It's a question we get asked a lot...when are you having your second child? Why is Ellie still an only child? What are you guys waiting for? And to be totally honest, I have a million answers to those questions. And I'm sure everyone out there has an answer to all of my answers (trust me, we've heard them all already). But the honest answer is that we just aren't ready to have a second child right now. We're just not there yet. And maybe we will be soon...and maybe we won't ever be. And that's okay, too.
Most people we tell that to are appalled that the thought of only having one child has even crossed our minds. We have close friends and family that ask us constantly why we won't just do it. Maybe we're scared, maybe we're selfish, maybe we're just very content with our family of three right now...maybe it's a little of everything. But I certainly know that we aren't going to try for another baby just because everyone is telling us to.
Here's the thing...we always planned on having two kids. Two was our maximum, but it also was always our minimum. We never considered having an only child. Matt has a sister, and I have a sister, and that was just our "normal". Two kids. And then we had Ellie, and she rocked our world...in so many ways. We felt love we never knew we could feel. We felt happiness and joy every time we looked at her. And we also felt a lot of stress. She was not an easy baby. Truth be told, it was probably the roughest 12 months of my life. It was more than just the normal "adjusting to a newborn". It was non stop. She was a very high needs baby, with a lot of digestive problems (which required daily medicine and a lot of strict diet changes) that made every day a force to be reckoned with. It's an interesting feeling...the feeling of loving her so much, while at the same time, crying tears of frustration at our inability to make her feel better, to stop her crying, to make things a little bit "normal" in our house.
We survived, of course, and Ellie is growing up to be quite amazing in every way. But I don't think any of our friends or family that continually ask why we aren't having a second baby understand what that first year was like for us. I honestly think it changed me, and Matt and I as a couple, in ways that I would never imagine. I'm going to be very candid and honest here...while it gave me (and us) strength, it also tore me (and us) apart on so many occasions. And that's a scary feeling. And, I know that our second child might not be as high needs. I know that our second child might not have all those digestive problems. And I know that even if he/she does, we are more prepared to deal with it the second time around. But...there is still that "but"...that always stops us in our tracks.
And while Ellie is an extraordinary child, she still DOES NOT SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. And once again, I don't think those people that badger us about having a second child understand what it is like as a mom to have never gotten a full nights sleep consistently for 3.5 years. I can tell people until I am blue in the face, but unless you live my reality of usually only getting 4-5 hours of broken up sleep most nights for 3.5 years, you will not understand that that alone is a good reason not to throw a newborn into the mix right now. A lot of people we know with young babies nod their head enthusiastically when I describe my sleepless nights, but most of those parents will get relief, or have already gotten relief as their babies get older and start sleeping better and better. Your baby was a rough sleeper for 6 months? 8 months? The entire first year of their lives? Try 3.5 years!! And while I know there are other parents out there that are also dealing with non sleeping 3 year olds (I hope!), none of our other parent friends are really dealing with it, so it's a little rough being alone in this situation. We have had family and friends offer to take Ellie one or two nights so that we can get some rest, and while that is always a very thoughtful offer, I most often decline, because we DO get a few nights of rest here and there when she decides to sleep well, and honestly, I don't really think an extra one or two nights will really be helpful in the grand scheme of things! (and let's just be honest...I'm a mom...and I worry about her...I know I'd just be up most of the night wondering how she is doing and if she's getting a good nights sleep at someone else's house anyways. I know I wouldn't get any rest! lol)
And even after all of that said, we still have people telling us that this is just a short season in our lives, and things will get better, and we will regret not having a second child. And maybe that's true. And maybe we are depriving Ellie right now if we don't give her a playmate. I know some people with two kids who are the best of friends..always playing together...completely inseparable. But I also know some people with two kids that don't play together at all. They're just not interested in each other, and honestly I don't think they ever will be, even though they are close in age. And like I said, we HAVE NOT decided we aren't going to have a second...we've just decided the time is not right right now. Our life as a family of three is fantastic right now, and maybe we are being just a little bit selfish, but we just want to enjoy our life to the fullest for now. Neither of us want to deprive Ellie of having a brother or a sister, but we also aren't ready to dive in and do it quite yet. And you know what, that's okay!
So maybe I haven't fully answered the question as to why Ellie is still an only child...because maybe the answer just isn't good enough for most people. But the honest answer is, it's just not time. Maybe we'll feel differently in a month, maybe it will take a year, maybe the answer will be "it's just not ever going to be time". But, as I've always said, you need to do what feels right for your own family. What works for you. And this just feels right for us...at least for now. Maybe we are a little scared...and I'm sure we are being just a little bit selfish. But we definitely are content with our family of three right now, so we're just going with it for now...until we feel differently. It's as simple as that.
|(Image credit Nina S.)|