Maybe it’s because Harley is almost 2.5 years old, and is acting more and more like a big girl. Maybe it’s because with Harley being such a big girl, people are asking me the question more. Or maybe it’s just a timing thing, but I keep thinking about the second baby question. Dean and I agreed that we would only have the second baby conversation when Harley was 3, but considering how ridiculously fast the time has been going, I feel like I’ve been getting a head start in my head.
But it’s so confusing for me. Not like children are a pros and cons list. There’s something inherently primal about the decision to make a new person. You can have all the reasons why and why not lined up, but when the animal brain kicks in and you want to make a baby, it’s hard to think about much else. So, I preface all of this with that knowledge – this is basically all the logical, reasoning, thoughtful stuff, which could all get thrown out of the window if the biological mandate rears its ugly head.
I guess the only reason I’m really debating this with myself is because I always imagined that I would have two kids. Not that I imagined myself having kids. For a long time, Dean and I were happy with our cats and I was convinced that we’d never want to have a baby. But then we changed our minds and decided that it would be a fun adventure, and it kinda turned on that part of my brain. I liked the idea of having a boy and a girl if I could, not that you get to choose. I liked the idea of knowing what I was doing the second time around. I never imagined that I’d only have one, that I’d only be pregnant once or breastfeed once or raise a single kid. Even after all the traumatic stuff I went through, I just figured that I’d eventually be ready to do it all again.
But right now, I’m loving motherhood so much. I love this age. Harley tells me the most hilarious things. She talks to me about stuff we did or things that matter to her or ideas that she has. We sing songs and play games. Bedtime is still a bit of a nightmare, but once she’s down for the night, she’s pretty much out for the count until the morning. Sometimes she’ll wake up if she’s sick or something, but otherwise she sleeps through, which means that I get a fairly reliable night’s sleep, too. We’re doing potty training, which is its own adventure, but it looks like in the coming weeks and months we’ll finish up with nappies.
So do I really want to do it all over again with the newborn stuff that I truly didn’t enjoy? Even the stuff I liked… to breastfeed again. UGH. To have a crying baby who can’t communicate again. To take care of a truly helpless little person again. Plus all the health concerns. What if the pregnancy leads to the preeclampsia stuff again? Healthcare here simply isn’t the same as South Africa. Would the doctor monitor me more closely? Would the hospital be okay? Am I physically fit enough to go through all that again?
Basically, I think of all the things that are so great right now. I am loving my work and I’m able to get hours of stuff done every day while Harley is at school. I am getting at least 6 hours of solid sleep every night, and sometimes even my preferred 7-8 hours. My body is mine as much as it can be with a little girl who still likes to sit on my lap or be held a lot. I am getting healthy and fit, reclaiming myself. Do I really want to get pregnant again, putting my health at risk? Do I want to go back to breastfeeding and diaper changes and midnight wake ups and all the rest?
The weird thing is, if we hadn’t emigrated, I think we might have already had a second baby, or at least I’d be pregnant around now. I probably would have poached one of the incredible teachers from Harley’s school to be my nanny, and I’d feel confident about spawning a kid knowing that I’d have help.
So yeah, all the signs are pointing towards it being a bad idea. That’s before we even start to talk about the financial stuff, which would be even more ridiculous. And can we just acknowledge that I’d be over 50 by the time baby #2 was done with high school? Also, what if the second baby isn’t as amazing as Harley? Would I feel like I should have just quit while I was ahead? Or how about all the stuff that I can do for Harley with school, travel and all that which I might not be able to do if we grow our family?
Am I just clinging to the idea that I wanted a bigger family, that it was the fantasy before I knew or understood the reality? Why do I keep having this conversation in my head? Or is it just the beginning stages of baby hunger. Baby peckishness or something. I’m not starving for a baby, but maybe just imagining it in my head. And maybe it takes talking about all the reasons why it might not be a good idea for me to think it’s a great idea. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too much Handmaid’s Tale…
How did you deal with the second baby conversation? What made you and your partner decide for or against spawning another human?