54 hours of labour. 54 hours of labour is how long it took before I received the sweet, sweet relief of a c-section. 15 minutes. 15 entire minutes is how long it lasted before someone asked me when I was planning on having my next one.
Welcome to the pressure.
It all started on our wedding day – literally in the speeches, given on the day that we got married, we were reminded that it was time to get cracking on that baby making. It was all in good fun then, we giggled about it, smiling from ear to ear, because the reality was that we were ready to start a family.
That pressure only dissipated long enough to see me through the 37 weeks of my pregnancy. The second that sucker popped out (I say that figuratively, because again – c-section, the little devil that is my gorgeous son really just couldn’t be bothered to be born that day) it was game on again.
At first, we took the jokes about having another baby in stride – but then the jokes started to sound more like advice (don’t wait too long to have your next!), and then the advice started to sound more like pressure.
We had always planned on having two kids, but once my son was born I suddenly felt differently. In the first three months of colic and sleepless nights my perspective seemed to have changed. I remember looking over at my husband during one of our walks outside with the baby, teary eyed and emotional, and saying “I know you want two kids, but I don’t think I can do this again”. It’s an emotion that has since passed – I can now once again imagine us having more than one little rugrat running around, but the problem is I can’t imagine WHEN. I’m just not ready yet.
Now I don’t actually really FEEL pressured by other people to have another baby, because I take all the comments in stride and couldn’t care less. It’s a discussion and decision to be had and made by my husband and I, so there’s no need to feel pressured in this case, but I do find it interesting how much other people seem to be invested in my reproductive capabilities. I know that I’m not alone in this.
I have one beautiful son. One beautiful son who is an entire double handful, and I don’t know if that’s just me being sensitive and incapable, or if he really is a handful. Maybe my anxiety just makes me more susceptible to becoming easily overwhelmed? My husband doesn’t have an anxiety disorder, and he seems to be just as exhausted, overwhelmed, and uninterested in having another kid right now as I am. So maybe it’s not just me. The reasoning doesn’t matter, the fact remains that I’m still learning how to be a mom with the one I’ve already got, and knowing myself and my capacity for juggling the many things I’ve already got going in life, I think that maybe one is just fine for now.
Besides, whether my son is a hand full or not, I am enjoying being his mom. I am enjoying being his mom so much, and I can’t imagine having to divide that attention just yet. My friend’s with more than one kid tell me I’m wrong in thinking this – they say that your heart doesn’t split the love you have to give, your heart just grows bigger, stronger. They say that you simply gain the ability to love more. I mean they’re probably right, but I’m too busy loving the little one I’ve got to think about making another one at the moment. Does that make sense?
When I look at all the moms with more than one child, all I can think is super woman. I watch them manage everything I manage with one, and then double it, triple it, quadruple it – I can’t even fathom the level of strength and level of hero-mom-ness one must achieve in order to manage that load, and to do so selflessly. Props to my mom who did it minus the convenience of technology, and with a partner who worked 80 hours a week to help make ends meet.
Through all the tantrums, the belly aches, the flus, the dance recitals, the French lessons, and the homework – she did it for two, and she did it almost entirely alone. I can’t even imagine reaching that level of badassery. So, if I can’t even imagine it, how could I possibly handle it?!
Many of our parent friends are now on their second – they’re brave, and I’m not going to lie and say that their adorable little babies with their delicious rolls and baby giggles haven’t been pulling at my ovaries like incessant little hormone jerkers, screaming ‘have another one of meeeeee, have another one of meeeeee’. Or when I see how nicely their kids play with one another (effectively keeping each other entertained enough to leave mommy alone for 5 minutes, unprecedented in my house where I am my son’s playmate) – having another kid just seems to make SENSE. Unfortunately, all it takes is another sleepless night, another temper tantrum, to remind me why I’m not ready. Nothing shrivels those ovaries up like my son screaming “NO” at the top of his lungs as he flings his toys at my head.
So, the conclusion I’ve come to is two-fold:
1. I have no idea what I’m doing, and I think that’s okay.
2. I’m not ready today, but as soon as I get the slightest inkling that I might be ready I’m going to have to get that sucker done and over with because otherwise I’ll just change my mind again and chicken out!
I know I’m strong – or have the potential to be anyways – which means that when we finally do decide to have another child, I’ll get my shit together and be just as bad ass as all those other moms of multiples (or at least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself until its true, fake it till you make it right?).