these days, i’m leaning to having just one.
i’ve been going back and forth in my mind since Zi was born and so far i’ve been 50-50 on having a second child. in the past months, i lost some of the baby fat from my face…and other parts. and i’m beginning to fit into clothes i was about to give away. i’m on my way out from breastfeeding to keep her alive, and i’ve joyfully given up breast pumping as much as i used to. i’m even in a pretty good work routine – its not enough to get all i want to done, but it could be worse. also, at 9 months, Zi should soon start sleeping through the night, insha’allah.
maybe then i’ll actually spend sometime with my husband who i only see through the bleariness of exhaustion, after the distractions of work and from the far other side of the bed. when the love of our lives sleeps between us, as she often does, she’s splayed out like a 2 foot, pudgy starfish with one foot cocked up on (usually) my shoulder. stone and i are teetering on the edges of the mattress and she’s taking up the middle ‘half’ of the bed.
mostly, i’m loathe to go back to those months of breastfeeding every 2 hours around the clock, feeling like a prisoner of war barely surviving to each morning, only to know the whole thing continues unabated. i met the mother of a 9 week old boy at yesterday’s post-natal support group (hosted once a month by mamatoto) and all i felt was, better her than me.
at 37, the question of a second child isn’t theoretical, it’s immediate. in my mind is a soft-focus of two kids, playing together while stone and i sit on our macs blissfully ignoring them, knowing they keep each other company. then later on in life, they can share the burden of dealing with us as we get old and will each have one to commiserate with the other. in this way and others, i really do believe that Zi would be better off with a sibling than alone. similarly, our dog Shak Shak was clearly less lonely and more happy after we got Zouk.
but a second child is nothing like a second dog. i’m only now getting used to the idea that, unlike a pet, you can’t give away your kid when the novelty has worn off after a few months and you are ready to get back to a life with no responsibilities.
when i first had Zi, i realised why motherhood is really the greatest thing ever and appreciated how, in comparison, so few things matter. what rank did publications have in relation to this new baby? none! where was one’s life work? it was obvious. now, i’m changing perspective a bit. i’m excited by the publications i’m working on and could do with more time, a few weekends to do nothing but think and write. and there are a thousand projects on my plate for which i need extra hours in the day.
kids are expensive and i think by the time Zi is 10, i’ll be able to invoice her for about TT$200 000. pre-school is $4000+ a term and we are already barely saving for the mortgage we one day look forward to carrying. if i add money, sanity, work, marriage, getting back my body, sleep and time for myself, and returning manageability to life, the sum says ‘stick with one’. if i look at the whole thing with rose tinted lenses, i think maybe it would be nicer with two.
i’ve gone around manically polling all my friends who are only children, and they seem like pretty happy well adjusted people. i’ve got lots of friends, with siblings, who coud do with affordable therapy. i’m happy to love one baby, but wonder if i’ll be guilty of over-loving. is this enjoyment fooling me into irrational decision-making?
i know that stone is done. for him the answer is obvious. he’s wondering where i’m going with all this wondering. we can manage one and be a happy family. we might be happy with two, but we will also be broke, stressed, tired and missing those wonderful weekends when we did nothing but stay in bed, which is really the only reason we were together.
before we had the first baby, stone used to try to convince me i hadn’t really thought the whole thing through, and really i hadn’t, but i knew i’d be fine. i wanted to have a baby no matter what and that’s what i was going to do. however, this next time, if there is one, i’m more convinced of the value of weighing what i’m getting myself into. the truth is, i’m still undecided about what to do.