When I met my husband he had only just decided that kids were a possibility for him.Before that, he had no qualms about telling people he didn’t want kids – he just didn’t see it for himself and he didn’t really ever want to get married either. Two years before I met him, his niece was born and this changed his idea about having kids – he said that being around her made him consider the idea of being a dad himself.
When we met we discussed these details right away, well, I did – I was in my early twenties, but I was certain that I wanted marriage and babies in my future, so there was no point in getting too involved with someone who didn’t want these things. He told me kids were an option for sure, and that although he didn’t necessarily love the institution of marriage, if it was important to me, it’s not something he would lose me over. There begins our relationship. Six years later we were married, and by this point, our answer to the question about how many kids we would have was right in the middle of zero and four – two babies would be perfect for us, and in our seventh year of our relationship, I got pregnant with our son.
My pregnancy with him was textbook. He was born at home, very healthy and happy, and I recovered well. He was a super chill baby, nursed like a champ, ate like a champ, slept like a champ (by 13 months he was sleeping through the night) but still, he changed our lives dramatically – as babies tend to do. We went from travelling often, late night dinners, sex where ever we wanted in the house, and basically doing whatever the fuck we wanted when we wanted, to spending all of our waking ours keeping this baby human alive and well. My husband’s job is very demanding. He is out of the house a lot, so the first couple of years were a difficult transition for us. I had a lot of feelings of loneliness, and my husband had a lot of pressure to work, be there for the family, and adjust to this new way of living.
It’s odd how many people ask you when the second child will be making their debut, I mean, some people demanded to know exactly when I’d be growing another human being inside my body before my body was even healed from the one I just birthed through my vagina – some people even suggested that I get on it asap, as I was in my late twenties and time’s a tickin’. Oh, and apparently it’s better for siblings to be super close in age so you can just “get it all over with”. Others would suggest that we wait a while, space them out, and enjoy the baby stage with each of them. It didn’t really bother me to entertain these questions or comments because I knew that we’d be ready at some point. I usually just said we’d be trying “soon, but not too soon”.
Shortly after my son turned one my husband began to feel as though he didn’t want a second baby. He hadn’t been able to spend a lot of time with the one we had, he hadn’t completely bonded with our son (he says that this happened around age three for him), he was tired of seeing me tired or disappointed that he was so busy, and once our son was sleeping through the night and we were able to get regular babysitting, have date nights, travel, etc., life got a little more comfortable again…the idea of adding a second baby to the mix didn’t seem like the best idea anymore.
When our son was about three years old I started to entertain the idea of having an only child. It was a major internal struggle though, because my heart wanted another baby, my body wanted another baby, and my mind, for the most part, wanted another baby.
Then, when people would ask where our non existent second baby was, I would get emotional. Sometimes I would straight up say that “I want one, but my husband doesn’t,” sometimes I would say “one is perfect for us”, sometimes I would say “hopefully soon!” it really depended on who I was talking to and how I was feeling that particular day. It wasn’t as easy to entertain the questions or comments anymore.
Shortly after my son turned four I had decided that adding another baby to our family wasn’t the best choice for us. I began to feel really okay with having an only child, and my husband booked a vasectomy. Then, my little sister told me she was pregnant with her second baby. We were standing in her kitchen – me, her, and my husband – and I just burst into tears. I tried to pretend they were happy tears but the two people who know me best knew this wasn’t the case. My sister didn’t make it awkward..she let me hug her and congratulate her and she gave me an extra long, tight hug because she knew exactly what I was feeling. I hurried away to her bathroom and bawled. My husband came in, asked if I was okay, and just hugged me. He knew I wasn’t okay at the moment, but that I would be. He had to reschedule his vasectomy due to work, but told them he’d call with a later date…
Commercials with babies began to make me cry, seeing other newborns or pregnant women would make me teary. At times, I’d have to hold back a full bawling session in the grocery store.
After a few months of getting used to my sister’s news and really starting to feel excited to get my career going (I was in school when I got pregnant with my son and then became a stay-at-home mom, with a side hustle as soon as he was born). It seemed I had kicked the baby fever. It was wonderful that we had finally decided to be a happy little family of three.
Well, let me just let everyone who wasn’t paying attention in health class know that pulling out is not 100% effective. It was effective for a long stretch, but boom, just as that door had basically closed, I peed on a stick and our decisions didn’t matter. Our little pull-out baby/ determined little swimmer was going to be making their debut in 9 months. My husband was not thrilled about this news. The first thing he said when I came out of the bathroom, little pee stick in hand, was, in a yelling voice: “WELL, I GUESS THIS IS EXCITING”.. I cried. funny, right? Talk about an emotional wreck. I cried tears of sadness, fear, happiness, relief, all the tears came out, and I was a mess!
We found out she was a girl at our anatomy scan, and thankfully I had another healthy pregnancy and delivery. My husband’s biggest fear throughout the pregnancy was that she wouldn’t be as healthy, “easy”, or chill as our first. He had to grieve the loss of freedom he had just begun to really enjoy. So did I. All of our friends and family were supportive and happy, and being pregnant at the same time as my little sister was so special, but still, I did have moments of regret and fear throughout my second pregnancy, hoping this baby would add joy to our life instead of stress. My husband had vasectomy 4 weeks before my due date.. he wasn’t slacking this time, and I got to cut the vas deference…so no, we are not going to have a third.
This second baby has turned our world upside down again, but there is something to be said for preparedness. Don’t get me wrong, two kids is WAY harder than one, and going through the baby shit all over again, 5-6 years later, sucks! But I have been able to enjoy the second baby a little bit more than I did with the first because I’m not a naive, inexperienced new mom. I know that the baby startles aren’t seizures, that the quick breaths aren’t heart failure, that the sleep regressions and sleep deprivation is temporary.
My husband is WAY WAY more involved in the baby days this time around, so it’s been extra special. The timing wasn’t horrible either – our daughter was born in August and our son went to SK in September, so I was able to have ALL the naps in the early days, until the longest March Break in history happened. Oh, and the age difference is great in a lot of ways, actually (but that’s a different blog post).
There are times, particularly the sleepless nights, that I feel regretful “why did I want another baby, again?” or I wonder what things may have been like for us if my husband had just gotten his vasectomy earlier – would I be further ahead in my career? would I have been able to finish my masters by now? Would I have been able to see more of the world by now? Those thoughts are dissipating as the months go on and the difficult baby days become a distant memory. We, for the most part, are a happy little family of four and I am no longer left to wonder if I’ve made the right or wrong decision.
So that’s my story about our decision, or lack thereof, to have a second baby. It’s not always an easy decision. It’s not always an option either. Sometimes partners feel the same and sometimes they don’t, sometimes second babies are wanted and never gotten and sometimes they’re not wanted and arrive anyway. That’s life. Unpredictable and confusing as fuck. It’s really none of anyone’s business either, so if you find yourself unsettled by people asking you, I suggest coming up with a go-to-phrase, that helped me control my emotions and avoid overthinking.
Until next time,