Friday, May 27, 2011

Would I Be Happy, Truly Happy, If I Never Had Another Child?

Would I be happy, truly happy, if I never had another child. It's a question the BabbyDaddy asked me one day when I was feeling utterly despondent about the miscarriage and everything that followed. It's a good and valid question, I suppose. Some people only have one child, by choice or due to circumstance. Some people want children and never manage to have any, and by that metric I should count myself lucky that I have one, and such a wonderful, beautiful, perfect one.

I've always maintained that I do want another child. But when the BabbyDaddy asked me if I'd be happy with only one child, I felt like a big selfish meanie. I feel like the same kind of selfish meanie when I think about how angry I am that I am working because it means I can't have another child and maybe never will. Because I don't want to have to deal with issues of infertility if we have to wait until I am 35+ to have another child.

Shouldn't I be happy with what I have, and not sad because I can't get what I want, right when I want it?

I really don't know. I'm in uncharted territory. Not many people I am acquainted with, in my family or otherwise, have had to limit their childbearing, not because they wanted to, but because circumstances forced them to. And before anyone pipes up from the peanut gallery, we have one car, we don't have cable, we don't eat out or see movies, we don't buy *stuff* or shop recreationally, we make coffee at home, and do every other silly little thing that Dave Ramsey would applaud. We're just a family that has ended up with a reduced income due to the economic downturn and increased bills due to unexpected circumstances.

They should interview me on a morning show: Hello, everywoman from Anytown, U.S.A. The recession, wah wah. First world problems.

To return to my original question, I have no idea what kind of regrets I'll have or not if the Babby ends up being an only child (or, for that matter, what kind of regrets she may have because of it). I'd really like another child, and when I was oh-so-briefly pregnant with twins, I really wanted two other children. I still kind of do, actually, but the fact is that if we can't hack my not working outside the home to take care of one, can we really justify adding another child or even two? I guess everyone who grows up wanting to create a family of their own envisions a fantasy family, including some specific number of fantasy children. Some of us just never get to live the fantasy.

having another child

As an aside, have you seen this? Life is stressful no matter where you are if you let it be stressful. Stress at work? Don't let yourself get too emotionally involved in work. Stress at home? Remember why you do everything you do. Hint: It's love. I'd counter every point on that list with one simple question: Does the recipient of your efforts frequently give you sweet sticky kisses and tell you how much they adore you? Yes? Then chill out - you have the best vocation in the entire world and every not so great moment ought to be tempered by the love you feel for the recipient of your efforts. (Er, unless you answered yes AND you're working outside the home. In that case, run.)

6 comments:

  1. You know, I've had a few miscarriages and 5 kids, so I'm not in the same position you are. I think it's really hard to say anything to anyone about having kids unless you've gone through exactly what they have. How can I tell you, "I would have been fine with one if that's what would have happened" because I have 5, do I really know that? I'd like to think I would have adjusted and been happy accordingly, but part of me feels selfish for even saying that. I mean, the first thing that pops to mind when I think of having only 1 kid is... money! More money. Gosh, is it really about that? We've been blessed to be able to raise 5 kids, but it's not easy. I feel your pain. Every time I see some TV show and they give advice like, "only color your hair every 3 months" (I only do it twice a year!) or "cut back on your Starbucks" (we don't even drink coffee!) or "eat out less" (will cutting out Little Ceasars, $15, once a week really make that big of a difference?)... it makes me want to scream. I don't have internet on my phone, we already don't do a lot of "extras"... sigh. Money sucks.

    I'm totally babbling though. Only you can know what will make you happy. Doesn't that suck?

    Oh, and making life decisions sucks too, by the way. We're in that mode right now. Blech!

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  2. I have no sage advice to offer, I'm just grateful to have someone who is grappling with the same questions of expanding her family. I don't think there is a right answer just like there is no perfect time to have a child...that's what makes it maddening. Someone wise once told me that I rob myself when I point out how much worse off other people are compared to me. So I try not to invalidate my own feelings anymore.

    p.s. Love the link....sharing it the hubster right now!

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  3. Dude, you're miserable having to work so much and you're only pulling in halfish the salary since you're putting P in daycare... I am voting you quit, have another kid on the quick, and keep freelancing. Maybe pick up a weekends-only job or have Tedd do so. I mean, how much money are you losing per month, or are you still able to put away a few hundred if you keep expenses low? It seems like you are way more miserable than the money you're bringing in is worth.

    The quicker you have them, the quicker they will all be in school so you can go back to work and then stay at work, meaning things like raises and promotions aren't interrupted by babies.

    But then again I don't want to be like "do this thing I did!" because I sound like a jerkface. You have tried, and it makes you very unhappy. Happiness is way, way more important than money. And I would always, always rather barely scrape by than not have Evan.

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  4. @Courtney Heh, maybe if we actually did have a ton of money when I was working it would feel a little less cruddy. But heck, I cut my own hair, ack! I just can't figure out how we'd swing my having the downtime necessary to pull off another kid with our basic expenses being what they are. Doesn't help that we live in the northeast, by the coast. But husband job-wise, we didn't have a lot of choice in the matter.

    @Teresha Tough decisions, all around! You're home now, so if you do decide to expand, you have the means. So that's good - better to have the freedom to choose and be on the fence, than to want one thing and not have the freedom to choose is.

    @kt Only problem? We weren't scraping by, we were bleeding money. Slowly, but surely. When the Babby was born, we had plenty of savings and that's what let me be home. I don't pull in enough freelancing to make the switch back and we don't have enough savings to support even, say, me being home getting knocked up quick and then going back to work. With my freelancing exclusively, our expenses were higher than income (we lost investment income in the recession, we have a mortgage, etc.)

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  5. I will tell you what my moms says to me. You will get everything you want. You'll see.. It's all about being patient. You have at least 8 more years to have another child. Who knows maybe you'll get a book deal and become rich. The future is unknown. Out of curiousity, what does you hubby do for a living? Does he have opportunity for advancement in his field?

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  6. I really appreciate you sharing your mom's wisdom with me! Since you know me, you probably also know that patience isn't always my strong suit :) Sometimes it's hard to remember that it's not like menopause is looming dangerously close - but I don't want to be 60 when my youngest is graduating high school, either!

    The BabbyDadd's works in the software industry, and part of the problem when it comes to advancement is that he works for a relatively small company in a relatively nichey field. I think there's less room for growth in a small company, and what he does doesn't lend itself (like what I do) to freelance work.

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