By Contributing Mama Erin K. Butler
I have always wanted kids. Two. Maybe three, but definitely at least two.
That is until I had one.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a loving, beautiful, smart, and sweet little girl. I think that’s part of the problem.
Katherine is at a fun age where she has just started walking and is curious about everything around her. She understands what we say to her, she reacts to what we do and she has a smile that makes my heart melt. This child of mine is so wonderful that I can’t imagine altering the family that we have.
It’s not that I haven’t thought about it. And apparently, so has everyone else.
A couple weeks ago, at her first birthday party, the cake wasn’t even cut when I heard:
“So, when’s the next one?”
The next one?
The next cut from Project Runway? The next new episode of “Gossip Girls?” The next Weight Watchers meeting? But before I started spouting off the fall TV line up or how I have been starving all week to save up enough points for this birthday party… I got it.
The next baby.
It’s hard to answer that question when I feel that she is still my baby. Even though that baby has somehow transformed into a little girl. Where was I when that happened?
Right now, it’s just her and me, day in and day out, and it’s so easy. Another child also means sharing my time with Katherine and I don’t know if I am ready for that. Another child in the mix will make life less carefree.
With one child I can still run errands at my leisure, make plans with friends, maneuver around one nap time and still manage to get a decent night sleep most nights. The idea of round the clock nursing, severe sleep deprivation and overall exhaustion again is terrifying.
Yes, I know billions of women do it everyday and I have never heard anyone say “Boy I wish I never had this second child”. Ok, I actually did hear that once, but she was really sleep deprived.
And I remember those rough first few weeks after she was born. Ever hear of colic? Yeah, we had a touch of that… every evening for about 6 hours. Is there a polite way to say I wanted to throw myself in front of a bus?
I swore I would never go through that again. I remember whispering to Katherine in the wee hours of the night that I hoped she enjoyed life as an only child.
However, my sister Johanna is one of my very best friends, my lifeline and I don’t know how I would live without her. I would hate to deprive Katherine of a sibling because I feared endless hours of crying and constant interrupted sleep.
But probably one of my strongest motivations to even consider baby #2 is the joy on Katherine’s face when she is around her cousin Kyleigh, my sister’s daughter, who is just 8 months older than her. They have a mutual love and admiration for one another so intense that they can’t stop hugging each other when they get together.
I know a sibling would be good for her…and for us too. To have another child make us feel as incredible as Katherine does would indeed be a gift. And deep down, as scary as it sometimes is to even consider another, I have moments when I feel our family is not yet complete.
And maybe I will never really be “ready,” but I am getting there. Even six months ago the answer to that nagging “next baby” question was a flat out no. And now…?
I’ve progressed from a definite no to a definite… maybe.