My husband and I often joke about how people started to ask when we were having kids the day after we got married, and then as soon as my son was born they started to ask when we would be having another child. I have always been able to laugh this off, knowing our plans for our family are our business — and that it’s silly, presumptuous, and rude of anyone to ask.
But now that so many of our friends and family members are having their second children — many whose first were born at the same time or after ours — it’s getting harder and harder to laugh it off.
The truth is, I’m scared, anxious, and hesitant about having a second child.
My first pregnancy was challenging, and there were so many times when I hated every minute of it. I spent so much of that pregnancy hoping for time to go faster. Looking back on it, I now worry — what if I didn’t enjoy it enough? I fear that my first pregnancy might have been my last, and I didn’t enjoy it the way I should have. I can’t help but wonder if I would have been able to stay more positive about the experience if I knew it was the only time.
My first child’s birth was challenging, and multiple complications meant it went nowhere near as planned. It’s scary to think about going through that again, but then I also consider that I might have a more positive birth experience a second time around. My doctor recommended I wait at least two or three years before considering a second pregnancy, which I was on board with. Now, I anxiously calculate a larger and larger potential age difference between my almost-preschooler and a future sibling with each passing month.
Then I worry — what happens if I can’t make up my mind? What if I wait too long? I’m not getting any younger. Is my window of opportunity for a second pregnancy going to close while I sit here making up my mind?
I think about my career, and how I spent my first few years as a mom struggling so much with my identity and mourning the impact of motherhood on my professional life. I know it shouldn’t have been that way, but I’ve worked so hard to feel like “myself” again after becoming a parent that I fear going through this again. Again, it’s hard not to feel like I would have experienced this differently if I knew it would be the only time.
The passage of time has eased many of my challenging memories surrounding birth and pregnancy. Now that I have a beautiful child, my heart is full and I understand why people do this all again. I want my son to have a brother or sister, and I know I want to have another baby, but I still don’t know when.
I’m confident there will be a day when this all becomes clearer. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt every time someone asks me when I’m having another baby.