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Is There Room For One More?
When Adding Another
When my oldest son first went to school, he realized there was something out there he really wanted. It's normal for kids to want what other kids had, so when he told me about how jealous he was over something I could understand him. What he wanted was shocking: a sibling. He proceeded to inform me of all the benefits of having a sibling for him: he wouldn't be alone, he'd have someone to play with, someone to sleep in the room with him. Did I mention he wouldn't be alone?
A few years later, my husband and I married. A year after that, my husband and I decided we were ready. By luck, very quickly after, we found out we were expecting. Come Christmastime, we were driving to my in-laws. I looked at my son and I said "I have an early Christmas present for you." He excitedly asked what it was. My husband and I said "you're going to be a big brother!" He looked at us. "Are you serious?" When we nodded tearfully and excitedly, he did something very unexpected: he cried "happy tears".
I thought it would be easy. My oldest son would be 10 when the baby was born, so I had it in my mind that it would be a cake walk. I'll let you in on a secret: it isn't, no matter how old the sibling to be is. Even being pregnant with my oldest son's needs was exhausting. It slowly hit me that this wasn't going to be as easy as I had thought.
It's hard to get out of bed and make sure your child is fed, lunch is made and send them off to school. This task becomes markedly more difficult with a screaming newborn that wants to be attached to you. You end up trying to juggle homework with diaper changes.Then you have to go to the bathroom and trust your older child can manage the baby in a playpen for 5 minutes, and come back to a disaster in the making. Or you have to run an errand, and you put the baby in the playpen with the older sibling watching him for a few minutes while your husband wakes up. You leave, and come back to find them both in the playpen. "But Mom, I didn't want him to be alone in there." Soon you'll have little league games, where you're trying to juggle your star athlete, and an infant that wants to walk and crawl all over the play, pulling every weed and grass and dirt and stick off the ground.
This doesn't even count the emotional roller coaster your first-born may or may not go through. Your first-born will either be incredibly jealous that they will hate their new sibling, or become so doting that they smother their sibling. I'm lucky, my older son alternates between doting big brother and "I'm too busy playing videogames to notice". Still, this could be quite an emotionally draining task if you're unfortunate to have the jealousy beast to fight.
They might make you want to pull your hair out, or drive you crazier than you'll ever imagine.You'll notice more grey hairs popping out with every child you add to your brood of "monsters". (I mean "monsters" in an affectionate and silly way".) You'll never be able to afford fancy clothes, or anything fancy because you can't afford it and the children will destroy it. (This is why we can't have nice things.) You'll consider sleeping until 7 a.m. as "sleeping in", and be lucky if you're asleep for good at 1 a.m. You'll have food and urine and poop on you in places you won't realize until it's the most embarrassing moment possible. You'll trip over toys every two inches, and guaranteed to step on the most painful of the toys.
But children are miracles. They are blessings, every single one of them. My son once told me that he knew that I would love both him and his brother, because "every time a mom has a kid, her heart multiplies so she has enough room to love each equally". That idea seemed silly at the time, and I couldn't help but to laugh that a 9-year-old said it. Thinking about it now, I can't help but to think he was right.
How Do You Know What's Right For You?
So, is it time for another one? For my family, the answer is "not at the moment". Anytime anyone asks me if another one is coming soon, I laugh it off. I answer, "Let me forget about birthing this one and losing the weight first, then we'll see." Eventually I'd like another one, preferably a girl. I'm already over run by testosterone, I could use someone on my side. But anything that is healthy is okay with me. But I know that 3 is my limit for birthing them, but I would consider adoption for a fourth.
No one can tell you when you're ready to expand your family. Nothing good can come from just doing it because people expect it from you. Children are very demanding, both financially and emotionally. You cannot bite off more than you can chew in this aspect of your life, because you need to be able to give enough to your children but still have some left over for your husband or even just yourself. You'll know what's right for you, and as long as it's financially feasible and agreed upon by your partner, you should do what's best for your own little family. Nothing more, and nothing less.