Thursday, March 31, 2011

baby, baby, baby noo...

edited: okay, it's been over a week since i started this post. it's taking me forever to sit down and finish it. i wonder if i'm still telling the same story i intended to share...

Sweet Holly, The Marathon Bird, wrote a post that spoke to me yesterday (no, it was not a post about running a marathon. true, i'm "enjoying" running right now. but i am not enjoying running enough to be talking marathons here).

this is a cleverly written, poignent, made-my-heart-hurt muse about adoptive mothering. i wrote, what i thought to be, a clever, poignent, make-your-heart-hurt comment in response. however, my iPhone ate it.

a-hem. so i was trying to rewrite the comment, and it sort of become it's own blog post. but mine is not a post about adoption, or a yearning to have another child.

my post is about the fact that i don't.

i don't want another child.

it's hard for me to tell you that, because it's taken me a while to feel like that's "okay." but i spent an hour with a newborn on my shoulder the other night, and after those sixty minutes, i can tell you, without a doubt, i'm all good.

for most of my life, i've assumed that i would have a "large" family, or at least a family with multiple siblings, such as the one in which i grew up (four girls). my cousins and close friends came from families with multiple children. it was, for me, the "norm." and sometimes, you don't question the norm. you just assume it will be.

i married when i was thirty, and remember more than one person asking me, at our wedding reception, when we were going to "start a family." i won't lie, at the tender age of thirty, i felt some pressure to "start that family" right away. and so, we did.

jack was born when i was thirty-one, within our first year of marriage. it was an unexpected expected pregnancy. we weren't trying to make a baby. but we were newlyweds. (wink, wink). it was exhilarating and terrifying to confirm our pregnancy. it was even a bit embarrassing to begin telling my friends and family. (oh my God, they're going to know we had s.e.x.) i looked forward to ultrasounds and registered for baby things at Target. i ate saltines and took my vitamins. i bought "first" outfits. i played the piano for him and shared his first baby kicks with a hundred hands of friends.

i did not glow. i did not nest. i had migraines and back pain. i squeezed doctors visits into my work schedule. i began to hate the smell of chicken. i decorated a nursery in my mind, but never really got past picking out a crib. and when jack came rushing into this world a month early, i... i took it in stride.

i had maternity leave, but i didn't have a "babymoon." i was in a lot of pain (my back). i spent a lot of time "on the go" with jack. i didn't like to stay home, so jack and i went out for strolls. small town living meant we could stroll. a lot. we visited shop owners, we had lunches with my sisters. we were a one car family at the time, so we often drove mat back and forth to work. i got involved with the local community theatre, and we started a catering business.

my maternity leave was 6 weeks long. on day 43, the hotel called to ask when they could put me back on the schedule. within a year, i was the assistant general manager. it meant putting jack in day care, but it was a great move for me. and? the day care totally took care of the potty training!

and so it has gone, year after year, working and volunteering and playing through days, including jack every step of the way. i never thought, "if we had another child now, jack would be x years old." i never thought, "if we want to have more children, we need to start now." i never thought, "something's missing."

my sisters had babies - sweet little nieces and nephews. every time a new pregnancy was announced, someone asked, "don't you want to have another one?" i would laugh it off. "oh, no... we'll see..."

and inside i was thinking, "i'm glad it's not me."

i don't have it. i don't have a longing for another child. i honestly cannot imagine living through the two hour sleep cycles, the diapers, the car seats and strollers, the breastfeeding, the bottle feeding, the incessent schlepping of "stuff." i can't imagine deciphering cries and moans and outbursts. i can't imagine scheduling life around nap time.

i love my ten year old. i love his budding independence. i love the free(er) time that affords me. it is not "the norm."

it is "MY norm."


Lene said...

Is there such a thing as a "norm"?

I think everyone has to do what is best for them and their family. And yay for you for knowing what is best for you and yours.

Brandi said...

Love this:)As much as I love my daughter, I would have been totally fine with just my son. It was more of pressure than a want to have her. But now I can't imagine my life without her. I think its great you've found your 'norm' he by any chance sitting at a bar raising a beer? lol

Holly said...

You know, since I'm a girl my moods have the right to be flailing all over the place, often 180s. Even though I wrote that post about the hurt and longing--and it's still there--I totally get what you are saying here too. When I think of starting over and doing the newborn thing (though we started with a 14mos. old) and the *stuff* and the schedule, etc. I feel hives threaten to break out.

Having one child definitely has its perks--in all sorts of ways.

Thanks for being brave and sharing your *you*.

Alisha said...

I began to hate the smell of chicken, too.

Too bad we didn't have blogs back in those days so we could have shared our pregnancy angst. (I was NOT a happy pregnant lady.)

The I's Have It said...

Guh. People ask me ALL the time if you are going to have another baby. I always say, "Um, she has a ten year old? I think she's good." And it's usually followed up by some remark about how all of your sisters have more than one child, why don't you? WTF? People are so nosy, first of all, and secondly, is there really a response to that question that will satisfy? They don't want to hear "Well, that's the choice she and her family have made." They want to hear some salacious bit of gossip, like that you've tried for years to have another one with no luck, or that you really hate 1) your husband, 2) the child you already have, or 3) motherhood in general, or something else equally as dramatic. Like I would share that with them anyway, even if such things were true. Jack's a cool kid, that's all anyone needs to know :)

Rhonda said...

...and the daycare totally took care of potty training.


This is such a great post about personal decisions and NO ONE'S business but the parents involved.

Trust me, I get enough condenscending "God Bless YOUS" with rolled eyes, because I happen to have five kids.

You just can't win.

kris said...

I have never been a baby person. Ever. Never felt a particular urge to be pregnant or to have a baby. Ever. But after being married for quite a while, my husband and I looked at each other, and we were all, "If we are going to have kids? We probably ought to get on that."


I hated being pregnant. Both times. Did not hate the fact that I was pregnant, but I hated BEING pregnant. Ack . . . such difficult times in my memory.

And babyhood was hard.

So hard the first time. Easier the second.

But then I was done. Never looked back, never contemplated a third. Not once.


And I am still not a baby person.

Love my daughters more than anything in this world.

Done at two.

Everybody has to decide for themselves.

Well done, you.

You know yourself and what you want.

Well done.

The monkey bunch said...

I definitely think it's the norm at 41. I couldn't imagine doing all that now either. Having children is a young parent's thing! Enjoy your amazing boy and soak it up!

John said...

I sense a little bit of guilt here - like you're trying to justify why you don't want more.

Momma, you have a great kid (who, by all indications, is turning out to be a great cook), you seem mostly happy...there need be no justification for wanting what you have, what works for you.

Unless, of course, what you have is a great big coffee cake & you're not sharing. You should feel guilty about that.