As published on Essential Baby
To a certain degree, the majority of us follow somewhat of a pre-destined path in life in that we meet ‘the one’, get married, and then become parents. I for one have certainly followed this path to a tee and am, for the larger percentage of time, happy and content. What I have noticed however is that, having travelled the pre-destined path thus far without much disruption, I now seem to regularly come to a fork in the road, with a directional sign, predominantly presented by others, offering me with the route options to destinations ‘One More Child’ or ‘Single Child Family’.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my child wholeheartedly and fought long and hard to conceive him through a series of fertility treatments and IVF and, for that, I am totally grateful and blessed. However, does that automatically make me want another? No!
For, here’s the thing, I will confess that whilst there is a tiny part of me that very occasionally rears its head in remembering all the cute things that babies and toddlers do, it’s very quickly trodden on by the reality that all of that entails. Therefore, I can quite confidently say that it is cemented in my mind that I am fulfilled and happy to carry on my journey on the path directing me to destination ‘Single Child’. Yet, why is it that other people find that so hard to accept?
Here’s what I regularly hear when people respond to my decision;
“But don’t you long for another baby to cuddle?”
Yes, I would love to cuddle another baby, just as long as it’s on the condition that I can hand it back when it needs feeding or changing, and I want to go to bed for a solid 8 hours sleep, and not have to rely on a trowel load of under eye concealer and 59 cups of coffee to look and feel alive the next day.
For the record, I also don’t want to repeat spending day after day in a monotonous routine whereby sleep schedules, feeding, and the growing of new teeth or the breakout of a temperature that I spend every 10 minutes monitoring dictates my life.
“But it’s only for such a short period of time that they are little”
Yes, it’s true indeed that they are only little and solely dependent on you for a very short time and, as with all these things, it does pass. However, does life then automatically become easy? No! Easier, yes, but, easy? No! Because what follows next is toilet training, dealing with attitudes, temper tantrums and meltdowns, teaching to share, and just generally fighting battles that you never even knew existed for the NEXT.18.YEARS…plus!
“The second one is so much easier”
Well that maybe the case for SOME people, but is there some kind of refund policy if I happen to deliver a child who comes complete with a set of lungs to challenge Pavarotti, decides that sleep is overrated and colic is the way forward, and enjoys being held ALL.OF.THE.TIME? No? Didn’t think so!
“They will play together”
If I could have a dollar for every time I have seen or spoken to a poor bedraggled Mum who has just broken up yet ANOTHER fight between her children, I would never have to work again! Whilst I have no doubt that there are instances in which siblings do play together nicely, I am more inclined to lean towards the observation that, in the majority of cases, it is for very short periods of time (read; 10 minutes max), and Mum usually still has to be on standby with her whistle and ‘time out’ card at the ready, able to intervene at a second’s notice of the inevitable fight breaking out.
“Don’t you think it’s selfish to only have one?”
No, actually I don’t. What I, personally, think is a selfish thing for me to do is bring another child into the world when my heart is not in it and I am doing it purely to bow down to peer/family/society pressure.
“You are much more relaxed with the second”
I am sure that this is true and, to be honest, I can relate as I am generally much more relaxed with my second too…glass of wine that is. Does it mean that I should always have it though? Hmm, probably not. Is it justification enough to tip myself over the edge of sanity by topping up my glass? No? I rest my case.