Friday, October 10, 2014
Why I'm In No Hurry for Baby #2
My daughter is nearly 1 year old now. She is the light of my life and I could never fully explain the joy that she brings me. I am happily planning her first birthday party, enjoying this new phase of her being more independent, more toddler like.
But guess what? I'm exhausted. Not like "lack of sleep" exhausted (things have been getting better in that regard), but rather exhausted from the busyness of life with a 1 year old. In addition to my mommy responsibilities, I work full time, which mostly entails me running from one meeting to another, sometimes in a different building altogether, answering endless emails, and just generally running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
So when people ask me "So when are you guys having another one?" I do my best not to either laugh hysterically or smack them in the back of the head (a la Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS). Do not get me wrong, I want to have another child. My husband would do it tomorrow if I were on board. But quite honestly, I'm just not there yet.
There are many reasons why I'm in no hurry for Baby # 2. Baby # 2 for me is child # 3 for our family, since Chris has a 15 year old daughter from his first marriage. As I've written about before, life with a teenager and a toddler has its challenges. Chris's daughter is with us full time now, so that means we are responsible for most of the transportation that goes along with having an involved, intelligent, responsible teenage daughter. Swim practice every day, religious education every Sunday, outings with friends, high school football games, swim meets... The list goes on and on. Factor into this equation having a toddler, one who gets cranky in the late afternoon and goes to bed by 6:30 every night like clockwork. Bedtime every night is a three ring circus of my husband and myself giving her a bath, drying her, brushing and combing her hair, putting her PJ's on, and finally putting her in her sleep sack, all the while trying to keep her shrieking to a minimum (bath time is okay, everything else is torture) and praying that she will lay on the changing table long enough to get her diaper on before she starts flipping over, grabbing for us to hold her, etc. By the time she goes into her crib at 6:30, we are exhausted!
Selfishly on my part, I also want more time with just my Sabrina. I want to shower her with love and attention and let her continue to be the center of my world. She is getting to such a fun age, one where we can really start doing things with her more, taking her places and allowing her to begin to explore the world beyond her house and her Nana's. We plan to take her to Disney World next October, when she will be almost 2, which I am absolutely ecstatic about and cannot wait for. I want to give her that time, with just us and her grandparents, to feel like she is the center of it all.. because she is!
Recently Buckingham Palace announced that Duchess Kate is expecting again. Kate and I were pregnant at the same time for our first pregnancies; Prince Georgie was born in July, Sabrina in November. It was really neat to watch her pregnancy unfold in the press, all the while my own pregnancy was unfolding. But when I heard that she was pregnant again, my knee jerk reaction was "What was she thinking?!" Then I remembered that she is a Duchess, has a staff likely at her disposal, although I do think she is a very involved mother to her son.. and then I realized why she would want to do it all again so soon.
Kate, you and I differ on this one. I am so eternally grateful to have my daughter, to be a mother, and I can't imagine my life without her. But I am not yet ready to do it all again. I did not love being pregnant the first time, and I anticipate that would not change with pregnancy number 2. And I didn't even have morning sickness! But the constant exhaustion, the GI issues, the shortness of breath, the muscle weakness... While some people glow and love every minute of it, for me it was a means to an end. (A wonderful, lively, smart, strong-willed end that I love with all my heart.)
But more than any of that, I am terrified of having postpartum depression again. I haven't yet researched statistics on the re-occurrence of postpartum depression with baby # 2 when the mother had it with baby # 1. I don't want to know, quite honestly. I am so scared that I will bring another life into this world, and spend the first months of his or her life falling down the rabbit hole of depression yet again. Because this time, I wouldn't only be affecting one child, but two. It was hard enough to get through the first time, but I can't even imagine how hard it would be with two children to care for instead of one.
One thing I know for sure, that I'm sure people will judge me for, is that I will not even attempt breastfeeding with baby # 2, whenever the time comes. I can't do it again. I can't face the pain, the exhaustion, the uncertainty, the waiting... I can't face hooking myself up to a breast pump, I can't face taking on the sole responsibility of providing food for my child. I just can't do it. I don't think breastfeeding caused my postpartum depression, but I think it sure as heck didn't help anything. I was exhausted, beating myself up for my lack of success with breastfeeding, my baby was miserable and hungry... it just was a recipe for disaster. I can't put myself in a potentially harmful situation again. While I agree that breastfeeding is absolutely best, for me it's just not worth the risks.
So I'm going to take my time and enjoy life with my darling daughter for awhile longer, before we give her a brother or sister to love. (And fight with.) I know that when the time is right, Baby # 2 will come into our world and we won't remember what life was like without them. I look forward to that day, but for now, I'm happy with life the way it is.