When I was 6 days postpartum, someone said to me “Oh, you’ve got to start planning to give Joshua a little brother or sister. They’ll be best friends.”
Six days after my insides had literally been removed from my body to facilitate the exit of my firstborn and then carefully (I hope) placed back inside. Inch by inch. And here is someone telling—not asking—telling me I need to start planning for another one.
I can still see myself standing in my kitchen listening to this and wanting with everything to shout “are you facking kidding??” But because I’m a good Southern girl, I didn’t. I said…well, come to think of it, I don’t think I said anything at all.
And then this year rolled around and I said “I think I want to have another baby.”
And then I got an offer to take over the yearbook at school which would require one year of learning the job before my first year as advisor. So I thought “Well, I can’t go on maternity leave in the middle of the year with the yearbook incomplete. If we don’t do this soon, we’re looking at another two years before we can even try.”
So that settled if. If we were going to do this, we were going to do this. Done deal.
And then the irregular periods came back and I started sort of panicking about how if this didn’t happen in the three month window we were out of the game for two years and OMG.ENDOFTHEWORLD.DOOMANDGLOOM.
At my last doctor’s appointment, I walked out with a scrip for Clomid in my hand and instructions to call on day 3 for bloodwork and to schedule monitoring appointments.
Then I had a quasi-change of heart about this whole Baby Human 2 thing.
I don’t know if I’m ready. I don’t know when I’ll BE ready.I don’t know if WE are ready.
I don’t know if bringing another baby into this family in the next year would be even remotely fair to Joshua. He needs me—us—so much.
How do I tell him “No, you can’t sit in my lap right now. I’m holding the baby”?
He IS my baby. Having another baby means no more time for it to be just us. No more time for one-on-one with him.
How do I tell him to wait and make him watch as I tend to the other child’s needs?
How do I explain anything to a 3 year old and expect him to understand?
Will I sacrifice the relationship I am building with my son post-PPD if I bring another baby into the mix now? When I’m so newly whole again?
And then that got me thinking about how people plan their families. We have no idea how to plan this family other than to look at our finances and go “Well, we could swing this now, but we could swing it better if we wait. But now’s totally good, too…flip a coin!”
In our case, I’m 7 years older than my brother. Dan is 5 years younger than his sister. Neither of us really grew up with those super-close sibling relationships people talk about.
The more I thought about this notion that it’s my responsibility to give Joshua a best friend, I thought “I’m not growing my child’s peer group, here. This isn’t the Duggar family.”
Is that why people decide they want to have their children closer together? So they can be “built-in best friends?”
Or are they just trying to get the sleepless nights and diapers over with more quickly?
And to that discussion I add, do PPD moms sometimes get so caught up in what their “plan” is that they go for another even to the detriment of their own mental health just because that’s the way they’d envisioned it before PPD was a blip on the radar? And if that sometimes occurs, is it to my advantage that I didn’t have a plan? That I still don’t? That I can come up with just as many valid reasons for NOT having a baby right now as I can TO have a baby right now?
Lots of questions. Nearly zero answers.
I know enough to know that if I have this many questions? Now is probably not the time.