Embracing Life as a Mother of an Only Child
Then all of a sudden, I noticed that these same mothers started abandoning ship. They were all getting pregnant again! I thought to myself, 'What traitors!' Though I wish them well and am happy for them, I won't deny that they make me wonder and question my resolve to living the rest of my life as a MOC.
I know I am not the most relaxed person there is. I am a worrier and am highly-strung. I tend to fixate and obsess over things. I am intense and have tendencies toward perfectionism. If I already get so stressed out with one child getting sick or getting hurt, what more with two? And I know I've been told by others numerous times that one tends to be more relaxed with baby number two. I respect that this might be true for others but you can't possibly expect it to be automatically true for me. Like I said, I know myself. I know it will not be any less intense with a second child and I do wonder how much more intensity I can handle before I break. It's a risk I consider way too high to make me change my mind. It's a hypothetical not worth betting all my chips on. I'm not adventurous that way (nor in most ways, really) and I would trust my self-knowledge on this.
In a way I can justify my situation because I know I've tried. In 2010 I chose to give IVF another shot and try for baby number two. I was pregnant for a while until I lost her at 7 weeks. I was devastated and vowed that I was done. She would've been 2 1/2 years old now (my Emily) if she had made it and admittedly, I do wonder about the life that could have been. But we did find out that she had trisomy 22, a chromosomal disorder which caused her early demise. Again with this knowledge, can you blame me for my fear of trying to conceive again? I am also now 40 years old, have always been reproductively challenged and have aging joints, eyes and other health issues I'm sure. All these factors decrease my chances for another (successful) pregnancy and, might I add, a sane family life ahead. I also still remember the grief I went through when I lost my daughter and I don't think I can handle ever going through that again.
Sometimes, I imagine a life with two children. Most of all, I wonder how different my son's life would have been if he had a sibling. They say that the choice to have a child (your first one) is for you. But the choice to have another is one you make for your existing child/ren. My son doesn't ask for a sibling. As a matter of fact, he's always been vocal about loving his situation as an only child, with 'no babies around the house to mess with my Legos and topple the towers I build', he argues. I'm pretty sure he's just glad that he has a monopoly of all the hugs going around in this household.
Some parents can embrace child illnesses and disabilities with strength, calm and positivity. I know I can never be that parent. And I have to respect that. Yes, you can say that I'm afraid but fear is sometimes a gift too. It's like not wanting to walk into a dark alley not knowing what's on the other side or what lurks in the darkness. I would rather stay on this lit end. It doesn't matter if you tell me that I could be missing out on something or depriving my son of a different kind of life and future. I simply don't have it in me to wager everything I have now for an unknown life I'm not quite sure we'd all survive.
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