It's selfish to have only one child. That's the feeling I get after seeing the look on people's faces when I tell them we are still thinking about whether or not we want to have more children. I admit, I may be fully imagining this skeptical reaction and completely inventing the judgment in their eyes, but somehow, it feels so real. Then again, maybe I'm just projecting my own inner outrage.
I mean, the words sound as strange to me as if someone took over my body and spoke for me. It's a strange thing; to know that I want something, but when faced with the reality of it, my throat constricts and I begin hyperventilating. Is this sort of self-betrayal normal? I don't know.
I don't know why the topic of having additional kids comes up so frequently, but when it does, I inevitably end up having this discussion with myself later that day:
"So when are we having more?"
"More? More seems like a lot doesn't it? I thought less was more? One sounds good."
"You don't want Weston to be an only child, do you? That would be terrible."
"Why would that be terrible? Genocide is terrible. Cancer is terrible. Having one child is just having one child."
"No. Don't you get it? Then he will have that only child complex where he thinks he is the center of the Universe and turn out to be a spoiled, lazy, selfish brat. Anyway, you don't want to be that family."
"What family would that be?"
"You know. That family. Plus, siblings are important for our growth and development! You don't want him to be all alone, do you?
"He won't be all alone. There are plenty of people that love and care for him."
"I heard only children make up imaginary friends because they are lonely and anti-social."
Plus, don't you want more kids?"
Sure, I want more kids... in a perfect world. In a glorious world where time doesn't exist and money has no value and bills have no bearing; in an unblemished world where disease has been abolished and happiness rains from the skies and all mommies receive personal chefs and nannies and trainers upon the birth of their first child. A world where babysitters grow in your backyard and poop smells like lemon verbena.
Yeah, I want more kids in that world. The good news is that I have so many friends and family members to lean on for advice:
"Having two is so much harder."
"It's not double the trouble its quadruple the trouble."
"Wait until one stops napping, then you're really screwed."
"Just get it over with, you're getting older and it only gets harder, oh and you don't want them too far apart."
"Wait until Wes is older. It's better when they're farther apart."
Great. Thanks, guys. That's all really helpful advice.
In all sincerity, 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. Let's not forget about the burning chicken in the oven.
Call me crazy for not wanting to put further strain on my already dwindling sense of intimacy and personal time with my husband. Date night at the grocery store again tonight, honey? Sure, sounds great. Meet you in the canned goods isle for a little game of franks and beans.
Forgive me for not wanting to gain another 70 pounds during pregnancy and endure seven months of vomiting and 72 hours of labor, the six months of C-section recovery, the acne, the nipple-tormented breastfeeding and the swollen ankles. Did I mention almost dying after birth? Yeah, that was fun.
Sue me for wanting to maintain the respect I've finally managed to gain back at work after leaving my post for an extended period of time, only to return sleep-deprived and with a half-witted "mommy brain." Let's not even bother getting into the debate about the social pressures of being a working mother or what's fair and not fair. Let's just leave it at this: everyone suffers.
Clearly, I'm off my rocker for not wanting to indulge in sleepless nights again. Doesn't everyone live and breathe to walk around perpetually exhausted?
I must be the queen of selfishness for thinking that not one iota of this sounds appealing. Is it so wrong to feel like everything is perfect just the way it is? In fact, I have no idea how to convince myself that starting all over again sounds like heaven on earth. And yet, I have no clue how it's become my duty to save my son from some kind of scarred existence as an outcast only child.
Don't mind the fact that he lives in a home with loving parents who respect each other, where morals are upheld and hard work is valued. Maybe we are even that family who values the concept of imaginary friends -- gasp!
Honestly, I have no idea when or if we will be ready to bring life into this world again. All I know is that it's a big responsibility and I want to make sure that if and when we do make that decision, it's for the right reasons. Sometimes, being selfish isn't such a bad thing.
- The Confessioness
A similar version of this article first appeared on www.theconfessioness.com