most of which look brand spankin' new. I refuse to get rid of them, because imagine having to buy them all over again? You know, just in case it could give you 20 minutes of peace the next time around?
5. Because their love for each other is more rewarding than you could have ever imagined. It's true what they say: I never knew love like this until I had children. Unconditional, unfiltered, would-kill-for-someone love. But the love they have for each other overwhelms me even more. I listen to the giggles they share at breakfast each morning, and get caught between their bear hugs when they go to bed each night. I sneak peeks of them sharing snacks, and sometimes even kisses. I watch them watching over each other in a way only siblings can -- in the way my brother, sister and I watched over each other, and still watch over each other. And I want to birth an army of them, so that they'll watch over each other even after their dad and I are gone.
Photo by Kristy May Photography.