Somehow I've dodged a lot of questions in my life. No one really asked when I'd get married, or when I'd have my first baby, or if they could touch my belly (I only really expected that while I was pregnant, but it never happened), so I've been genuinely surprised at the amount of interest I've gotten regarding having another baby. Right after Roman was born, actually, randos would ask me if I was going to have another one - or rather, when was I going to have another one and then how many more after that? I think I just stared dumbly. The first year of Roman's life was a lot and I could not fathom anything I'd rather do less. Birth? Breastfeeding? Sleep deprivation? Worrying about SIDS? Uh, no thanks. I'll pass.
Now we are in Rome's 2nd year and people are asking more frequently. Not just those street strangers either, but friends and family too. "When is Roman getting a sister?" or "You look pretty today. Are you glowing? ARE YOU PREGNANT?" [because apparently I can't look pretty and not be pregnant]. My own conviction to be one-and-done is also starting to waver. There are benefits to having more than one kid. But it's also a lot of work. But being a big brother might really elevate Roman's life experience. But it might not. But babies are so cute! But babies are so expensive!! GAAHHH! There's a lot to weigh. My husband is no help seeing has he's just as conflicted, so I'm going old school with a pro/con list. After all, the clock is ticking, if it's going to be done we want to do it now before the age gap gets much bigger!
- Getting to announce happy news to our family
- Cute little belly bump
- Choosing a name
- Maternity wardrobe
- Excitement at all the monthly milestones
- Getting to use an enormous body pillow
- Important feeling I get from having dr's appointments
- Baby kicks!
- In general, I just loved being pregnant with Roman
- Gets super uncomfortable towards the end
- Restless nights of peeing, and having difficulty turning over in bed
- Goodbye, hard earned summer bod :(
- Generalized anxiety over the health of growing baby
Winner: Pro List
- Getting to meet baby, duh
- Seeing how this particular birth story turns out
- Challenging myself to a very difficult experience and seeing how I handle it compared to last time
- The whole situation will seem less mysterious because I know what to expect
- More fear in the anticipation of giving birth - I was able to maintain an ignorance-is-bliss attitude that just won't fly this time around.
- Catheters and IV tubes
- Worrying about having an epidural
Winner: Con List
- Seeing the inklings of personality develop in someone so super tiny and precious
- Watching Roman blossom into the compassionate big brother I know he will be
- Baby clothes, aww!! I love tiny socks!
- Immobility - I think I've learned to appreciate it!
- Using the co-sleeper, I miss having the bassinet at my bedside where my baby is always within reach
- I still have 87% of the supplies for a baby, and I know what I really need this time. The stress of picking out baby gear is far behind me.
- Newborn poop. Is that weird? Roman's diaper used to smell like popcorn when he pooped now it smells like, well... shit.
- Sleep deprivation
- The crazy breastfeeding schedule, it's overwhelming being "on-demand"
- Pumping - I'll have to be really on top of it since I would likely be going back to an office job after only a couple of months
- Trying to balance the maintenance of a newborn, a toddler, a husband, a thousand pets, a home, a social life and stay sane.
- Going back to work and sending an infant to daycare. I'm super relieved to have a daycare that I trust to take good care of my children, but the expense is astronomical, and just having that pressure of getting back to the office is pretty intense. Roman had an experience that I would never be able to replicate for my 2nd child. We were practically inseparable for over a year, and I feel guilty that I can't be that mom for the next kid.
- Not sending an infant to daycare and implementing a drastic lifestyle change that results in one of us staying home. That sounds like a scary amount of change, doesn't it?
Winner: Pro List
- Roman will have (and be) a companion. This is hugely important to me. He will have someone that can relate to his life like no one else can; someone that has intimate knowledge of his childhood to relive memories of the good times and validate those of the bad. Sometimes I wish I had a sibling to reflect with on that level. Someone to say "gosh, that was kind of a shitty year, wasn't it?" and they can say "totes, but do you remember [insert hilarious story]."
- Barring unforeseeable events, they will always have each other. After Troy and I die at the same time, side by side when we are 100 years old, in our sleep, holding hands, without any pain or much emotional suffering they can lean on each other for support, and Roman won't be alone in making arrangements for us.
- Our relationship with Roman will be a little less codependent. Currently we are each other's worlds, and it's really working out. He gets our undivided attention and we get to smother him with love. But someday that attention will feel like pressure to him and he will need space. I can already tell it will be exceedingly hard for me to give my only child breathing room. I will have the time and energy to get all up in his biz-ness, filling his head with sagely advice that he doesn't want, making sure his friends are acceptable, and whatever else busybody mom's do. I'm not proud of it, I just know it's a reality. Splitting the attention between two should give us all the healthy balance a parent-child relationship should have.
- Playmates! Can you imagine being an only child on a family vacation? BOR-ING! And bringing a friend along is out unless it's either his cousin or I know the parents very, very, very, very well. Can you imagine another person's kid getting hurt while you're in charge? Or they pick up some vile habit and their mom gets pissed because now they know all the lyrics to Blink 182's Family Reunion song? [yeah, that link is to a Google page of cute baby animals because I can't in good conscience even link that song] The very thought makes me anxious. But ruining two of your own kids? That's fine. They will have a lot more fun together, and it won't be up to me and Troy to constantly fill that entertainment void for Rome.
- Roman will build better skills, and be a more fulfilled person. I think being a big brother will help Roman finesse the art of sharing and gentle touches (at least in the beginning). Maybe it's a stereotypical trope, but I can definitely envision him as the protective older brother that bonds strongly with his younger sibling. I think he's also incredibly mischievous, creative, and smart and nothing will further those attributes better than a sidekick.
- Roman won't get the level of opportunity that would be available to him as an only child. Currently all of our resources can go to him. What toys does he want? He can have them all. Does he have a fleeting interest in swords? Well heck, let him try fencing class. Does he need us to transport him to soccer, drama club, and rock climbing camp? Sure thing, champ! With two kids our resources will all be split, therefore limiting each child's ability to sign up for activities or get involved with expensive hobbies.
- What if they don't get along? Like are completely incompatible as human beings. I get that sibling rivalry is a thing, and a lot of siblings squabble a ton, but I would be heartbroken if at the end of the day they truly didn't like each other. I feel like a lot of my decision making to have another child is honestly to benefit Roman, and if that doesn't pan out...well what is the point exactly?
- What if having another child means that Troy and I will never be able to realize our other goals? We want to travel. I want Troy to be able to quit his job and pursue something more meaningful to him. I want to shop and go out to dinner and not worry so much about pinching pennies. Another kid is going to put a damper on all of that. Are those dreams achievable with an addition of another baby? I honestly don't know, so much depends on future job opportunities and variables I can't possibly foresee.
- Where do we even put another baby? Our house is small. 3 people is barely manageable, but 4 is unrealistic. We would have to move within the next 1-3 years, and the thought makes me so sad. We have put so much of ourselves into this house, and it's somewhere I enjoy being especially with our brand new backyard. To move and start over again is daunting, and I feel a sense of loss at the prospect. :(
- What if something horrible happens? Rather than spreading my worry for Roman across two children I'm sure that my concern for their safety will double. I'm not sure my heart can handle the pain of that fear.
The Ultimate Conclusion:
Pro's for the win!
It appears that the benefits may, in fact, outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to reproducing a 2nd time. It's still a monumental decision for us to make (and really, I don't understand why it's so hard for us when other people seem so confident in growing their families). Either way I know it will work out. Our lives will undoubtedly be enriched by another baby, and we will love them the way we love Roman, which is a feeling without parallel. All of the potential hardships will resolve themselves in the end. Or. We will go along being a band of the merry 3, and our lives will be filled with the joy of loving Roman.
The saga continues...
Hey Strangers, how do you feel about your siblings? Or how do you feel about your life as an only child?