To sib or not to sib. I've been thinking about the whole second baby thing for a while now. With my 40th birthday less than two months away, time's a-wastin'. This entry on Blogging Baby was the impetus to finally write about the topic. Thanks for the kick in the butt, Karen.
One of my first thoughts after surviving Oliver's delivery was utter amazement that some women go through it more than once. I was thrilled to have my son but my body felt like it had been through hell. My mother had five kids. The mind boggles. When I got over the initial trauma, and the area of my body known to my nurses as "the war zone" finally surrendered, I started to go back and forth in my head, many many many times a day, over whether Oliver should have a sibling.
There are so many good arguments on both sides. I fear a child who is the polar opposite of Oliver, starting with the pregnancy. I would have morning sickness with the next baby. She would sleep like a log at night and be grumpy all day. She wouldn't nurse well, would develop severe nipple confusion with bottles, hate all strangers and would be happy only in a bathtub. She would have no sense of humor. Thoughts like that are almost enough to make one consider tubal ligation, or better yet, vasectomy.
On the other hand, CD and I won't be around forever and I don't like the idea of Oliver being alone in the world. Or having to figure out how to push both of our wheelchairs by himself. I would like to know he has someone to talk to who has shared closely in his life experiences should there be difficult decisions to make. And while I have known perfectly well-adjusted only children, necessary lessons about sharing may be easier to teach at home with another child.
But then what about all the alone-time I've had with Oliver? I would never have that with baby #2. Would he/she feel cheated? And how could I possibly give Oliver any less attention, parcelling out time between two kids? Some would argue two is twice the fun. I must be a "glass half-empty" girl because sometimes I see twice the work and thus, half the fun, in the bizarre calculus going on in my head.
Then there's the desire to balance things out by adding a girl to the family, though with the dogs and cat factored in, girls are already in the lead in our household. Before Oliver, I never imagined myself the mother of a boy. I could only picture myself with girls. Now, as so many mothers of sons before me have discovered, it's hard to imagine adding a girl to the mix. I should really let this one go since we don't exactly get to place our order anyway. But then it seems like CD would like one of each and there's the strong desire to make him happy. I'll never forget the day in Maine, when I was coming up on 12 weeks pregnant and a few days before we got our CVS results and knew the gender of our baby. One of my family members asked CD if he was hoping for a boy or a girl. He responded something along the lines of, "It doesn't matter with the first one." That was truly the first time the idea of a second child ever crossed my mind. Clearly, he had been thinking about it a bit longer.
So this is how it's been in my head for a while now. Back and forth. Up and down. Round and round. A couple of months ago we agreed to discuss it on Oliver's first birthday, in April of 2006. I don't think I'll be physically ready before then and given my age, we don't want to leave it much longer. We also liked the timing of that pregnancy. I wasn't big or uncomfortable during the summer heat, which I hate anyway, and Oliver arrived after the end of the very cold weather. And of course, I already have maternity clothes that are seasonally correct.
At last, in just the past week or so, I have figured out what was really bothering me, and it is ridiculously simple. It's the "older parent" thing. Growing up I was very conscious of the fact I had older parents. It was more my dad, who retired when I was 12. I always said it wasn't being 40 and pregnant that scared me. It was being 55 with a 15 year old. But the more I think about it, the real problem isn't my fear of being an older parent so much as my fear that my kid(s) will be the only one(s) with older parents. I need only look around Oliver's school to see this is not the case. The parents under 30 appear to be in the minority. Demographics are on my side.
That doesn't entirely solve my dilemma, but it goes a long way towards putting me into a frame of mind where I can envision making one more trip down the parenthood path. And the slightly faded memories of "the war zone" help too.