September 13, 2010

Number Two Keeps Popping Up

Last week, I found out that yet another friend of mine is pregnant with her second child. Once again, I can't help but feel a little left out. And once again, I know that this feeling is completely irrational, because wanting to have a second in order to feel included is a horrendously crappy reason for bringing another life into this world.

I know deep down in my heart that PK will most likely be our one and only. And while most days I'm okay with that decision, somedays I'm totally not. Part of me wonders if I will regret it a few years down the road, when it will be either too risky or too late to have a second. Part of me wonders if PK will miss out on having the special bond that siblings share. Because let's face it - when siblings get along, it's a pretty cool bond. A couple of weeks ago I was reading an article about parents with singles (I need the little confidence boost every so often), and one thing totally hit me. An only-child will never be an aunt or uncle. The only child's child(ren) will never have cousin. Never. Wow. That's. So. Final.

And then there's the stupid irrational part of me that takes over. The part that sees having a second as getting right all of the things that I screwed up with PK. Like (and you'll laugh, because it's stupid) looking a little less like I was attacked by a flock of angry birds during my stay at the hospital following PK's birth. Not being so willing to let everyone hold PK right after she was born. I really wish that I had hogged her more in those early days. Nowadays she's too active to want to cuddle too much, and while I'm glad that she's happy and energetic, I also feel sad that I didn't relish in those cuddly moments.

Mat-leave was a really mixed bag for me. While I am grateful for having spent the year at home with PK, it was also one of the most difficult years of my life. Between feeling inadequate for not being able to breastfeed, to my grandmother's death, to some very intense (external) family drama that played itself out for the better part of a year, it was unbelievably rough. And as if all that wasn't enough, I am pretty sure looking back on things that I suffered through some form of post-partum depression.

So when I look back at that year, I look back at it with some regret, wishing that things had panned out differently. Wishing that I had really enjoyed my time together with PK to the fullest, instead of being mopey and emotional half the time. The worst part of it all was that some of the people who were in the thick of it were unable to help, because well, they were in the middle. And when I tried to talk to a couple of friends about it, they didn't provide the support that I needed. And honestly, it's not their fault. I mean, they could sympathize somewhat, but how could they empathize? How were they able to give me the proper amount of support that was required? Besides, I'm not the only person in the world with problems. We all have to deal with our own crap, and to us, our problems, no matter how minor they are compared to someone in a crappier situation, are still problems to us. So I had to try to deal with it on my own as best as I could.

Now, a little over one year since ending my mat-leave, things are way better and now I can actually enjoy my time with PK. But I'm always left wondering. What if I'd taken more time to relish in those early days. They really go by so fast. And in the greater scheme of things for me, it's only just the beginning. Which brings me back to my original topic - the ever-looming question of a #2.

And again I'll conclude that #2 is just not going to be a likely occurrence for so many reasons. And it saddens me a bit, because deep down inside, even knowing that if PK had a sibling she might not get along with him/her, I feel as if she'd be potentially missing out on things. But I also know that my main motivators for #2 are guilt from my mat-leave year and feeling included in the Club 'o Two Kids, and that's wrong. So I just need to snap out of this crap and move on, and enjoy what I have, because before I know it, she won't be a little girl anymore and I will have missed out on some great years.

1 comment:

Fawn said...

As you might guess, I am a huge fan of having two kids. :) (Sometimes. LOL) However, no one should have any child that they don't want to have, or don't feel equipped to cope with. In my case, the hubs would really love to have a third (!) and while I know I would love the third child, I don't think that at this point I have the ability to cope with another two years of infancy/toddlerhood/sleep deprivation. Gimme the 2.5-year-old fully-formed, I say!

Also, the only child can very well be an aunt and have nieces or nephews, as long as the child's spouse has siblings. I've been an aunt for five years now because I have two nieces and a nephew through Michael's sister. My only sister hasn't had any kids (until January). :)

Regarding the PPD -- one of my best friends had a pretty severe case and most people didn't know. One of the things about PPD is that women seem to be able to hide it really well, maintaining a facade of rosiness while feeling like everything is falling apart inside. My friend felt an enormous amount of pressure to appear perfect, despite the fact that she was struggling with healing from a c-section, problems breastfeeding, and severe sleep deprivation because of the baby's colic. A nurse finally broke through to her a good 6 to 8 months after her baby was born.

I know you know this already, but, since you are always so hard on yourself I will say it anyway: nobody is perfect. Nobody gets it all right the first time, the second time, or even the eighth. There will probably always be things you wish you had done differently. We all secretly think we don't have to conform to the rules ("Nobody's perfect, but I sure can try!") but we do. You have years ahead of you to keep developing your relationship with PK -- and trust me, even though I'm just a *little* bit ahead of you, there is some cool stuff coming up. There always is. :)