Tuesday, June 24, 2008

True Confession Tuesday - first edition

I'm sure this has already been taken by someone else, so I apologize if it's anyone who reads this - I googled it and didn't come up with anything recent. If there's a Linky of some sort, I'll play along...just let me know about it!
**See below**

Since I've realized that coming up with blog fodder is HARD, I think a theme, however occasional, might help me a bit. So that's where True Confession Tuesday comes in. Oh, they won't all be revelations, that's for sure. Most of them will be pretty inane and stupid. Hopefully some of you will be able to relate, maybe get a little conversation going. We'll see.

This week's confession:

I have not yet decided whether I will have a second child.

Why is this such a confession? Because society, as a whole, puts a guilt trip on those of us who only have one kid. Maybe not intentionally, but it's there. It just naturally follows the "So when are you getting married?" and "When are you going to make us grandparents?" questions that many of us are SO fond of. People aren't at all shy about making these bold statements: "When's Molly getting a sibling?"; "You can't have just one! It's not fair to the only child!"; and my personal favorite - "You're not getting any younger!".


The thing that sucks is...I sort of feel that these stick-my-nose-in-your-businessers are right. Let me just say that neither my parents nor my ILs are guilty of these little gems. In fact, my mom is the one who tells me not to listen to them-that I should have more because I want them. She isn't a big believer in having them incredibly close together, either. My older sibs are 5 yrs and 4 yrs apart, then there's me: 10 yrs after the youngest. Oops! What gets me thinking about this is mortality, basically.

I used to work in an intensive therapy program for people with aphasia. (Intensive comes from the fact that our clients would come from all over the country and spend weeks with us, getting 23 hrs of therapy per week.) During my time there, I met lots and lots of awesome people. Some would come alone, many would come with family members-spouses, siblings, children. I saw and talked to so many of them who felt guilty about being in their position...they viewed themselves as burdens on their families (which they most certainly WERE NOT. but you could tell them that all day long; they still wouldn't believe it). Clients with several kids usually had them all take turns cycling through, staying a few days or a week at a time, then the next one "took over". Clients with only one kid? Well, one could definitely view it as being more challenging for the caregiver and child, not that I ever heard that. Ever. My point? I don't know what the future holds, and I don't want Molly to have no one else to lean on when husband and I get old. It really doesn't seem fair.

And then: I'm NOT getting any younger. I am now what would be deemed "advanced maternal age". I was so damn lucky with Molly...conception didn't take longer than 3-4 months, pregnancy was pretty much a breeze, and the birth--I had the blessed epidural. 'Nuff said. No guarantees the stars would align for that again. I had raging PPD that made me pack on a lot of pounds and really question my ability to parent. I don't want that again. And as happy-go-lucky as my kiddo is now? Not so much in the first 4 months. Not quite colicky, but damn fussy. I'm not sure I can handle that again, and if not that, the lack of sleep....

And yet something else--I don't want my child to grow up thinking the entire world revolves around her. It's natural to have that inclination as parents of an only child...you do things to keep them entertained (and I know damn well that part of this is our fault) and, well, the world does revolve around her right now. I mean, we also do our own things, but she is an active participant in many of them . She is also the only grandchild right now on the IL side, and is practically one on my side (since my youngest niece was 13 when M was born). In other words, she IS the universe when at grandma and grandpa's house. Having a sibling would, let's say, bring her back to reality.

So that's the first confession. A lot more involved and less lighthearted than I originally planned, but trust me, it's alllll downhill from here. Thanks for sticking with it!

I'm still figuring out this Linky stuff, so bear with me and play along if you want (although it's almost too late)!


Kathryn said...

Oh I love this! You should put up a Mr Linky so other people can join in. If I get a sec today I think I'll do this too. :)

I'm with your mom. Have more kids if that is indeed what YOU want. For me, I come from a big family (6 kids) so I want a big family. My kids are all pretty close in age and I love it. It is difficult when they are young but the thought of them going to high school together and being really close appeals to me. My closest sibling in age to me is 6 years older and I always wished there was someone closer in age to me growing up. Plus, my boys play together so nice and always have someone around. There is nothing more important than family and to me, the more, the better.
But everyone is different. And you have to do what is right for you and your family.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Don't have a second child because you don't want your old age to be a burden on the first/only. Have the second child because you want to hear baby laughter again, because you want to watch them learn to walk, because you want to smell that baby smell again, because you want to go through it all again. Don't do it for your daughter or because society demands it. Do it for you. Because you are the parent and the person raising this second child. If you don't want to do it, then don't.

I'm an only child. Yes, only children all wish for siblings. The grass always seems greener. But, as an adult, I now know that having a sibling would have meant a competition for affection. I like being an only child and I know taking care of Mom as she gets older will be difficult, but I'm not bitter or angry that it's all on me. I'm cool with it.

Don't feel obligated. Do what feels right for you. :-)